Don’t be surprised if you run into Colorado Avalanche player Chuck Kobasew shopping on Bernard Avenue or walking along the waterfront this July. Kelowna will once again welcome Kobasew and fellow hockey stars to the Sandman Harvest Celebrity Golf Classic, a tournament that has raised over one million dollars for children in the Okanagan with emotional or physical needs. 

Credit for its inception goes to Tom Gaglardi, CEO of Northland Properties Corporation – Canada’s fastest growing, privately-owned hospitality company – which owns many hotel chains, including Sandman Hotels. 17 years ago, after playing in a tournament with Greg Adams (then with the Vancouver Canucks) Gaglardi asked Adams if he would be interested in hosting a charity tournament. A meeting with Gaglardi, Adams, Allan Hryniuk (a personal friend of Adams), Gilles Dufour (Harvest Golf Club,) and Terry Graham (now with PING Canada) turned into a hugely popular annual event. As Dufour recalls, “Tom, a recognized business man throughout Canada, had a tremendous number of resources, and basically spoke to friends, business associates and business partners – asking them to support the event. Our role here at the Harvest Golf Club was to provide the facility and to organize and run the event leading to the day. So it was a perfect marriage…The event was more or less sold out from Day 1.”

This year, the tournament will attract around 150 players including celebrity hockey stars like Kobasew. Many are returnees and all funds generated from the tournament activities go directly to registered foundations in the Okanagan.

Of course, many of the participants at this year’s Sandman Harvest Celebrity Golf Classic will stay at the Sandman Hotel in Kelowna – and they may notice some changes.

“The brand has come a long way in a short period of time,” says Sheila Perepalkin, Business Development Manager for the Okanagan Kootenay region. “While we’re still hands-on in an old fashioned way, we’re progressive. We’re growing, which means change.” The Sandman Hotel in Kelowna is a perfect example of this new direction. “It’s more modern,” says Dee Cristante, Sales Manager for the Kelowna property. “It offers a range of accommodations from Standard Queens in the Atrium to Deluxe King Suites in the Executive Tower. Plus, the updated pool and new fitness facility are guaranteed to impress.”

However, you don’t need to be a celebrity or a star to stay at the Sandman. Whether you’re booking a family vacation, passing through on business or reserving a block of rooms for wedding guests, this Sandman offers “one stop shopping” to all its clientele. With Sandman, you’re guaranteed continuity, value and comfort from Montreal to Terrace, BC. In addition, on-site restaurant options – from Denny’s and Moxie’s, to Chop Steakhouse & Bars – are just steps away. But that’s not the best part. When you stay or dine at Sandman, you can also feel great about fueling the Canadian economy – which is a win-win situation if you ask us.


~ Sue Harper