By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Dan Jukich was in golden company at the 50th anniversary of the BC Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner Thursday night at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Not only was he surrounded by past and present members of the celebrated shrine, Dan also had a small army of family, friends and racing fans among the sold-out crowd that made themselves boisterously heard when he was announced as an honoured member in the media category and summoned to an on-stage interview by Global TV’s sports director Squire Barnes.
Multi-talented BC Sports Hall of Fame curator Jason Beck submitted articles on the entire Class of ’19 Inductees and none was more articulate than his piece on our beloved comrade.
It said, in part: “It’s in his blood. The thrill of horse racing worked its way into Dan Jukich at a young age and continues to sustain him after nearly three decades as the ‘Voice of the Races’ at Hastings Racecourse and four decades in the sport. It may have started when as a youngster Dan first went to the track with his grandma, sitting in Hastings’ old boxes along the rail tightly clutching their $2 show bets as the ponies thundered by. Not long after, Dan remembers calling a horse race at the top of his lungs while riding his bike down the street and pretending to be the winning horse driving to the finish. Soon he was calling races for real, his signature race opener – “There they go” – echoing around the track.
“Growing up in east Vancouver, life in the Jukich family revolved around sports. Dan’s mom was a top-flight softball player. His dad was a long-time Vancouver Sun sports reporter. His brother John remains the Canucks visiting team dressing room attendant four decades after Dan himself passed the job over to him.”
Known simply as ‘Juke” in track circles, he was rubbing shoulders Thursday with the likes of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Ken Holland, Tony Waiters, Roy Gerela, Ron Toigo and the 1968 Mann Cup lacrosse champion New Westminster Salmonbellies.
As is his custom, he was a walking, talking goodwill ambassador for the racing industry.