Vancouver Whitecaps FC are mourning the passing of original founder and general manager Denny Veitch on Thursday. He was 80.
Along with former owner and close friend Herb Capozzi – who recently passed away on November 21 – Veitch was the driving force in establishing the Whitecaps franchise in 1973, as the club began life in the original North American Soccer League (NASL). The native of Vancouver, BC, is also known for creating the club’s name. It came to him while he was driving across Lions Gate Bridge on a beautiful sunny afternoon. He looked down and saw the whitecaps on the ocean and looked up and saw the whitecaps on the mountains and thought, “What better name for this new franchise?!”, and thus the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club was born.
“He’s been an integral part of my life, both professionally and personally,” said Bob Lenarduzzi, son-in-law and current president of Whitecaps FC. “His contributions to the club and to the sport will forever be engrained in the Whitecaps name. As fate would have it, I also met his daughter Deanne through the Whitecaps and we just celebrated 30 years of marriage. He will be deeply missed.”
Veitch managed the Whitecaps from 1973 until 1977. Through his leadership, he helped elevate the sport of soccer nationally by building a successful franchise which became a cornerstone of Vancouver’s sports community. Thanks to his foresight, the legacy of the Whitecaps continues to this day, as the club has again returned to the top level of professional soccer in North America.
Not only did Veitch lead the Whitecaps, he was also general manager of the BC Lions from 1967 to 1970, steering the organization through difficult times. Last year, he was honoured as one of four Pioneer Award winners at the Lions annual Orange Helmet Awards banquet.
Despite losing his right arm at age six, Veitch had a distinguished athletic career. The native British Columbian played rugby for Canada, earning plaudits for his fierce tackling. He also excelled playing junior football as a receiver.
He is survived by his loving children Danny (Laura), Deanne (Bob), and Karen (Daryl) and grandchildren Connor Veitch, Ryan and Sunny Lenarduzzi, as well as Devon and Kendra Samson.
Whitecaps FC wish to offer our condolences to the Veitch family at this difficult time.