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Holtby makes three for third and final celebrity classic

Holtby makes three for third and final celebrity classic

Posted in By Colin
By Chris Roberts
With his infant son Benjamin cradled in his arms, Braden Holtby took a quick break from the conversing and autograph signing Monday afternoon at Fountain Tire.
There for the barbecue kick-off portion of the now Hartnell MacArthur Holtby Celebrity Golf Classic, the 23-year-old goaltender had to step back and take it all in.
“I’m the rookie trying to understand what’s going on here,” said Holtby.
In its third and final year, the golf tournament, which was billed as just the Hartnell MacArthur Celebrity Golf Classic until this year, has raised over $400,000, all of which has gone directly into the Lloydminster community.
“It’s great to be a part of, obviously,” Holtby added. “I got to be here the past two years, which was great in itself, and I’ve got a bit of a bigger part this year, which is an honour.”
The decision to add Holtby’s name to the title only made sense, as the Washington Capitals goaltender has emerged as, at the very least, a capable NHL starting goaltender. Just over a year ago, he almost led the Capitals to the Eastern Conference finals, and this past season, he posted a 23-12-1 record and led the Capitals to a division title.
“Just to have him on board, it was something Scott and I talked about before,” said Clarke MacArthur.
“He’s a full-time guy in the NHL now and doing a great job, and more importantly he’s just a good person, it’s nice to have him on board.”
The trio of Lloydminster NHLers, which, of course, includes Scott Hartnell, are all separated by a few years in age, and given the recent selections of Lloydminster and area-born players in the WHL Bantam Draft, there could very well be others in line to follow Holtby.
“It’s kind of like following each other up the ladder,” said MacArthur. “I think Hartnell did that with (Wade) Redden and I kind of did that with Scotty, it’s nice to see these young guys coming along.”
For a city of just over 30,000 people, the number of NHLers of note from the Border City is something to marvel at. In contrast, the entire province of P.E.I, which has over 140,000, has produced just three current NHLers.
MacArthur needed no time to ponder an answer when asked to offer a reason Lloydminster has produced so many quality hockey players.
“First of all, what else do you do in Lloyd in the winter? I think that’s why we all made it,” he said, with a laugh. “There’s a hockey rink for every two miles in town.”
But it wasn’t just Lloydminster-born talent that filled the Lloydminster Golf and Curling Centre’s course on Tuesday, as the three players brought with them a bevy of well-known NHLers, most notably, Claude Giroux, who finished third in league scoring in 2011-12.
Other Flyers in attendance included Luke and Brayden Schenn, Matt Read and Jody Shelley, while Derek Stepan, Nick Schultz and others showed off their skills on the links, or lack thereof.
“Jason Chimera, he’s a good golfer,” said Holtby, when asked for the best golfer of the bunch. “Unless he starts making mistakes, then he loses his focus a little bit, putter throws and what not.”
But more so than bringing recognizable faces to the Border City, the goal of the golf tournament is to raise money for the charitable organizations in town. And while figures likely won’t be released until next week, the tournament should clear the $600,000 mark in total funds raised over the course of three years.
“The support throughout the whole tournament, if anyone comes to the auctions and you see what people are paying for some of the items, it’s a pretty special tournament for us,” MacArthur said. “You have to tip your cap to the people of Lloydminster.”
With the three-year commitment having ended, there won’t be a celebrity golf tournament next year, but MacArthur, Hartnell and Holtby are all in favour of bringing the tournament back at some point.
“The year break will be necessary just to keep it fresh once we decide to come back in some aspect,” said Holtby. “I think that’s one of the things that’s our responsibility as players coming from this community is ... to make sure that we’re giving back to the community that has gotten us to the places we are.”
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