Only Oliver Wong could draw the cross-section of guests that turned out to his retirement party in the Hastings Room on the PNE grounds Wednesday night. It was 37 years ago when an eager young man from Fiji was hired as a stock boy at Play-land for $1.90 an hour.
PNE president Michael McDaniel and vice-president of operations Jeff Strickland presented Oliver with a rare Gold Lifetime Pass as family, friends, co-workers and clients breathed a sigh of relief when the shy guest of honour finally arrived by sneaking through a rear door off an alleyway to avoid a grand entrance.
Having risen to the rank of Director of Food and Beverage, Oliver's assignments over almost four decades contributed to the well-being of the Canucks, B.C. Lions, Whitecaps, Giants and long-forgotten Ravens and Voodoo.
At one time or another, all of those athletes who performed at the Pacific Coliseum, Empire Stadium or Agrodome experienced a taste of what Oliver Wong had to offer.
HERE 'N' THERE: Ernie (Punch) McLean has never been one to slide through a back door and that won't change Saturday night when the legendary New Westminster Bruins coach celebrates his 80th birthday at Riverway Golf Course in Burnaby. Tickets will be available at the door right up until "game time" ... It was not a formal Whitecaps team function at the Chill Winston Seafood Restaurant in Gastown Thursday night but a rather quiet social gathering of those players still in town before their various departures this weekend ... Canucks Alumni president Gerry Sillers presented long-time television sports commentator Bernie Pascall with the 7th Man Award for his ongoing contributions to the BC Hockey Benevolent Association. Sillers also paid tribute to one of the pioneers of the Alumni, former Canucks' WHL player Dave Duke, who died last Sunday after battling health issues in recent years.
SHORT HOPS: Several Canucks Alumni members have signed on for the Roy Jukich Memorial Hockey Tournament on Nov. 23 at Canlan Ice Sports - Burnaby 8 Rinks.
Proceeds go to the Emily and Ashley Jukich Education Fund.
Players from all levels of recreational hockey can register for the four-team format with a minimum three games by contacting Marc Bariteau at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 604-291-0626.
END ZONE: A hot item along author's row is Len Corben's The Pitching Professor: The Life and Times of Ernie Kershaw. Corben is guest speaker at the West Vancouver Historical Society next Wednesday at 7 p.m. and without too much urging will be happy to sign his latest journalistic offering.
Kershaw, who taught at West Van High for 33 years, pitched for the Vancouver Capilanos in the 1930s and 1940s.
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