Some might say that Monday’s Blues 14 Fund Golf Classic was the best one yet.
Others might call it a “great one.”
Regardless of how the golfers choose to describe the experience, it’s clear that everyone had a great time at the Country Club of St. Albans.
“It’s good to be amongst friends,” said Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. “Today is one of those days where you do it for charity but you have a lot of fun doing it.”
For $2,500, a group of four golfers could register to play 18 holes with a Blues celebrity. The participants also received a buffet lunch, a Blues gift package and a dinner reception in the evening. For an additional $500, a company could sponsor one of the 18 holes.
Blues celebrity golfers this year included former players Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Al MacInnis, Bernie Federko, Bob Plager, Kelly Chase, Greg Paslawski and Jeff Brown, to name a few.
“We’re having a wonderful day for a great cause and playing with a good group of guys,” said Gretzky, who made the trip to St. Louis to participate in the event. “I’m not very good (at golf), but I have a lot of fun out here. It’s a great way to raise money for charities. People come together from all walks of life and we’re having a nice day.”
The Blues 14 Fund Golf Classic originated in 2007, giving current and former Blues players, coaches and management an opportunity to play 18 holes with some of the team’s biggest supporters. But the most important element is the money raised for the Blues 14 Fund.
“So many guys do so much for so many different charities, but this one is special. I knew about this one even before I came here to St. Louis,” said Blues TV analyst Darren Pang. “When you see that Wayne Gretzky comes in here, that says a lot. When Brett Hull flies in, that tells you all you need to know about what the Blues and the Blues 14 Fund are about.”
The Fund was established in 1998 and named for Doug Wickenheiser, a former Blue who passed away in 1999 after a long battle with cancer. Wickenheiser is probably most famous for scoring the Monday Night Miracle goal, but his impact still continues to this day. The Blues 14 Fund donates money raised to organizations that focus on cancer care and awareness, health and wellness, education and youth hockey development.
Monday’s Golf Classic, through foursome registration, donations and auctions, raised more than $100,000 for the Fund.
Said Gretzky, “I played against (Doug Wickenheiser) quite a bit over the years and he was always a tremendous competitor and a really good person. This is great that his legacy has lived on. It’s a great honor for him and his family.
“You know, there are some really special people in the game of hockey, and he was one of those special people. Sometimes in life we just don’t understand why people are taken from us at such a young age, but he did a lot of good things when he was around and he’s still doing great things when he’s not here.”
According to Randy Girsch, the Blues’ Director of Community Relations, 41 foursomes registered for the event, which featured over 200 golfers.
Hull, who flew in from Dallas, said he was happy to help out such a good cause.
“The people are great. The city itself is fantastic. I don’t know what else to tell you. From the minute I got here in ‘88, I fell in love with (St. Louis),” Hull said. “Anytime I can come back and see the guys and raise some money for the 14 Fund, which is near and dear to all of our hearts, it’s just great.
"I’m glad to be here.”