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Trottier, Weight & Donovan at the ICF Golf Event

September 19, 2012, 4:38 PM ET [49 Comments]
Dee Karl
New York Islanders Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
It was a beautiful day to be at Bethpage Park, especially on the golf course. This was the fifth annual New York Islanders Golf outing and the weather decided to cooperate this year. Of course, due to the situation with the NHL lockout, the cast of characters changed a little, but there were plenty of hockey celebrities and future stars to go around with the links. There were thirty-three foursomes heading out to enjoy the sunshine and conversation with the likes of Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies, Mike Bossy, Garth Snow, Doug Weight and many others.

In an effort to make things more enjoyable for the fans who donated to the ICF, some Islander notables were stationed at a specific hole so that every got a chance to meet them. With the current NHL situation there was a considerable lack of media attention, but News12 was there doing their due diligence and then asking for a golf cart to go out and corner Garth Snow while he couldn't evade them. He was stationed at hole 7, so he was a captive subject for the camera. Too bad I have Fios and won't get to see that one.

Doug Weight, always the NHL Ambassador, spent time with the cameras before being stuck in front of my old Olympus recorder.

As I know nothing about golf, I have always found it odd that men who play the fastest game in the world seem to all enjoy playing one of the slowest.

"People like to think that it's a perfect fit, but it is two different speeds. I think it's the fact that we get the summer's off, and what do you do in the summer? You gotta work out and you gotta go find a golf course. It's a fun thing to do and one you can do for the rest of your life with your family and your good friends. For me, golf is SO addicting and it's such a great sport because I can play with a guy who can barely hit the ball and STILL have a great time." Doug also said he enjoyed the time it takes to play so you can actually get to know the people he plays with.

Thinking that perhaps someone younger may have a different reason, I asked Matt Donovan why he thought hockey players gravitated towards golf. "I'm not sure, but I think it's because it's something we can do in the off-season that is relaxing and somehow correlates to the swing and the slap-shot. But I think it's just relaxing for us to get away from the rink and get some open air and have fun with friends." Donovan's accent makes him seem more like a baseball player than your typical hockey player, but he made a good point regarding the swing and the motion of striking that golf ball…that's not moving…

Doug Weight brought up that fact. "It's a game where you never know where that darn ball is going, and the ball's not moving. It should be a lot easier! It's a tough and challenging game. It is addicting and we love to play it."

As most men do, they also love to boast about who is better. While I was talking to Donovan, Matt Moulson's brother-in-law, Sean Backman chimed in with "I'm better than THIS guy." Oh, the competitive spirit, even relaxing on the green. Sean was hoping for a hole-in-one since he was being stationed at a par 3, hole 17 and he'd have a lot of chances to try.

But they were really there for the money, the money for the Islanders Children's Fund. Golf and Charity go well together because of the time people get to spend with celebrities. Throw in a Hall-of-Fame player like Bryan Trottier and you've got a winning combination for everyone involved. Trottier was gracious and charming as ever, a true gentleman through and through. I asked him how many Charity Golf outings he does in the summer and he told me he has slowed down a bit and now only does about ten. TEN? That's slowing down? But he enjoys every minute.

"I think it's a good reflection on our hockey fans. They really enjoy the time spent -- four or five hours -- with a hockey player and get to ask him hockey questions. That's really fun for the fans. For us, we really enjoy talking hockey with the fans and these are the ones paying a good dollar to donate to a charity that we are all supporting. We're always trying to raise funds for the community or various charities, and all of them are SO important. So, when we get the kind of support that we get, it's exciting for everybody. Whether you're a hockey player, a baseball player, a football player -- it is just really cool to get out there and talk to people who are bringing out their checkbooks for donations. That's an easy day for us."

Now, of course I had to ask these gentlemen if they had any stories they could share about fellow hockey players on the greens. Trottier's eyes lit up and a broad smile came over his face. "Only good ones. All good ones. We played an Alumni Golf event probably three years ago, we were up in Saskatoon. Kenny Morrow hit a hole-in-one! Five iron, 175 yards, three bounces. I thought he jumped higher then when we got the Stanley Cup. I wasn't there for the birth of his children but I don't think he could have jumped much higher than he did that day. He was pretty excited." And many of his Islander Dynasty Alumni were there that day to watch it.

Doug Weight shared a story of a fellow player rolling a cart so deep, nose first, into the ground that it took two cranes to get it out. But that was nothing compared to "You know the old cliché that when you don't hit it passed the women's tee, so there's been some guys playing a couple of holes here in their underwear." I had no idea what that meant, but I laughed out loud. #ReporterFail

For Sean Backman, his favorite story is the one where he played golf with Matt Donovan only a few weeks ago and got dinner out of it. "So that was a fun story." He smiled as he was needling his buddy. But Donovan had to remind him of something, "Ask him about the 'closest to the pin challenge!'" he directed me. "What?" Again, I have no idea what these guys are talking about when they talk golfese. "Oh, right. We had a closest to the pin challenge on the last hole and he managed to win that." Sean said reluctantly.

It was almost noon and the golf carts were lined up and heading out towards the Red course. It would be a great day of hockey talk, laughter and a sizable donation for a good group of causes. If you've ever wondered about the ICF, it is actually a group of charities that all benefit from the generous donations of the Islander fans. The Islanders try to never turn down requests for donations for worthy charities, whether it's ticket donations, signed memorabilia, player visits or these outings where substantial money is generated. They are dedicated to philanthropy and showing those fans that donate a good time.

Today, everyone got what they paid for.

The Sandtrap: In other news, the NHL has cancelled all pre-season games for September and have cut back to a four day work week and a 20% salary reduction while clubs have started to lay-off employees. It is said that the "historic" first hockey game in Brooklyn between the Isles and Devils will be cancelled in the next day or so.

Griffin Reinhart has been named Captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings. That's the good news department.

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