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Generations of Kings return to Pembroke for annual golf tournament

By Ryan Paulsen, The Daily Observer

Ryan Paulsen / Daily Observer

Mike Boudens hits a drive at the first hole of the Pembroke Shores Golf Club during the Pembroke Lumber Kings Alumni Golf Tournament on Friday, July 10. More than 125 golfers took part in the tournament, including former Lumber Kings reaching as far back as the 1947-48 season.

Ryan Paulsen / Daily Observer Mike Boudens hits a drive at the first hole of the Pembroke Shores Golf Club during the Pembroke Lumber Kings Alumni Golf Tournament on Friday, July 10. More than 125 golfers took part in the tournament, including former Lumber Kings reaching as far back as the 1947-48 season.

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It was a day of glorious sunshine, golf and good times as 132 people converged on the Pembroke Shores Golf Club for the 16th annual Pembroke Lumber Kings Alumni Golf Tournament on Friday.

As usual, the tournament attracted former Lumber Kings from across the decades to the banks of the Ottawa River, including 84-year-old Paul Godin, who played on the right wing for the Kings for three years, starting in 1947. Godin was also the first of three consecutive generations of Godins to don the red-and-white, followed by Mark Godin and the Luc.

Godin says this year will likely be his last attending the tournament, after being a regular player year after year, but he says that seeing the team grow and change over the years has been a real joy, not to mention the fun of getting to see family again for a regular golf outing.

On the other end of the spectrum is Matthew Peca, who played an instrumental role in the Lumber Kings' 2011 CCHL and RBC Cup championship victories. This year was Peca's first time coming back to Pembroke to hit the links.

"I'm usually busy in the summer," he says, "but I finally got some time to come home, and it feels really good to be back."

In April, Peca signed a two-year contract with the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, and who knows how many autographs he'll have to sign in years to come, but on the golf course on Friday, it was his turn to look around at the big names he finally gets a chance to see face to face.

"You finally get to meet people that you've heard of. It's good to get together. You're all kind of part of the same family, so it's really good."

That sense of community is something that has always resonated with Dan Fridgen, who played for Pembroke in the late '70s.

"I've always said, if you ever get an opportunity to play in Pembroke, you want to play in Pembroke, because it's such a great community."

As Fridgen, who went on to play 13 games in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers, surveys the course before the shotgun start to the tournament, he knows exactly what keeps the former players interested in coming back.

"You've got a lot of guys coming from different areas," he says, "different years, but you've got one thing in common, and that's the fact that you put on a Lumber Kings jersey, which you take a lot of pride in."

ryan.paulsen@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @PRyanPaulsen