Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler will serve as a sponsor’s exemption at the CentrePort Canada Railpark Manitoba Open – an official PGA TOUR Canada event – this August at Southwood Gold & Country Club.
“I am very excited to be given the opportunity to play with some of the best up and coming golfers at the Manitoba Open,” Wheeler said of his invite. “I always marvel at the skill and touch the pros display around the course, as well as their immense power off the tee. I thank the Organizers and PGA TOUR Canada for giving me the chance to join them that week.”
Blake Wheeler of the @NHLJets was all smiles this afternoon as he talked about his sponsor exemption to the 2023 @PGATOURCanada #ManitobaOpen @southwood1894. We hope golf is a long way off for Blake & the team as they focus on #hockey for now #FortinetCup pic.twitter.com/5OyqMZWiSU
— CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open (@ManitobaOpen) January 27, 2023
Wheeler, 36, is the third player on the Jets to suit up in a PGA Tour Canada event as an amateur. Mark Scheifele golfed back in 2018 and last year in 2022, while Kyle Connor suited up in 2019. The 2020 and 2021 runnings did not occur thanks to the COVID pandemic.
As a matter of fact, Wheeler was actually invited to participate in the 2018 event, to which he quickly accepted the offer. However, the former Jets captain was forced to withdraw his name as family commitments crept in. Scheifele stepped in in his place.
“It’s always been a passion of mine. A few of the guys have done the tournament and had a blast,” Wheeler added. “Competitive golf is always fun. My game is nowhere near where it was before I started having kids. But I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The 2023 running will be held from August 24-27 at Southwood, where Wheeler will compete as an amateur in a field of some of Canada’s best golfers suiting up in the PGA Tour Canada event. Having hosted the Manitoba Open 15 times, Southwood is no stranger to the event or to having Jets on the course, with many players holding memberships at the club.
“A hallmark of PGA TOUR Canada is how we try to engage with the communities in which we play,” PGA TOUR Canada Executive Director Scott Pritchard said. “I can think of no better way than to have a player from the Winnipeg Jets play in the CentrePort Canada Railpark Manitoba Open. Having Blake Wheeler as part of our field will add a spotlight to the tournament and allow Blake to feel a little different type of pressure than perhaps he’s used to.”
Proceeds from the Manitoba Open will again be sent to the True North Youth Foundation and its work through Project 11 in supporting the Mental Wellness Program at Camp Manitou – an initiative that helps teach children the game of golf. Last year, $115K was donated to the True North Youth Foundation. Dating back to 2013, the Manitoba Open has raised nearly three-quarters of $1 million for local charities within the province.
Wheeler and the Jets will jump back into action following the conclusion of their All-Star break and bye week on Saturday, February 11, when division rival Chicago comes to town for the team’s first game in 11 days. Seattle follows that up shortly with a visit of its own on Tuesday, before the Jets hit the road for Columbus on Thursday. Saturday’s game can be viewed live on Sportsnet/CBC.