Whether it’s children and adults participating in the game at the grassroots level or elite athletes who are part of our national programs, hockey enthusiasts across the country have scored $15,000 thanks to the Team Canada Alumni Association’s 1st Annual Charity Golf Tournament.
Chris Bright, manager of the Hockey Canada Foundation, calls the inaugural event held at Lakeside Greens Golf Course and Country Club in Chestermere, Alta., just outside of Calgary, a great start for a fundraiser that has plenty of room to grow.
“It was a positive start that hopefully we can build on,” Bright said of the tournament, which brought teams featuring 20 different Team Canada alumni out to the greens on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 14, despite grey skies and looming rainstorms.
“We can use this model and get it into (other areas) where there are large pockets of Hockey Canada alumni,” he said of the golf tournament’s potential. “A lot of hockey players love golf.”
Not only will the annual event raise funds for hockey programs at all levels, including the Dreams Come True initiative that provides equipment and registration fees for underprivileged youth, but it also gives alumni the chance to stay in touch with old teammates and other former players who have had the special privilege of wearing the maple leaf on their chests.
“Just hearing the banter between the players themselves, and then seeing the guests engage with our inside stories and being a part of it, they really enjoyed that,” Bright said of the unique experience for alumni and friends alike at the tournament.
From 1988 National Junior Team member and former NHL player Wayne McBean, who helped secure the golf course for the event, to Team Canada Alumni Association Advisory Committee chairman Gord Sherven, who represented Canada during the 80s and 90s including at the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Alta., the group of alumni that took part in the first-ever event was a diverse one. They ranged in age, too, with some, such as Wally Kozak, playing for the National Men’s Team in the 1960s and others, such as Peter Allen, playing for Team Canada in the Spengler Cup in 2002-03.
Even Carla MacLeod and Colleen Sostorics, who won gold with Team Canada at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. made it out to Lakeside Greens, just a couple of hours after announcing their retirements from international hockey. The two long-time National Women’s Team members were given flowers and honoured for the contributions to Team Canada as part of the day’s activities.
“It was fantastic having Carla and Colleen out on the day of their retirement,” Bright said, adding the two long-time National Women’s Team members were given flowers and honoured for “for what they’ve done for Canada” as part of the day’s activities.
Other activities included a silent auction that featured a framed Sidney Crosby jersey, sticks signed by hockey legends Bobby Orr and Bobby Hull, Team Canada jerseys signed by Lanny McDonald and Jarome Iginla and a game-worn Cassie Campbell jersey – just to name a few of the items that contributed to the funds raised.
The foursome led by alumnus Mike Rogers won the first-ever tournament with a -12 score. Rogers represented Canada at the 1981 IIHF Men’s World Championship and is now a colour commentator for The Calgary Flames on The Fan 960.
“It’s important that the alumni stays connected,” Bright said. “They enjoyed being together, reliving a few of the old stories and laughs of yesteryear.”
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