By Adam Peace
On Wednesday, January 31, 2018, four teams battled for two trophies in the season premier of the Commando Challenge 2018 hockey series.
The first game of the double header took place at University of Ottawa Minto Sports Complex where the Ottawa Service Attachés Association (OSAA) Lame Ducks played the Commando Lites for the coveted Esprit de Corps Cup.
The Lame Ducks were struggling to find their stride with a host of new players in the roster. The Commando Lites had an easy first period and after twenty minutes the score stood at 2-0 in their favor.
Through two periods the Lame Ducks were trailing 4-0 and that gap would eventually close after a late rally by the desperate Ducks in the third period. Final score was 7-4 with Josée Lamothee, and Chinese Military Attaché Haifeng Wang taking home the player of the game awards for the Commando Lites and Lame Ducks respectively.
Across town at the McNabb Arena, the second game of the afternoon quickly turned into a heated on-ice battle between the General Officers & Flag Officers (aka the GOFOs) and the Esprit de Corps Commandos. The Commandos came out with something to prove after having lost the previous two matches to the GOFOs and managed to score a lone goal in the first period to take the lead.
The GOFOs were missing three star players from their roster: Al Meinzinger, Bob Auchterlonie and Gilles Couturier and the lack of fire power from their top guns only became more evident as time ran on in the second period. After forty minutes the Commandos were leading by a score of 4-0.
At this point each team took to their dressing room to rest while the Zamboni circled the rink to give them a fresh sheet of ice. No doubt the GOFOs had some chalk talk going on inside that room. They were determined to get a point on the scoreboard one way or another.
In the third period a reenergized GOFO squad managed to net one goal past Commando goalie Scott Hopper.
But it was too little too late as the Commandos were able to fend off attack after attack from the GOFO offence.
The final score rest at 5-1 in favour of the Commandos.
The victorious Commandos have proudly reclaimed the coveted dagger trophy which now sits in Esprit de Corps’ office until the next match in May 2018.
As with all the Commando Challenge events, regardless of who wins on the ice, the real winners are the military charities that these games support. For Commando Challenge IX, we’d like to thank title sponsor Nammo, and all of our contributing sponsors for taking part in this worthwhile event: Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney Canada, DEW Engineering, Commissionaires, Airbus Defence & Space Canada, Rockwell Collins, Telfer School of Management, Hudson Supplies, Canadian Centre for Product Validation, Prospectus Associates, BMT Fleet, David Pratt & Associates.
The January 2018 Commando Challenge game raised over $5,000 for the Cadet Leagues of Canada (Army, Air and Sea). A hearty Bravo Zulu is once again sent out to the Cadet League organizers who were a huge part of the logistic support for the hockey game and the subsequent VIP reception.
For more photos go to: http://www.richardlawrencephotography.ca/clients/edec/hockey20180131/