SCENE & HEARD: The young man who so eloquently handled the role of ring announcer at Bieksa’s Buddies charity hockey game Wednesday night is widely recognized in these parts as Dan Murphy, Rogers Sportsnet broadcaster on Canucks’ telecasts.
Soon he will be able to add the title ‘author’ to his business portfolio. Unlike many of his hockey-announcing peers, Murphy has kept busy with a project during these thoroughly frustrating NHL collective bargaining talks.
Penquin Books Canada has picked up the publishing rights to Journeyman, the story of Sean Pronger’s life as a professional hockey player that is not all glitz and glamour.
“Sean, of course, is the ‘other’ Pronger, older brother of NHL all-star Chris,” says Murphy. “Sean played for 16 teams over 11 seasons as a pro. Nobody knows the game better than the guy on the fourth line who fights for his job every night.”
Murphy, born in Abbotsford and schooled at BCIT, also spent some time at the University of Ottawa. A roommate introduced him to the Pronger boys and they became longtime friends.
“Sean and his family were guests at our house during the 2010 Olympics,” Murphy says. “We would stay up late swapping stories over a few beers. One thing led to another and we wound up writing an outline and sample chapter for the publishers at Penguin. I don’t know which one of us was more surprised when they bought it.”
Journeyman will sell for $32 Cdn. and is expected to be on bookshelves early next month. “By then,” Murphy says, “I’m hoping to be back in the Canucks broadcast booth. But I’m not holding my breath.
HERE ‘N’ THERE: While Murphy was introducing the players from ice level during the pre-game ceremonies Wednesday there were a couple of desperately-broke ticket scalpers still shaking in their boots outside the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Winter Sports Centre. Bob Marjanovich was doing live cut-ins for Team 1040 when he spotted the scalpers bootlegging tickets for the charity hockey game. ‘The Moj’, a former senior lacrosse and college football player who survived on sheer grit, invited the hawkers into his comfort zone. They wisely declined.
SHORT HOPS: Members of Milan Dragicevic’s T-Birds hockey squad did a double take when legendary NHLers and former original Canucks Pat Quinn and Orland Kurtenbach unexpectedly surfaced in their dressing room for a pre-game chat that led to everyone posing for a team photo. Included in the group were Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Robson and Mickey McDowell, former winner of the Bobby Gaul Award as Male Athlete of the Year at UBC. The strong suspicion is that McDowell, noted entrepreneur and ever the promoter, was behind the surprise visit.
END ZONE: Because Debbie Butt of Canuck Place prefers working in the background, she was not duly recognized for the success of the Bieksa’s Buddies event. Closing note to Scalperville: $200,000 in proceeds, which included Michael Buble’s generous donation, went to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Canucks Autism Network and the Canucks Family Education Centre.
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