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Blues Tee Off for Charity

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
With the sun shining bright and not a cloud in the sky, David Backes began his back swing before sending a golf ball soaring through the air.

“I can never see the ball,” said an onlooker standing nearby.

“That’s probably because it’s in the hole,” Backes joked, grinning as he put his driver back in his golf bag.

Truth be told, the ball came to a stop in the fairway, but it’s moments like these that make the St. Louis Blues 14 Fund Golf Classic such a special event.

Each year, Blues players, coaches and management play 18 holes of golf with some of the team’s biggest supporters, including Blues Season Ticket Holders and corporate sponsors. This year’s event, which was held Oct. 4 at the Country Club of St. Albans, will raise money for the Blues 14 Fund, a charitable trust that donates money to cancer care and awareness, general health and wellness, education and youth hockey development.

“The 14 Fund helps a lot of kids that are in need,” Backes said. “If I can help by playing a round of golf, that’s the least I can do. Giving back to the community is an important part of being a professional athlete I think.”

Golf packages started at $2,500 for a foursome, which was then joined by two Blues celebrities in a six-person scramble. In addition, when the golf is completed, the event featured a dinner reception with a Blues memorabilia auction.

In addition to participation from the entire team, Blues chairmain and principal owner Dave Checketts also participated in the event.

Silent auction items included autographed canvases, jerseys, club suites and a Brett Hull autographed vintage jersey, while a live auction included a trip on the Blues’ charter to a road game and a chance to take T.J. Oshie to school for show and tell.

The Blues 14 Fund was established in 1998 to honor Blues forward Doug Wickenheiser, who passed away in 1999 after a long battle with cancer.

“I was fortunate enough to know Doug real well. He was such a competitive guy on and off the ice,” said Blues broadcaster John Kelly. “He was a great person and he endeared himself to the St. Louis community. He would be pleased to know a lot of money is raised on his behalf.
“I think Doug would be very proud of all the generosity of a lot of people today.”

“It’s obviously a lot of fun for us,” said Blues forward B.J. Crombeen. “With our schedule, there aren’t many chances we get to come out as a group like this. Especially since it’s for a great cause, I think everyone enjoys it.”

Even Patrik Berglund, who described his golf game as “god-awful” on Monday, said he was having a great time. One of Berglund’s teammates was Lisa Ulrich, a Blues Season Ticket Holder.

“The worst golfer on our team, which is me, can still have fun (here),” Ulrich said. “Patrik is trying to make me look good, so he lets me hit it a little farther than he does.”

The truth is, the Blues 14 Fund Golf Classic isn’t all about golf. It’s about raising money for charity while putting names with faces and saying thank you to some of the team’s biggest supporters.

“To play golf and enjoy the weather and the camaraderie and at the same time raise money for a great cause, it’s all wrapped into one and it’s all real good,” said Kelly.

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