64 Days To Mt. Kilimanjaro – Phil Esposito Sponsors “The ESPO” To Benefit All Children’s Hospital

On Monday Geoffrey has the distinct pleasure of playing in one of the best charity golf tournaments in Sarasota. “The ESPO”, sponsored by National Hockey League Hall-of-Famer Phil Esposito will be played at Laurel Oak Country Club, one of the premier clubs in Sarasota with proceeds going to All Children’s Hospital of St. Petersburg and surrounding areas. This annual event is co-sponsored by the Florida Club Managers Association of America.

To date more than 30 celebrities have committed to play in selected foursomes for the event! Geoffrey will be playing in a group that includes our good friend Wayne and currently Wayne thinks that their foursome has a real strong opportunity to win the tournament! Geoff has been instructed to bring his “A” game and lately he has been playing pretty well! Just last week he shot a 76, with 4 birdies, 4 bogies and a par on the front nine.

Phil has really been able to raise awareness for the event and everything he gets involved in is done successfully! As founder of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Phil’s commitment to this community is unsurpassed. His celebrity friends are always willing to lend a hand, and this will undoubtedly lead to increase fundraising opportunities!

Phil said “What an exciting time in my life – to be involved again with the Lightning as Vice President of Community Affairs, having this great team in the playoffs and to be part of my own golf tournament to benefit kids.” I love it when people get involved in events that will benefit the community, and this is something that Phil is known for! Times are tough and now more than ever, this charity needs help! The goal for the event is to raise over $100 thousand dollars for the kids!

While Geoff and Wayne are playing their little hearts out, Fran and I will be volunteering our services on a par-three on the West course. My job is to man the green and to measure the closest to the pin shot! This will be the first time I have volunteered at a golf tournament so it should be a lot of fun! Spending time with Fran is always at the top of my list and I can think of no better way to spend the day!

Geoff and I first met Phil some years back while I was working in Miami. He and Wayne came over from Tampa for dinner at the Doral with Geoff and me, and then the guys played a round of golf the next day on the red course at the legendary Doral Country Club. Geoff was paired with Phil and they just had a blast.

I had the awesome pleasure of having a business meeting the following day in my office with Phil and Wayne. My office was made up pretty heavily of “the boys club,” and all the boys were great sports fans. For the fun of it, I did not tell anyone that Phil Esposito was going to be in the office.  It obviously took about two seconds for the word to spread like wild fire once he got off of the elevator! That day, I made the top of the list in “the boys club,” or I should say Phil made the top of the list!

Phil Esposito when he played for the Rangers

Phil is quite the story teller. During dinner he had me laughing so hard that I could hardly eat. He told a story of when he was playing hockey and he was a part of the 1972 Summit Series against the Russians. The team traveled to Russia to play the finals and Phil and his team mates were just convinced that their hotel rooms were bugged.  Apparently after dinner he and his teammates decided they were going to find the bugs and disarm them.

As they searched every square inch of their rooms, all of a sudden someone found a large screw that was anchored in the floor, under a rug. They immediately began unscrewing the “suspected bug” with makeshift tools and continued until all of a sudden the screw came out. With a very loud crash and an open hole in the floor, they realized that they had just unscrewed a very large crystal chandelier in the main dining room which happened to be the room just below them. OOPS! Needless to say, the all star  team was charged with paying for that chandelier upon check out!  The good news, the Phil’s team one that hockey match against the Russians and made history. The better news is that no one was injured when the chandelier came crashing down – think about it – Phil and his teammates could still be sitting in a Russian jail!

The Canadian Hockey Legend still holds records today - and he is a peach of a guy!

Phil, often referred to as the Canadian Hockey legend, played professionally from 1959 to 1981. He played for the Sarmia Legionairres in the 1959-1960 season as an 18-year old. In 32 games Esposito scored 47 goals and had 61 assists. Phil still holds the record for shots on goal in a single season with 550 in 1970-71. Playing with Chicago, Boston and New York Rangers, Esposito set a number of single-season scoring records that were later broken by Wayne Gretzky.

So, off to Sarasota to play golf with Phil and Wayne and many others participating  in a really good event to benefit children.  I am sure we will come away from the tournament with some pretty fun stories and will feel great pleasure from being involved in an event that is for the kids! pkp

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