Dr. Sport: Vancouver loses a gem as cancer claims life of Roy Jukich Jr.
Abbotsford Heat to be featured on Rogers Sportnet doubleheader later this month
SCENE & HEARD: Over the past 15 years this space has inadvertently become a landing pad for memos and items referring to the passing of sports celebrities and unsung heroes. They are always difficult to write but none as difficult as today’s salute to Roy Jukich Jr. who passed away last Sunday, two days short of his 53rd birthday.
This bright young man – devoted husband to Mary and father of two young daughters – went through almost three years of fighting cancer with only his immediate family aware of his condition.
Now there are two Roy Jukich’s in heaven. Senior was a throwback to old-time sportswriters of post-war years when they wore sweat-stained fedoras and suspenders that held up baggy trousers.
Roy Sr. died in 1979, leaving Eileen behind to raise four talented children who have all contributed to the local sports landscape in their own way. Dan, the eldest and rock behind Eileen’s courage, has been the voice of the races at Hastings Racecourse for the past 21 years. Dan and youngest brother John are the only two people in the Canucks’ NHL history to carry the title ‘visiting team dressing room attendant.' Dan started in the Western League at the PNE Forum in ’65-66, graduated to the NHL in 1970 and handed the torch to John after the ’78-79 season. John holds the position to this day.
Teresa, a long-time mutuels agent at Hastings, is a distinguished Vancouver music teacher who often surfaces singing the national anthem at sporting events both professional and amateur.
Roy Jr. never lost a step with his siblings. He advanced from selling wrestling tearsheets at the PNE Gardens to becoming manager of program sales for the Canucks at the Pacific Coliseum and eventually an independent sales rep for some of the biggest sports equipment chains in the industry.
Roy played hockey, baseball and soccer for east end Vancouver teams and passed his athletic talents along to daughters Emily and Ashley as a father and coach.
Attendants at St. Plus X Church in North Vancouver were left scrambling for every available chair Friday to accommodate an overflow gathering of family, friends, Canucks' alumni, fellow workers in the sporting goods business and teammates from Roy’s various recreational teams.
He touched all of us in a very special way.
END ZONE: When Rogers Sportsnet telecasts an American Hockey League doubleheader on Saturday, Oct. 20, the nightcap will be from Abbotsford when the Heat entertain Canucks-affiliated Chicago Wolves … Watch for the Vancouver Giants to announce that Phil Esposito will join Igor Larionov as a celebrity guest Nov. 14 when an all-star team from the Western Hockey League plays the Russians at Pacific Coliseum … Former Canucks Geoff Courtnall, Jack McIlhargy, John Garrett, Cliff Ronning and Gary Valk join Ryan Kesler and football hall of famer Warren Moon for the Sports Fanfest autograph sessions Oct. 19-20-21 at the Langely Events Centre … Would-be junior hockey team owners be aware: the BCHL Salmon Arm SilverBacks are on the market.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun