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Brind’Amour/Nugent-Hopkins Charity Golf Classic “like a family reunion”

NHL head coach and current star welcomed 144 golfers on the seventh tee to a hole in one contest
Brind’Amour chats with tourney participant Wayne Brownhill before Saturday’s 10:00 am tournament start. Photo by Edward Hitchins/Campbell River Mirror.

It was a gentle breeze and warm temperatures that welcomed the golfers at Storey Creek Golf Club, as they swung clubs with an NHL legend, at the 25th Rod Brind’Amour/Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Golf Classic for Cystic Fibrosis.

READ MORE: Campbell River carver’s pole boosts Brind’Amour/Nugent-Hopkins CF auction

“This is a great caveat for me,” said Rod Brind’Amour, who welcomed entries in the golf tournament that bears his name at the seventh tee. “I can give back, at the same time I can see my family as well. Everybody here is so down to earth. I see so many great people every year.”

The event, which featured the current coach of the Carolina Hurricanes as well as the star Edmonton Oilers centre, is very special for members of the community. Members like Kim Wood (nee Black). In fact, it was her diagnosis with Cystic Fibrosis which paved the way for the event to take place.

“The relationship we’ve developed with Rod over the years has been phenomenal,” said Wood. “He’s such a giving guy. We couldn’t have asked for someone better to get involved two decades ago.”

The event had 144 golfers taking part, including a hole-in-one competition with the two NHL stars. The event wrapped up with a dinner and silent auction at the Sportsplex in the evening.

Kim’s husband James says seeing so many faces year after years has welcomed a degree of familiarity.

“It’s like a family reunion,” joked James. “It’s inspiring to see how humble Rod is. How he’s part of such a golf tournament in such a small town. For him to come here and be so giving, it’s amazing.”

After the day of golf, the silent dinner and auction was next. Brind’Amour greeted the nearly 300 people in attendance with appreciation and admiration. He said it was every individual doing their part to ensure the tournaments’ success, talking about efforts being a game of inches.

“If I give an inch it isn’t much,” said Brind’Amour. “But if I go around the room, and everybody gives an inch, then it becomes bigger. It’s amazing how far you can go with a little bit of effort.”

He spoke about the events’ beginnings, especially a young girl writing a letter to him encouraging him to take part in the mid 1990s.

“You taught me about courage,” said Brind-Amour when describing Wood. “I thought I was a big tough guy, but I looked at this girls’ life. What her life was like, that was real courage.”

Brind’Amour was joined on stage by Nugent-Hopkins, a guy that he described as the “wow factor” needed to keep the energy of the tournament when his own playing career ended.

“I thought that my career was over. Nobody is going to care,” said Brind’Amour. “We reached out, and that’s where Ryan comes in.”

Nugent-Hopkins, who also holds a golf tournament in Edmonton in the off-season, had a Q&A with Brind’Amour on stage which was mediated by Chris Hebb. Nugent-Hopkins spoke about how the rigors of a regular season and the importance of self-care as the body matures.

“It definitely does. Now I’m 30 suddenly with 12 years in the league. It does happen fast,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “I played 82 games this season and playoffs as well. You just have to take care of your body so well. The playoffs are their own season.”

Before the live auction, which generated $93,000, Wood thanked the directors for holding the event, as well as her admiration for Brind’Amour, who she affectionately called a “big brother”.

“When we first started this my life expectancy was uncertain,” said Wood, now 41 with a husband and child. “Concentrating on this tournament, it gave me hope. It gave me purpose that something could be done.”

Between the live and silent auction, the event generated $174,000 which is a record for the tournament.

Edward Hitchins

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Edmonton Oilers star centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins heads out to the seventh tee before tournament action begins June 24. Photo by Edward Hitchins/Campbell River Mirror
Mary Kiddle swings away at the par 3 seventh hole during June 24’s Rod Brind’Amour/Ryan Nugent-Hopkins golf tournament for Cystic Fibrosis. Photo by Edward Hitchins/Campbell River Mirror
Some of the live auction items included artwork, such as Kimberly Thompsons “Gowland Harbour”. The piece is being showed off by Molly Burrows and Sarah Milligan. Photo by Edward Hitchins/Campbell River Mirror.
The organizing committee for the tournament, consisting of (from left) Joann Wallis, Chris Black, Grant Stewart and Todd Peachey (behind Rachel Black hugging Stewart) were gifted bouquets of flowers for their incredible efforts since 1996 by Rachel Black and Tara black on the far right. Photo by Edward Hitchins/Campbell River Mirror
This year’s champions, with a score of -13, were (from left) Dale Preston, Mike Benson, Bryce Benson and Skyler Brind’Amour, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Skyler’s dad, Rod Brind’Amour on either end. Photo by Edward Hitchins/Campbell River Mirror.