Bobby Hull and his brother Dennis stole the show at the Giants’ lunch Thursday to launch Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday celebration Friday at the Pacific Coliseum. With the birthday boy hung up at LAX, the media merchants were amply entertained by the Hulls, Marcel Dionne and Pat Quinn. The great Johnny Bower’s arrival came later. But, just like in his Maple Leafs’ playing days, he was in the crease when it counted.
Almost lost in all of the Mr. Hockey hoopla was the return of Dave Nonis to his Burnaby roots Thursday for the first time since being anointed general manager and senior vice-president of the Toronto Maple Leafs; He was being inducted into the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame. Fighting the flu and having travelled on an early Thursday morning flight from Toronto, Nonis sat with his parents and two older brothers through the sold-out dinner at the Burnaby Firefighters Hall.
He felt progressively better as his text messages updated him on the Leafs’ overtime win against the Islanders.
Nonis was emotional when former players and co-workers from his days as GM in Vancouver were individually introduced by MC Brian Pound. The Canucks alumni members are like the Salvation Army: always there when you need their support.
The alumni group included Orland Kurtenbach, Stan Smyl, Harold Snepsts, Darcy Rota, Bob Murray, Jack McIIlhargey, John Grisdale, Mike Hall, John Ashbridge and Rod Brathwaite.
HERE ’N’ THERE: Hockey family ties often run deep. When John Davidson played for the New York Rangers and later worked in the broadcast booth, one of his closest pals was Rangers scout, the late Roddy MacLeod. Davidson is now president of hockey operations with the Columbus Blue Jackets. When Wade MacLeod, Roddy’s grandson and son of one-time New Westminster Bruins scoring star Scott, suffered a seizure during an AHL game in Springfield on Feb. 17, Davidson took a special interest in making certain the 26-year-old Blue Jackets prospect was under the best available medical care. A CT scan and MRI led to the discovery of a non-cancerous tumour in Wade’s brain. He’s out of hospital awaiting further instructions from Dr. Carl Heilmer, a highly-respected neurosurgeon at the Tufts Medical Centre in Boston.
SHORT HOPS: Vancouver-born BCIT broadcast alumni Linda Tremblay has won a Canadian Screen Award (formerly the Geminis) for her work as supervising producer of the London Olympics Prime Time show on CTV. A global freelancer, London was the sixth time she had worked an Olympic Games.
Wayne Wong, pioneer of freestyle skiing and member of the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame, adds a U.S. Ski Hall of Fame medal to his collection in Vail, Colo., next month. The former Burnaby North high school grad was one of the early ‘hotdog’ skiers and starred in countless skiing movies.
END ZONE: Hal Rodd, the first broadcaster to call a baseball game at Capilano Stadium back in 1951, died last week at 91. He was inducted into the Vancouver Canadians Broadcast and Journalism Hall of Fame in 2010.
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