Despite a soggy start, the Gord Brown Memorial Golf Tournament took place at Smuggler’s Glen near Gananoque, Ont., Wednesday. The fundraiser for the YMCA of Eastern Ontario attracts not only plenty of competitors but some special guests as well.
This year the guest list was star-studded, with former NHLers Larry Robinson, Al Iafrate and Todd Gill headlining.
“To do these things is an honour and something I enjoy doing. You get to see a lot of familiar faces and have a lot of fun,” Gill, a former Toronto Maple Leaf, said.
“Everyone loves hockey, and hockey has been my life,” Iafrate said. “So I think using hockey as a platform to help communities and charities.”
Gill is no stranger to the area, growing up in nearby Cardinal. He also played for and owned the Brockville Braves, and served as head coach of the Kingston Frontenacs.
The tournament even allowed Montreal Canadiens legend Robinson the chance to reminisce about his playing days down the 401 in Brockville, where a snowstorm and a cancelled game in Cornwall led him to the Braves.
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“It just so happened that Dan Dexter was at that game and invited me to the Brockville training camp, I think two days later,” Robinson said. “So I went to the training camp as a centreman and ended up as a defenceman.
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“So I guess I can thank Brockville Braves for my career.”
The tournament raises much-needed funds for the United Way of Leeds Grenville as well as the YMCA of Eastern Ontario, where the money allows underprivileged youth the opportunity to play sports.
“Around 25 per cent of all of our access is subsidized,” YMCA Eastern Ontario CEO Rob Adams said. “So basically one in every four people receive some sort of subsidy from the YMCA so it’s quite significant.”
And raising money for sports, through sports was important to the late member of Parliament for whom the tournament is named.
“Sports was huge to Gord,” Gord’s brother, Jeff Brown, said. “He was particularly a huge hockey fan and he put together a model of raising funds through his charity hockey game and raised well over a million dollars before his passing.”
Since then, his legacy has lived on, with friends and family raising nearly another million in his name.
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