Longtime volunteer Jock McGrandle drives the ‘Fanboni’ at Vancouver Giants home games at the Langley Events Centre. Troy Landreville Langley Times

VIDEO: B.C. senior Vancouver Giants ‘Fanboni’ driver and so much more

Jock McGrandle has been helping out with WHL team since 2006

The man behind the wheel of the Vancouver Giants ‘Fanboni’ is a feisty 74-year-old Scotsman who was a crackerjack pugilist in his day.

The irony is, North Delta resident Jock McGrandle never played or coached hockey.

He began volunteering with the Western Hockey League team more than a decade ago as something to do in his golden years.

Volunteer-wise, McGrandle is ‘Mr. Everything’ in the eyes of the G-Men. The retired pressman (Pac Press) drives the team’s ‘Fanboni,’ ensures singers are ready to belt out the anthem(s), and helps organize the Giants’ intermission entertainment.

He’s such a valuable helper, in fact, the Giants name their annual Volunteer of the Year Award after him.

“I’ve been with the Giants since ’06 and they haven’t fired me yet,” McGrandle said. “I’m still around.”

McGrandle’s connection with the Giants started off low-key.

“I was a soccer player and a boxer in my day,” McGrandle told the Times by phone in his thick Scottish accent.

“I retired in 2006. My young nephew out of Edmonton, Charles Wells, he was a great little hockey player. I was hoping he was going to get drafted by the Giants, but he got drafted by the Seattle Thunderbirds.”

Hence McGrandle’s connected to the WHL.

One night in the pre-season, McGrandle went to Sungod Arena near his North Delta home to watch his nephew play against the Giants.

Once there, he met Giants senior vice president Dale Saip and the two chatted about possible volunteer opportunities.

They spoke by phone the next day and McGrandle soon started helping out.

Golden Boy

While McGrandle didn’t know a whole lot about hockey when he began volunteering with the team, he’s well-versed in the ‘Sweet Science.’

“I won the 1960 Golden Gloves championship in Edmonton and I won the Golden Boy award, and I also won a 1942 Chevy because my dad said if I joined boxing and if by chance I win the Golden Boy award he’d give me his car,” McGrandle said.

“And so he did — he gave me the keys to his car!”

‘Fanboni,’ not Zamboni

At every Giants home game, McGrandle chauffeurs young fans around the ice in a ‘Fanboni.’

He’s quick to point out that it’s not a Zamboni (he does a lot of things for the Giants but ice cleaning isn’t one of them).

“We took the meat out of a Zamboni and made it into a ‘Fanboni.’ So when we have kids or families coming to the game, and there’s a birthday party or a celebration or something, then we’ll give them a ride on the ‘Fanboni,’” McGrandle said.

“It doesn’t take long to have a little swipe around the ice, all the kids are wavin’, they’re on the Jumbo Tron, so it’s a lot of fun.”

McGrandle is also in charge of helping the anthem singers.

“When it comes time to sing the anthem, I go and get the microphone and meet the anthem singer, and make sure they’re at the spot where they’re supposed to be,” McGrandle said. “I make sure that the anthem singer is there, has got the microphone, and that the microphone works.”

Being that he’s retired, McGrandle says he’s got “tons of time” to get to the Langley Events Centre on game days.

“Some days are quite busy,” he said, noting his role in helping to organize the fans’ races during the intermissions at games. “There’s a lot of different things we do to entertain the fans.”

NHL connection

A bonus is rubbing shoulders with future NHLers including Giants’ alumni Brendan Gallagher (Montreal Canadiens) and Milan Lucic (Edmonton Oilers) and, through team events, Hockey Hall of Fame members Wayne Gretzky, Guy Lafleur, the late Jean Beliveau, Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, Henri Richard, and Marcel Dionne.

“We have golf tournaments every year and the alumni comes to the tournaments, so over the years I’ve gotten to know a lot of the young lads that have come through the Giants and are now multi-millionaires in the NHL,” he said.

Just how long McGrandle will continue volunteering with the Giants depends entirely on his health. He turns 75 on Nov. 23 and admits arthritis is “settin’ in.”

“I’ll continue on until my body tells me that maybe I’d better take a rest,” McGrandle said.

Just Posted

‘Y Dance’ event to raise money for new YMCA in Surrey

Downtown Surrey BIA looks to raise $100K for new facility to celebrate CEO’s 100th Ironman race

Mother’s death causes singer to cancel Surrey Fusion Festival performance

Revised schedule released with Mankirt Aulakh replacing Sharry Mann

New day camp for Surrey children living with cancer, blood disorders

West Coast Kids Cancer Foundation running another session at Surrey school

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

TONIGHT: Eagle Eyes to headline Concerts for the Pier in White Rock

East Beach event to feature The Fab Fourever

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

Justin Trudeau’s carbon footprint revealed in ranking of world leaders

Travel company ranks 15 world leaders’ foreign flight CO2 emissions

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read