Leader-Post article (Eberle gives back to the community)June 8 2012 at 7:29 AM
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Eberle gives back to the community
By Greg Harder, Leader-Post
June 8, 2012
Former Regina Pats star Jordan Eberle golfs in the Shooting Stars Foundation golf tournament at the Royal Regina on Thursday. His caddie is former Leader-Post columnist Ron Petrie's son Stuart.
Photograph by: Don Healy, Leader-Post , Leader-Post
Less than a month into the off-season, Jordan Eberle isn't prepared to say he's on top of his game.
His golf game, that is. "It's not too bad," chuckled the Edmonton Oilers' star, who has a passion for swinging the clubs but not quite the same aptitude he possesses with a stick. "I love to golf. I'm decent, below a 10 handicap. I play as much as I can."
Especially when it's for a good cause.
Eberle enjoyed home-course advantage Thursday when he took part in the sixth annual Shooting Stars Foundation golf gala at the Royal Regina Golf Club. Eberle has a vested interest in the event after joining forces last year with Shooting Stars, a local charitable organization founded by former NHLers Jamie Heward and Mike Sillinger. The trio invited a handful of other NHL players and local celebrities to take part in the two-day event, concluding today with the Sticks on Rose street hockey tournament.
It's a busy time for Eberle, who is also slated to be back in Regina on July 11-12 for the first-ever Eberle and Friends Golf Classic, in support of the Hospitals of Regina Foundation.
"Being a Regina boy, it's nice to give back," said Eberle, who now resides in Calgary. "I still have lots of family here and I try to get back as much as I can. Hewie and Silly are guys I looked up to growing up. They followed the same path as me as far as playing for the (WHL's Regina) Pats and then moving on to the NHL. To actually be a part of (Shooting Stars) is kind of a no-brainer."
Although the Oilers didn't make the playoffs, Eberle hasn't had much time for golf due to the fact he represented Canada this spring at the IIHF world championship in Finland. His last game was May 17, a 4-3 quarterfinal loss to Slovakia.
"It was definitely disappointing," said Eberle, who was among Canada's leading scorers with four goals and four assists in four games. "We had a great team. We played well throughout the tournament, we got better, but we just kind of let the Slovaks hang around. Personally I thought I had a pretty good tournament. I had good chemistry with (linemates John) Tavares and (Jeff) Skinner. But it was definitely disappointing."
The tournament continued a trend of individual success for Eberle, the Oilers' leading scorer in each of his first two NHL seasons. After being named the CHL's player of the year with the Pats in 2009-10, he recorded 18 goals and 43 points as an NHL rookie, followed by his first All-Star appearance in 2011-12, finishing with 34 goals and 76 points in 78 games.
Not bad for a guy who just turned 22.
"Playing in the All-Star Game this year and the last two world championships, my game has definitely progressed," said Eberle, who's starting to feel more like a veteran. "Next year I'm going to take on more of a leadership role."
Eberle's No. 1 goal is to help the Oilers make the transition from a young up-and-coming team to a legitimate playoff contender. He hasn't been to the post-season at any level (NHL, AHL or WHL) since the 2007-08 season with the Pats, a fact which makes him even more hungry to get back there.
"The playoff are what you play for," he said. "You watch it on TV and it makes you more anxious. I know our time will come, though. All of us are sick of losing. We want to move on to the next step and start to be a contender. That's what we're going to be fighting for next year."
In the meantime, he'll have to settle for watching the playoffs on TV.
"I'm a hockey fan and I enjoy watching the games," he added. "L.A. has impressed me quite a bit. I actually chose them to make it to the Cup final (before the playoffs started). I thought they were going to play Philadelphia. We played (the Kings) a couple times at the end of the year and you just can't get a scoring opportunity on them. A winning team is usually the best defensive team. They were the hardest team to score against and that's the reason they're there."
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