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GPCC to host fund-raising event

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The Gilbert Plains Country Club will host a celebrity golf tournament, July 30 as a fund-raiser for Canadian Friends of Hockey in Ukraine (CFHU).
CFHU was created in October 2018 as a non-profit committee to help develop the game of hockey in Ukraine.
Former NHL stars Dave and Wayne Babych, who will serve as hosts for the golf tournament, travelled to Ukraine twice to conduct skills camps for young Ukrainian hockey players at the invitation of Vern Zatwarnicki.
“Just the fact that he’s trying to help the kids over there was very interesting,” Wayne said, adding it was kind of sad to see where Ukraine is at in terms of hockey development compared to the rest of the hockey world.
One city about the size of Winnipeg, Babych said, has only one rink for the entire city.
“We did a hockey camp there and there was about 110 kids playing. Probably the only people that were there were the ones that could afford to be there. You could see the eyes in the attics and the rafters, they’re looking, kids were watching, but obviously, they don’t have the tools to participate.”
The second time the Babych brothers went to Ukraine for a hockey camp, they took some equipment with them, courtesy of the NHL Alumni Association, which donated 22 sets of equipment, including two sets of goalie equipment.
“Brand new stuff just to help them out. The excitement started happening because there were people actually trying to help them,” Babych said.
“Through our two visits, we seen a lot of kids and the fact they lack ice rinks and equipment. It’s grown. We’ve got about five programs we’ve helped out already.”
Babych said they are planning to go back once the COVID pandemic allows for travel to Ukraine.
Trips to Ukraine are not cheap, which is why they have to raise money.
“They’re fighting a war over there and, obviously, hockey is not a priority. But kids are a priority, so we’re trying to keep them off the streets. There’s a love of hockey over there,” Babych said.
The plan was to hold the tournament in conjunction with Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival.
“We thought we’d be able to entertain a golf tournament, bring some NHL guys in and have a little bit of fun to raise money for the program,” Babych said.
Should restrictions allow, there will be an 11 a.m. shotgun start. The cost to enter is $250 per golfer.
Babych hopes to have at least one current or former NHL player of Ukrainian descent at each hole. Babych confirmed former Detroit Red Wings tough guy Dennis Polonich will be in attendance.
Babych plans to visit Gilbert Plains in the next couple of weeks to check out the golf course.
“It will be a fun event and a great event. We want to make it so that the people that do come and support this cause will be treated to a great time all day,” he said.
For more information, check out CFHU’s Facebook page.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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