Rizzuto is a big hit

One of the original Vancouver Canucks, who now lives in Fernie, has been chosen as the team manager for the BC senior

  • Sat Dec 31st, 2011 4:00pm
  • News

One of the original Vancouver Canucks, who now lives in Fernie, has been chosen as the team manager for the BC senior provincial boxing team.

Garth Rizzuto, 63, who is originally from Trail, heard that he had been picked about a week ago, and will be accompanying the BC boxing team to nationals in Sydney, Nova Scotia, next month.

“I’m really excited about the role,” he said. “It’s a big commitment, but hopefully we will come back with some medals.”

Rizzuto will be accompanying boxers from all over BC to the nationals from January 9 for a week.

“Last time I went to nationals as a coach, and came back with five medals,” he said. “Hopefully this time we can come back with even more.”

Rizzuto was picked up by the Canucks to play on the team in their inaugural 1970-71 season as a utility player.

He was the first player born and trained in British Columbia to suit up with the Canucks or score for the team.

Garth played centre in the NHL and the World Hockey Association during the early 1970s.

He started off at the Chicago Blackhawks, turning pro in 1967. He spent three solid years in the minors with the Dallas Black Hawks, but never saw an NHL game in Chicago. In the 1970 NHL Expansion Draft he was claimed by the newly-created Vancouver Canucks.

Rizzuto spent most of the 1970–71 season on the Canucks’ roster as a utility player, recording three goals and four assists for seven points in 37 games. He would fall out of the team’s plans, however, and spend the entire 1971–72 season in the minors.

For the 1972–73 season, Rizzuto signed on with the Winnipeg Jets of the rival upstart World Hockey Association.

After a brief stint in the Western International Hockey League, he retired in 1975 and now runs Fernie Old School Boxing Club.