The Mackenzie Tour–PGA Tour Canada have announced today SportBox Entertainment Group, in partnership with the Graham and Ruby DeLaet Foundation, will serve as the host organization of the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open, transitioning from eight years under VMC Sports & Entertainment Group.
Led by tournament director Hugh Vassos, the event in DeLaet’s home province of Saskatchewan has become a mainstay on the Mackenzie Tour schedule
“I have been privileged to work with Chief Darcy Bear and his people at the Whitecap Dakota First Nation, Saskatoon, other Saskatchewan communities, SIGA, SaskTel and all other past sponsors, and of course the best volunteers,” said Vassos.
“I am proud of how the event has grown from an upstart event to a mainstay stop on the Mackenzie Tour. It’s been a great run for the past eight years. However, in order to help manage its continued growth, it is time for new leadership,” added Vassos.
“I am excited to see the involvement of the Graham and Ruby DeLaet Foundation with SportBox. Graham played the event twice and I think this is a natural progression to have their foundation now take an active role in the Saskatchewan tournament,” he added.
“I look forward to seeing the event make an even greater impact in the province going forward,” said Vassos.
Mackenzie Tour president Jeff Monday said Vassos has been a foundation for the building of the Saskatchewan tournament.
“I’d like to thank Hugh for all his hard work in making the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open a success for the last eight seasons, growing it from nothing into what it is today and providing a foundation for it to continue to flourish,” said Monday.
“The tournament is among the players’ favourite stops every year and we’re looking forward to seeing it make an even greater impact going forward with the Graham and Ruby DeLaet Foundation,” he added.
Vassos will remain involved with the Tour in a consulting role going forward. SportBox Entertainment Group, a sport, lifestyle and entertainment firm that has business verticals in event management, consulting and talent representation, will assume operational control of the event.
DeLaet, a client of SportBox, will see his foundation as the driving force behind the event to raise funds for local charitable initiatives. SportBox will work in collaboration with the Graham and Ruby DeLaet Foundation to ensure continued success, while integrating a strong community focus.
The Graham and Ruby DeLaet Foundation, which Graham started with wife Ruby in 2014, will work with SportBox to identify a local cause to support through the event to give back to the community.
The foundation was launched with a central focus on supporting children’s health and wellness, as well as supporting the development of junior golfers at all levels.
Since 2011, its charitable initiatives have raised over $1-million for causes and organizations across Canada.
“As an alumnus of the tour, the opportunity to be part of an event in my backyard made sense for me to team up with my agency, so that Ruby and I can support the event, while also using it as a means to give back to charitable initiatives in my home province,” said DeLaet.
“I’m excited to work with SportBox and the tour on shaping what the event will look like,” he said.
Ruby DeLaet added the tournament was a perfect fit for the foundation.
“We launched our foundation when Graham was at a point in his career that it made sense to start giving back to the people that supported him along his journey to the PGA Tour,” she said.
“Our foundation represents Graham’s roots in Canada by supporting local causes that are close to us,and we’re excited to make a positive impact in the Saskatchewan community with this event partnership,” she added.
SportBox is also connected to the Saskatchewan market with a corporate office located in Saskatoon.
“This initiative is a strategic fit for SportBox because of the company’s presence in Saskatchewan, relationship and collaboration with Graham, and him having roots in the province and being embedded in the community,” said David Dube, chairman of SportBox Entertainment Group.
“We look forward to working with the event stakeholders and community partners to identify a local cause that the event supports each year, in addition to providing a great experience for players and spectators,” he added.
SIGA (Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority) will continue to host the tournament as the event’s title sponsor. The tournament will be played at Dakota Dunes Golf Links.
“For the past eight years, SIGA has been proud to be the title sponsor for Saskatchewan’s premier golf event – the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open,” said Zane Hansen, president and CEO of SIGA.
“I would like to thank our fellow sponsors, the Mackenzie Tour and the many organizers and volunteers who make professional golf a reality in Saskatchewan. We look forward to working with the team at SportBox Entertainment Group in partnership with the Graham and Ruby DeLaet Foundation,” added Hansen.
The date for the 2016 SIGA Dakota Dunes Open will be announced at a later date.