Leading in to the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship the host committee
has formed the Playmakers group, bringing together business leaders from
across B.C. to serve as event ambassadors and strategic advisors, as well
as serving as a connection to local partners and businesses in Vancouver
The Playmakers will help share the message from Hockey Canada and the host
committee, and support initiatives around community engagement and the
benefits of hosting the World Juniors in their backyard.
This time, HockeyCanada.ca sat down with Sultan Thiara, co-owner of the
Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.
Q: Why is it important for you to be involved in the 2019 IIHF World
A: I was involved the last time we had the World Juniors, and it was a
fantastic experience. Being involved with the Vancouver Giants in the
ownership group, it’s really important for us to showcase these players
from all over the world in a tournament like this. So I’ve become involved
with this event for the second time; to me the grassroots hockey is very
important, hockey in general is very important to Canada and I’m trying to
do my part in promoting the sport.
Q: How have you seen hockey evolve in the Lower Mainland?
A: Going back, when my eldest daughter first wanted to play there wasn’t a
lot of choices for her to get involved in hockey. There was some, but it
was very limited. Then my son played and there were ample opportunities for
him. Fast forward to today, there’s all sorts of opportunities for girls
and boys, and that’s evolved over time which is absolutely fantastic.
Q: With your kids volunteering, why is it important to make this a
A: All three kids are hugely into hockey, they go to Vancouver Giants games
as well as Canucks games. Hockey is first and foremost for our family. They
wanted to give back, they wanted to be involved with the tournament. When I
asked them if they’d be interested in volunteering, they said ‘Absolutely,
without a doubt we’d like to be involved and help out in any way we can.’
Q: Why is the World Juniors so important to Canadians?
A: I think it’s so important because it’s the best of the best. It’s the
best Canadian juniors against the best of the world, and it measures how we
stack up against other countries with our up-and-coming hockey stars. It’s
always great to have a tournament or competition where you put the best
against the best. The atmosphere around Vancouver during those two weeks is
[going to be] electric.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with the Playmakers group?
A: Working with this group, I want to help ensure a successful tournament,
with competitive games. We want to make sure the games are well attended,
and for it to be a good experience for people. That’s important not just
for what it contributes to grassroots hockey, but also for the general
economy with tourism from the folks from all over the world that come for