It was everything you could expect from a Victoria Day Holiday Monday in Richmond – sun shining, birds chirping. And inside the fabulous River Rock Casino Resort, a lineup of faithful Canucks fans, collecting autographs, having their pictures taken and swapping stories with some of their heroes of the past; among them, more than a few former goaltenders.
It was everything you would not expect from the spring day that followed, on the golf course in usually-sunny South Surrey. It was cold. It was wet. But it was a lot of fun. And the whole exercise again paid off handsomely for charity.
"It" was the 15th Annual Vancouver Canuck Alumni Golf Classic, held at beautiful Morgan Creek Golf Course. And this year's theme - "The Great Goalies" - attracted some of the 'greats' from the annals of Canuck crease-minders. "Captain" Kirk McLean served as the unofficial host for the event. Cesare Maniago was there. So were Glen "Carrot" Hanlon, Ken "Spider" Lockett , who flew in from Ontario, Garry "Bones" Bromley, who made the crossing from Victoria, and Charlie Hodge, one of the original, 1970-71 Canucks NHL goalies, all of whom came to dinner on the Tuesday night.
The honoured netminders were the subject of a raucous "Hot Stove" interview session conducted by Team Radio's Bob Marjanovich, each relating a story or two from their days guarding the 'hemp hut' while wearing the Canuck colours.
Out on the course, the foursome captained by one-time Canuck winger Gerry O'Flaherty slogged their way to a Net-96 (-48) finish to capture the title at the 15th annual event. The goaltending contingent didn't fare too badly; Captain Kirk's team was third, while Cesare Maniago's foursome came fourth.
But the big winners at the end of the two-day affair were the deserving charities, including the Alumni's founding organization, The B.C. Hockey Benevolent Association - which will, in turn help fund Canucks For Kids Fund recipients such as Canuck Place and B.C. Children's Hospital - and a new beneficiary this year: Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation. The province's oldest hospital, which has just celebrated its 150th birthday, is about to embark on a billion-dollar, seven-year long program to rebuild and refurbish its entire New Westminster location, so the money will certainly come in handy.
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