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Thursday brought a little sunshine, a little golf and a lot of money for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Foundation’s Northern Cancer Fund.
Whitewater Golf Course was the stage for the annual Thunder Bay Hockey Celebrity Golf Classic, which brought out the likes of Taylor and Tom Pyatt, Marc and Jordan Staal and NHL hopefuls Carter Hutton and Robert Bortuzzo.
The NHLers also learned they’ll be facing a little bit of pressure to put the puck in the net this season, with news that at least $350 a goal they score will be donated to the Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation to help send kids to camp.
“So anybody from Thunder Bay – the Staal brothers, the Pyatt brothers, Patrick Sharp, and the list goes on and on as we know – Tim Hortons owners are going to donate $300 for every goal. Freedom 55 has jumped on board for $50 a goal, up to $7,500,” said local Tim Hortons franchisee Brent Prepp.
The Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation sponsors six camps across Canada, which helps send up to 15,000 underprivileged kids to camp, including a group of local campers heading out early next week.
Prepp said the foundation is also building a leadership camp near Kenora for program graduates aged 14 to 17.
“They learn all kinds of life skills and they go every summer for five years. At the end of the summer Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation gives them a bursary to go to school. This camp will not only help those kids, but also local kids from Mantioba and Ontario who will be able to take bus rides off season and spend a week there to have tons of fun,” Prepp said.
The dollar-per-goal total is expected to rise, as other companies jump on board.
“This donation, along with anybody else who wants to get on board, local businesses, or individuals, any little bit helps. A dollar a goal, five dollars a goal, whatever we can do.”
“As of right now Tim Hortons has committed up to $30,000.”
Free agent forward Chris Porter, making his tournament debut in Thunder Bay, a city where he spent nine years growing up from age four to 13, said he’s already starting to feel the pressure of the goal program.
“Absolutely,” said Porter, who spent three seasons with the St. Louis Blues before filing for free agency on July 1. “Hopefully the guys light the lamp all year and they’re able to contribute to this great foundation.”
Porter, who scored four goals in 47 games with the Blues in 2011-12, is the son of former Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre chief of staff Gord Porter.
Not counting 2012, the tournament has raised more than $200,000 for the Northern Cancer Fund, all of which stays in Northwestern Ontario to support cancer diagnoses, treatment and research, said foundation president and CEO Glenn Craig.
“Events like this tournament have a direct impact on cancer patients in our community. Because of support like this, more people are living with cancer than dying from it,” Craig said.
It’s why an up-and-comer like Chicago Blackhawks goalie hopeful Carter Hutton always agrees to play each year when asked.
“It’s a great time to get on the golf course and play some games,” said Hutton, who warmed up Wednesday with former Fort William North Stars teammate Robert Bortuzzo for a practice round at Chapples Golf Course.
“But more importantly it’s a great chance to raise some money for charity. It’s a great day out here and all of us enjoy being here.”
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