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Vancouver’s Orca Bay names new CEO

August 29, 1997

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ Drawing from the local corporate community, Orca Bay, the company that operates the city’s two major professional sports teams, named Stephen Bellringer its new president and CEO on Thursday.

The appointment places Bellringer, 51, in daily command of the Seattle-based Orca Bay’s sports and entertainment holdings in Vancouver: the NBA’s Grizzlies; NHL’s Canucks; and the facility they play in, GM Place.

Bellringer, who has two business degrees including one from Harvard University, joins Orca Bay from BC (British Columbia) Gas Inc., where he served as president and CEO since January 1996.

Although he has no sports management experience, Bellringer was confident that he was a comfortable fit for the job.

``It’s going to be a hands-on kind of job. Obviously, it’s building the two teams which is Stu’s and Pat’s responsibility,″ said Bellringer, referring to Grizzlies president/GM Stu Jackson and Canucks president/GM Pat Quinn.

``But I think all the fans appreciate there’s a third component, the business component. We have to support those people financially. We have to support them with the proper promotion and the proper product.″

Bellringer, who will serve as an alternate governor for the NBA and NHL, added, ``We have to have winning teams on both sides. Particularly with the signings that have gone on over the summer, it’s very apparent that John McCaw wants to have winning teams here and I think he also appreciates that he wants to have winning teams in the back office, so it has to be combination of all of us.″

Orca Bay, which has 2,000 employees, is owned by Seattle’s John E. McCaw Jr., who made his fortune _ reported to worth more than $500 million _ in the cellular phone business. McCaw was brought in as a partner in 1994 to help former owner Arthur Griffiths finance landing the Grizzlies as an expansion team and the construction of the privately-built GM Place.

McCaw took over majority control from Griffiths a year later, and currently owns 100 percent of the Grizzlies and GM Place, and 86 percent of the Canucks.

Bellringer, born in England and raised in Canada, replaces John Chapple, who will return to Seattle to work in another capacity for McCaw’s Orca Bay Capital.

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