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Vancouver Sports Legends Remember the Glory Days

Glory Days panel (left to right) Iain MacIntyre (moderator), Bob Lenarduzzi, Lui Passaglia, and Dennis Kearns.


 

Thursday night’s Glory Days panel discussion was a mixture of laughter, insight and comradery, as three Vancouver sports legends gathered to talk about sports and lifestyle in the 1970s.

The event featured former Whitecaps FC player Bob Lenarduzzi, former Vancouver Canucks defenceman Dennis Kearns, and former BC Lions placekicker/punter Lui Passaglia. Moderated by the Vancouver Sun columnist, Iain MacIntyre, questions were raised about how different the sporting experience and profession have become. The discussion also hit on their relationships with the fans, the city’s vibrant music scene, and even their struggles with AstroTurf!

Sitting before a mural of exclusive black and white photos from the Vancouver in the Seventies exhibition, the four started the event off with how conditioning and the level of work put into professional athletics have changed.

Bob Lenarduzzi, who is the current club president of the Whitecaps, instantly remarked “training camps!” Specifically mentioning how players would show up having not practiced in the off season. Now, players keep themselves constantly fit. Training camps are for staying in shape, not getting back into it. Dennis even commented on a time player where once allowed to smoke between periods. Times have certainly changed!

When asked what it felt like to be a part of a sports entity, Lui notes that Vancouver was becoming a “big league city” and how special it was have the opportunity to play in his home town. Bob and Lui went on to reminisce on growing up in the same East Van neighbourhood and the irony that was Bob winning a kicking contest, while Lui won a soccer contest.

So what is the biggest change in their respective sport? “Longer shorts,” says Bob. The audience laughs. He goes on to mention how sports science and sports psychology have drastically evolved and how these things make a difference more than ever today. “Bigger, faster players,” says Lui, also mentioning how TV has brought sports into homes 24/7. Dennis remarked on the “phenomenal young players” he’s seeing today, and how entertaining these athletes are.

Inspired by the lively dancing photos in the backdrop, an audience member asked the former players what their favourite part of the music scene was back then. Lui points to Bob, “You should’ve seen him on the dance floor.” The men go on to mention Frank Sinatra, Sly and the Family Stone, and Elton John at the Colosseum. Oh yeah, and Bob loves disco!

When asked what one word best described their 1970s Vancouver experience, Lui answered “Humbling.” Dennis and Bob both rebelled by answering with three. “National Hockey League” remarks Dennis, smiling eye to eye while Bob says simply, “living the dream.”

Bob, Lui, and Dennis brought the 70s sports era back to life at Glory Days. To learn and see more of what life was like in the city during the 1970s, explore the Vancouver in the Seventies exhibition on through July 16, 2017.

Bob Lenarduzzi reminisced about the parade on Granville Street following the 1979 NASL Championship. This photo featuring goalie Phil Parkes (left) and captain John Craven (right) with the trophy was taken by Ralph Bower, Vancouver Sun, September 9, 1979.

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