Rock tee-up 3 ex-NHLers

TIMMINS – The Timmins Rock have teed up an impressive lineup for former NHLers for their third-annual 4-Person Scramble at the Hollinger Golf Club on Saturday, Aug. 18.

By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)

Headlining the trio is four-time Stanley Cup champion goaltender Billy Smith, of the New York Islanders, who had originally been scheduled to attend the 2017 Timmins Rock 4-Person Scramble but was forced to bow out in favour of teammate Butch Goring.

Joining Smith on the links will be two-time Stanley Cup champion Kevin Stevens and Shayne Corson — one of the few NHL players to experience both sides of the Montreal Canadiens-Toronto Maple Leafs rivalry.

Ted Gooch, president of the Rock, noted the tournament — which is open to 35 four-person teams — will feature a shotgun start at 1 p.m.

“We would certainly consider that to be a sellout, so we are encouraging people to register sooner, rather than later,” he said.

“They can register this year right at the pro shop at the Hollinger, or by emailing to submit their team.”

Gooch noted the switch from Spruce Needles Golf Club — site of the first two team tournaments — is simply to give the golfers a chance to experience playing the Hollinger, while being fair two both courses.

“The folks at Spruce Needles did a wonderful job of hosting our tournament the last two years and we were very happy with the way things went,” Gooch said.

“We decided to switch things up this year just so the golfers have a chance to play the Hollinger this year.”

After having Wendel Clark and Goring participate in their 2017 event, the Rock are pleased to be able to bring in three former NHL stars this year.

“We keep trying to raise the bar every year,” Gooch said.

“We are looking forward to fans being able to come out, meet them and grab some photos and autographs.”

Like last year, the game plan is for each of the former NHLers to be set up at one of the par-three holes, so that all of the golfers get a chance to meet them as they complete their 18-hole rounds.

“We got a lot of good feedback last year from having them stationed at one hole each, as it allowed the teams the opportunity to stop and chat with them when they got to those holes,” Gooch said.

“They had a chance to grab a photo of their foursome with the former NHLers.

“This year again, we will have a little contest where the former NHLers will also be hitting balls onto the par-threes.

“The teams will have a chance to hit the ball closer to the pin and put their names in for a prize.”

Smith, who became the first NHL goalie to score a goal in a game against the Colorado Rockies in 1979, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993.

Smith was part of the Islanders dynasty that won four-consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980-83.

All but five of his 680 NHL games were played in an Islanders uniform and he amassed 305 victories, 22 shutouts, a 3.17 goals against average and an .874 saves percentage during the regular season.

In 132 playoff games, he added 88 wins, six shutouts, a 2.73 goals against average and a .905 saves percentage.

In addition to four Stanley Cup rings, Smith’s trophy case includes a Vezina Trophy, a Conn Smythe Trophy and William M. Jennings Trophy.

The Islanders retired his No. 31 jersey in 1993.

Stevens, who also played for the Boston Bruins, the Los Angeles Kings, the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers, won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992.

In 874 regular season games, Stevens scored 329 goals and added 397 assists for 726 points, while spending 1,470 minutes in the penalty box.

During 103 playoff games, he added 46 goals and 60 assists for 106 points, to go along with 170 minutes in penalties.

The Brockton, Mass., native played in three All-Star games and set a record for the most goals (17) in one playoff season in 1991.

Despite playing on some good NHL teams, the Stanley Cup eluded Corson during his 1,156-game NHL career.

He scored 273 goals during that span and added 420 assists for 693 points, while spending 2,357 minutes in the sin bin.

In 140 playoff games, he scored 38 goals and chipped in 49 assists to total 87 points, to go along with 291 penalty minutes.

Drafted eighth overall by the Canadiens in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Corson also spent time with the Edmonton Oilers, the St. Louis Blues, the Maple Leafs and the Dallas Stars.

With the tournament being two days prior to the start of the Rock’s main training camp on Aug. 20, Gooch anticipates many of the players and members of the coaching staff will be on hand, as well.

“All of our players will be in town that weekend,” he said.

“They are expected to be at the McIntyre Arena for weigh-ins and to meet with the coaching staff on the Sunday, so we have asked them to arrive in town a day early and be part of this great event on the Saturday.

“It will give some of the new players a chance to break the ice and meet some great former NHL players at the same time.”

After everything is finished on the course, there will be a dinner and silent auction with many impressive items up for grabs.

“We will have a Joe Thornton signed and framed jersey available this year, as well as some photographs of NHLers people will be able to bid on,” Gooch said

“There will be another big prize table like we have had at all of our previous fundraising events.”

Gooch notes you don’t have to be a great golfer to participate in the event.

“Golfers of all skill levels are welcome,” he said.

“It is a four-person scramble, which means all four players take a shot and then they choose whichever shot was the best to play from there.

“So, there is not a lot of pressure individually to be a good golfer. It is all about coming out and having fun.

“Although we do unofficially count the scores, there are no winners or losers. It is all about coming out, having fun and raising money for the hockey club.”