Andy Dunn, architect of the Vancouver Canadians’ success story, paid Jamie Pitblado the supreme compliment Wednesday night at Nat Bailey Stadium.
“Somebody is going to land themselves an excellent young executive,” Dunn mused. “Jamie won’t be out of work long.”
Pitblado, 49, sent shock waves through Vancouver’s corporate and sports-related communities this week with an email blast relating that he’s leaving the Pacific Newspaper Group (PNG) after almost 19 years with The Vancouver Sun and The Province. In his capacity as vice-president of promotions and community investment, Pitblado became the king of marketing on the local landscape. From the world-renowned Sun Run to heading up the PNG partnership with the 2010 Winter Olympics, Pitblado’s footprints were everywhere. He’s been a caring advocate with The Canucks for Kids, Canadian Cancer Society, United Way, UBC/VGH Hospital Foundation … the list is endless.
Originally from Toronto and a graduate of Queen’s University with a BA in Economics, the athletically inclined Pitblado moved to Vancouver in 1991 and instantly became a staunch supporter of the B.C. Lions.
He was one of the original founders of the hugely popular Waterboys Club made up of business leaders who are goodwill ambassadors for the Lions. He’s also a trustee on the board of directors of the British Columbia Football Hall of Fame.
Pitblado played in a slo-pitch game Wednesday at Nat Bailey Stadium in support of the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation. With several sports media involved, Pitblado’s answer to the obvious question was: “At this point I’m not sure where my journey is going to take me, but I know it will keep me in Vancouver.”
His final appearance on behalf of PNG was Thursday at the B.C. Lions alumni golf tournament.
Speculation continues to percolate that Leos’ owner David Braley and president Dennis Skulsky will find a meaningful place for Pitblado to feed his passion for football. It would be a perfect fit.
HERE ‘N’ THERE: Former Canucks’ coach and GM turned broadcaster Harry Neale has been inundated by calls from friends in Vancouver with congratulatory messages with news he’s being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. Neale worked the longest game in Stanley Cup Final history as a Hockey Night in Canada analyst when Petr Klima’s goal ended things at 55:13 of the third overtime period in an Edmonton 3-2 victory over Boston on May 15, 1990 ... Former Bruins’ goaltender Gerry Cheevers, a two-time Stanley Cup winner (1970 and 1972), will be signing autographs (1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.) Saturday, June 22 at Pastime Hobbies and Games in Langley.
END ZONE: The family of the late Roy Jukich was thrilled to learn that BC Hockey has honoured him with the Development Award — Female High Performance for his tireless work as head coach of the Female U-16 Fraser Valley team that captured gold at the 2012 B.C. Winter Games in Vernon. Roy’s hockey-playing daughters Emily and Ashley were tutored by their father, who died at 52 last September.
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