On February 6, a group of 15 PGA Professionals from the New Jersey Section competed in the 3rd Annual Charity Hockey Game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Hockey Game was founded in 2014 by the New Jersey Golf Foundation, the charitable arm of the New Jersey PGA. The New Jersey Section’s captain Bob Downey, Head Professional at Crestmont Country Club, commented on the significance of the event, “we formed our hockey team 6 years ago to raise money for our charity, the New Jersey Golf Foundation, rather than another golf event. It was 3 years ago we found out that the Philadelphia PGA wanted to put together a team to play us. Between our two sections, we raise money for charity which is a good reason to play hockey and to have some fun together. We had a great game this year at the Wells Fargo center and to raise money for charity is a huge bonus”.
The New Jersey Golf Foundation was created to positively impact lives and communities through the game of golf through three pillars: Youth, Special Needs, and Military. All proceeds from this year’s Charity Hockey Game benefited the Philadelphia PGA Reach, the charitable arm of the Philadelphia PGA. When asked about the Hockey Game, Sean Golden, Head Professional at Plainfield Country Club, responded, “being part of the NJGF Hockey Game was a fantastic experience and an opportunity to give back to two great organizations. Having the chance to play with the Philadelphia PGA and support the Philadelphia PGA Reach made it a great event”.
With the Philadelphia Section taking a commanding 9-5 lead after 2 periods, the New Jersey Section made a charge, scoring 3 goals in the 3rd period with the help from Plainfield Country Club’s Director of Instruction, Ryan Hager. With the New Jersey Section down 9-7, Hager had a break away and scored a through-the-legs goal. Hager added his thoughts on experiencing his very first NJGF Charity Hockey Game, “Playing hockey on NHL ice was one of the coolest, most unique experiences I’ve had on skates! It was pretty special getting to link my two favorite sports to benefit the New Jersey Golf Foundation and the Philadelphia PGA Reach. I can’t wait until next year’s game in New Jersey!”. Despite the New Jersey Section’s charge, the Philadelphia Section ultimately pulled out the victory, winning 10-8. Although the outcome was not in favor of the New Jersey Section, there was more to the event than just hockey. This was a time for the two sections to come together for charity and to also experience the long-lasting New Jersey, Philadelphia sports rivalry. The 4th Annual Charity Hockey Game will take place next year in New Jersey, while the venue is still to be determined. Thank you to all who participated and were part of this great cause. The New Jersey PGA and the New Jersey Golf Foundation is grateful to all clubs, golf professionals, and club representatives that continue to partner with the New Jersey Golf Foundation in its efforts in charitable work and in giving back to the local community.