Commandos draw first blood in Halifax
On Sept. 8, the Esprit de Corps Commandos took their game on the road to Halifax to compete against the Royal Canadian Navy Mariners in a charity hockey game at the Halifax Forum.
The event coincided with the annual DEFSEC trade show and, as such, many of the Commando players and sponsors were already in Nova Scotia. However, from the opening strains of the Royal Canadian Navy March, played by the attendant Stadacona Band during the warm-up, it was clear that the Commandos were the visiting team.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage did the honors of dropping the ceremonial face-off and local talk show radio DJ Rick Howe volunteered his services as the game announcer.
The Mariners got into trouble early, and were trailing 4:1 at the end of the second period. An inspired third period saw the Mariners close the gap to 5:3 with 4 minutes remaining, but to the crowd’s disappointment, a quick counter by the Commandos followed by an empty-netter in the dying seconds made the final score 7:3.
However, the real winners of the night were the Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre as the game sponsorship raised a total of $8,376. H&R MFRC staff and volunteers came out in large numbers and helped make this event a big success.
In true Halifax style, the VIP post-game reception featured catering from King of Donairs. Splendid entertainment was provided through the evening by the Boarding Party (a sub-set of the Stadacona Band). Among those in attendance were a delegation from the French Navy and the British Royal Navy, whose respective warships (FREMM frigate Languedoc and HMS Monmouth, respectively) were in port prior to a NATO exercise. Instead of any traditional fisticuffs, these two groups engaged in a very entertaining sing-off at the end of the cocktail party. Lockheed Martin sponsored the reception and provided a donation of $5,000 to the MFRC. VIA Rail was the transportation sponsor for the hockey team, bringing 6 Commando players and 12 hockey bags full of equipment from Ottawa to Halifax.
A special thanks is due to Rear-Admiral John Newton, who accepted the hockey challenge on behalf of his Mariners. Newton would have personally captained the RCN hockey team, but duty called upon him to be in the Arctic that day (something about discovering Sir John Franklin’s long lost HMS Terror).
CFB Halifax Base Commander, Captain(N) Chris Sutherland, proved a worthy stand-in and a very competent administrator. Thanks to the efforts of Sutherland and his staff, we at Esprit de Corps were able to overcome the massive logistical challenge of coordinating this road game.
Bravo Zulu to all the players, organizers and sponsors for making this a great event.
For more photos click here: http://www.richardlawrencephotography.ca/clients/edec/defsec2016b/index_13.html