John Shannon never fails to attend the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame banquet, but this year, he’s stepping into the spotlight.
Shannon, from Oliver, will be making his induction speech alongside fellow inductees former elite Vancouver Canucks players, Thomas Gradin and Tony Tanti. Also part of the British Columbia Hockey Hall of Fame 2017 class are former Canucks general manager Dave Nonis, former NHL official Brad Lazarowich, Ron Toigo, owner of the WHL Vancouver Giants and the 1996-97 Allan Cup champion Powell River Regals.
Shannon was executive producer of Hockey Night in Canada on CBC before being named vice president of Maple Leaf Sports, overseeing the launch of Leafs and Raptors TV.
He is also the former executive vice-president of programming and production for the NHL. Shannon worked five Olympics, receiving an Emmy for his work on NBC’s Olympic coverage at the 2002 Winter Games. He is currently an on-air hockey commentator with Rogers SportsNet.
“I tell everybody we play in the sandbox. I’ve never had a job, I love it so much,” said Shannon told the Western News while in Penticton last year for Rogers Hometown Hockey. “It’s so much fun, you don’t even think about doing anything else. Your passion for broadcasting, a passion for sports. How do you beat it?”
Shannon said if you do radio or TV right, “you’re supposed to be having your friend over in your family room, sipping a beer talking about hockey.
“We’re not doing brain surgery. We’re supposed to have fun,” continued Shannon, whose favourite NHL player growing up was Bobby Schmautz, who played for Chicago, Boston, Vancouver, Edmonton and Colorado. “You don’t want to be critical. You want to make sure the viewer is interested and will say, ‘Hey, I want to come back again tomorrow. If you turn people off, you’re not doing your job. If you get them mad, you’re not doing your job.”
Gradin, born in Soleftea, Sweden, played 677 NHL games including eight seasons with the Canucks. He scored 20 goals in his rookie season followed by three 30 goal seasons. In 1982, he was one of the Canucks top playoff performers with 19 points in 17 games as they reached the Stanley Cup Final. Gradin began scouting with the Canucks in 1990-91. He was named associate chief amateur scout after serving 15 years in a scouting capacity.
Tanti, scored 45 goals in his first full season with the Canucks, setting a team record. He scored 287 goals in 679 NHL games. As a member of the Canucks, Tanti had 10 hat tricks, 102 power play goals and 29 game winning goals — all team records at the time. Tanti represented Canada at the World Juniors and three times at the World Championships.
Former Canucks general manager Dave Nonis is among a list of four significant individuals being inducted into the builders category of the BC Hockey Hall of Fame. Longtime NHL official Brad Lazarowich, the owner of the WHL Vancouver Giants Ron Toigo and broadcaster John Shannon will also be honoured in this category.
Nonis grew up in Burnaby. He played junior in Burnaby and National Collegiate Athletic Association hockey at Maine. In 2004, at age 37, he was named general manager of the Canucks, the youngest GM in team history. Nonis was also senior vice president/director of hockey operations for the Canucks. He was the NHL manager of hockey operations and senior advisor of hockey operations with the Anaheim Ducks. He was later named senior VP and director of hockey operations with the Toronto Maple Leafs. On June 9th 2013, Nonis was named general manager of the Maple Leafs. He is presently a scout/consultant with Anaheim.
Lazarowich, born in Vancouver, officiated more than 2,000 NHL games as a respected linesman. It all started in BC with minor hockey followed by the BC junior and WHL. He officiated at Memorial Cups and then was signed by the NHL to work in the AHL and NHL. Brad’s NHL highlights include three Stanley Cup Finals, two World Cups and the 2014 Heritage Classic.
Toigo is a longtime resident of Tsawwassen. His background in junior hockey dates back to the 1990’s when he owned the Tri City Americans. He is the president and majority owner of the WHL Vancouver Giants. In 2006 Ron was the driving force behind one of the most successful World Juniors when it was held in BC. The Giants hosted and won the Memorial Cup in 2007.
The 1996-97 Allan Cup Champion Powell River Regals. The team was comprised of 17 Powell River-born and raised players, 24 team members were BC-born. Powell River has had many championship teams over the years but the 96-97 Allan Cup team ranks as one of the best. This year is their 20th Anniversary.
The BCHHF Induction will be held July 28 at the South Okanagan Event Centre.