Celebrity golf and hockey a homecoming highlight

The 22nd annual Smithers Celebrity Golf tournament is just around the corner.

Manny Malhotra

Manny Malhotra

The 22nd annual Smithers Celebrity Golf tournament is just around the corner and with Centennial celebrations in full swing, this year’s edition will feature a few extras events for the crowd.

Festivities kick off on Aug. 8 with a celebrity hockey game at the Smithers Civic Centre. Some CIHL all-stars from around the league will go head-to-head with a collection of celebrity players, a list that includes local legends Dan Hamhuis and brothers Jim and Joe Watson, former NHL first team all-star Charlie Simmer and former Canucks’ top pick Dennis Ververgaert. It’s the first celebrity hockey game the event organizers have held in more than a decade.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and tickets are $15. So far, the game is about 70 per cent sold out, but there will be tickets available at the door. Fans will also get a chance to play with the pros. A $20 donation to the Bulkley Valley Hospital Foundation on the Smithers Celebrity Golf website enters you into a draw for one of the two spots available.

The following day, a few businesses around town will hold celebrity autograph sessions. Starting at 10 a.m., Glacier Toyota, Frontier Chrysler, Coast Mountain GM and the Bulkley Valley Credit Union will host concurrent, hour-long sessions with the celebrities. The businesses will take donations for charities and have photo ops as well.

Quite a few non-sports celebrities have also made the trip up this year. Some of the headliners include Hilary Farr and David Visentin from Love it or List it,  and Steve Darling, from Global News and CKNW.

“They’ve asked me before, but the weekend always conflicted with another event I was at,” said Darling. “But this year the dates worked out. I’m really excited to come up here and see this part of the province. I hear it’s a very well run, professional event, and the weather is supposed to be good. My golf game is good, my hockey, not so much.”

Event organizer Kent Delwisch had no trouble finding willing celebrity participants.

“Every year some of the celebrities tell us they would like to come back,” said Delwisch. “They have a great time, then they tell friends and word of mouth gets around.” The golf tournament begins on Saturday morning, with the celebrities arriving at the golf course via Canadian Helicopter. The shotgun start begins at 10:30 a.m., and should finish in the early evening.

Once the round is finished, the golf club will host a banquet at 7 p.m., followed by a live auction. There are some amazing prizes up for grabs, including Dan Hamhuis’ personal Canucks tickets, that come with a dressing room tour and a package trip to Vancouver, a similar Flyers package donated by the Watson’s, a trip to watch the Seahawks in Arizona, Super Bowl tickets and a bevy of signed and framed jerseys. The public is welcome to come to the auction if they aren’t playing in the tournament.

Over the last two years the event has raised more than $90,000 for charities in the Smithers area.