Tucker, Corson and Laraque to tee off at Rock golf tourney

Fourth-annual Timmins Rock NHL Celebrity Golf Tournament at Spruce Needles Golf Club on Thursday, Aug. 15

Thomas Perry
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The Timmins Rock have assembled a forward line that would leave even the most-feared NHL tough guy trembling in his skates.

Darcy Tucker, Shayne Corson and Georges Laraque — who will be the guests of honour at the fourth-annual Timmins Rock NHL Celebrity Golf Tournament at Spruce Needles Golf Club on Thursday, Aug. 15 — combined for 4,893 minutes in the penalties in their careers.

And given the high percentage of Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens supporters in Timmins, Rock president Ted Gooch figured the trio would be the ideal candidates to mingle with local fans on the golf course.

Corson was one of the three celebrities at last year’s tournament, but an upper-body injury limited his ability to swing a golf club.

“Shayne was here last year and he enjoyed it very much,” said Rock president Ted Gooch.

“With Darcy Tucker being his brother-in-law, he had some discussions about visiting Timmins and said if he had another opportunity to come up to Timmins, it would be worth it.

“We had the opportunity to book Darcy and through some communication with him, we thought it would be great to have them both come up and enjoy the event.”

Corson’s popularity, of course, crosses the fan bases of both the Canadiens and Maple Leafs since he played in both Montreal and Toronto during his NHL career (1,156, 273-420-693, 2,357).

The Barrie native also spent three seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, two with the St. Louis Blues and one with the Dallas Stars.

Tucker also played for both the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs during an NHL career (947, 215-261-476, 1,410) that saw him also make stops with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche.

“Riding the momentum off Doug Gilmour being here recently, where we had some new people out and we get new people out every fundraiser we have, we are certainly gaining momentum when we bring in NHL players,” Gooch said.

“People come out to one event and then they come back, which is great.

“We got a lot of good feedback from our Doug Gilmour night, so by announcing Darcy Tucker and Shayne Corson are coming to Timmins, we are certainly keeping smiles on the faces of Maple Leafs and Canadiens fans, for sure.”

The tournament’s third celebrity, Laraque, never wore the blue and white during his NHL career (695, 53-100-153, 1,126), but he did finish up with the Canadiens after earlier suiting up for the Oilers, the Phoenix Coyotes and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I think we have the perfect mix of players, for sure, being able to cater to Montreal and Toronto fans,” Gooch said.

“Georges spent a big part of his career in Edmonton and had a big stint with the Penguins and a little bit with Arizona, but a lot of Habs fans certainly remember him wearing the red, white and blue.

“This year, we will be able to satisfy both the Maple Leaf fans and the Habs fans and create a little bit more of a rivalry out on the course.”

When his playing career came to an end, Laraque turned to politics and briefly served as deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada, mixed it up with Mixed Martial Arts champion Georges St-Pierre, appeared in the movie Goon, published his autobiography (Georges Laraque: The Story of the NHL’s Unlikeliest Tough Guy) and challenged Quebec women’s cycling champion Lex Albrecht to a bike race up Mount Royal — which he lost.

Closer to the game he loves and grew up playing, Laraque is an avid hockey card collector and was the subject of a feature article in the July edition of Beckett Hockey — currently on newsstands in Timmins.

“He is a big collector and part of the business,” Gooch said.

“We are encouraging our fans to try and find some old Georges Laraque hockey cards, dig them out of their collections, and bring them out to get him to sign them.

“We will also see about presenting him with a full set of 2018-19, or even 2017-18 Timmins Rock hockey cards.”

Gooch noted the tournament will have the same format as previous events, with each of the celebrities set up at one of the par-three holes on the Spruce Needles Golf Course.

“We get feedback from the golfers after the tournament each year and people really like having them stationed at the par-threes,” Gooch said.

“It gives everybody an opportunity to come through and meet them all, have their photo taken with them and engage in a fun competition of trying to beat the pro, see if they can hit the ball closer to the pin.”

With the tournament being held the day before the Rock training camp opens at the McIntyre Arena, Gooch anticipates most — if not all — of the NOJHL team’s players will be on hand for the event.

“Training camp will officially open on Aug. 16, which is the Friday, so we are expecting the players to be here for the tournament on Aug. 15,” he said.

“It will give all the new guys a chance to meet all of the existing players in a fun environment before they have to get down to business.”

The menu for the meal that will follow the on-course action has not yet been announced, but the Rock will once again have an impressive list of merchandise up for grabs in the silent auction.

“We have some great signed memorabilia from some NHL players,” Gooch said.

“Those are always popular items with our bidders and we will have a pair of season tickets up for grabs for the coming season.

“We will also have some gear (gloves and helmets) available the Timmins Rock will be wearing during the upcoming season.

“We are looking forward to some other surprises, as well, that we will unveil the night of the event.”

Speaking of season tickets, Gooch reports sales have been quite positive this off-season, with the Rock coming off another successful campaign and many veterans back hoping to bring a championship to Timmins.

“We have actually broken an all-time record,” he said.

“Currently, we are at just passed the 190 mark, so we are very encouraged. We have had a lot of people who have not purchased season tickets before invest in the club.

“We want to keep building on that.

The tournament, set up as a four-person scramble, will feature a shotgun start at 1 p.m.

Organizers are targeting 75 teams, which Gooch points out would give the Rock a full field of golfers for the event.

“We seem to build momentum every year and the numbers keep increasing,” he said.

“We are optimistic we will be able to have a sellout.”

The $125 price for the tournament includes 18 holes of golf, dinner, a silent auction and the chance to meet the three former NHL stars.

Four-person teams can register for the tournament by emailing president@timminsrock.com

Gooch noted there will also be an option for those just interested in attending the dinner and meeting the former NHL stars, but not golfing in the tournament.

ROCK NOTES — With this being the fifth anniversary of the Rock returning to Timmins, the team will be unveiling a new third jersey prior to the puck dropping on the 2019-20 NOJHL campaign.