A newly minted National Hockey League free agent is giving back to the community while spending his summer back home in London.
Former London Knight Brandon Prust, 32, is having a busy offseason training and fundraising. On Monday he returned to Redtail Golf Course near Port Stanley for his third-annual Prusty4Kids charity tournament.
The NHL stars aligned for the day to support Prust and his self-titled foundation geared toward improving kids’ lives. Prust started the foundation in 2014 with London entrepreneur Dave Moore.
The Knights were well represented with Mitch Marner, Corey Perry and Danny Syvret on the course, along with other London-area NHLers Drew Doughty, Ryan O’Reilly and Nazem Kadri.
“It’s awesome (to see these guys here), we do a lot of things for each other, once teammates you’re teammates for life,” Prust said. “You make a lot of friends along the way in this game, that’s just how hockey players are.”
Although the mood was fun, his former teammates and friends all knew they were there for a more serious purpose.
“We’ve all been very fortunate to have the relationships and people in our life that allow us to do what we love to do most, and that’s play hockey,” said O’Reilly, the 2014 Lady Byng award winner for exhibiting sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. “There are so many unfortunate kids and families that sometimes can’t afford things, so anytime we can give back . . . that’s what it’s all about.”
Prust’s fiancee, Montreal TV host Maripier Morin, was at the event. The couple appear along with other NHL players and their wives on the Hockey Wives reality TV show. A film crew from the show attended the tournament.
Prust is a London native who made the Knights as a walk-on after being bypassed in the draft. A member of the Memorial Cup -winning 2005 Knights, Prust was drafted by Calgary and has played for several NHL teams, the latest being the Vancouver Canucks.
Prust became an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and is still without a contract.
“My agent is still talking to GMs and teams trying to find a team that would be a good fit and where I’d have the most impact,” he said. “I continue to train and am making sure I’m ready for camp.”
This month, Prust announced a $100,000 donation from his foundation to St. Joseph’s Health Care London.