Dikran Zabunyan, the new general manager of Painter’s Lodge, April Point and Quarterdeck Hotel and Marina in Port Hardy, was recently named to the All Canada Phase 1 Basketball Hall of Fame. Photo submitted

Dikran Zabunyan, the new general manager of Painter’s Lodge, April Point and Quarterdeck Hotel and Marina in Port Hardy, was recently named to the All Canada Phase 1 Basketball Hall of Fame. Photo submitted

Painter’s Lodge manager inducted into basketball Hall of Fame

Dikran Zabunyan sees running a hotel like building a championship basketball team

Dikran Zabunyan has only been in Campbell River for about four months, but he’s settling in nicely.

Well, he’s trying to, anyway.

He had to fly across the country once to be entered in the All Canada Phase 1 Basketball Hall of Fame, but other than that, he’s just going about his business as the new general manager of Painter’s Lodge, April Point and Quarterdeck Hotel and Marina in Port Hardy.

While hotels and resorts are his livelihood – he’s been managing them for 31 years, now – basketball is his passion, and he credits the sport with who he has become as a person and a manager.

But when his family first immigrated to Canada from Turkey when he was 13 years old, he actually wanted to play soccer. Those dreams were short-lived, however, when he was cut from his first team shortly after joining up. He then joined the basketball team at his local church in Toronto, and after meeting Armenak Alajajian, a Russian coach and Olympic-medal-winning member of the Soviet National Team, there was no looking back.

“He made me who I am today, in a lot of ways,” Zabunyan says. “He showed me how to be a tough competitor with good values, a good teammate and taught me the importance of being a leader and developing winning habits.”

Zabunyan went on to have an impressive basketball career which included playing professional basketball back in Turkey for a while after his college career at Ryerson and Centennial College, returning to Canada and forming the Royal City Express in Windsor, Ont., moving it to Toronto, renaming it the GT Express, which was ranked the number two team in Canada, behind only the Toronto Raptors.

Most recently, Zabunyan served as the general manager and head coach of the Vancouver Dragons, leading the team to a 25-2 record and capturing the 2018 MLBA Championship. And whenever he has the chance, he helps out with youth basketball programs, high school teams and anyone else that needs a hand in the sport.

“It’s been a humbling career,” he says, settling into one of the chairs in the lobby of Painter’s Lodge. “It’s hitting me now. I’m just coming down (from being entered in the Hall of Fame).”

Zabunyan says there are a lot of similarities between basketball and hotel management, and he strives to bring his experience in each to the other venue.

“Running a hotel properly is like building a championship basketball team,” he says. “It starts at the top with good ownership that has a vision, and then down to management, who can build a team that will work together, play their positions well and once you have all the right players in place, you have to practice, and eventually, you become a championship team. It’s the same in this business.

“My job here, just like when I coach, is to put people in situations that give the team the best chance to win,” he says.

And that’s exactly his goal for Painter’s Lodge. He joins the team from the Rockwater Secret Cove Resort on the Sunshine Coast and says, “we were voted, for two years in a row, the top luxury hotel in B.C., and we’re going to take that title from them.”

And, perhaps unsurprisingly, he’s still going to be involved in basketball. He’ll be coaching the senior boys team at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary in Comox starting in November.

“The teams here had already been established when I started asking,” he says. “It keeps me busy in the off-season, and gives me the opportunity to mentor and develop more kids. Hopefully we’ll win a few games along the way.”

Oh, and you can bet there is going to be basketball court installed up at Painter’s in the very near future.

RELATED: VIDEO: Wine, Brews and Blues delivers the goods in Campbell River

RELATED BRANDED CONTENT: Re-discover Painter’s Lodge: Making memories for 90 years



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires Vancouver Island wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

RCMP say a woman turned herself in to police after hitting a pedestrian and fleeing the scene of the accident in downtown Nanaimo on Friday morning. (File photo)
Driver flees, then turns herself in after hitting pedestrian in downtown Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP say woman was struck in marked crosswalk after driver ran red light

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Chemainus teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

Kim McGregor died in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run accident in Chemainus. (Photo submitted)
Victim identified in Valentine’s Day Chemainus hit-and-run

Kim McGregor grew up in Chemainus and had recently returned to be close to his parents

Tyson Popove placed second in his category at the Mt. Washington Viewtour Virtual Slopestyle event. Photo by Shawn Corrigan
10-year-old soars high above Mount Washington, slopestyle

Campbell River skier Tyson Popove goes big in ski hill’s virtual competition

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Amy Morrison was surprised to find a note on her windshield for parking on a public street with no restrictions in south Oak Bay where she works. (Amy Morrison Photo)
Note left for Oak Bay resident ignites debate about on-street parking

‘You must have noticed, we park in front of OUR HOUSE,’ note writer says

Cowichan Tribes open up vaccinations for members who are 40 and older. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes opens up vaccinations for members 18 and older

Vaccination sessions to be held over weekend

Police in Nanaimo found multiple graffiti tags they allege were made by three men arrested for mischief in Maffeo Sutton Park on Feb. 15. (Photo submitted)
Graffiti taggers caught in Nanaimo with paint on their hands

Three suspects arrested at Maffeo Sutton Park last week

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Most Read