More than 40 former players took part in 20th annual Buffalo Sabres Alumni Golf Classic on Monday at Park Country Club. The all-day event kicked off with a shotgun start at 11 a.m. In memory of former player Rick Martin, each hole on the course was labeled “7.” The tournament was followed by cocktails and dinner accompanied by a live and silent auction.
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“It just goes to show that the guys that are still here, even though they’ve finished playing, they are still trying to give back and help out,” said former Sabre Rob Ray, who has been the Golf Committee Chairman for the event for the last few years. “Over the years, Larry Playfair has done a good job getting it to a level and as younger guys come in they continue to help out and it continues to grow.”
All proceeds from the Golf Classic will go to the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Family of Scholarships. The Scholarship Fund helps many students in Western New York and Southern Ontario communities who seek to further their education. The Scholarship program first began after former Sabre Brian Spencer had been killed and his wife diagnosed with cancer. Spencer’s children were being taken care of by their aunt who asked if there was anything the team did for children of alumni. The Alumni Association then started a Scholarship Program that has continued to grow.
The golf tournament is a special event for Alumni Association President Larry Playfair. Brian Spencer was from Playfair’s home town of Fort St. James, B.C., which was made up of only 2,200 people. When Spencer went on to play in the National Hockey League, he was someone Playfair looked up to.
“To have an opportunity to say to our guys in Buffalo, ‘let’s do something for those kids’ was pretty neat,” said Playfair. “The tournament is a special thing now, because there are over 85 kids that have or are receiving money for their scholarships to go to school and it’s all because of a program we started in 1993.”
The Alumni Association now has many events over the year to raise money different organizations showing their commitment to the Buffalo Community. In addition to the Scholarship Fund, the Alumni Association has provided over $800,000 to various local organizations.