Howie Meeker was back in town on Saturday to co-host the 31st annual Howie Meeker Golf Classic.
The 95-year-old Meeker has attended his namesake tournament every year of its running and was in fine form again Saturday when the fundraiser for Campbell River Special Olympics was held at its new location, the Campbell River Golf and Country Club on Petersen Road. Another change this year is Meeker has taken on a co-host in the person of North Island hockey product and former NHLer Clayton Stoner, who took up his new duties as event co-host.
The event includes the golf tournament, which featured 175 golfers this year – completely sold out – as well as the usual gala banquet and auction held at the Thunderbird Hall. All proceeds of the event go to funding Campbell River Special Olympics programs.
Stoner gave the keynote speech at the banquet and talked about how willing he was to get involved with Campbell River Special Olympics and how inspiring Special Olympics athletes are. Having grown up in Port McNeill – “like Campbell River but better” – and passing through Campbell River for a couple of years where he played for the Junior B Campbell River Storm, Stoner had the opportunity to realize his dream to play professional hockey in the NHL.
And like everyone else involved in the Howie Meeker Golf Classic, his goal is to help Campbell River’s Special Olympians realize their dreams.
“The more money we can raise for them, the more opportunity we can give them to pursue their dreams, just like I had a chance to,” Stoner said.
Stoner said he first got to meet a lot of the athletes at a meeting at the Campbell River Curling Club last winter and was impressed with how positive the athletes were.
“I left that meeting with those athletes thinking, wow, you know, here I am, just retired from hockey, making a lot of money, and here I have been watching these athletes and taking a note from their page. They are just truly inspiring people,” he said.
With that being said, more money was raised from the auctions. The winning teams from the tournament were also announced.
In first place was “Your Salmon Farmers”; second place went to “Good to Great” and third places was Greig Seafoods.