For the 24th time, Rod Brind’Amour and others, including Edmonton Oiler star Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, teed off to raise funds to fight cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common fatal genetic disease affecting children and young adults.
Nugent-Hopkins has joined the local NHL legend in recent years in the tournament that now bears both their names.
“Every time we come back, we feel part of the community,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “It means a lot.”
On Saturday, the 24th annual Brind’Amour/Nugent-Hopkins Cystic Fibrosis Golf Classic went ahead, with 155 golfers signing up to play at Storey Creek Golf Club.
The event sold out again and typically raises between $115,000 and $120,000 each year for the campaign to fight cystic fibrosis. This year’s total was $122,000. Over the years, it has raised approximately $1.8 million for CF research.
On Saturday, every golf team met for a photo with Brind’Amour and Nugent-Hopkins and got to play one of the par three holes with the two NHL stars. When the golfing was done, the team of Dean Thulin, Brent Larmour, Brad Boyce, Adam Taft and Derek Lebouef finished as the top team. In the KP, or closest to the pin drive, the top performers were Dale Preston, Andy Carter, Liz Stirret, Cathy McCartney and Dave Wacowich. For the putting contest, the top honours went to Dave Paquin in first place; Anthony Kiddle, second place; and Pat Kelly, third place.
The celebration dinner and auction followed at the Sportsplex, with nearly 30 dining tables filling the hall, along with the rows of auction items that included everything from big tickets items to signed sports memorabilia.
Following the meal, MC and former Campbell Riverite Kyle Bukauskas from Rogers Sportsnet hosted a question-and-answer session once again with the two NHL stars. The questions, submitted by the golfers, covered topics such as video review in the NHL, how Nugent-Hopkins got interested in horse racing and what Carolina needs to do to repeat its success this past season.
Brind’Amour was asked about the Hurricanes’ famed post-game home celebrations for fans known as the Storm Surge and what was behind it.
“It was engaging the fans,” he said.
Nugent-Hopkins was asked about his expectations for his own team with the signing of coach Dave Tippett.
“He’s going to provide consistency and steadiness,” he said.
Near the end of the night, people viewed a video of Kim Black Wood, who first contacted Brind’Amour about the tournament years ago, to update her progress with CF.
“It’s kind of forced me to really not take anything for granted,” she said. “I can see how quickly things can change, how quickly things can go bad…. Life is just way too short.”
She talked about other friends with CF that have passed away, and she mentioned a study in which she is taking part and how a drug she is taking has corrected one of the gene mutations she has from CF – in effect, correcting how CF affects her body.
“My health has been phenomenal,” she said. “I just never knew that feeling this way was possible because I never knew anything different.”
She said the medication was a direct result of “years and years and years” of fundraising. However, there will still be challenges after the study, even if the treatment is approved, because of the need for people to be able to access the medicine.
“Having that drug taken away … is unimaginable,” she said.
After the video was finished, she took to the stage to thank Brind’Amour, Nugent-Hopkins, Bukauskas and everyone for helping the cause.
“Every day, 365 days a year, I fight cystic fibrosis … I’ve never known anything different,” she said. “I want everyone here tonight to know that when I come here for one night a year, it’s really nice to have you fight for me and everybody else who has cystic fibrosis.”
In a later news release, the golf tournament organizers said they were grateful to the many major sponsors of the tournament, businesses donating cash or auction items, golfers, dinner attendees and volunteers for helping to support the fight against cystic fibrosis.