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|Keith Tkachuk and other Blues players participated in the third annual Golf Classic on Tuesday to raise money for the Blues 14 Fund (Photo by Tom Gannam). |
Long before the puck drops on a game at Scottrade Center, Rick and Sharron Slaughter are in their car, driving 100 miles West down Highway 50 towards St. Louis. Nearly every game day, they make the 200-mile round trip drive to Scottrade Center and back...just to see the Blues.
But Tuesday, they only had to drive about 200 yards down the fairway.
That's because the Slaughters played 18 holes of golf with goaltender Chris Mason as part of the annual St. Louis Blues 14 Fund Golf Classic, held Tuesday afternoon at Meadowbrook Country Club in Ballwin.
When asked to describe his golf game after four holes, Rick smiled and politely changed the subject.
“The golf game doesn’t mean anything,” he said, referring to the charitable aspect of the event.
At the heart of it, the annual Golf Classic presents fans with an opportunity to play golf with members of the Blues’ roster. But more importantly, it raises money for the Blues 14 Fund, a charitable trust created in 1998 to raise awareness for cancer, promote health and wellness, good education and youth hockey development.
“The 14 Fund does all the work here,” Mason said. “For us (as players), it’s easy just to come over here and help out anyway we can. If it’s golfing like today, that’s what we’ll do.”
For $2,000, groups of four players received a round of golf with Blues celebrities, including players, coaches, management and alumni, in a six-person scramble. Participants also received a buffet lunch and passes to a special dinner awards reception.
For Blues players that participated, it was an opportunity to put names with faces, to mingle with some of the club’s biggest sponsors and Season Ticket Holders while also raising money for a good cause.
“It’s real important. Charities are obviously a big deal,” said Brad Boyes at last year's event. “When you’re fortunate enough to do what we do, we’re lucky.
“To be able to give back to raise money for people who aren’t as fortunate as we are, that’s something that’s real important.”
“It’s great to give back,” defenseman Mike Weaver added Tuesday. “That’s why you play hockey, for the love of the game. But once you make it to an elite level, it’s all about charity and giving back to the community.”
For Blues fan Leaster Gibson, the event was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Gibson traveled from Springfield, MO to participate in this year’s Golf Classic.
“I’m just happy to get a chance to play golf with the Blues,” he said. “I’ve already called my wife three times to tell her who all I’ve met. My game isn’t what it should be, but I’m not exactly focused on golf today. Getting an opportunity to do this for charity makes me feel good.”
The same can be said for the players.
“(Golf) is a game that most of us love to play, and we play it a lot in the offseason,” said forward T.J. Oshie
. “It’s for a good cause today, so that makes it that much better.”