Two athletes who’ve shown the world how talented they are with a hockey stick showed the Comox Valley they’re also pretty handy with a golf club last week at Glacier Greens.
Comox native Ty Wishart and Calgary’s Cassie Campbell-Pascall were the celebrity guests at the inaugural Comox Taxi Team Charity Golf Tournament on June 29. The duo were stationed at the par-three 15th hole where they hit a shot for each team – and made hitting the green look easy.
Campbell, a commentator with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, has won 21 medals with Canada’s national women’s team and is the only captain (male or female) to lead Canada to two Olympic gold medals. She captained the national team from 2001 to her retirement in 2006, making her the longest serving captain in Canadian hockey history.
Wishart, with the New York Islanders, helped Canada capture the 2007 Canada/Russia Super Series, captained Canada’s National Under-18 Team at the 2006 IIHF World Championship (finishing fourth) and won a gold medal with Canada’s National Under-18 Team at the Junior World Cup in 2005.
During the Comox Taxi tourney, the two took a tee shot to help each team and had a side bet of $1 (later raised to $10 by a generous tourney participant) going to add to the fundraising proceeds. At the end of the day, they were tied with 12 shots that had been on the green and closer to the pin than the other.
“Jeff Edwards was kind enough to donate $200 if Cassie and Ty did a putt-off to settle the competition, and Cassie won,” said tournament chairperson John Lalonde. “We truly appreciate Cassie and Ty taking the time out of their busy schedules to come out and support our two charities, Comox Military Family Resource Centre and The LINC Youth Centre.”
The tourney afforded Wishart time to visit family and friends in the Valley before heading to the Okanagan for summer conditioning. The Islanders’ camp opens mid-September, and the 6′,5″, 220-pound defenceman says he will be travelling to New York a couple of times a month until then to skate with the Isles.
The Islanders acquired the former first-round draft pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning for goaltender Dwayne Roloson last season, and Wishart feels the deal has benefitted both teams. “It obviously worked out well for Roloson there. For me, being young, I get the opportunity to play more.” (After spending most his Lightning career with their AHL affiliate, he played 20 NHL games after joining New York last season).
The Isles have made him a qualifying offer for next season, and Wishart says, “…that’s always good news. They want me back.” And he is happy to be going back, as he feels the rebuilding franchise’s future is bright. “It’s going to be an exciting team for the next couple of years. We’ve got a lot of really good, young guys who are potential all-stars.”
Wishart is focussed on his goal for next season. “I just want to be full time, to get established. It’s up to me more than anything else. My training is going really well so far and they’re happy with me. So I have to go have a strong camp and give it my best shot.”
Campbell is no stranger to the Island, as she is married to Brad Pascall (vice-president of Hockey Canada) and her father-in-law Bernie Pascall (longtime BCTV TV sportscaster) lives in Parksville. “We visit two or three times a year,” she said.
While corporate speaking on behalf of her sponsors and various causes – and a new baby daughter – takes up more of her time than golf tournaments, she was pleased to help out her longtime buddy Lalonde.
The two first connected in 2003 when Lalonde coordinated a trip for her, Tiger Williams and Kirk McLean to visit Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Campbell runs an annual street hockey tournament in Calgary to benefit Ronald McDonald House (a charity she’s been an ambassador for since 1997) and Lalonde helps her organize that event each year.
“We sort of have a bond, I guess. When he asked about this (tournament), I said no problem,” Campbell said.
Campbell is the first woman to do colour commentating on HNIC and is looking forward to her sixth season there next year. She has also worked as a TV analyst for TSN’s women’s hockey coverage.
Along with McDonalds Canada, Campbell lends her name and expertise to the Chevrolet Safe and Fun Hockey Program (in conjunction with Mike Bossy and Bobby Orr) as well as hockey-related programs run by Scotiabank and Gatorade.