Saturday, March 6, 2010

Exclusive: who had best seats at Olympic hockey final

So who were those people in the luxury suites at General Motors Place (aka Canada Hockey Place) for Sidney Crosby's golden goal on Feb. 28 that give Canada its 14th Winter Olympic championship of the Vancouver 2010 Games?

For the entire run of men's and women's hockey at "The Garage" from Feb. 13-28, suites were running $133,650-$252,450 on level 500 to $231,000-$264,000 on level 200. Tickets were included. Food and beverage service was extra. Single-game suites were going for as low as $2,800. The best bargain was $2,800 for a suite at the Czech Republic versus Slovakia match on Feb. 17. If you paid $15,000 for a suite at the Feb. 25 women's gold medal game, you would have witnessed, at no extra charge, the Canadian players drink beer and smoke cigars on ice. (The public was whisked out of GM Place after games, but suite-holders got plenty of time to stick around and finish their cocktails and snacks.)

Prices on the secondary market crashed for the men's gold medal game. One scalper was offering a suite for $1,600 with less than an hour to go before face-off, according to one of my sources.

The list below, as you'll see, is not complete. That's where you come in. Those with solid information that help me fill-in the blanks get a special edition Vancouver 24 hours Vancouver 2010 Olympic pin. Send email to or click the email link in the upper right column. I also gladly receive mail (from those who would rather remain anonymous) to 554 E. 15th, Vancouver, V5T 2R5.

Luxury suite numbers and groups at the Feb. 28 men's Olympic gold medal hockey game.
201: TD Bank Financial Group
203: Concord Pacific
204: Aquilini Investment Group
205: Aquilini Investment Group
206: GE (Jet Set)
207: Heli-Jet
208: Coca-Cola
213: Province of British Columbia
214: VANOC
215: VANOC
216: VANOC
217: B.C. Roadbuilders
220: Contemporary International
221: Acer
223: Canaccord
224: Onni
225: Scotiabank
226: Vision Co.
227: Vision Co.
228: Vision Co.
229: Sun Microsystems
230: Aquilini Investment Group
231: Aquilini Investment Group
233: District of West Vancouver
235: Clarus Capital
236: Royal Bank of Canada
238: Rogers
239: Goldcorp
242: Canadian Pacific
243: Ernst and Young
244: Britco Structures
245: Deloitte
246: Weston Bakeries
247: BC Hydro
248: Royal Bank of Canada
249: Canwest
250: Hudson’s Bay Co.
251: Molson
252: Bell
253: CTV
254: Prime Strategies
255: Copperlion Capital
256: Canadian Olympic Committee
257: Edmonton OIlers
259: Jet Set
260: Jet Set
261: Aramark
267: International Ice Hockey Federation: Home team (each game)
268: IIHF Away team (each game)
275: IIHF
276: Province of Alberta
277: McCarthy Tetrault
281: Lisa and Mike Hudson
282: Olympic Panorama Arch Energy
501: Port Metro Vancouver
503: Acklands Grainger
504: Purolator
505: Olympic Panorama (Russia NOC)
506: General Mills
507: Rona/Bombardier
508: Shato Holdings
509: Fasken Martineau
510: Millennium Water Development
513: Olympic Panorama Russia
515: Finland Travel Bureau
520: Four Host First Nations

to be confirmed: 202, 219, 234, 258, 262
blacked out: 209, 210, 211, 212, 241, 263, 278, 279, 502, 511, 512, 514
single: 222, 237, 240, 264, 265, 266, 280

Friday, March 5, 2010

Vancouver Olympic Stadium: Montreal part deux?

B.C. Place Stadium was the most famous stadium on the planet for the Feb. 12 opening ceremony and Feb. 28 closing ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The 1983-opened, 60,000-seat dome has a fascinating recent history that you can read here.

In May, the roof will be deflated and the structure will be retrofitted with a German-engineered retractable roof. If the pioneering project succeeds, it'll be on the front of every architectural magazine in the world.

If it doesn't, it'll be the west coast counterpart of Montreal's infamous Olympic Stadium. That billion-dollar, French-designed 1976 Games venue is known as one of the most-expensive stadiums ever built because the roof didn't work.

