The Bruins and Shawn Thornton aren’t the only ones that are going to benefit from the two-year contract extension the rugged winger signed with Boston earlier this summer.
Now that he has been able to put down roots in Boston for a little while longer, Thornton will be able to do more for the community, including research and awareness of Parkinson’s disease.
The first Shawn Thornton Putts and Punches For Parkinson’s golf tournament Aug. 9 at Ferncroft Country Club is the product of Thornton’s desire to raise money in the community and honor his late grandmother, while continuing to entrench himself in the Boston area, where he has now lived nearly full-time for three years.
“I’m trying to give back a little bit of whatever I can,” Thornton recently told TheBruinsBlog.net.
Thornton had been considering a fundraiser like Putts and Punches for a couple years. During last season, he broached the subject with Director of Development for the Bruins Foundation Bob Sweeney. But with unrestricted free agency looming, Thornton was uncertain where he might be by mid-summer.
The two-year deal solidified Thornton’s opportunity to make a difference for people suffering from Parkinson’s and their families. Thornton knows firsthand the horrible effects the disease takes on its victims and those who love them, as his grandmother Maureen Mills passed away in 2008 after battling the disease for more than a decade.
“Just having no control of your body. It’s hard to swallow when you know her mind is completely [sharp] and she’s a very smart woman and she needed help doing every day things. It was frustrating. It was tough to go visit,” Thornton recalled.
Growing up, Mrs. Mills was a huge supporter of Thornton’s athletic career.
“She was one of the toughest women I’ve ever met. She wasn’t very happy if I ever lost a fight,” he said. “If she ever thought somebody was picking on anybody, she always wanted me to kick their ass. She definitely was very passionate about hockey and a lot of things, obviously, with my hockey and my cousins’ lacrosse.”
Previously, Thornton raised more than $3,000 for the Durham Region Chapter of Parkinson’s Society of Canada back in 2007 after he won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim and he charged a small fee to take photos with the Cup back in Ontario. Thornton’s latest foray into philanthropy tees off at 1:30 p.m. with a shotgun start at Ferncroft in Middleton, Mass.
Foursomes who pay $1,600 a group will get to enjoy 18 holes of golf, then dinner and cocktails with Thornton and possibly some special guests. There will also be a chance to win great sports memorabilia in a raffle and silent auction. Thornton said a couple of the most-impressive items were donated by the Red Sox, who will be offering some batting practice passes and even Monster Seats tickets for a game. There is also an opportunity for companies to sponsor a hole for $2,000.
All proceeds will benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation and American Parkinson Disease Association. You can call Erin McEvoy at the Boston Bruins Foundation at 617-624-1955 for more details.
Thornton, an 11- or 12-handicap golfer (“I play all the time but never seem to get any better,” he says), should be able to able to provide some of the better participants with stiff competition on the links Aug. 9. But most important, he’ll be able to achieve his goal of raising a hefty sum for a extremely worthy causes.