Our Full Celebrity Roster
Pat Verbeek was selected 43rd overall by the New Jersey Devils in 1982. A rambunctious young man, Verbeek spent seven seasons with the Devils, including the team’s first ever playoff appearance in 1988. The next year the Devils traded him to Hartford where he led the team in scoring and became team MVP and captain. Traded to the New York Rangers in 1995, his season was plagued by injuries, however he returned the next season with a vengeance: 81 points. The following season, he signed with the Dallas Stars where he passed the 1000-point mark and finally won a Stanley Cup. After two more seasons in Detroit he passed the 1000-point mark. Verbeek then returned to Dallas for his final season in 2001-2002.
Vikram Vij is a well known chef and cookbook author who’s restaurants and recipes has garnered him world wide attention. Born and raised in India, Vij went to Austria to study hotel management. While in Austria, Vij also received his chef’s training. Vij moved to Canada in 1989, first working at Banff Springs before heading to Vancouver to work at Bishop’s Restaurant. At age 30, Vij would open his own restaurant in Vancouver, called Vij’s. Vij’s was praised as one of the best Indian food restaurants in the world. In 2004, Vij, along with his wife and business partner Meeru Dhalwala, opened a second restaurant called Rangoli. Vij followed this up by opening a food processing facility and launched his own line of Rangoli like food titled Vij’s Inspired Indian Cuisine. This is available in grocery stores across Canada. One year later in 2012, Vij launched Vij’s Railway Express on the streets of Vancouver. This is a truck that goes around the city serving top end Indian dishes to people throughout Vancouver. In 2014, Vij opened My Shanti in South Surrey. The restaurant was listed first in the Globe and Mail’s Top 10 New Vancouver Restaurants of 2014. Vij and his restaurants have been featured on several prominent broadcasts and publications, including The Food Network Canada, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Sunset Magazine and Omni Television.
During an era when the Original Six only carried one goalie, New York Rangers’ prospect Gilles Villemure had to languish in the minors. However, he was called up to play tandem with Eddie Giacomin in 1970. The pair ended up with the Vezina Trophy at the end of the season. After five solid seasons, he was traded to Chicago where he played back-up to the established Tony Esposito. He retired in 1976 and is active as an NHL alumnus. During the hockey offseason, Villemure was a professional harness racehorse driver. He now resides in Levittown, New York.
An unlikely draft choice at 124th, the Vancouver Canucks’ 5th round pick in 1993 literally fought his way into the NHL. Having more professional fighting majors than goals in his first two professional seasons, Scott Walker cracked the Vancouver line-up in 1995. Used as a penalty killer and defensive specialist, he played four seasons with the Canucks. Plagued by injuries, Walker helped the Predators earn their first ever playoff berth in 2004. On December 23, 2010, the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm announced that Walker had been named as the team’s new head coach. He held this position until 2015, until stepping down to spend more time with his family.
Rhett Warrener began his junior hockey career with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. He was selected fifth overall, in the 1991 draft. As a junior he won gold at the World Junior Championships in 1996. Warrener. Rhett played fir 13 seasons in the NHL from 1995 – 2008. In 1995-1996 he joined the Panthers for the and made his NHL debut on October 17, 1995, against the New Jersey Devils. During his NHL career, Rhett played over 700 games for the Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames. Warrener retired in 2009 and remained with the Flames as a scout before turning to broadcasting. He currently co-hosts the morning radio show on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 radio. He’s heavily involved in the community, and participated in various charitable endeavors.
Warriner was a highly touted player in Junior and was selected 4th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1992 NHL entry draft. Before making his NHL debut Todd won a silver medal for Canada at the 1994 Olympics. In 1995 he became a regular with the Toronto Maple Leafs and spent 6 seasons in Toronto before being traded to Tampa Bay. Todd spent 2 seasons in Tampa followed by stops in Phoenix, Vancouver, Philadelphia and Nashville. He totaled 249 points in 453 NHL games. Warriner is currently a TV broadcaster with SportsNet in Toronto.
Known as one of the best Canadian golfers of all time, Sarnia native Mike Weir learned to play golf at Huron Oaks Golf Course. Like many Canadian boys in Canada, Weir’s first sport was hockey, but Weir would give up the sport during his early teenage years when he realized he would not grow up to be big enough for a professional career. From that point forward, Weir focused solely on golf. While a student at Sarnia’s St. Clair Secondary School, Weir won the 1988 Ontario Junior Championship. Weir would attend Brigham Young University where he was a member of their golf team. During his time at BYU, Weir was a second team All-American selection in 1992, won the 1990 Ontario Amateur Championship and finished 2nd place at both the 1991 and 1992 Canadian Amateur Championship. Weir would turn professional in 1992, and spent the early portion of his professional career playing in events on the Canadian and Asian Tours. Weir first reached the PGA Tour in 1998, but lost his PGA eligibility due to not meeting performance standards. Weir would quickly regain his PGA eligibility by medaling at the Qualifying School tournament. Weir’s first PGA Tour victory came at the 1999 Air Canada Championship in Surrey, British Columbia. The victory also made him the first Canadian in 45 years to win a PGA Tour event held in Canada. The 2003 season marked a career year for Weir. He started off strong winning 2 events in February, the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and the Nissan Open. Then in April, Weir won the prestigious Masters Tournament. Weir became the first Canadian to win a Major and the 2nd left-handed golfer to win the Masters. Weir would later solidify a 3rd place position in the World’s Golf Rankings after finishing tied for 3rd at the U.S. Open. For his outstanding 2003 season, Weir won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s Athlete of the Year. In 2007, Weir was appointed to the Order of Canada and in 2012, he was ranked 12th on a list of Canada’s Greatest Athletes of All Time. Weir currently resides in Sandy, Utah.
