The NHL season is about to get going, but there's another season that's ready to start: a season of giving. The Blue Jackets Foundation kicked off their year of fundraising with the 17th Annual Blue Jackets Golf Classic on Monday.
Over 120 golfers, including Jackets players, coaches, and broadcasting personalities, took to the links at Double Eagle Club to play the course. In the process, they raised almost $250,000 that will be dedicated to the health and wellness of children in Central Ohio.
"It's an opportunity for the central Ohio community to come out, golf with Blue Jackets players and staff at an amazing golf course," Vice President, Community Relations & Executive Director, Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, Kathryn Dobbs said. "This event has been a part of the organization since our inaugural season. It continues to raise money and has helped to put millions of dollars back into our community."
Attendees started the day with lunch in the club and participated in a lively auction to pick which VIP golfer would join each foursome. Nick Foligno and Matt Calvert joined the auction festivities to provide intel on players' golfing abilities, along with some good-natured ribbing.
Alexander Wennberg was the first selection, followed by Brandon Dubinsky and Calvert as a pair, Foligno, Seth Jones and Cam Atkinson.
"It's the highest you've ever been picked!" Foligno teased Calvert, before laughingly admitting his selection was the highest ever for him too.
After all the VIPs were selected, to the course the golfers went.
Under a blue sky and with perfect temperatures, participants navigated their way among the pristine 18 holes. At the tenth hole, each group got to take a photo together and get Blue Jackets themed wine bottles autographed by their VIP. Boone Jenner and Gabriel Carlsson served as hosts at the tenth tee.
"Just to get out and meet some people around the community and see all the things that go into it and the money that's being raised is great," Jenner said. "Once camp starts, you don't even think about the golf course so to go out and play a quick round is nice."
Each hole wasn't just a challenge for those who love to golf, it was another chance to recognize partners who had sponsored each along the way. To wrap up the day, a cocktail reception and dinner gave all the attendees a time to relax, bid on their favorite auction packages, and of course, see who won the day's shamble-style tournament.
And who won? The foursome that bid to select second overall reaped the rewards of that choice. Led by the chip and putt pair of Dubinsky and Calvert, they took home the trophy as the winners of the tournament. Dubinsky accepted the trophy with great pride.
But of course, the real winners are the kids in central Ohio who will benefit from the grants the Foundation is able to give as a result of events like the golf outing.
"It's great to see everybody out here participating today after a very busy training camp and know that we're all going to put that aside for one day," Dobbs said. "Everyone is spending time out here to help children and families in central Ohio."