Thanks to BMO and Whitecaps for fun event

October 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Posted in General Football, Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps Season 2013 | Leave a comment

I got a glimpse into the wonderful world of corporate events before the RSL match as I joined a group of about 35 or so BMO bankers and their clients in a Whitecaps event at BC Place. I was able to participate through the good graces of a fine banker named Stephen Lee who assists my friend Jonas with his financial matters.

We showed up at BC Place at 9 AM and registered for the event. We were asked to sign a release form which allowed both BMO and the Whitecaps to murder us if they wished without any legal consequence. We then were invited to get changed into a flashy BMO shirt we were handed. We were allowed to enter the pitch at BC Place to have a preliminary chat with Martin Rennie. On the way I met Sam Lenarduzzi, who played for the Vancouver Whitecaps from 1974 until 1978, after which he transferred to the Toronto Blizzard. It was like meeting the Prime Minister.100_1251

None other than Whitecaps legend and 1979 hero Carl Valentine introduced Rennie who gave us a brief and entertaining chat about his experience in business (it was a crowd of bankers, after all). Rennie is an entertaining speaker who gave us all a few chuckles along the way. He came across as highly intelligent with a positive spirit. I gave him my view we were going to beat Real Salt Lake the next day and he agreed. We were both wrong.

After Rennie’s speech we were ordered on to the pitch by our gaffer Carl Valentine who had a number of young Whitecaps coaches ready to put us through our paces on the pitch. We had a game of tag for warm-up and then did some shooting and dribbling drills. We then had a couple of small pitch games. After my team was soundly trounced twice it was lunch time.

I would have been happy with the soccer alone but a lovely buffet lunch awaited us. Footy and good grub! It was a Yorkshireman’s paradise: “hear all, see all, say nought; eat all, drink all, pay nought”. I should have been a banker.

1974-78 Whitecaps legend Sam Lenarduzzi!

1974-78 Whitecaps legend Sam Lenarduzzi!

Valentine gave us a very interesting speech during lunch about the Whitecaps season and about the Real Salt Lake game the next day. Valentine is a naturally talented speaker, and he proved why he is such an asset to the Whitecaps as club ambassador. His views were insightful and interesting. He gave us a stern warning not to take photographs or tweet the first part of the Whitecaps practice to prevent RSL spies getting their grubby hands on Whitecaps match strategy.

After lunch we got to see the Whitecaps run through their practice. The next day’s starting team practiced set plays together for a while during a light practice. Camilo, in particular, practiced many free kicks with David Ousted and those fake stand up men which formed “the wall”. Poor Kenny Miller limped around and did physio exercises. It was pretty clear he was not going to play the next day. The second and third teams played a scrimmage together on the other half of the pitch.

We had our photos taken with the injured Brad Rusin, who is an enormous fellow. His legs were like tree trunks. I can’t imagine what it is like to actually play against this giant.

After our event was the media game, featuring Jason DeVos, Carlo Corazzin and other local media folks.

I enjoyed the event tremendously. Thanks very much to BMO and the Whitecaps for a great time.

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