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Annual golf outing raises $275,000 for Blue Jackets Foundation

Players, coaches and CBJ alums hit the links for a good cause

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider /

We know the Blue Jackets can play on the rink, but what about the links? 

With golf handicaps ranging from 0.6 (new acquisition Gustav Nyquist) to 36 (we'll protect the innocent here), there's a lot of range in the skill level the Columbus Blue Jackets show when they grab the clubs.  

But with handicaps figured in, picking a favorite at the annual CBJ Foundation Golf Classic presented by Plante Moran, held Tuesday at Double Eagle, was a tough task.  

"I don't know how many great golfers we have here on the team," Scott Harrington said. "I think it really depends on who you're played with and how they can golf, but we'll see what happens." 

Still, while most of the Jackets players, coaches, front-office personnel and alumni and in attendance could bomb the ball -- after all, a golf swing and a slap shot aren't too different -- there were some definite favorites given their respective ability.  

Tweet from @JacketsInsider: At the annual #CBJ Foundation Golf Classic, Cam Atkinson talks about the importance of giving back and supporting the ���@CBJfoundation���

As Jody Shelley -- who served as host, emcee and auctioneer for the pre-event lunch -- said, what does Nyquist's 0.6 handicap even mean? 

To say the least, the Swedish forward, signed this offseason after a career-high 60 points last year with Detroit and San Jose, knows his way around the fairways and greens.  

"I think I've played ever since I could walk, basically," Nyquist said. "I do enjoy the game for sure, and it's fun to be out here. You get a couple of rounds in in the summer and kind of relax, and it's something I really enjoy doing."

Video: CBJ Foundation Golf Outing presented by Plante Moran

And as for the 36 handicap -- OK, we'll spill the beans; it's Dean Kukan, who simply doesn't play a ton -- Harrington still wasn't willing to count him out.  

PHOTO GALLERY: Images from the CBJ Foundation Golf Classic

"We'll just hope we're not in his group," Harrington said with a laugh. "Actually, that could be a good thing if he gets so many strokes. He's bound to hit a good one every once in a while, right?" 

The event featured plenty of notable experiences for those in attendance. In addition to getting the chance to play Double Eagle, each group played with a CBJ celebrity that was chosen in the pre-round auction (head coach John Tortorella was the No. 1 pick). There was also lunch, dinner, a silent auction and a live auction in addition to gift bags going to each player. 

In the end, Harrington proved smart -- the group featuring Kukan emerged as the champion and received the annual Foundation Cup.  

It was also a successful day when it came to fund raising, too, as an event that had raised more than $2.5 million for the CBJ Foundation before Tuesday added another $275,000.  

All proceeds go to the foundation, which is dedicated to the health and wellness of children in central Ohio by dedicating time, resources and financial support to organizations making a difference in the areas of pediatric cancer, reading, fitness through play and the growth and development of amateur hockey.  

Programs supported by the CBJ Foundation include an annual grant program that helps local nonprofits with a mission to improve the health and wellness of area children, as well as the John H. McConnell Scholarship and High School Hockey Scholarship awarded to scholastic standouts in central Ohio. 

"To have everybody out here all playing a great game for a good cause makes for an awesome event," said Katie Matney, interim executive director of the CBJ Foundation. "We have great players who support events like this, and it's awesome that they are willing to do this before the season kicks off. With the players coming back (to Columbus before the season), some of them even make it fit into their schedule so they can be here. This is something everyone wants to do." 

Soon, golf balls will be traded for pucks, with the Blue Jackets set to begin training camp next week. But for one day, the entire organization came together to have some fun and raise money for a good cause.  

"All of us love being out here," Harrington said. "It's fun to get outside, get out of the rink and the gym and swing the clubs a little bit. To have it be so meaningful for such a great cause, it's fantastic. It's my third year playing in it and I look forward to it every year." 

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