Sports

Asham golf tournament celebrates decade 0

By Kevin Hirschfield, The Graphic

Child and Family Services of Central Manitoba Foundation administrator Nancy Funk, left, and Portage la Prairie pro hockey player Arron Asham on Tuesday at the CFS building in Portage la Prairie. (Kevin Hirschfield/THE GRAPHIC)

Child and Family Services of Central Manitoba Foundation administrator Nancy Funk, left, and Portage la Prairie pro hockey player Arron Asham on Tuesday at the CFS building in Portage la Prairie. (Kevin Hirschfield/THE GRAPHIC)

The Arron Asham’s Chance 2 Play golf tournament has reached a milestone year and the charity’s namesake couldn’t be happier.

 

The 10th anniversary of the tournament goes next Friday, July 18, at the Portage Golf Club with around 150 golfers participating and the Portage pro hockey player says the charity continues to get stronger and stronger.

“After the first few years with all the support and the community rallying around the charity, its been going strong,” said Asham. “Hopefully, we can keep this going for 10 more and as long as we can.”

The program provides hockey opportunities for area children who are in difficult economic circumstances. Approximately $77,000 of equipment and hockey registration has been paid for thanks to the charity.

The golf tournament alone has consistently raised around $25,000 the last few years.

“For a small community like Portage, I think that’s great,” Asham said. “Hopefully, someday we’ll reach a million dollars (total) raised. That’s a goal of mine.”

The tournament is once again a sellout, as it’s been for the past several years. Golfers have had the option to register for the next year’s tournament at the current one, and most have taken advantage of that. Asham says that’s a far cry from the first year or two.

“It was nerve-racking the first few years, “ he said. “We were just trying to fill the tournament. We only raised nine grand, but it’s taken on a life of its own since.”

As usual, Asham will bring along a few hockey friends. He confirmed that three teammates from his time with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL last season will be attending: Winnipeggers Dylan McIlrath and Michael St. Croix and American forward Danny Kristo.

Asham’s hockey future

With his time in the New York Rangers organization officially coming to an end last week, Asham is currently an unrestricted free agent and can be signed by any NHL team.

He says he will definitely keep playing next season, but whether that’s in the NHL or not is an unknown at this point.

“I’m not sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring,” he said. “If nothing happens, I might (play) overseas. Right now, I’m not too worried. I’ve played a long time, so if I don’t get a contract, it’s not the end of the world. I’m pretty happy with how things are going right now.”

The 36 year old spent two seasons in the Rangers organization, playing 27 games in a shortened 2012-13 year and scored two playoff goals as well. Last season, Asham played just six games with the club, spending most of the year with the Rangers’ minor-league team in Hartford.

“I helped a lot of young kids and had some fun. I rode the bus, the back wasn’t feeling great,” Asham joked. “It was nice to get back out there for that experience again, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again next year.”

Asham said he would have loved to have been a part of the Rangers club that won the Eastern Conference and made it to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Los Angeles Kings, and was happy for the many guys he got to know over his two years with the organization.

But despite spending a majority of the season in the minors, Asham is not quite ready to hang up the skates just yet.

“Towards the end of the year, my fire was slowly fading out, but watching playoffs and being a fan, I was getting excited and started hitting the gym early,” he said. “I’ll give it one more shot, one more run and see what happens.”

kevin.hirschfield@sunmedia.ca

twitter@pdghirsch 

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