BLAINVILLE – A longstanding offseason tradition, the ninth edition of the Yvan Cournoyer Celebrity Classic kicked off at the Club de golf Le Fontainebleau on Thursday.
Despite calls for thunderstorms early in the day, hundreds of golfers teed off under a blazing hot sun for a day on the links to support the Canadiens Children’s Foundation.
|From left to right : Sergio Momesso, Marcel Dionne, Yvon Lambert, André Boudrias, Pierre Bouchard, Yvan Cournoyer, Serge Savard, Eric Lamarre (Le Fontainebleau Golf Club), Guy Lapointe, Chris Nilan, Robert Sirois (Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation), Lucien Deblois, Carol Vadnais and Liam Maguire. |
Since its inception in 2003, the annual event organized by the 10-time Stanley Cup champ has raised over $300,000 for the Foundation. Cournoyer & Co. added another $28,474 to that total this year, thanks to the generosity of the golfers in attendance and the participation of Club Links.
“Having played for the Montreal Canadiens throughout my entire career, I feel it’s important for me to stay involved and help raise money for the Children’s Foundation,” explained the legendary Hall-of-Famer. “It’s fun to do this because people like coming here. I know people who were here at the very first tournament who are still coming back now and they all tell me how much they love it.”
When you play for two decades and stay as involved as Cournoyer has after hanging up the skates, it’s not hard to find an impressive crew of fellow former Habs to call on to help out. Getting to rub shoulders with legends on the links is part of what makes the Celebrity Classic a perennial fan favorite.
“Every year is different but the cooperation we get from the alumni really helps,” mentioned Cournoyer. “They’re happy to be here. This year, almost a dozen alumni came out. That’s great since we know it’s not always easy to get everyone together during the summer.”
“It’s great to be here to help raise money for the Foundation,” shared former Habs heavyweight Chris Nilan. “Anytime you get an opportunity to help out, it’s great. Seeing all the guys is always fun, too, especially Yvan who does a great job organizing the tournament.”
Coming off the 18-hole, Vegas-style tournament, no one was talking about their scores after sinking their final putts – some by choice and others because they couldn’t stop laughing at their performances. Whether finishing under par or pushing 100, the one thing everyone could agree on was that they would be coming back next year.
“It was a great day; really well organized,” praised former Habs winger and current TSN radio colorman Sergio Momesso. “I played with a bunch of great guys and the golf course was in great shape. We do a lot of stuff for the Children’s Foundation and this is another time that we get to play with our friends. It was good to have a mix of the guys from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.”
Even as the winners were collecting their hard-earned prizes from the afternoon, Cournoyer was already beaming about the 10th edition coming up in 2013. Like always, “The Roadrunner” will undoubtedly have some great teammates to call on when it matters most.
Hugo Fontaine is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.