The British Columbia government and B.C. Pavilion Corporation, the taxpayer-owned company that runs B.C. Place, are not offering satisfactory answers to any questions about how the project will pay for itself.

The all-in price of the post-Olympic project was announced as $365 million for a retractable roof and interior renovations on Jan. 9, 2009. On Oct. 23, 2009, the roof alone was announced as $458 million. Minister responsible Kevin Krueger finally 'fessed up in a budget committee hearing when he told NDP critic Spencer Herbert that the interior renovation budget is $105 million.

So the price-tag today is $563 million. Fancy that: 563 is just 365 backwards. Is this the Liberal version of the NDP's disastrous back-of-the-napkin fast ferry fleet?

Along the way, the government and PavCo have said the stadium project would be financed by a 40-year government loan and the debt paid with long-term lease revenue from development of neighbouring property. Both Krueger and PavCo chairman David Podmore have been as transparent as the 27-year-old fabric.

I made two Freedom of Information requests to the ministry responsible for copies of the business plan and financing formula. I was denied on May 21, 2009 (click here) and Feb. 11, 2010 (click image on the right to enlarge).

Which begs two questions: Is there a business plan at all? If so, why hide it from the taxpayers?

Details continue to be rather sketchy. The March 2-released PavCo service plan for the next three fiscal years says:

Complete the BC Place Roof Replacement project by Fall 2011 and within or below the approved capital budget, and report out quarterly to the Shareholder on progress of achieving construction milestones (cost, scope, schedule) and details of project benefits... PavCo is seeking revenue opportunities for BC Place based on timing for the completion of installation of a retractable roof in Fall 2011... PavCo is seeking proposals for the development of BC Place lands in order to achieve the highest, long-term return to the Shareholder.

B.C. Place hosted the Olympic ceremonies. Is it also hosting some of the Olympic debt?

Over to you, Mr. Podmore. Show us the business plan, please.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Quotes of the Games

Ten quotes that said it all about the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. The agony of defeat. The thrill of victory. The tragedy. The weather. In no particular order...

"What is next? I don't know. Sleep, and then take on the world."
Two-time United States' halfpipe snowboarding gold medallist Shaun White on his next move.

"NASCAR, Motocross and bull-riding."
How Daron Rahlves of the U.S. describes skicross.

"Basically all four years lead to one second that can screw you all up."
Canadian ski jumper Stefan Read on failing to qualify for the main competition.

"I think we have all seen two days ago how difficult the sport is, how close victory and failure and disaster is together. So it's so sad, such a sad situation about all what happened. It's just bursting my heart." - Three-time luge gold medallist and German coach Georg Hackl on the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in a Feb. 12 training crash.

"We have 80,000 girls playing hockey in Canada, we have around 60,000 in the United States, and we have 267 girls playing in Slovakia. If 80,000 girls are playing 267, that's the 18-0." - International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel on the state of women's hockey.

"Hockey is not a sport in Canada. It's a cult."
U.S. men's hockey general manager Brian Burke on Canadians' attachment to hockey.

"The team has been building something out of something that keeps disappearing. The snow, we bring it in and the warm weather it comes and it disappears. We bring it in and the wind comes and it disappears." - Renee Smith-Valade on the rescue of Cypress Mountain's freestyle skiing and snowboarding venues.

"If I could have done this job with a paper bag over my head I probably would have."
VANOC CEO John Furlong on being a public figure.

"There are no rules against the pants, but there may be after this."
Norwegian curler Christoffer Svae on the legality of his team's blue, grey, white and red diamond golf-style pants.

"My legs were feeling like someone injected them with gravy."
Super combined alpine skiing gold medallist Bode Miller of the U.S. on how he felt before the slalom race.

How many golden Canadian Olympians?

Seventy gold medals have been awarded to Canadians in Canada since 1993.

And you thought it was just 14 and the gold parade began only at Vancouver 2010!

Here is the full roster of all Canadians who have received a gold medal in the home and native land, in order of appearance.

Synchronized swimming
Sylvie Frechette, Dec. 15, 1993, Montreal Forum presented by Dick Pound. (Second gold medal awarded after judging error at Barcelona 1992).

