The Howie Meeker Golf Classic will have a new look this year.
After many years at Storey Creek Golf Club, the charity golf tournament is moving to Campbell River Golf and Country Club.
There will also be a new face on the green as an ambassador for the Campbell River Special Olympics’ largest annual fundraiser.
North Island hockey player Clayton Stoner will be joining 95-year-old Howie Meeker as co-host.
“We’re really happy to have Clayton Stoner,” said chairman Dale Peterson.
The tournament will remain in Meeker’s name, however both hockey players will be ambassadors for the event, said Peterson.
Stoner, 34, started his hockey career on Vancouver Island, playing Junior B with the Storm. He spent most of his NHL career with the Minnesota Wild and the Anaheim Ducks. He joined the Vegas Golden Knights staff this year.
The passing of the torch was announced at last year’s Howie Meeker Golf Classic banquet at Thunderbird Hall.
Since lending his name to the event, Meeker has attended every year.
Meeker has enjoyed a long career involved in the hockey world. He is the last surviving member of the 1947 Maple Leafs Stanley Cup team. Meeker was named the NHL’s top rookie that same year. He also won the Stanley Cup with the Maple Leafs in 1949 and 1951.
The tournament is an important fundraiser for Campbell River Special Olympics. The team’s 130 athletes benefit from the event, which helps to fund 60 per cent of their annual budget. The athletes have the opportunity to participate in more than a dozen sports year-round.
But it’s not just athletics for the pariticipants, the programs also offer opportunities to build life and leadership skills, as well as friendships.
“All the money stays here,” said Peterson. “That’s a good cause.”
But if you’re not already signed up for the golf classic, you’ll have to wait until next year. The event is completely sold out with 33 teams taking part in the 18-hole scramble.
Peterson said the golf classic remains a favourite for many of the golfers. There’s an event happening at almost every hole and challenges throughout the day. Not to mention the prizes – which this year include roundtrip airfare for two people to anywhere Westjet flies – are highly contested.
Each team will be paired up with a local Special Olympic athlete, who will caddy for them throughout the day.
The date of next year’s event has already been decided. Mark your calendars for Aug. 15, 2020.