Dr. Sport: It’s final boarding call for airport concierge


Fixture at YVR: Melidones was valued confidant of local sports management

Columnist Greg Douglas, a.k.a. 'Dr. Sport.'

Columnist Greg Douglas, a.k.a. 'Dr. Sport.'

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun files, .

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SCENE & HEARD: From head of the Canucks’ household, Luigi Acquilini, to the parking lot attendants at Vancouver International Airport, Jimmy (The Greek) Melidones was always ready to offer a help ing hand.

YVR was The Greek’s turf for 43 years, first with CP Airlines, then with Air Canada. He gave the word concierge new meaning.

Sports personalities from across North American have been sending their condolences to Jimmy’s wife of 29 years, Heather, since word spread of his passing on April 25 at the age of 70, though his ever-present smile and stylish attire created the look of someone much younger. He succumbed to lingering health issues when his big heart stopped beating.

Born in England but having grown up in Medicine Hat, Alta., Melidones became close friends with Lane and Edna Linden, parents of Trevor. Lane was in a Canucks’ private suite the night of Pat Quinn’s induction into the Ring of Honour and when he heard Melidones had been in ill health, he instantly phoned to wish him well and maintained regular contact until Jimmy’s passing.

Melidones was a valued confidant of the Canucks, B.C. Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps management dating back to the ’70s. If they needed a player flown in or out of town under emergency conditions, The Greek would get the call. And get it done.

From A to Z — Bob Ackles to Chris Zimmerman — and hundreds, maybe thousands, in-between — Jimmy Melidones was the airport’s Mr. Congeniality whenever he was on shift at YVR.

Those he touched over the past 43 years have been invited to join in a celebration of his life on Monday, June 15 at Beach Grove Golf Club in Tsawwassen. The boarding pass has check-in at 1 p.m. with his gate closing one last time at 4 p.m.

HERE ‘N’ THERE: There weren’t any Hollywood stars at ringside and nary a Justin Bieber sighting, but the Vegas-style boxing show at Hollyburn Country Club last week resulted in a rousing standing ovation when the lights came up. Longtime Athletics for Kids director Craig Knapton says $127,000 was raised by “a-4-k” that helped over 800 kids in B.C. last year with registration fees for amateur sport programs. It wasn’t surprising to see former local boxing Olympians Manny Sobral (corner man) and Dale Walters (guest referee) donating their time for three amateur bouts featuring young fighters from North Burnaby, Vancouver and Victoria. Angus Reid, forever a B.C. Lion, volunteered to be the evening’s ring announcer and his ‘let’s get ready to rumble’ Michael Buffer imitation must have been bouncing off the West Vancouver mountaintops.

END ZONE: He’s not the same guy who wagered $500,000 on Manny Pacquiao in Vegas last Saturday but a local high-stakes gambler says he is willing to put a large amount of cash on Mike Babcock leaving the Detroit Red Wings to take up residence as head coach in Edmonton. Claiming to have inside information, he says the strong relationship Babcock has with newly appointed Oilers Entertainment Group CEO Bob Nicholson will seal the deal.

Greg Douglas’s Dr. Sport column appears every second Saturday in The Vancouver Sun. drsport@telus.net

Columnist Greg Douglas, a.k.a. 'Dr. Sport.'

Columnist Greg Douglas, a.k.a. 'Dr. Sport.'

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun files, .

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