SUMMERSIDE — It’s going to be a star-studded three days, a sports fanatic’s dream.
And it’s all in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Summerside.
Two of the club’s biggest events — the two-day Celebrity Golf Tournament and Celebrity Dinner — are set for next week and the lineup of celebrities taking part is the biggest to date, says the club’s executive director, Adam Binkley.
Names like hockey legend Bobby Hull, his brother Dennis, former Toronto Blue Jays player and four-time Gold Glove winner Tony Fernadez, Toronto Maple Leaf captain Dion Phaneuf, two-time Olympic gold medalist, Summerside’s own Heather Moyse and teammate, Kaillie Humphries, and the world’s most famous hockey dad, Walter Gretzky are just some of the celebrities coming out to support the club.
“We are very lucky where the celebrities that come here really want to be here. They don’t just show up and play golf,” said Binkley. “They want to find out what they are actually supporting. So, when they see the 80 children being served breakfast and the 200 plus registered in the summer camps each day for both camps, they are just blown away.”
The week starts off with the Re/Max Harbourside Celebrity Dinner Monday at Credit Union Place. Head table guests include Moyse, Humphries, Fernadez, one of hockey’s greatest players, ‘The Golden Jet’ Bobby Hull and his brother, Dennis, Islanders coach Gordie Dwyer, Ray Bourque and Summerside son, Florida Panthers head coach, Gerard Gallant.
During the dinner, which starts with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and is emceed by George Matthews, the club will name its Volunteer of the Year, the Larry Gallant Memorial Boy and Girl of the Year awards and its Gold Rush Legacy scholarship.
A new clothing line will also be launched and, as part of 2014 celebrations, members will perform excerpts of the club’s play, “Happy Birthday, Canada.”
For Walter Gretzky, a long-time supporter of the club, it will be his last Celebrity Dinner. Marty McSorely, who played with the LA Kings alongside The Great One, will make a presentation to the elder Gretzky.
“It’s his last trip to P.E.I., so we have to celebrate it in a big way,” added Binkley. “He is leaving a huge legacy behind, not only the money he’s helped raise but he’s leaving the Walter Gretzky Legacy Ball Hockey Program, too.”
And, said Binkley, there will be a presentation by the Summerside Rotary Club, details of which he wouldn’t divulge. He did say it is tied in with the club’s planned Youth Engagement Centre, set to open later this year and aimed at providing programming to reduce youth addiction and crimes within Summerside.
Tuesday and Wednesday, golfers hit the links at the Summerside Golf and Country Club for the 11th annual Celebrity Golf Tournament.
A total of 80 teams — 40 each day — have signed up. And, added Binkley, there was a waiting list of teams. A celebrity will join each three-member team for a day of golfing, prizes and steak and lobster dinner.
There’s also a live and silent auction, with silent auction items also up for bid on the club’s Facebook page.
“We have tons of autographed memorabilia, from Crosby to Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Dion Phaneuf — all types of items from our local celebrities and from our special guests,” added Binkley. “On the course, we have an event or an activity at every hole.”
There are big prizes up for grabs, with Summerside Chrysler Dodge sponsoring three hole-in-one vehicles and even a Harley Davidson, courtesy of Red Rock Harley Davidson, available to win.
Money raised, $40,000 to $50,000 annually, supports the club’s breakfast and after school programs and, this year, the Youth Engagement Centre.
“There are always programs to develop. We never just put our feet up,” said Binkley. “We are always pushing and pushing and trying to meet the needs of the citizens of Summerside and the changing trends.”
For the club’s executive director, a highlight of the three days will be having many of the celebrities visit the club and speak to its members.
He especially excited to have Travis Price, one of the creators of Pink Shirt Day, visit.
Moyse, a long-time supporter of the club, will also stop by along with Humphries.
And it will be a homecoming for Gerard Gallant, who grew up at the club.
“He is an unbelievable guy,” said Binkley. “He exemplifies the perfect role model and leader and perfect person for our kids to look up to.”
He added, “It’s not just a golf tournament. We’re bring these community celebrities and a few celebrities from off Island to mentor, to be great role, models, to hang out with the kids and to teach them some valuable life lessons, too, while they are here.”
Tickets are still available for Monday night’s dinner by contacting the club or online at ssidebgclub.com.
Anyone interested in volunteering at the dinner or during the golf tournament out can contact Samantha at 303-4884.