Many happy returns?

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:16 AM ET

The weather was bad, the crowds were small and none of the really big stars were here.

But for a first-time effort, Celebrity Players Tour officials were rather pleased with Grant Fuhr's tournament and his performance as a host.

There are bugs to be worked out of his Celebrity Classic, which he'd like to see become an annual event, but nothing so glaring that the CPT won't be back next summer.

"This was our first official event in Canada and we think it went really well," said Lee Moore, senior public relations manager of the CPT. "Some of our big-name guys put their names on a tournament and back away (from the organizational aspect). Grant is a hands-on guy. He wants to be involved. And he's learning as he goes.

"You can play in a lot of these things, but until you actually get to putting one on, you really don't know what's going to happen. So I think this was really good for the first year."

Now that he has the first one under his belt, Fuhr can't wait till next year.

GETTING GLITCHES OUT

"In the first year we weren't sure what we'd get," said the Hall of Fame netminder. "There's a few behind-the- scenes issues that we have to solve, but other than that, for a first year, it ran fairly well. We'll get the glitches out of it and next year hopefully it'll be bigger and better."

Fuhr was hoping for larger galleries than the daily handfuls who braved the rain at Blackhawk, but Moore and the CPT doesn't judge an event by its crowd size.

"It's something we've never tried to use as part of our critique in whether or not the event was successful," said Moore, adding the primary focus is to please and impress the corporate community at the Thursday and Friday pro-ams.

"They're the people who pay to put on the event. We do a lot of corporate entertainment, autographs - that sort of thing.

In exchange for doing that on Thursday and Friday, the CPT guys play a competitive tournament on the weekend. Looking at it in that sense, we think we accomplished a lot."

The crowds might have been larger if some of the CPT's marquee names were here, but a scheduling quirk that had Dino Cicarelli hosting another CPT event the same weekend in Detroit, and the fact Edmonton was a trial balloon, kept the field watered down.

"Some of the older tournaments bring in big crowds, depending on who's in the field," said Moore.

BIG NAMES, BIG CROWDS

"If you have some of the huge names, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Jack Wagner, the crowds can be very big, like Tahoe. But that event is 16 years old and NBC carries it. It takes time to build it up like that.

"I like the way Grant did it, starting small. If we had a full field, 60 players, it would be twice the challenge it was this year. You want to put it together small, first."

And, in time, Moore sees a day when the likes of Charles Barkley, Joe Pesci and Mario Lemieux venture this way.

"I do, for two or three reasons," he said.

"No.1, what a great place to come to. People who've never been here before will hear from word of mouth how beautiful the area is.

"They can come up and make a week out of it, see the Rockies. And everybody likes Grant Fuhr. He is one of the most popular guys that plays on our tour."

Former major-league baseball player Vince Coleman is definitely telling his friends about Edmonton.

"It's a great golf course," he said. "Edmonton is a place that I know for sure I'm going to put on my calendar every year."

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FUHR CELEBRITY CLASSIC

AT BLACKHAWK (PAR 71)

Shane Rawley 71-77--148

Vince Coleman 75-74--149

Grant Fuhr 78-71--149

John Congemi 76-76--152

Bernie Nicholls 79-73--152

Mickey Tettleton 76-77--153

Jason Chimera 77-78--155

Don Anderson 81-74--155

Dick Anderson 72-84--156

John Ebersole 84-72--156

Darren Veitch 79-78--157


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