A native of Toronto, Wekerle worked at the Toronto Stock Exchange before joining First Marathon, where he would eventually become the head trader for the firm. In this job, he played a key role in Rogers Communications’ takeover of Maclean-Hunter. In 1995, Wekerle went to work for Griffiths McBurney and Partners, where he was involved with the initial public offering of Research in Motion. Wekerle would leave Griffiths and McBurney in 2011 and start his own merchant banking firm, Difference Capital. Wekerle is currently a Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, having joined the cast in March 2014.
Nicknamed “The Hammer” for his hard hitting abilities and his solid defensive play, Jay Wells made his NHL debut with the Los Angeles Kings in the 1979/80 season, appearing in 43 games. The following season would see Wells crack the Kings lineup on a full time basis. In total, Wells would spend 9 seasons on the Kings blue line before enjoying stints with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Buffalo Sabres. Midway through the 1991/92 season, Wells joined the New York Rangers, where he was a member of the Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup winning team. After single seasons with the St. Louis Blues and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Wells retired at the end of the 1996/97 campaign. In retirement, Wells has served as an assistant coach to a number of teams in the AHL and the OHL. Well’s currently serves as an assistant coach to the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit.
The Hartford Whalers drafted Kay Whitmore while he was still a Peterborough Pete in 1985. Finally becoming the Whaler’s starter in 1991, Whitmore was traded to Vancouver the following season where he became Kirk MacLean’s backup. In 1995, Whitmore became a difficult journey through a variety of teams’ minor-league affiliates: New York, Edmonton, Boston and Calgary all used him in a limited fashion. After only 5 NHL games in seven seasons, Whitmore retired in 2002. Following his hockey career, Whitmore was the goaltending coach for the Peterborough Petes and worked as a studio analyst on the NHL Network’s program On the Fly. Currently, Whitmore is serving as a goaltending supervisor for the National Hockey League.
Hayley Wickenheisr was the first woman to ever play full time professional hockey in a position other than goalie. Wickenheiser is a member of the Canada women’s national ice hockey team. She has represented Canada at the Winter Olympics five times, capturing four gold and one silver medal and twice being named tournament MVP, and one time at the Summer Olympics in softball. She is widely considered one of the greatest female ice hockey players. Wickenheiser is currently playing for the University of Calgary women’s hockey team.
With more than 25 years of broadcasting experience, Brian Williams is the cornerstone of CBC Sports. He has covered almost every major sporting event in the world and has won many awards. He has six Gemini Awards for Best Sports Broadcaster category has also earned the Foster Hewitt Award twice. Williams served as the studio host for the CBC’s coverage of the CFL, Formula 1 was the play-by-play announcer for the network’s coverage of the Toronto Blue Jays. Williams was chosen to head the CTV broadcasting team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Jackson Events is proud to recommend Brian Williams for any speaking engagement.
Dave “Tiger” Williams
The all-time leader in NHL penalty minutes, Tiger Williams was a valuable member of any team that he played for. He was chosen 31st overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1974 and played four seasons for them. In that time, he became a fan favourite for his flying fists and for his goal celebration of riding his stick down the ice! He had 3,966 PIMs during the regular season with an additional 455 PIMs during the playoffs. However, he averaged over 20 goals a season and had his best season in Vancouver in 1980-1981 with 35 goals and 27 assists. After four and a half seasons with the Canucks, Williams spent the next four seasons in Detroit, Los Angeles and Hartford before retiring in 1988. Tiger Williams is now a very successful entrepreneur as well as spending time with Maple Leafs alumni.
York was NHL defenceman, he played for the Detroit Red Wings, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators, and last playing for the Boston Bruins during the 2006–07 season. He currently serves as a hockey analyst on Ottawa Senators’ broadcasts on Sportsnet and as a radio host on TEAM1200 in Ottawa where he played for the Senators. Playing in his hometown of Ottawa, York hit his stride as a quality NHL player, establishing himself as a steady defenceman on an up-and-coming Senators team. In 1998–99, he enjoyed his finest offensive season as he recorded 35 points to lead all Senators’ defencemen in scoring. He spent five steady seasons in Ottawa before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2001. In 757 NHL games over 13 seasons, York recorded 42 goals and 187 assists for 229 points, along with 621 penalty minutes, including two fights. He added 2 goals and 9 points in 34 playoff games, getting as far as the second round once (in 1998, when the Senators were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup finalist Washington Capitals).
Known by most Canadian baseball fans for his time as the catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, Gregg Zaun played for 10 different Major League teams throughout his 15 year Major League career. A World Series Champion with the Florida Marlins, Zaun has a .252 batting average, 88 homeruns and 446 Runs batted in throughout his career. Zaun began his broadcasting career at the conclusion the Blue Jays 2006 season, when he covered the MLB playoffs for Rogers Sportsnet. After retiring in 2010, Zaun began broadcasting fulltime with Rogers Sportnet as an MLB analyst. He can frequently be seen on the Toronto Blue Jays pregame show alongside Jamie Campbell.