Ex-Canucks, Grizzlies owner Arthur Griffiths welcomed back during brief Vancouver visit
At a packed, upscale steak house in downtown Vancouver Saturday evening, Arthur Griffiths was stopped time and time again by friendly patrons eager to shake his hand or just say hello as he inched his way to the front exit. On this night, there was no easy after-dinner escape for the man who contributed so greatly to this city’s sports landscape.
The former owner of the Vancouver Canucks and NBA Grizzlies who led the initiative to build GM Place, Griffiths has been absent from the local scene since he left for London to represent the Russian sportswear company Bosco at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
With another successful notch having been carved into his belt, Griffiths is back on native soil — but not for long.
“Unless there is a reason to stay in Vancouver in another business-related capacity, it looks as though my next stop will be Calgary,” he said Saturday.
The oft-maligned Griffiths overcame the financial turmoil he experienced after his Seattle billionaire partner John McCaw acquired the Canucks, Grizzlies and GM Place in 1996. Arthur was chairman of the Vancouver Whistler 2010 Bid Committee that received the approval of the Canadian Olympic Committee and was eventually endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
His involvement with the Vancouver Olympic Games led to his appointment in London. Now he’s on the move again and hopefully, before Calgary becomes a definite destination, something will develop locally. Vancouver woefully needs the creative leadership qualities Griffiths learned during stormier times.
HERE ‘N’ THERE: If Canucks GM Mike Gillis thought some of his scrums with the local sports media have been difficult, he got a whole new taste of tough talk at the Yaletown Keg Wednesday night. In support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a hockey-crazed group of businessmen bid on a private dinner sitting with Gillis. “We didn’t pull any punches,” one of the found-ins said, “and while he handled it well, there weren’t many soft pitches thrown his way.”
SHORT HOPS: The select brotherhood of Canucks Nation fortunate enough to have access to underground parking for home games at Rogers Arena were startled Thursday night to be stopped by security officers and sniffing German shepherds. Nobody would say if the exercise was part of an NHL ordinance after the Boston Marathon bombing.
END ZONE: When sportscaster Neil Macrae parted ways with CKNW last June, he hung onto a morning gig with Bro Jake on FM sister station Rock 101. But that ended this week, too, when Macrae mocked management on air about a memo he’d received for what his bosses described as ‘blue content.’ Publicly embarrassing management on your own station might have worked in the Frosty Forst era of broadcasting, but those days are long gone.
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