With a forecast that called for a mixed bag of weather, including overcast skies and sporadic showers, it looked as if the event would suffer a set-back. But much to the delight of major sponsors Haywood Securities, River Rock Casino, and CBC, the brooding, greyish blue clouds remained dormant.
The Golf Classic, centered around former Vancouver Canucks coach, President and General Manager Pat Quinn, was a resounding success. The charitable event, which raises money for Canuck Place, The BC Hockey Benevolent Association, and Queen’s Park Healthcare foundation, had a large number of Alumni in attendance. Kirk McLean, Dave Babych, Garry Valk, Geoff Courtnall, Gerry Sillers, Orland Kurtenbach, Reggie Leach, Harold Snepsts, Garry Unger, Darcy Rota, Cliff Ronning, Ryan Walter, and Dana Murzyn were on hand to support the event.
Canucks Assistant General Manager, Laurence Gilman, spoke to the event and seemingly miraculous hold in weather pattern.
“The Canuck gods are smiling on us today. As someone who didn’t grow up here, I don’t have a full appreciation of the Canucks’ 41 year history but from my perspective, the Canucks were put on the map the day Pat Quinn came back to coach in 1986.”
Right after his interview, he placed his tee in the ground at the 12th hole, and drove a beautiful stroke between the two sand traps, hooking perfectly to the right.
Former Canuck centre and assistant coach, Ryan Walter, also acknowledged Quinn’s influence.
“Pat was my coach for two years, I loved playing for him. One of my favorite quotes was on a plaque in his coaching room: ‘A failed project is not a failed person.’ It was indicative of his life and in fact all of our lives.”
Former defenseman Dave Babych also had a favorite quote.
“Being a coach, my favorite Pat Quinn quote is ‘Forwards are stupid defensemen’. The kids just look at me, but it’s true.”
Ryan Walter laughed, “Well, I’m a forward, so I disagree.”
Harold Snepsts was content just to avoid hitting other players but had his very own unique memories of Quinn.
“I haven’t killed anybody, so things are going well. It’s ironic, my first game in the NHL with the Canucks, Pat Quinn was on the other teams’ [Atlanta Flames] roster, and in my final game, he was the General Manager before I moved on.”
Geoff Courtnall is another player that flourished under Quinn’s tutelage.
“He was a great motivator and everybody loved playing for him, and I think that’s why we were so successful.”
The River Rock Casino staff on the 12th hole were amazed as Pat Quinn arrived. The sun unexpectedly breached the heavy cloud cover just as he walked onto the greens. There were several tents set erected, all adorned with the colors of the different teams Quinn had coached.
“The Alumni, since the inception in 1952, has been a big part of the community, raising funds, helping raise awareness to the Canucks organization,” said Quinn. “The big thing for me is getting to see guys that I’ve known and played with, and watched play, and it’s like home-week when we get together. I know it sounds trite but these are guys that you’ve gone to war with, and your feelings for them are the same as when you’re lacing them up.”
The eventful day wrapped up with a banquet at the Morgan Creek Golf Club banquet hall, which included a “Hotstove” segment where Quinn was joined by Tom Gorence, McLean, Charlie Simmer and Valk. Gift packages, including a signed Alex Burrows game action photo, a signed Markus Naslund jersey, and a CBC hockey basket were awarded for various achievements.