Vancouver Sun

Connection in Calgary leads to Giant- sized change in relations

Repairing a rift: Bonner’s WHL squad back in the Canucks’ good books; plug pulled on Sports Weekend

- GREG DOUGLAS

SCENE & HEARD: Vancouver Giants’ general manager Scott Bonner had been meaning for the past four months to pick up the phone and welcome Canucks’ GM Jim Benning to town. But it wasn’t until this past Tuesday night on a downtown street in Calgary that the two finally got together.

The Giants’ front- office team was in Calgary for Western Hockey League meetings and the Canucks were there to open the NHL regular season Wednesday against the Flames.

“I almost did a double- take when I saw Jim and Trevor Linden walking towards us,” Bonner was saying Friday. “It wasn’t as though Jim and I were strangers. Our families lived on the outskirts of Edmonton in a residentia­l neighbourh­ood called Delwood. In fact, it was Jim’s dad Elmer who gave me my most significan­t start in hockey.”

Elmer was — and is — a western scout for the Montreal Canadiens. He took Bonner aside as a 16- year- old minor hockey coach and taught him the ropes about scouting.

Bonner rose through the junior ranks in New Westminste­r, Kamloops and TriCities before Ron Toigo tied him down long- term with the Giants.

While most people in hockey — players included — politely refrain from publicly criticizin­g the reign of Mike Gillis as the Canucks GM until this past summer’s shakeup, Bonner makes his feelings known when he says: “The Giants always had a strong working relationsh­ip when Brian Burke and Dave Nonis were running the Canucks. But that bond fell by the wayside with the new regime. Now with Trevor and Jim in charge, we’ve all agreed to put things back on the right track.”

The impromptu meeting Tuesday in downtown Calgary, of all places, was step No. 1.

HERE ’ N’ THERE: The two-sentence internal staff email from CKNW program director Ian Koenigsfes­t this past Monday will have a resounding effect on local sports broadcasti­ng. The message said: “Please note that Sports Weekend has been cancelled. I would like to thank Brook Ward for hosting the show for the past year; he will stay on as a relief announcer in the sports department.” Ward had been methodical­ly building a loyal audience on his two- hour Saturday and Sunday late- night gig, one of the last establishe­d forms of sports programmin­g on the station. On a more pleasant media note, Global TV’s Jay Janower has been named the first recipient of the new PGA of BC award saluting a member of the Vancouver media for “consistent, insightful coverage of golf in B. C.” SHORT HOPS: If Dave MacLean of the B. C. Lions corporate account executive and customer services staff has been asked once, he’s been asked a thousand times when and how Leos’ season ticket holders get their hands on reserved Grey Cup tickets. “They will be mailed out by Purolator at the end of the month,” MacLean says. “Everyone will have received them by the first week of November.” END ZONE: Brent Mutis of the BCHL relates the fact that opening night rosters in the NHL included 26 players who spent at least one full season in the BCHL from Willie Mitchell to Duncan Keith to Milan Lucic.

 ?? BILL KEAY/ POSTMEDIA FILES ?? Scott Bonner, the general manager of the Vancouver Giants, ran into Trevor Linden and Jim Benning of the Vancouver Canucks in Calgary this week and all parties agreed to ‘ put things back on the right track’ after the unexpected meeting.
BILL KEAY/ POSTMEDIA FILES Scott Bonner, the general manager of the Vancouver Giants, ran into Trevor Linden and Jim Benning of the Vancouver Canucks in Calgary this week and all parties agreed to ‘ put things back on the right track’ after the unexpected meeting.
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