Willie Mitchell still occasionally gets asked if he’s going to host another Willie Mitchell Classic event on the North Island.
What he’d really like to do is share some of the money raised in the original 2006 golf tournament at Seven Hills Golf and Country Club.
“We’ve spent almost $20,000 so far to help youth achieve their goals, but that’s only about half of what we’ve got,” said Mitchell, the NHL defenseman who grew up in Port McNeill and who still spends time on the North Island during the offseason. “We still have a lot of money there for kids aspiring to their dreams.”
Mitchell spoke from his home in Southern California after his L.A. Kings closed out their Western Conference playoff series with Phoenix and earned a spot in the upcoming Stanley Cup Finals.
That original benefit tournament, which featured appearances by several of Mitchell’s hockey-playing pals, brought a huge response in both volunteer help and in donations, from businesses and individuals.
It also provided a substantial pool of money intended to help North Island youths 19-under across a wide spectrum of needs. And that money is still out there for the taking if applicants simply contact the Willie Mitchell Classic with a short letter describing their goals and the obstacles to reaching them.
“We found out we can have an event and raise all this money, but making people aware it’s available is another issue,” said Mitchell. “For all the people who donated and worked hard to make (the Classic) a success, it’s our duty to give away all the money before we hold another event.”
The Willie Mitchell Classic, which is administered by Willie’s wife Megan, has already assisted North Island youth across a wide spectrum of interest areas. Perhaps the most decorated case was that of North Island Secondary student and aspiring filmmaker Colin Minihan, who went on to become an award-winning video producer after the Mitchell Classic provided him with a new high-definition video camera.
The Classic has also assisted young triathletes with racing cycles, training and other equipment and, most recently, helped with travel expenses for Trevor Harder and Danielle Lacasse to attend the Young Science Canada national science fair in Prince Edward Island.
“That’s why we put it together, so people could jump over those hurdles, bust through those doors and come out the other side with some gratification,” said Mitchell. “It’s such a rewarding thing to be a part of that.”
The classic funding is not designed for groups or organizations; it’s specifically meant to help individuals.
Other than that, though, we have no parameters,” Mitchell said. “It’s not purely for athletics, not purely academics. It could be the arts, whatever.”
To apply for a grant from the Mitchell Classic, email williemitchellclassic.com with a short description of yourself, your dream or goal, and your need in reaching that goal.
“We’d live to hear the story, and we’d love to help out if the situation is right,” Mitchell said. “No one should feel intimidated about writing in and sharing what their passions are.”