In Hockey Canada world, Victorian’s job is never over

Whether it’s the recent loss to Finland in the world junior quarter-finals or the semifinal shocker against Germany last year in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Bayne Pettinger of Victoria knows the lows come with the highs.

There have also been plenty of the latter for Hockey Canada’s manager of hockey operations and men’s national teams — such as watching Victoria Royals defenceman Joe Hicketts and the rest of the Canadian team receive their gold medals in Toronto at the 2015 world junior tournament.

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While brother Matt Pettinger rose on the ice in the hockey business — winning world junior silver and bronze in 1999 and 2000 with Canada and playing 422 games with 123 points in the NHL for the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning and home-province Vancouver Canucks — Bayne Pettinger has done it off the ice as one of the highest-ranking members within the Hockey Canada organization.

That’s no small thing. When it comes to single-sport administrations in this country, Canada Soccer, Canada Basketball and Baseball Canada have some might, but no organization has the power and influence of Hockey Canada.

“Flights, hotels, whatever the needs are, that’s what I take care of,” said Bayne Pettinger, about his logistical responsibilities for Canadian men’s national teams.

Considering the Canadian team to the annual IIHF world championship held every spring — this year’s is May 10 to 26 in Slovakia — consists of NHL players whose teams didn’t make the Stanley Cup playoffs, the logistics can be demanding. Pettinger has certainly put his management degree to good use.

Pettinger played hockey up to the Vancouver Island Junior League with the Victoria Cougars. But as with so many who grew up playing sports on the Island, hockey was only one of Pettinger’s sporting passions. He starred in both basketball and rugby at Oak Bay High School and won gold in rugby with Team B.C. at the Canada Summer Games.

Pettinger recalls then-Cougars coach, and current Victoria Grizzlies BCHL coach Craig Didmon, chiding him for being late for games on occasions when Pettinger would play rugby in the afternoon and rush to Archie Browning Sports Centre that night for a Cougars game. Pettinger remembers one time playing a rugby game on the Lower Mainland, catching a ferry and being back in time for a Cougars hockey game that night.

The Canadian world junior camp last month at the Q Centre in Colwood and Wurtele Rink on the CFB Naden base in Esquimalt brought Pettinger back to the Island.

“It was weird to be in a hotel in Victoria. But I could definitely recommend which restaurants to go to,” quipped Pettinger.

“And to bring umbrellas.”

Another brother, Reed Pettinger, played in the BCHL with the Cowichan Valley Capitals and Penticton Panthers and won the silver medal with Pacific Canada in the 2002 World U-17 Hockey Challenge and is now in the investment business in Victoria.

With all his hockey globe-trotting at events around the world, there is one that really stands out for Bayne Pettinger. That was when Bayne managed Team Canada and brother Matt Pettinger played for the team in the 2014 Deutschland Cup in Germany.

“That was a special one for me,” Bayne said.

Although this year’s world juniors ended in recent disappointment for the host team in his home province, the process continues afresh in the summer with the first selection camp for the Canadian team that will compete in the 2020 WJC in the Czech Republic. In Canada, when it comes to hockey, there is always something to do. Which means Pettinger’s job is never over.

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