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Devils come together for Charity Golf Classic

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils

Devils Assistant Coach John MacLean tees off at the Alumni Association Charity Golf Classic.

View photo gallery of the Charity Golf Classic – The Upper Montclair Country Club was the site of the Devils' eighth annual Alumni Association Charity Golf Classic on Monday, as players past and present hit the links to close out the summer.

For current Devils, the day of golf was an opportunity to get together shortly before their focus shifts to preparation for the 2007-08 season at the all-new Prudential Center.

Devils forward Brian Gionta said the timing couldn't have been better.

"It's perfect," the right wing told "It's right before training camp so everyone's in town. It's nice to see some of the guys you've played with before, and with the new guys, it's nice to meet them before camp and get a day of golf in."

Gionta's foursome included Devils Chairman and Managing Partner Jeff Vanderbeek, who said that with the players around, it was already beginning to feel like hockey season.

"This is always a great outing," Vanderbeek said. "It's relaxed and you get to see everybody come back with camp opening in a few days. It's an exciting time, especially for us with the new arena this year."

Former Devils captain Scott Stevens
Asked what he's looking forward to most about the Devils' new home in Newark, Vanderbeek couldn't help but laugh.

"Probably the construction stopping, and not having to worry about it all day, 24/7," he said. "But we're only 47 days away."

One of the new Devils faces at the event was that of Arron Asham's, who was signed last month as a free agent. The native of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba said he's already beginning to get a feel for his new surroundings.

"Everything's a little bit new for me, but I've been meeting the guys and meeting people from the organization and so far it's been great," Asham said.

As for his golf game?

"Not good," he said with a grin. "Not good at all."

When the players weren't reading the greens and drilling tee shots, they were sharing memories and enjoying some laughs. That, said Devils alumni Ken Daneyko and Bruce Driver, is what the Charity Golf Classic is all about.

"Old times," Driver, a member of the Devils' 1995 Stanley Cup team, said. "It's always about old times. Everything gets better and better as you age, there's no doubt about it."

Daneyko, a lifelong Devil who was a member of all three of New Jersey's Stanley Cup Championships, said the outing also provides a chance to see some faces from the organization's earlier days.

"The last few years we get a lot more former players here that we haven't seen in a while," Daneyko said. "Greg Adams is here, who I played with in the early 80s, and Claude Lemieux's here this year and was last year as well. It's great for the fans, it's a good tradition and I'm glad we're doing it.  It's a lot of fun and something to look forward to every year."

When it comes to swinging the clubs, Daneyko admits that his approach on the fairways is different than the physical style he delivered on the ice over his 20 seasons with the Devils.

"Golf's the most humbling sport in the world, and I can't ram somebody into the boards if I make a bad shot," he said. "In hockey, you make a mistake and you can cover up by going after somebody, but here you have to be a little more calm and a little more patient."

A sports memorabilia auction emceed by Devils television announcer Mike "Doc" Emrick helped raise money for various programs through the Alumni Association. The afternoon's top item was a suite night at a future Devils home game.
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