Sports

Vernon Vipers drive for KidSport

Former Viper Aaron Volpatti, now with the Washington Capitals, chauffeurs while junior golfer Ethan Hunt grabs a bite to eat at the Vernon Vipers Charity Golf Tournament benefiting Kidsport Sunday at The Rise. - Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star
Former Viper Aaron Volpatti, now with the Washington Capitals, chauffeurs while junior golfer Ethan Hunt grabs a bite to eat at the Vernon Vipers Charity Golf Tournament benefiting Kidsport Sunday at The Rise.
— image credit: Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star

With KidSport as the major fundraising benefactor, the penthouse teams in the second annual Vernon Vipers Charity Golf Tournament turned their prizes over to the Telus-sponsored juniors at The Rise.

It was all about the kids Sunday afternoon as 19 foursomes tackled fast greens and firm fairways on a course blessed with jaw-dropping scenery.

Logan Stockley’s entry, who carded a scorching 14-under 58 to claim first place, donated golf bags to juniors Dexter Weiten and Christian Lacasse, both of Vernon, and Ryan Moon and Ethan Hunt, both of Kelowna.

The Vipers’ coaching staff, who bolstered their roster with long-ball hitter Bryce Kakoske, a former Viper, also shot 58 and handed over Nike 60-degree wedges to the juniors.

Lee Ranger, head pro at The Rise, said proceeds from the scramble would easily surpass last year’s total of $5,000 for KidSport. The local Royal Bank Cup committee will also gain some monies.

Logan, his father, Derek Stockley (one of the 21 Rise founding members), Brent Dorion and Mike Prokopetz used a big birdie binge for glory and some sweet Viper clothing and hats.

“It was pretty much a streak of 10 straight birdies starting on the third hole,” said Logan. “It was pretty much two guys making the putts. Brent was making all the short putts, from five to 10 feet in, and Mike Prokopetz was making all the long putts so he was making it easy for us. I think I made two putts all day. They carried the team for us. I hit the fairways and they hit the greens.”

Jason Williamson, Kris Mallette and Dave Robinson could have shared one bag as they nicely combined with Kakoske, who got engaged to Lori Adams just hours before tee off. They carded three eagles.

“It was good out there,” said Mallette, the team’s new associate coach. “I drained a bunch of long, long putts and Kakoske bombed one 420 today on 10 or 11. I think each of us used three clubs all day, so it was either a pitching wedge, driver or putter. It was a real good time.”

The coaches laughed when Robinson won a dozen balls as a door prize.

“He lost a lot of balls today so he really needed those,” chuckled Mallette.

Weiten, 13, wrote a short essay to Ranger, earning him a free spot in the tournament on Telus.

“I wrote about how I used to play high-level hockey but I got one major concussion and two minor so I switched to soccer for a year and this is now my third year of golf,” said Weiten, entering Grade 8 at Kalamalka Secondary.

Weiten, a 12 handicap, practises at Hillview and plays at Vernon Golf & Country Club. He was with Viper defencemen Michael Statchuk and Jason Bird, along with Rick Christensen of Buy-Low Foods.

“We hit every green in regulation and we hit all the par fives in two and two-putted for birdie,” shrugged Weiten, whose family is billeting Statchuk.

Doug Ross of KidSport addressed the golfers at dinner, announcing that the organization has shelled out almost $250,000 on 2,000 local athletes since 2001.

The third-place entry of firefighters Chris Robinson, Doug Imrich, John Doorman and Darren Cecchini received $100 Boston Pizza gift cards.

Lacasse, Eric Gombrich and Kris Vandooyeweert claimed KISS-FM closest-to-the-pin prizes.

Viper grad Aaron Volpatti, of the Washington Capitals, and NHL free agent Jerred Smithson, were the guest celebrities.

Sports editor Kevin Mitchell joined Viper d-man Josh Bryan, Scott Simpson of Valley Marine and Moon on The Morning Star entry, which finished 10th at seven-under.

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