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July 12, 2005 - Primeau is primed to make a difference

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My Keith Primeau Page

When it comes to getting involved in worthwhile causes, Keith Primeau never minds working overtime.

On July 18, Primeau, Fury Hockey, Shoot For A Cure (SFAC) and a host of NHLPA and NHL Alumni members will team up to headline the second annual Fury Celebrity Golf Classic, at Eagles Nest Golf Club in Maple, Ontario.

That Primeau has lent his support to such an event is certainly no surprise, especially considering his impressive track record when it comes to off-ice endeavors.

Whether it's a hospital visit to speak with a young fan, or working closely with programs like SFAC, the former third overall selection in 1990 cherishes any opportunity to get involved within the community.

"Soliciting the guys to come out for this year's tournament hasn't been a problem at all," said the father of four, who was drafted in the same year as Martin Brodeur, Doug Weight, Mike Ricci and Alexei Zhamnov. "When you play in the NHL, you come to expect that type of thing from the guys."

While Primeau's name is front and centre for the event, the former Ontario Hockey League star is quick to pass praise to his fellow NHLPA members who'll be on-hand at Eagles Nest.

"It's been a lot less stressful than people might think," said the veteran of 900 games, who has 265 career goals and 612 points. "There are a lot of people who have worked really hard at making sure this event will run smoothly. My wife, Lisa, has been able to get a lot of auction items that I think people will enjoy the chance to bid on."

As for his main objectives when it comes to this year's tournament, Primeau has two in particular: raise more money than they did last year for SFAC and not embarrass himself when he hits the links.

"The irony of me hosting a golf tournament is that I don't golf," said the centreman, who was traded with Paul Coffey and a first-round draft pick to the Hartford Whalers for Brendan Shanahan and Brian Glynn, on October 9, 1996. "It's been 10 years since I've played, but I guess I should get out there and at least hit a few balls.

"But the main objective, obviously, is to take in more money than we did last year. Hopefully, we will get the same type of support and contributions that we did in 2004."

Last year, over 100 golfers participated in the Fury Golf Classic. Those attending the event had the opportunity to meet past and present NHL players including Primeau, Brad May, Jason Ward, Nick Boynton, Brian Conacher, Rene Robert, Pat Flatley and Gary Leeman.

The 2005 edition features lunch, a round of golf, cocktails, celebrity dinner, free gifts (including a Fury Composite hockey stick), and a grab bag.

In addition, there will be chances to win prizes for the longest drive, closest to the pin and other on-course events. A charity silent and live auction will also be held throughout the day.

"The reception has been great so far," noted Primeau, who scored nine goals and had 17 assists in 18 playoff games in 2003-04. "We have some NFL players who will be participating this year, too."

The presence of Primeau and his fellow NHLPA members in the tournament, says Scott McCrory, Executive Vice President with Fury Hockey, is more than a welcome one.

As Keith is an owner of Fury and a strong supporter of Shoot for Cure, it is only fitting that he has the support of his friends in professional hockey, football and other celebrities, to help raise money for this cause," said McCrory.

A former hockey player, McCrory also has personal reasons for being actively involved with SFAC.

"The most meaningful part of our partnership is seeing the excitement of CSRO (Canadian Spinal Research Organization) every time there is a development that will lead to a cure of this injury," he offered. "Having played pro hockey, this injury was always a huge fear in the back of my own mind. I have a brother who broke several vertebrae in a car accident, but for some miracle, was not paralyzed. However, for others, all it takes is a freak accident and they are affected for the rest of their lives."

For Primeau, who played a key role in leading Philadelphia to the Eastern Conference Final in 2003-04, charity functions such as the Fury Golf Classic, can serve as teaching tools for his children.

"They will see me and Lisa getting involved in things like this and understand that contributing to your community is important. It's something we've always tried to show by example. I think they know how important it is to want to make a difference."