MIDDLETON — Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton is known as quite the enforcer around the NHL. Never one to back down from a fight, yesterday he took on an off-ice battle, as he hosted the fourth annual “Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s” golf tournament.
The disease is one that hits home for the Bruins’ winger who’s grandmother suffered from Parkinson’s. He was inspired to start the tournament shortly after she lost her 14-year battle with the disease and the tournament has grown ever since.
Proceeds from the event, which featured a celebrity long drive contest, 18 holes of golf, along with dinner and an auction go to The Shawn Thornton Foundation, The Boston Bruins Foundation and the American Parkinson Disease Association.
“This event just gets bigger and bigger every year,” said the two-time Stanley Cup winner, who just returned from a golf trip in San Francisco. “I even had to turn some people away, but I know just about everyone participating.
“It’s pretty tough to watch someone close to you go through that disease. I remember walking out of the nursing home in tears sometimes. She was a great person though, and will never be forgotten.”
Thornton did however touch upon a more a pleasant memory with his grandmother, when he was able to visit her after winning his first Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.
“She was fortunate enough to see me win my first Stanley Cup,” Thornton explained. “I was able to take it over to her. She was in her wheel chair, but was able to hold it above her head. I’m glad she could experience that moment with me, though.”
As the tournament participants made their way to Fencroft Country Club, they were greeted by the sound of bagpipes playing followed by an early lunch before hitting the links.