Forget gophers, Valley Brook Country Club in McMurray was overrun by Penguins on Tuesday.
Eight former Pittsburgh Penguins head coaches and nearly 20 former players joined current head coach Dan Bylsma at the 12th Annual Penguins Alumni Charity Golf Classic on Tuesday.
The Penguins Alumni Association paid a special tribute to head coaches throughout the team’s history. Joining Bylsma were first-ever Penguins head coach Red Sullivan (1967-69), Ken Schinkel (1973-74; 1976-77), Ed Johnston (1980-83; 1993-97), Bob Berry (1984-87), Pierre Creamer (1987-88), Gene Ubriaco (1988-89), Kevin Constantine (1997-99) and Rick Kehoe (2001-03).
“I’m happy to be here. I’m looking forward to having some fun,” Sullivan said. “I was tickled to death to get the call to come over. I think it’s wonderful. I loved what I was doing playing, coaching and making friends with other people. I enjoyed playing hockey and if I wasn’t too old I would try it again.”
|All-time Penguins coaches attending the 2009 Alumni Golf Tournament were (first row, l-r), Rick Kehoe, Pierre Creamer, Dan Bylsma, Ken Schninkel and Red Sullivan; (second row, l-r) Kevin Constantine, Ed Johnston, Bob Berry and Gene Ubriaco. |
“As a fan of the game and guy who played the game, these are coaches that I knew about, play against and saw as a young kid,” Bylsma said. “Being here is twofold, one as a fan and to be here as a coach in a different capacity. I just hope I don’t become an alumni coach too soon.”
Many of the alumni met the previous evening for dinner to reminisce about the past and catch up on recent times.
“It’s always great coming back for the event,” Kehoe said. “Usually you get together the night before and you haven’t seen the guys for a couple of years. You talk about old times, have a few laughs. The guys are getting a little older. This event is nice for guys to come to and have a good time.”
“We went to the track last night. I lost some money but I was at the track,” Johnston joked. “We had a lot of laughs and last night was great. You don’t see some guys for a long time. I saw Red Sullivan, Pierre Creamer, Bob Berry, guys that I hired when I was GM. It’s always a good time. Overall, this is a great reunion.”
Current Penguins owner/chairman Mario Lemieux highlighted the list of alumni players attending the event. Joining Lemieux were seven-time Stanley Cup champion Bryan Trottier, Penguins radio analyst and Alumni secretary Phil Bourque, Joe Mullen, Jim Paek, Troy Loney, Dave Hannan, Pierre Larouche, Francois Leroux, Greg Malone, Duane Rupp, Ron Schock and Alumni president Warren Young.
It’s the highlight of the summer for me to see all the guys. We get a great response from our alumni. It’s a wonderful tribute also to the coaches. The history was built with the franchise through the years. This is an opportunity for us to rekindle some of the friendly rivalries from the old days and talk about some stories. - Bryan Trottier
“It’s the highlight of the summer for me to see all the guys,” Trottier said. “We get a great response from our alumni. It’s a wonderful tribute also to the coaches. The history was built with the franchise through the years. This is an opportunity for us to rekindle some of the friendly rivalries from the old days and talk about some stories.”
While Monday night was about rekindling friendships and sharing memories, Tuesday is all about the golf. And the alumni are just as competitive on the golf course as they were on the ice.
“About two weeks ago I shot my age, which is 77,” Schinkel said. “So I think that is a pretty good accomplishment. I’m looking forward to it.”
Proceeds from the event will benefit Achieva, the Mario Lemieux Foundation and Western PA School for the Deaf. Over the past 11 years, the event has donated over $270,000 to charity.
“It will be a wonderful time for reminiscing with old teammates and coaches while assisting a variety of children’s charities,” Young stated. “The alumni membership looks forward to this event each year.”
Each foursome will be accompanied by one Penguins alumnus as they compete in the scramble-style tournament for prizes. In addition to 18 holes of golf, the event includes a cocktail party, dinner and silent & live auctions.
All in all, it’s a fun day for the former Penguins to get back together, share a laugh, share memories, play some golf and raise money for a good cause.
“It’s nice to see a lot of the old players that played for me and the coaches,” said Penguins Hall of Famer Jack Riley. “I think this is the most coaches we’ve had here. To see guys like Red Sullivan and Pierre Creamer. And then a lot of the players that played for me like Schock, Rupp, Greg Malone. It is nice to get out and see all the guys after all these years. It’s a fun environment. We always had a lot of fun in hockey.”