SCENE AND HEARD: As a young boy growing up in Kelowna, Rick Ball idolized hockey play-by-play broadcaster Bob Cole. "Other kids talked about Danny Gallivan and Foster Hewitt," Ball says. "But my guy was Bob Cole. I just loved the way he injected so much excitement and drama into his call." Some 30 years later, Ball met Cole for the first time Wednesday in Toronto. They were, in fact, posing for a team photo that included the entire CBC Hockey Night in Canada television crew for the coming NHL season.
Living out his dream, the BCIT broadcast journalism grad will be calling "prime west" games with Kelly Hrudey this year, an assignment that began Saturday night with the Canucks' opener against Anaheim.
"At this point I don't know how many games I'll be doing because the full schedule isn't out yet," Ball says. "But I'm on board and it just doesn't get any better than this."
Ball worked his way through the radio ranks as voice of the Kelowna Rockets in the late 1990s before a stint at CFAX in Victoria and then to Team Radio when it surfaced on the Vancouver market in 2001. He's been the voice of the B.C. Lions for the past nine years and has kept busy during the hockey season doing the Canucks' broadcasts when John Shorthouse has television commitments with Sportsnet. Last year HNIC approached Ball to call six Winnipeg Jets games. "That opened the door," he says, "and if there are two things I've learned in this business, you don't burn bridges and you don't close doors."
HERE 'N' THERE: Another version of Canucks played Saturday night at the Arena Community Centre in Gibsons where the sign on Molly's Reach still reads: "Welcome Back." The Canucks Alumni lineup under coach Chris Oddleifson was to include Jackson Davies, who played RCMP Const. John Constable on The Beachcombers, the longest running series in Canadian television history. Oddleifson was on hand Wednesday with Alumni president Gerry Sillers and Orland Kurtenbach, Dave Babych, Cliff Ronning, Bob Murray and Rick Amann for the presentation of a $75,000 cheque to the new Canuck Place facility in Abbotsford. It was the largest single donation in the 60-year history of the Alumni and B.C. Benevolent Hockey Association.
SHORT HOPS: B.C. Lions president Dennis Skulsky didn't forget Travis Lulay's significant other when the quarterback was signing his record-setting contract at the posh Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel Thursday morning. Skulsky presented Kim Lulay with a bouquet of dozen white roses and six orange daisies, representing the six Grey Cup championships in Lions' history.
END ZONE: Giulio Caravatta, former SFU quarterback who played in a backup role with the Leos for eight years, said: "Travis is like the Sedins. They set the standard and every other player on the team strives to maintain that level."
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun