jim lightbody e

WJC Playmakers: Jim Lightbody

The president and CEO of the BCLC talks about working with the Playmakers group and maximizing the impact of the 2019 World Juniors in British Columbia

Jessica Gowans
March 16, 2018

Leading in to the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship the host committee has formed the Playmakers group, bringing together business leaders from across B.C. to serve as event ambassadors and strategic advisors, as well as serving as a connection to local partners and businesses in Vancouver and Victoria.

The Playmakers will help share the message from Hockey Canada and the host committee, and support initiatives around community engagement and the benefits of hosting the World Juniors in their backyard.

This month, sat down with Jim Lightbody, president and CEO of the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC).

Q: Why is it important for you and BCLC to be involved in the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship?

JL: BCLC has a long history of supporting amateur sports. When we were created in 1985, the province dedicated revenues from BCLC every year to support sports across B.C. In fact, more than $30 million in community gaming grants were dedicated by the provincial government to more than 784 different sport organizations so they can do the great work that they do. Personally, I’ve always been involved in sports, and it’s great to see how sports can strengthen communities and also help youth reach their potential.

Q: What is the economic importance of the World Juniors to British Columbia?

JL: It goes across the province, and not just to Victoria and Vancouver, because we’re going to be hosting events in the Interior as well. So the millions of dollars that will be generated through the hospitality industry, and the hotel stays, sponsorships, and entertainment are going to be great for our province. The true impact though is more than just economic. I know that many young kids around our province are going to be watching the tournament, and hopefully head outside to play some ball hockey, or who knows, maybe if we get a cold snap, they may even be playing on some frozen lakes somewhere.

Q: Why are Vancouver and Victoria the right cities to host the World Juniors?

JL: First of all, it’s great to have it anywhere in Canada. As we know, the World Juniors has become a Boxing Day tradition in Canada, and it’s a great way for us to celebrate the holiday season. Vancouver and Victoria have a long history of putting on some outstanding world-class events. Whether it’s the Olympics or the world curling championship, the Vancouver and Victoria communities always step up with a host of great volunteers, and I know the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship is going to be no different. I’m looking forward to not only a great event, but also some real fun for the communities around this province.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with the Playmakers group?

JL: I hope we can support this championship, and help make it the best ever. All of us have different backgrounds, different expertise, different connections and networks that we can lean on to assist each other, and help this tournament really be successful. We rely on volunteers for tournaments like this to be successful, and hopefully we can all work together as a team to reach our goal, which is to make this an outstanding event for B.C.

Q: What is your connection with hockey?

JL: Growing up in Victoria, we didn’t always have the opportunity to skate outdoors, so actually in the winter I was a soccer player, and in the summer I was a lacrosse player. And my dad didn’t necessarily want to get up at four in the morning to take his kid to play hockey, so I was never able to be a hockey player. But I did grow up with a couple that I played soccer and lacrosse with, the Courtnall Brothers as well as a guy named Torrie Robertson. They made it to the NHL, so I kind of lived vicariously through them. And now as the board chair of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, I can see how hockey has really strengthened the various communities around the province. We’re inducting Cliff Ronning this year, we inducted Mark Recchi just recently, and getting to know those guys, you can see how they really relied on their family and friends in their community to make their hockey dream come true. Now they’re all giving back, and that’s the thing I really appreciate about hockey players; they also know the value of team, and know the value of giving back to their communities.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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