Cross-country skiing
Beckie Scott, June 25, 2004, Vancouver Art Gallery presented by Charmaine Crooks. (Salt Lake 2002 gold and silver medallists disqualified for doping infractions).

Freestyle skiing moguls
Alexandre Bilodeau, Feb. 14, 2010

Maelle Ricker, Feb. 16, 2010

Speedskating 1,000 m
Christine Nesbitt, Feb. 18, 2010

Jon Montgomery, Feb. 19, 2010

Figure skating
mixed dance, Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, Feb. 22, 2010

Ashleigh McIvor, Feb. 23, 2010

Two-seat bobsled
Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, Feb. 24, 2010

Women’s hockey
Meghan Agosta, Gillian Apps, Tessa Bonhomme, Jennifer Botterill, Becky Kellar, Jayna Hefford, Haley Irwin, Rebecca Johnston, Gina Kingsbury, Charline Labonte, Carla MacLeod, Meaghan Mikkelson, Caroline Ouellette, Cherie Piper, Marie-Philip Poulin, Colleen Sostorics, Kim St.-Pierre, Shannon Szabados, Sarah Vaillancourt, Catherine Ward, Hayley Wickenheiser.
Feb. 25, 2010

Short-track speedskating 500 m
Charles Hamelin, Feb. 26, 2010

Short-track speedskating 5,000 m relay
Guillaume Bastille, Charles Hamelin, Francois Hamelin, Olivier Jean, Francois-Louis Tremblay, Feb. 26, 2010

Parallel giant slalom snowboarding
Jasey-Jay Anderson, Feb. 27, 2010

Speedskating men’s team pursuit
Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky, Denny Morrison, Feb. 27, 2010

Men’s curling
Kevin Martin, Adam Enright, Ben Hebert, Marc Kennedy, John Morris, Feb. 27, 2010

Men’s hockey
Patrice Bergeron, Dan Boyle, Martin Brodeur, Sidney Crosby, Drew Doughty, Marc-André Fleury, Ryan Getzlaf, Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla, Duncan Keith, Roberto Luongo, Patrick Marleau, Brenden Morrow, Rick Nash, Scott Niedermayer, Corey Perry, Christopher Pronger, Michael Richards, Brent Seabrook, Eric Staal, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews and Shea Weber, Feb. 28, 2010.

O, change a vowel and get on with something more important

So they want to change the national anthem.

The one Olympic fans spontaneously sang at Vancouver 2010 venues, bars and in SkyTrain cars. The same sacred song the Conservatives plundered to make True North, Strong and Free the official slogan of the federal government and With Glowing Hearts the official slogan of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

“Our Government will also ask Parliament to examine the original gender-neutral English wording of the national anthem,” said Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean in the March 3 throne speech.

Mickey the Mini-Queen was referring to the “True patriot love in all thy sons command” line in O Canada.

After the 2010 Games, patriotism will be low-hanging Okanagan peaches or Niagara grapes for politicians to exploit. But can we skip this useless national debate already?

By changing one vowel, we can satisfy those who still want to sing sons and those who want to read something gender neutral.

My solution? “True patriot love in all thy sun’s command.”

The sun is integral to life in Canada. We long to see more of its rays in winter. Its rays give birth to maple leaves in spring that turn red by the summer rays and finally give way to a symphony of autumn colour. Canada's north is known for midnight sun in summer. Of course there's a certain chain of newspapers and websites that venture to tell you about everything under the sun.

So let’s skip the Royal Commissions and Senate Hearings, change a vowel and get onto something more important. Like housing for the homeless people witnessed by Olympic visitors to Vancouver in February.

More numbers of the Games

Media outnumbered athletes but not security personnel at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

International Olympic Committee media operations head Anthony Edgar said there were 12,365 media personnel accredited, including 2,803 written and photographic press, 2,540 host broadcasters (from Olympic Broadcast Services Vancouver) and 7,296 rights holding broadcasters.

The written and photographic press, with E-class badges, included 1,636 journalists, 90 support staff, 199 non-rights holding broadcasters, 698 photographers and 180 technicians.

Blog Archive