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WJC Playmakers: Sultan Thiara

The co-owner of the Vancouver Giants talks about working with the Playmakers group, the evolution of hockey in the Lower Mainland, and making the tournament a family affair

Jessica Gowans
November 30, 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 time, sat down with Sultan Thiara, co-owner of the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.

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

A: I was involved the last time we had the World Juniors, and it was a fantastic experience. Being involved with the Vancouver Giants in the ownership group, it’s really important for us to showcase these players from all over the world in a tournament like this. So I’ve become involved with this event for the second time; to me the grassroots hockey is very important, hockey in general is very important to Canada and I’m trying to do my part in promoting the sport.

Q: How have you seen hockey evolve in the Lower Mainland?

A: Going back, when my eldest daughter first wanted to play there wasn’t a lot of choices for her to get involved in hockey. There was some, but it was very limited. Then my son played and there were ample opportunities for him. Fast forward to today, there’s all sorts of opportunities for girls and boys, and that’s evolved over time which is absolutely fantastic.

Q: With your kids volunteering, why is it important to make this a family event?

A: All three kids are hugely into hockey, they go to Vancouver Giants games as well as Canucks games. Hockey is first and foremost for our family. They wanted to give back, they wanted to be involved with the tournament. When I asked them if they’d be interested in volunteering, they said ‘Absolutely, without a doubt we’d like to be involved and help out in any way we can.’

Q: Why is the World Juniors so important to Canadians?

A: I think it’s so important because it’s the best of the best. It’s the best Canadian juniors against the best of the world, and it measures how we stack up against other countries with our up-and-coming hockey stars. It’s always great to have a tournament or competition where you put the best against the best. The atmosphere around Vancouver during those two weeks is [going to be] electric.

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

A: Working with this group, I want to help ensure a successful tournament, with competitive games. We want to make sure the games are well attended, and for it to be a good experience for people. That’s important not just for what it contributes to grassroots hockey, but also for the general economy with tourism from the folks from all over the world that come for it.

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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