Golf supers take to the ice for MS

Darcie and Kevin James know how much fundraising for multiple sclerosis affects local lives.

Royal Oak Golf Club superintendent Gregor Kowalski brushes up on his hockey skills in advance of a charity hockey game in support of the MS Society of Canada

Darcie and Kevin James know how much fundraising for multiple sclerosis affects local lives.

Darcie was diagnosed with the degenerative disease almost 10 years ago and relies on the MS Society’s South Vancouver Island chapter for support and art therapy classes once a week.

“After I had my first really bad attack, I thought I should be around people who have the same thing and understand what I’m going through,” Darcie said. “After my first meeting I knew I had found the group I needed.”

Next week, the Vancouver Island Golf Superintendents Association is hosting its fourth annual charity hockey game and banquet in support of the MS Society of Canada.

All funds raised will go directly to the south Vancouver Island chapter, said executive director Todd Abercrombie.

“We fundraise more than half our annual budget, with the MS walk and bike tour being the big ones, but this community group coming together to fundraise for us and our mission is a big help,” Abercrombie said. “(VIGSA) is a great group of of wonderful, community-minded individuals who want to make a difference for people living with MS and are doing just that.”

This year, the event is being held on Saturday instead of Friday evening in hopes that more people will come out to watch the game.

The day starts with a free family skate at 12:30 p.m., followed by the charity hockey game featuring players from the Greater Victoria golf industry and local media at 1:30 p.m. at Bear Mountain arena. Proceeds from the concession and the 50-50 draw will go to the cause.

“It’s not like watching the Salmon Kings, but they make it so much fun,” Kevin said. “It would be great to get as many people out as possible to support (the game). They raised $100,000 last year and the goal this year is to raise another $100,000.”

Saturday evening festivities kick off at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception at the Westin Bear Mountain. For $75, ticket holders will be treated to beer or wine and appetizers, a three-course meal and dancing. People will also have the chance to participate in the live auction and tiered raffle, with a Mac Book Pro as the platinum prize.

“Only people in attendance can bid on the live auction, but anyone can bid on the silent auction items we have listed on the website,” said Gregor Kowalski, superintendent of the Royal Oak Golf Club.

Visit to view silent auction items, including a signed Team Canada 2010 jersey by Jerome Iginla and a signed Vancouver Canucks hockey stick, among almost 50 other prizes, which include many treats from the golf world. Online bidding ends at noon, Jan. 27.

Live auction items include tickets to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Montreal Canadiens at the Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada, a wine-making day in the Okanagan’s Naramata and a ticket package to the sold-out Elton John show.

“We hope to make a contribution to the MS Society’s goal of ending multiple sclerosis,” Kowalski said. “While lofty, our goal of raising $100,000 at this year’s event is attainable with your support.”

For more information about the VIGSA charity hockey game, visit

To purchase tickets to the dinner and banquet, contact Gregor Kowalski at Royal Oak Golf Club, 250-686-3909,

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