Eskimos score big

IROQUOIS FALLS - There were plenty of winners during the 2014 Abitibi Eskimos Three-Person Scramble at the Abitibi Golf Club in Iroquois Falls on Saturday.

The team of Skip Joseph, Carol Lacroix and Gary Durling, for example, won the Clyde Peever Memorial Trophy given to the group that finishes with the best score in the best-ball event.

They combined to shoot a 66 — tying the threesome of John Blais, Tim Swartz and Andre Gauvin for the best round.

Thanks to progression, Joseph, Lacroix and Durling earned bragging rights, personalized Abitibi Eskimos jerseys and will have their names engraved on the trophy.

“We were very surprised, we didn’t expect to do that well,” said Joseph, captain of the team.

“The biggest thing was not having one person missing at the same time. That helped a lot. If you have everybody missing at the same time you don’t do as well.”

It was the third year that the team has taken part in the Eskimos tournament.

Being the lone lady on the team, Lacroix didn’t have any issues tying to keep her teammates in line.

“No, no, I was just trying to do my best,” she said.

“It was them doing the good work. It was a beautiful day and we had lots of fun for a good cause.”

Durling was quick to credit the captain of the team for much of their success.

“The secret for us was Skip Joseph making the putts and Carol his good shots,” he said.

“I told Skip and Carol after hole No. 13 that if we make a birdie we have a chance of winning the tournament.”

Finishing second still earned Blais, Swartz and Gauvin some nifty prizes.

The biggest winner of the day, however, did not sink a put, chip onto a green or drill a tee shot 350 yards down the middle of a fairway.

Tim Olaveson, an Eskimos season ticket holder who lives in Matheson, won the 2014 Eskimos Club Car Draw, taking home a gas-powered golf cart decked out in Eskimos colours valued at $6,500.

More than a fundraiser for the hockey club, the Abitibi Eskimos Three-Person Scramble is viewed as a social event for the entire community.

“It was perfect weather for the golf, it was an excellent turnout and everybody had a great time,” said Eskimos president Scott Marshall.

“We are very pleased.

“The fundraising is kind of secondary. We are not out to make a lot of money. It is a very small part of our budget.

“It’s more of a season kickoff for us and a get together after the summer. It is a fun event. If anybody comes into our tournament and they are really serious, they don’t get invited back. The intent here is to have fun, that’s it. As long as everybody has fun and they have a good meal, then it has been a great day.”

The good meal served up on Saturday included a hip of beef cooked on a spit over charcoal coals — a process that started early in the morning and ended just before the meal was served — along with all the fixings.

“The golf cart draw, that is a fundraiser and ticket sales were pretty good. At the end of the day, we will probably make $2,500 profit, which is about 1% of our budget.

On the course, Marshall was pleased with the way his team played.

“We did okay,” he said.

“We were +1, which for us is pretty good. None of us play very much golf, but it was good.

“The last four, or five holes were pretty tough. We were starting to run out of gas and, of course, had had a couple of beverages today, too.

“No. 4 here is always the toughest hole, though. It is a strong par-four.

Eskimos coach and general manager Paul Gagne, whose NHL career included a stop in Toronto with the Maple Leafs, has had plenty of experience on a golf course.

“This tournament is a great, great set up, with 25 teams,” he said.

“It is good for the community and good for the club. Everybody is having a good time, the weather is good.

“Our score is not the greatest, but we are having a good time.”

When asked to describe his team’s round, Gagne said: “Up, down, left, right, all over the place. Maybe one, or two good shots, but the rest were not good.”

Asked which hole had given his group the most difficult challenge, Gagne said: “All 18 of them.”

Eskimos goalie coach Steve Hamel was enjoying a little better day than his head coach.

“It is an awesome event,” he said.

“Just a great time, good people and it’s just fun to be out here.”

Hamel was not too worried about what score he was shooting.

“It’s all about having a great time and the score well, it is what it is.”

Terry Gauthier, whose husband Mitch is a member of the Eskimos board of directors, was enjoying the chance to show the guys how it is done.

“They are a great group of guys and I have not complaints about them,” she said.

“They are good golfers and good sportsmen. I love the tournament. I have been coming for a few years and Mitch and I really enjoy it. It is a lot of work, but we enjoy it.”

Marshall was a close friend of Clyde Peever, the man the trophy awarded to the top team is named after.

“Clyde was a buddy of mine for many years,” he said.

“In 2002, maybe our third tournament, he called his wife from the No. 6 tee, just to let her know he was having a great day. She had been called in to work and she couldn’t play that day.

“Then he walked 200 feet his ball and then that was it. He had a massive heart attack and passed away. So, knowing Clyde the way I did, for as many years as I did, I think if he had a choice of ways to check out, that would have been one of the ones he would have picked.

“It kind of put a damper on things, but now we have a trophy in his honour and play every year for the Clyde Peever Memorial Trophy.”

Clyde Peever’s wife, Nicky, played in the tournament and presented the trophy that bears his name.

“It is something that is very dear to my heart.” she said.

“It brings out every that happened 12 years ago, but I know it’s for a good cause, which makes it all worthwhile.

“Clyde wasn’t the best golfer, but he enjoyed being out there and spending time with the family and his friends, enjoying the outdoors. That is what meant the most to him.

Nicky Peever feels her husband likely would get a chuckle out of the knowledge that his name is on the championship trophy.

“He probably would be laughing at Scott right now, because I don’t think he ever would have thought anybody would have a trophy in his memory,” she said.

“Him and Scott were good buddies and we, as a family, really appreciate what Scott has done for his memory.”

In addition to be an avid golfer, Clyde Peever was also a big hockey fan and supporter of the Eskimos.

“This (tournament) is not just about the golf,” Nicky Peever said.

“It’s about the hockey in this town and it is one way that everybody can give back to the community and support the sport for our young people in this town.”