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Toews hits the links for charity

by Kelsey Peters / Chicago Blackhawks
Max Querel, Jonathan Toews' caddy for the day, advises Toews on the green.

Thirteen-year-old Max Querel became a celebrity in his own right Tuesday when he was chosen to be Jonathan Toews’ caddy for the Jonathan Toews and Friends Celebrity Pro-Am at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Winnipeg.

Querel played his first round of golf when he was only 8, and as a member of Pine Ridge, he was able to give Toews some pointers.

“He’s been hitting them good, but kind of hooking them,” said Querel, as Toews made his way down the green toward the fourth hole. “If he’d kept them straight, he could have gotten a lot of birdies.”

Toews, along with current and former NHL stars like Denis Savard, Ab McDonald, Doug Gilmour and Brian Campbell, were paired up with Canadian Tour pros and amateurs.

“I’m with Adam Hadwin; he’s a young guy, 24 years old, from Abbotsford, British Columbia,” said Toews of his pro pairing. “We got off on the right foot yesterday, but he’s turning out to be just an average Canucks fan, so we’ll see how it works out today. I think he’s a heck of a player and obviously a pretty good guy, too, so it’s going to be a lot of fun to learn from him out there.”

The event raises money for the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation in support of children living with special needs. Toews took the Stanley Cup to the foundation’s Rehabilitation Centre for Children after the Blackhawks’ 2010 championship season.

“I made one visit to the rehab centre last year when I had the Stanley Cup, and what you see there is something that you can’t shake from your mind—it definitely affects you,” said Toews. “I said last year that these kids probably didn’t know who I was, but when they saw the Cup, their eyes lit up. It’s just unfortunate, what these kids have to go through and the courage and strength that they have is absolutely amazing.

“To be able to throw an event like this – and all I’ve done is put my name to it and invite some friends out to play in it – it’s a huge honor for me to be able to do something like this. Hopefully this isn’t the only year we do this; we want to keep growing and making it bigger.”
That’s why we won the Cup in 2010 — we’re not very good golfers. We’ll stick with that. - Denis Savard

The Winnipeg native finished the tournament tied for seventh place. Former Blackhawks Cliff Koroll and McDonald finished in the top, along with former Winnipeg Jets forwards Thomas Steen and Dave Ellett and current New Jersey Devil Travis Zajac.

“It’s a great cause, and obviously, when your captain has asked you to come play in this tournament, it’s a pretty easy decision for me to make,” said Hall of Famer and Blackhawks ambassador Savard. “Plus, it’s always nice to come back to Canada. I haven’t been back to Winnipeg in a long time, probably since the last time I played here against the Jets, so it’s nice to be here.”

A day earlier, the captain hosted the second annual Jonathan Toews Fore Kids Golf Classic, a for-fun golf tournament for children and adults alike. The event raised over $100,000 for the centre last year.

Both tournaments are part of week-long festivities leading up to the 2011 Players Cup, a Canadian Professional Tour tournament where the winner receives a pass to the RBC Canadian Open next week. As the official host of the Players Cup, this week is admittedly a busy one for the all-star, but Toews says he has been enjoying his time off.

“Summer is definitely a good time to relax and get away for a bit, but at the same time you’ve got to do things that you can’t really do during the season as far as trying to improve yourself off the ice,” said Toews. “I think all of the guys are using this rest to their advantage. We’re all going to show up ready to go this year, and I’m looking to seeing some of the boys at the Convention this weekend.”
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