The fifth annual Herb Hammond Golf Tournament, a fundraiser to support the SUNY Oswego men’s hockey team, demonstrates the power of friendship.
Hammond, Oswego’s men’s hockey coach from 1968-80, broke many a hockey fan’s heart by leaving Oswego for archrival SUNY Plattsburgh. It would have been easy to cast him as the villain. That didn’t happen.
“The people of Oswego make you just feel so comfortable,” said Patti Hammond, Herb’s wife. “They’re friends because they’re friends. They’re not friends because of what you could do for me today, which can happen sometimes. They supported Herb so much, from the beginning, when he first got there. They’re just always so supportive.”
Herb died from cancer in 2009. His wife had received $1,200 in memorial gifts to the Herb Hammond Hockey Fund. She asked Dick Johnson, one of Herb’s best friends, what she should do.
“Pat wanted to do something,” said Johnson, a former SUNY Oswego employee, an inductee into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame and first president of the Blueline Club. “Why not put something in Herb’s name? She wanted something that would go on in perpetuity.”
Johnson approached the Oswego College Foundation Inc., and he learned what it would take to endow a fund to support Lakers men’s hockey in ways that the normal operating budget could not. Then he organized his first golf tournament to raise more money.
“I reached out to the community,” Johnson said. “That’s really where the money is made. We were lucky enough to have a very giving community.”
The tournament reached $10,000 in two years. The Herb Hammond Memorial Fund now stands at just over $97,000. The ultimate long-range goal is to raise enough to fund an annual trip for the men’s and women’s hockey teams to compete in Europe.
“I’m so proud,” Patti Hammond said. “I make sure I’m there for every golf tournament, although I don’t play. I just think it’s so generous, and it’s such a great opportunity for former players to come back, have a little fun.”
—Edwin Acevedo M’0
Tee Time: The 2015 Herb Hammond Golf Tournament, named for the former SUNY Oswego men’s hockey coach, is June 13 at Griffin’s Green in Oswego. For more information, contact Dick Johnson, tournament organizer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.