It was a perfect ending to a 30 year summer tradition in Belleville. A benefit golf tournament created by then St. Louis Blues captain Rick Meagher and good friend John Pepper in 1988 came to a close 29 years and more than 3 million dollars later at Trillium Wood Golf Course in Belleville. The 3 million dollar mark was reached during a sports auction conducted by Boyd Sullivan. The announcement drew a loud standing ovation.
(Brent McFarland, Steve Wilson, Pat Sagriff, Al Newman and Tim Osborne present a cheque in memory of Craig Kitchener)
As with the previous 29 tournaments it ended with a full field of 180 golfers including a star studded field of sports celebrities. (See list below)
(Hockey Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler models his famous Toronto Maple Leafs jersey being auctioned off by Boyd Sullivan)
The tournament raised just over $13,000 in its inaugural season with the funds donated to Easter Seals through the Rotary Club in Belleville.
Within two years the Volunteer Committee incorporated, allowing it to use all funds locally to assist children and youth with physical challenges.
The committee expanded its charitable scope to fund two fully accessible playgrounds at West Zwick’s and West Riverside Parks. Another playground will officially open at the Children’s Treatment Centre at Belleville General Hospital next week. The Medigas Celebrity Classic contributed $75,000 toward that project.
The tournament also created the “Driving Dreams for our Youth Scholarship” to assist students in area high schools entering an accredited college or university, in a health science field of study.
Randy McFarland of Medigas, the driving force behind the event for the last ten years says the success of the tournament will allow support for families in need of treatment and travel to continue into the future. He adds there could be a significant investment into another structure to enhance accessibility in the city.
Taking part in the final Medigas Celebrity Classic were:
Shawn Antoski Anaheim Ducks
Wendel Clark Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni
Nick Cousins Arizona Coyotes
Marc Crawford Associate Coach Ottawa Senators
Dnny Gare Buffalo Sabres Alumni
Gilles Gilbert Boston Bruins Alumni
Doug Gilmour Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni
Kelly Gruber Toronto Blue Jays Alumni
Dale Hawerchuk Winnipeg Jets Alumni
Dave Hutchison Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni
Al Iafrate Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni
Gary Leeman Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni
Don Lever Vancouver Canucks
Don Luce Buffalo Sabres Alumni
Terry Martin Buffalo Sabres Alumni
Cody McCormick Buffalo Sabres Alumni
Walt McKechnie Colorado Rockies Alumni
Jim McKenny Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni
Rick Meagher St Louis Blues Alumni
Kirk Muller Montreal Canadians Alumni
Mike Palmateer Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni
Andrew Peters New Jersey Devils Alumni
Lou Piccone Buffalo Bills Alumni
Brian Price Olympic Gold & Silver Men’s Eight Coxswain
Rob Ray Buffalo Sabres Alumni
Brad Richardson Phoenix Coyotes
Stephane Richer Montreal Canadien’s Alumni
Rene Robert Buffalo Sabres Alumni
Liisa Savijarvi Canadian Olympic Alpine Skier
Darry Sittler Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni
Andrew Shaw Montreal Canadiens
Scott Wilson Pittsburgh Penguins
Al Woods Woods Toronto Blue Jays Alumni