Blackhawks, Elgin Country Club unite to help late manager's family
During his career as an NHL enforcer, Daniel Carcillo dropped the gloves many times sticking up for his teammates.
Thursday, Carcillo and other Chicago Blackhawks players and alumni put on their golfing gloves to help raise money at a fundraiser at the Elgin Country Club for the family and four children of Clint Reif, the team's assistant equipment manager who killed himself last year.
"Anything you can do to ease the anxiety and pain of losing a loved one, we'll do it," said Carcillo, who played left wing on the Stanley Cup champion teams of 2013 and 2015.
"It seems like Clint is looking down on us with the good weather. We're all fortunate to be here and help," Carcillo added.
Anton Hirsch, a St. Charles resident and country club member, said Equipment Assistant D.J. Kogut suggested a fundraiser for Reif's widow, Kelly, and their children.
Hirsch said that within 15 minutes of sending out an invite to club members, the event was sold out and a second tee time was added in the afternoon for the 54 total groups of golfers.
"The Hawks organization and alumni, they really stick together," said Hirsch, adding the event raised $17,000 in signup fees alone and the tally was expected to grow during dinner and a silent auction.
Hirsch said proceeds were for the team's educational foundation and to help Reif's four children to stay in activities and help them live as normally as possible since his passing.
Reif, 34, was found dead in his Lombard home on Dec. 21, 2014.
"We're trying to keep the kids on the same path they were when Cliff was still around," said Hirsch, who added the team's coach Joel Quenneville stopped by to make a donation but doesn't golf.
Cliff Koroll, who played 11 right wing from 1969 to 1980 for the Blackhawks and is now president of the team's alumni association, helped spread the word and recruit participants.
"It's people helping people. It seems like hockey people really rally around situations like this," he said.
While Thursday's top priority was to raise money for Reif's family, Koroll said helping increase awareness about suicide prevention also would be beneficial.
"It's a shame those things happen, but you hear about it every day," he said.
Brent Sopel, who played defense for 2010 Stanley Cup winning team before turning TV commentator, didn't hesitate to participate and help his fallen friend's family.
"To be out here and help out in any way we can is a no-brainer," Sopel said. "We're her for the family and to remember Clint. There's not a day that goes by I don't think about him or miss him."
Donations to the Clint Reif Memorial Fund may be sent c/o J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, 120 E. Wesley St., Wheaton, Illinois, 60187.