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COVID-19 forces Prince George Cougars to cancel annual charity golf tournament

Event has raised more than $558,000 in eight years

A marquee event on Prince George’s summer calendar each year has officially been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cougars’ Alumni Hospital Charity Golf Tournament will not hit the links for the first time in nine years, which acts as a fundraiser for the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation in purchasing much-needed equipment for University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC).

In a statement, the team says the decision was based on current health recommendations in place by Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer.

As of this publication, there are 66 positive COVID-19 cases within Northern Health’s jurisdiction, including two active cases and one person in intensive care.

To date, the tournament has raised more than $558,000, including $75,000 from 2019’s installment, and saw nearly 25 former players return to Prince George to play a round of golf with local residents, fans and philanthropists.

“It's always a nice opportunity to get the alumni together,” said former Cougar and current NHL defenceman Dan Hamhuis in an interview with PrinceGeorgeMatters at last year’s golf tournament

“We all share that special bond of being Prince George Cougars; we all have fond memories, especially myself. I have very good memories of my time playing junior hockey here and, you know, this community just supports the team and its players so well. As a player, when you come back up here, you feel embraced by the community and so this is a good opportunity for all of us to give back.”

Despite the cancellation, the franchise says it’ll continue to find ways to raise funds for Spirit of the North this year.

“The golf tournament is a highlight of the year, not just for the incredible amount of money we raise for Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, but also for our alumni, sponsors, staff, and volunteers,” said Cougars’ Vice-President of Business Andy Beesley in the release.

“It’s disappointing we have to cancel this year’s event, but we respect and support the health authorities regulations and guidelines. We’re already looking ahead to next year.”

For more information, you can visit the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation’s website.

“It was a difficult decision to cancel, but the right decision in so many ways. The tournament is one of our signature fundraisers and has raised funds to purchase significant cardiac equipment through the years. We are hopeful that donors and players will still see this as a need and support the foundation where possible,” says CEO Judy Neiser. 

“We are so very grateful for our partnership with the Cougars’ Alumni and the Prince George Cougars, along with so many who support the event annually. It truly has become the premier tournament to attend. Our hope is to continue when it is safe for everyone. Healthcare really does touch us all, and it seems even in new and different ways.”