When Brad Norris-Jones moved from the Victoria HarbourCats to Pacific FC, he created something for himself that would not have been possible when he was growing up in Victoria – a localized pro sports career.
“If I was going to work in pro sports in Victoria, I would have left when I was 21,” Norris-Jones said. “I thought of it, thought of going down to the States and doing kind of stuff. Probably could have carved out a career doing that. It probably would have been hockey at that time.”
Instead, Norris-Jones started a sports memorabilia store in 1990. He ran that store for almost 20 years, but was forced to close down when the economy went south during the great recession. During the course of his run with the store he supplied wholesale product to the biggest leagues in the U.S, including the NHL.
In the meantime, he had all of his kids playing sports—nine in total. One of his two sons, Kelly, became a late 2010 draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays. He ended up foregoing the chance to enter the Jays minor league system, instead opting to pursue a collegiate career with the University of Illinois.
“When Kelly got drafted by the Blue Jays, you learn the pro scene real quick,” Norris-Jones said. “The money just wasn’t there for his draft position, and the money for the scholarship was a pretty next level scholarship. So as a family we made that decision.”
When the opportunity came to join the HarbourCats, Norris-Jones said he was uniquely positioned to have success working a collegiate summer league. He had the business acumen through wholesale selling to pro teams, and a player’s perspective through his son’s collegiate career. He became the HarbourCats’ GM in 2016, and seemed poised to stay in the baseball business.
“I thought I’d be with baseball forever, I thought I’d end in the baseball game,” Norris-Jones said. “I never thought I could work in a pro league, and when that opportunity came, I’m taking it. Because that’s as high of a level as anyone can go.”
Norris-Jones was announced as the new executive vice-president of operations for Pacific FC on Feb. 2. He cites his business acumen, sports history and understanding of the community as key assets he hopes will bring him success at the pro level.
“Do I think for a second that I’m really fortunate and lucky to work in sports? I’ve worked in sports all my life,” Norris-Jones said. “Very, very few people can claim that. And does everybody want my job? Oh yeah. I’ve heard it.”