The Vancouver Giants’ ownership chart is getting a renovation.
The WHL club announced Thursday that Drew Scott of Property Brothers’ TV show fame had purchased a minority share of the Giants from the estate of Pat Quinn.
Scott is slated to be on hand for the Giants’ season-opener Friday against the Victoria Royals at the Langley Events Centre.
Quinn, the former Vancouver Canucks player, coach and executive who died in 2014, was close with Giants majority owner Ron Toigo. Quinn helped spearhead the Giants getting an expansion franchise for the 2001-02 season.
Scott, 45, grew up in the Lower Mainland. He’s friends with Burnaby singer Michael Buble, who already had a minority stake in the Giants. Buble and his father Lewis also bought a portion of the Quinn share. Exact details of the latest purchase weren’t released by the Giants. Bruce Allen and Sultan Thiara are also part of the ownership group.
Scott gives the Giants someone else with profile who can possibly get some more eyeballs on their product. Property Brothers, which also features his twin brother Jonathan Scott, runs in over 160 countries, according to The Scott Brothers’ website. Property Brothers also has 1.9 million followers on Instagram.
“Aside from being a really good guy that will certainly work with all of us, Scott’s experience and expertise will help build our brand in a way that we haven’t been able to do in the past,” Toigo was quoted in a news release.
That’s part of the Giants’ story going into the 2023-24 campaign. Here are other key things to watch for:
New coach to lead way
Manny Viveiros, 57, signed on as bench boss of the Giants on Aug. 24, taking a job left vacant when Vancouver lost Michael Dyck, 55, to an assistant’s post with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies on July 13.
Viveiros is coming off three years as head coach of the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights. He has WHL experience, highlighted by having led the Swift Current Broncos to the league title in 2017-18. He also guided the Spokane Chiefs in 2019-20, and the Chiefs were one of the league’s hottest teams, with victories in 16 of 17 games, when COVID-19 shut down the year with a couple of weeks to go in the regular season.
He favours more of a puck-possession style than Dyck, who was a big believer in a heavy forecheck in his tenure with Vancouver.
New Friday game starts
The Giants are dropping the first puck for their Friday home games at the LEC at 7 p.m. this season after years of having 7:30 p.m. openings.
“We’re hoping to get even more young families to come to games. The 7:30 p.m. starts get a little late for kids. It was a comment we had from a number of fans over the years,” said Dale Saip, the Giants’ senior vice-president, explained.
Key home game nights to know on the Giants’ calendar include Oct. 22, when they will hold their Referee Appreciation Night and wear specialty jerseys for a game against Spokane; Oct 29, which is Trick or Suite Night for a matchup with the Kamloops Blazers; Dec. 9, which is Teddy Bear Toss Night with the Everett Silvertips providing the opposition; and March 22, which is Fan Appreciation Night as part of a visit from the Kelowna Rockets.
New players to wait and worry on
Giants general manager Barclay Parneta said Thursday that forwards Samuel Honzek (Calgary Flames) and Jaden Lipinski (Flames), and defenceman Mazden Leslie (Toronto Maple Leafs) aren’t expected to be back from NHL camps in time to play Friday against Victoria, and he doesn’t know when they might return to the Giants’ lineup.
After Friday, Vancouver doesn’t play until next weekend, when they’re at Kamloops on Friday and home to the Wenatchee Wild on Sunday.
Honzek, Lipinski and Leslie are all 18, so they’re too young to play minor pro. They have to be reassigned to junior if they don’t stick with their big clubs.
Leslie was passed over in last summer’s NHL Draft, so getting an extended look as a free agent from the Leafs should be especially encouraging for Giants fans, because it suggests he’s performing at a top level.
Honzek was a first-round pick of Calgary, at No. 16 overall, while Lipinski was a fourth-round choice of the Flames.
New veterans to decide on
Vancouver is currently carrying five 20-year-olds in goalie Brett Mirwald, winger Skyler Bruce and defencemen Carson Haynes, Brenden Pentecost and Logen Hammett. They’re only permitted three 20-year-olds on their final roster and 20-year-old cut down day is Oct. 10, which is four games into Vancouver’s season.
Mirwald tops the quintet. He and rookie Matthew Hutchison, who turns 17 next month, are the Giants’ two goalies.
Hammett came to Vancouver in an off-season trade with the Brandon Wheat Kings, with a 2024 fourth-round pick in return.
New focus on youth
Vancouver has four 16-year-olds in the forward trio of Jakob Oreskovic, Cameron Schmidt and Aaron Obobaifo, and rearguard Colton Alain. That’s a lot by WHL standards.
A player can’t become a WHL regular until their 16-year-old season. Vancouver carried just one such player last season in defenceman Colton Roberts.
Viveiros did talk openly about the possibility of playing a 16-year-old in Vancouver’s top-six forwards’ group earlier in training camp.
“They’re going to tell us if they’re ready or not, because you’re going to get the other teams’ top pairings if you’re playing in the top six,” Viveiros said. “If you’re quick enough and you’re skilled enough, I don’t see why not.”
Vancouver Giants will name ex-AHL Henderson Silver Knights bench boss Manny Viveiros new coach Thursday, sources say
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