As the calendar crept towards October, the leaves changed and the weather cooled, the thoughts of Canadians turned, as they do every year in late summer, towards the upcoming hockey season.
But Team Canada alumni had one more date with the golf course, teeing it up Sept. 17 at Lakeside Greens Golf and Country Club in Chestermere, Alta., for the fourth annual Team Canada Alumni Association charity golf tournament.
In all, 30 alumni joined 108 other golfers to raise more than $30,000 for Hockey Canada Foundation programs, supporting grassroots and high performance programs across the country.
When the dust settled and the last putt fell, it was 1993 world junior gold medallist Jeff Shantz and his Weatherford International team finishing as the low-grossing team, while former Calgary Flames general manager Al Coates and the Baccalieu Energy foursome were the “most honest.”
But the scores didn’t matter; the day was about making new friends, reconnecting with old ones and continuing to grow the game.
In total, the alumni association’s annual tournament has raised more than $100,000 in its four years.
“That’s really what it’s all about,” said Coates, who served as general manager of Canada’s National Men’s Team at the 2005 Spengler Cup, and as executive director of the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship. “Hockey Canada has given so much to all of us (alumni), and it’s exciting for us to be able to help give back.”
The gathered alumni combined to represent Canada at every major international event, from the Olympics to men’s and women’s world championships and the world juniors, and even a few minor ones – Darren Van Impe patrolled the blue-line at the Deutschland Cup, Skoda Cup and Hungarian Cup.
They also ran the gamut in age, from 35-year-old Kelly Bechard, who wore the red and white as recently as the 2008 IIHF World Women’s Championship, to the 67-year-old Coates and 65-year-old former Olympian Gerry Pinder, who won bronze at the 1968 Games in Grenoble, France.
“It’s always terrific to see the alumni come out, share stories and a few laughs, and interact with our guests,” said Chris Bright, executive director of the Hockey Canada Foundation. “All of them have had such amazing experiences as part of Team Canada, and they want to see that tradition continue, and see the next generation have the same experiences.”
To donate to the Hockey Canada Foundation in support of hockey across the country, please CLICK HERE.