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Published: February 9, 2019 5:16 pm ET

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Driver Jody Jamieson is no stranger to the Milton Sports Celebrity Dinner, and he was no stranger to one of the night's featured guests: hockey executive Brian Burke.

Burke was just one of the high-profile sports figures at this past Tuesday's Milton Chamber of Commerce’s 17th annual Sports Celebrity Dinner and Auction. The former Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager was joined by former Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, Canadian tennis great Daniel Nestor, two-time Olympic soccer bronze medallist Diana Matheson, sprinter Sam Effah, former NHLer Mike Krushelnyski and Jody Jamieson, who first met Burke on a plane trip overseas in 2010. Jamieson penned a blog about the experience for the SC website.

"He said he remembered the flight we were on and that he swore me to secrecy for 48 hours," Jamieson told Trot Insider of his reintroduction to Burke. "He’s actually the same guy that you see on TV or hear on the radio. He doesn’t sugar coat anything from my experience with him."

The sold-out event, a fundraiser for the Milton Chamber’s Scholarship Fund, took place on Tuesday (February 5) at the RattleSnake Point Golf Club and was emceed by Sportsnet's Ken Reid. Jamieson was thoroughly entertained by the banter from Reid and Burke as the duo are fully acquainted given Burke's current gig as hockey analyst for Sportsnet.

"[Reid] really made it entertaining for the crowd," said Jamieson. "He asked all sorts of questions to the panel and people got a good chuckle out of the responses...He and Brian know and work with other a bit and they really rode each other. It was the highlight of the show listening to those two go back and forth."

Jamieson found himself signing autographs between Burke and Gibbons at the event, a rare appearance for the former Jays manager who isn't based in Canada.


Driver Jody Jamieson (centre) shares a story about some of the perils of harness racing as the other Milton Sports Celebrity Dinner hot stove panelists and emcee Ken Reid listen in. (Graham Paine / Metroland)

"He’s real down to earth, friendly. Says he’s as good at doing nothing as anyone he’s ever known."

Jamieson noted that Gibbons was in the midst of appearances in Canada for the week. This past Saturday, Gibbons was a guest of honour at the 27th Annual Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Banquet in Moose Jaw, Sask. ("He couldn't believe how cold it was there.") before the Milton gala and the 68th Conn Smythe Sports Celebrities Dinner and Auction in Toronto the night after.

While making his third appearance at the Milton dinner (first in 2008 and again in 2015), the thrill of attending hasn't waned for Jamieson who, by his own admission, is a huge sports fan.

"I listen to sports talk radio exclusively when I’m driving somewhere so all the people on the panel, I’ve heard them talk about various topics or been a fan of them, so getting a chance to meet them and shoot the [breeze] with them was really fun for me."

It was also a great opportunity for Jamieson to promote harness racing at a location not far from his base of operations at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

"People were amazed that we race all year and of the success that I’ve achieved throughout my career...two world championships, three O’Brien’s, a U.S. Driver of the Year as well as 7,700 races won. Those are numbers that even people who don’t know about racing can put in perspective and the crowd seemed genuinely amazed by the numbers, especially the $120 million [in earnings]," he said with a grin.


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