Commando Hockey Challenge 5: Esprit de Corps defeats the General Officers & Flag Officers (GOFOs) 4:3. On May 26, team captain General Jonathan Vance and his GOFO hockey team squared off against publisher Scott Taylor and the Esprit de Corps Commandos squad. This was a ‘must-win’ game for the GOFOs as they had previously lost the first game of a best-of-three series on January 28, 2016. (For more on this event, refer to Volume 23 Issue 2.)

Having since added some top-level talent to the GOFO line-up in the interim, Vance felt good about his team’s chances to stave off defeat. However, the Commandos came flying out of the gate to open up a 3:0 lead by the end of the first period. During the second period, the GOFOs swung the momentum back in their favour with two goals in less than 3 minutes.

Early in the third period, the Commandos scored to cushion their lead, but the GOFOs resolutely refused to give up. A late goal put the GOFOs within one and that sparked an offensive barrage against the Commandos netminder. With the GOFO net empty in favour of an extra attacker, the crowd counted down the dying seconds of the game. When the final buzzer sounded, the Commandos had held on for the win.

Of course the real winners in these charity hockey games is the Military Family Resource Centre – National Capital Region (MFRC – NCR). In total, Commando Hockey Challenge 5 raised $3,042.50 for this organization. The MFRC – NCR is the only local not-for-profit organization that directly supports the Canadian Armed Forces families living in the National Capital Region, consisting of 11,000 military members (Regular and Reserve), 8,000 spouses and 9,000 children. The centre is a valuable lifeline and a strong, reliable support network for military families. It is committed to providing high quality, tailored programs and services that meet changing individual and community needs.

Fans and players celebrated the event with a tailgate style post-game reception in the Jim Durrell Arena parking lot. Rising local country star Amanda Jordan and her accompanist, Andrew VanHorne, sang the national anthem to start the game, and they performed a number of original songs at the reception.