On Monday, September 28, we hosted our 12th Annual Kids ‘N Community Foundation Golf Tournament. Thanks to the many participants and sponsors, like our title sponsor Volvo Rents ASC Construction Equipment, the tournament raised just over $85,000 for the Kids ‘N Community Foundation. Click here for a photo gallery from the tournament.
This is the second-highest fundraising total in the history of the tournament, only topped by the 2006 Tournament which also happened to play host to Lord Stanley.
We had 29 “fivesomes” in this year’s tournament…so since only about 150 people got to see it, I will do my best to recap the tournament in this blog.
Golf Tournament Pairings Party
This year marked the second straight year that we hosted a “Pairings Party” following a preseason game. We held the party following the Friday night game against
Atlanta. Each foursome was provided eight tickets to the game and the pairings party. This allowed many to bring either their spouse or their kids, which created a very fun atmosphere.
The Pairings Party was held in the arena club restaurant and the entire team, coaching staff, broadcasters and executive front office joined the party after the game and a quick bite to eat. Once the players had signed some autographs and posed for pictures, John Forslund began to play the dual role of auctioneer and host.
We had a live and silent auction that totaled over $21,000 in funds raised for the Foundation. Of the four live auction items, one of the most unique that we had available this year was “Fun with the Finns”, which provided the winner and three guests the chance to have dinner and a movie with Jussi, Tuomo and Joni. The dinner will be at one of their favorite restaurants, Five Guys, and the movie will be chosen by Joni…who said he would be looking for a “drama."
The night ended with each pairing being announced and a photo with the pairing and their guests.
The tournament itself was an 11 a.m. shotgun start at Prestonwood Country Club. Each foursome is paired with a Canes “celebrity.” Having 29 “fivesomes” meant that we needed to play on two courses to ensure that the tournament finished in under seven hours (Monday finished in just over five…not bad for a tourney). The two courses we were able to play were the Meadows and the Fairways, both of which were in great shape.
Luckily we had Kids ‘N Community Foundation board member and Raleigh Chamber of Commerce President Harvey Schmitt playing, as it was truly a “chamber day” with clear skies and temperatures barely creeping into the 80’s.
Again, the entire team, coaches, broadcasters and executive front office were in attendance for the golf tournament. Now that our coaching staff boasts our only two retired numbers, finding a true “celebrity” for everyone is not difficult.
I am always amazed and somewhat annoyed at how good pro hockey players are at golf (my annoyance is that I am fairly terrible at both). I saw many great shots yesterday by our players, but two stuck out. Ray Whitney holed an eagle from about 80 yards out as his perfectly played backspin died in the cup. Stephane Yelle, one of the newest Canes, showed off his fairway irons as he hit within two feet of the cup from roughly 150 yards away on a Par 5 on his way to an eagle.
With shots like that, it was not hard to figure out why both found themselves on stage during the awards ceremony. For our tournament, we have a low gross and a low net winner. Since we had two courses yesterday, we had a total of four winners. The Canes “celebrities” in each group that were winners were Whitney and Yelle from the Meadows and Assistant Coach Kevin McCarthy and Cam Ward from the Fairway. Coach McCarthy claims to have spent most of the summer at the lake, but there must be a course near the lake as he was also the accurate drive winner for the Fairways course (he put his prize up for auction on the spot and it drew an additional $950 for the foundation…thanks Coach).
Other things from the course:
- Joni Pitkanen did not play but was nice enough to ride around and say hello to groups on the Meadows course
- Chuck Kaiton and Tripp Tracy teamed up with three players to complete a fivesome…that group was definitely not short on conversation
- This marked the first time in recent memory that all five of our main sponsorships were taken. One Presenting Sponsor - Volvo Rents ASC Construction Equipment - and four secondary sponsors: Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, Pozen Pharmaceutical Research, Gorbec Pharmaceuticals and SAS Inc.
- Kathy Higgins, Kids ‘N Community Foundation Chairperson and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation president, paired with Ray Whitney to make a very tough combo. So much so that Jim Rutherford almost conceded victory on the first tee. Jim did manage to find his way to the victory platform for the third straight year by finishing third on the Meadows.
- Coach Maurice returned to the tournament in fine form by finishing third place low gross on the Meadows
All in all, it was a great two-day event that raised over $86,000 for local children’s charities. With opening night only five days away, it was a great way to kick off the season. It also shows that our front office and coaching staff is very mindful of community involvement as the full team was available for both events…you do not see that from a lot of teams in major sports this close to the start of the season.