No longer NHL teammates, Shea Weber and Cody Franson are spending much of their offseason working together on a charity golf classic in their hometown.
The inaugural Sicamous Shootout Charity Golf Tournament to raise money for the B.C. Cancer Foundation goes Friday, July 13 at the Hyde Mountain Resort Course.
For Franson, who took part in a conference call Tuesday while teeing it up at Black Mountain in Kelowna, the tourney has emotional attachment.
“I lost two grandparents to cancer and I’ve got a grandma with Alzheimers right now,” said Franson, traded by the Nashville Predators to the Toronto Maple Leafs last July.
The 24-year-old former Vancouver Giants’ defenceman said the tournament format will stress fun in hopes of returning golfers to the 2013 event.
“Obviously, we’re hoping to raise a good amount of money for the cancer foundation. I don’t have a set number in mind right now. We just wanna do the best we can for the first year.”
Franson said Josh Gorges of the Montreal Canadiens, Vernon’s Jerred Smithson, a former teammate of Franson and Weber in Nashville, and brothers Luke (Leafs) and Brayden (Flyers) Schenn are confirmed for the scramble.
“We had two criteria when we started out,” added Franson. “We wanted to make it a fun experience where people could interact with NHL players, but we didn’t want to lose sight of the need to raise money for the Cancer Foundation. That is why Shea and I have worked so hard to find great auction items and have really encouraged the Okanagan business community to get behind this.”
Weber was 15 when his mother, Tracy, was diagnosed with brain cancer, which surgery mostly removed. However, she later began suffering from similar symptoms, and in early 2010 had a series of seizures. Tracy was placed in an induced coma, and died on Aug. 11, 2010, three days before Shea’s birthday.
“Without a doubt, I think of my mom,” said Weber, a 26-year-old who helped the Kelowna Rockets claim the 2004 Memorial Cup on home ice. “My grandfather had cancer as well. I know a lot of people who have been affected and it’s a little way that we can help out and we’re glad we can finally make it happen this year.
“I think everybody has been affected by cancer in some way, whether it’s a relative or a family member. I think that they’re doing a great job of researching and trying to find ways to help with cancer and cure cancer.”
“Anyway we can help out will be great because in the long run, we can help a lot of families.”
As a 16-year-old, Weber boosted the Junior B Sicamous Eagles to a 43–5–1–1 season and the KIJHL championship, provincial Cyclone Taylor Cup and the Western Canadian Keystone Cup. Weber scored the Eagles’ first goal of the Keystone final in a 2–1 victory over the Spruce Grove Regals. He will be back at the Sicamous Arena, where both his dad and Cody’s dad work, to teach at the Sicamous Summer Hockey School.
“Cody and I have discussed doing this for some time and we are excited to get a group of good guys together for such a great cause,” added Weber. “I know the community will rally around this event to make it a success and I am really looking forward to showcasing my home town.”
Franson carded a 75 last time out at the scenic and tough Hyde track, Weber an 88.
“I would probably say off the tee,” said Franson, when asked the strengths of his game. “I can get off the tee pretty good, but my putting is my definite fall.”
On who’s the best golfer with the Predators, Weber said: “I don’t know. A lot of guys will tell ya they’re the best, but I know Kevin Klein golfs a lot and Martin Erat plays quite a bit.”
Franson, meanwhile, likes his buddy Shea for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenceman. Weber is up against Zdeno Chara of the Bruins and Erik Karlsson of the Senators.
“I’m biased, but I think he’s got a real good shot at it for sure,” said Franson. “I think he’s a more well-rounded player, but that’s just my opinion. We’ll see.”
Weber, who was also a Norris nominee last year, isn’t thinking about the award too much.
“Not really. I’m just trying to get some good weather here in Kelowna so I can play some golf. I’m nowhere near as good as Franny. I’m usually in the high 80s.”
Both players tee it up at various courses in Kelowna, where they live and train in the summer, skating at the Capital News Centre with scores of other NHLers.
Since there are a limited number of spots available, a draw will be held at random and players will be notified if successful, by Monday, July 2.
Single entrant spots are $350 which includes golf, cart, breakfast and dinner. Golfers will receive a tax receipt of $100 shortly after the event. If interested in securing a spot for a pair, you must check the associated box on the registration page. The pair registration fee is $700.
To find out more regarding the single-entrant registration draw, sponsorship opportunities or to make a donation, visit www.sicamousshootout.com.