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The captain's causes

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

LAVAL – It was Max Pacioretty’s turn to step up for a pair of good causes on Tuesday.

Many of Pacioretty’s teammates and coaches, in addition to Canadiens staffers, alums, and local celebrities and businesspeople, took part in the inaugural Captain’s Golf Tournament at Islesmere Golf Club to raise funds for the Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation and the Max Pacioretty Foundation.

The 27-year-old left-winger established his foundation through the Montreal General Hospital Foundation following his recovery from a severe concussion and broken vertebra sustained during a game against the Boston Bruins in March 2011. He helped to purchase a state-of-the-art advanced High Performance MRI machine for the hospital’s Traumatic Brain Injury Centre, a world leader in the research and treatment of concussions.

“The coach had his tournament. Brendan Gallagher had his event. Now, I do. It shows that a lot of guys on the team have been stepping up and have been doing a lot for both the community and for foundations all over. That’s kind of the theme of our team right now,” said Pacioretty, referencing Michel Therrien’s Golf Invitational in Terrebonne on August 9th and Gallagher’s Celebrity Softball Classic in Vancouver over the weekend.

“I had a tournament four years ago and kind of lost touch with it. I was approached by [Ovation Medias president and publisher] Richard Beaudry, who was involved with the event. He said he thought it might be a good time to bring it back. With the captaincy, I think it gives me a lot more leverage to give back. It was a no-brainer. Hopefully, we can build off this and have an event for years to come,” added Pacioretty, who was joined by fellow Canadiens players David Desharnais, Phillip Danault, Sven Andrighetto, Mark Barberio, Stefan Matteau and Torrey Mitchell, in addition to prospect Nikita Scherbak.

Pacioretty’s first-hand experience with the care the Montreal General Hospital provides to its patients made continuing to support their efforts particularly important to him. The Canadiens’ No. 67, who was the team’s King Clancy Memorial Trophy nominee last season in honor of his on and off-ice leadership qualities, says the timing was right to try and make an event like this happen again, and pick up where they left off in August 2012 when they amassed $82,000.

“It’s something that everyone appreciates any type of support we can give. We’ll continue to build out the whole wing [in the hospital],” explained Pacioretty, who is excited about the extended research capabilities the facility will have down the road. “It’ll be specifically for brain trauma, not just for athletes. It’s such a hot topic with both sports and real life. We don’t have answers for brain trauma. It could be one of the leading places for figuring out these answers we never really had before. That’s why it’s really encouraging.”

The funds allocated to the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation, meanwhile, will continue to support their efforts to keep underprivileged kids active through participation in various sports.

Photo credit: Judith Gauthier

“Max has always been involved with us in a certain way. This past year, after being named captain, he sat down with us and talked about what he liked to do,” said Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation executive director, Genevieve Paquette. “He told us he wanted to stage the tournament and split the money between the two groups. We’re in it right along with him.”

For his part, Pacioretty couldn’t be prouder of the initiative.

“Everyone on our team understands how important it is [to give back], how everyone in this city embraces it. It’s a special opportunity to play in Montreal. It’s just for two great causes and I’m really happy to be involved with it,” concluded Pacioretty. “A lot of the faces here were at my first tournament a couple of years back, too. It’s good to still have that great support.”

Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.

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