Canucks’ new vice-president of communications and community brings years of corporate experience

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After going more than a year without an executive-level leader of their communications department, the Vancouver Canucks have found their man.

The NHL team announced Wednesday afternoon that Loring Phinney has been hired as the team’s vice-president of communications and community.

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Phinney, from North Vancouver, is a longtime corporate marketing and communications executive who comes to the Canucks after spending the last two years with Yorkville University, an online education outfit that bills itself as Canada’s largest private university.

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But before that is his main ticket: he spent 15 years with Bell Canada as vice-president of corporate marketing.

Among the many accounts he worked while at Bell were two big ones: he was the lead executive on their relationship with Vanoc leading into and during the 2010 Olympics, and he was very involved in building Bell’s 12-year run as the Vancouver Whitecaps’ lead sponsor. He was also immersed in establishing Bell’s ‘Bell Let’s Talk’ mental health initiative.

On his LinkedIn profile, Phinney said he was excited to announce his new role.

“The opportunity to work for an organization that I — and most British Columbians — care deeply about, is a dream come true. I have had the opportunity to meet many passionate leaders across ownership and management through the process; all who share a vision of winning on the ice and across our communities. I couldn’t be more excited to work with this group, my new team, and the entire organization,” he said.

Phinney also served as co-chair of the United Way Lower Mainland, at one point alongside local marketing executive Jamie Pitblado.

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“The Canucks have landed themselves one of the best in Loring. He’s been very active in the Vancouver sports and philanthropic community and brings a wealth of knowledge and contacts to his role,” Pitblado told Postmedia.

One of his first jobs was in sport: Phinney spent two years with the Ottawa Rough Riders, from January 1991 to March 1993. He then served a year as press secretary to the ministers, while Premier Mike Harcourt and the NDP were in power.

Phinney is essentially filling the role of Chris Brumwell, who was let go by the Canucks in June 2022 after nine years as vice-president of communications and community partnerships.

At the time, the Canucks said Brumwell’s position was being eliminated. This left director of communications Craig MacEwen handling many files beyond simply that of the hockey team — such as the postponement of last week’s Drake concert — whereas when Brumwell was with the team, the communications director had handled hockey team-focused inquiries, with the vice-president focused on corporate communications and issues beyond the hockey team.

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