By Adam Peace
On Monday, January 28, 2019, the Esprit de Corps Commandos and General Officers and Flag Officers took to the ice for the eleventh installment of the Commando Challenge. For a little change this time around three lucky Cadets got to to take part in the action.
With the all-time series standing 6-4 in favour of the Commandos, it was certain the GOFOs would bring their “A” game in an effort to close that gap.
The biggest story of the night was the four young Cadets (age 16-18) selected to play for either team (only three actually made it out: Cadet P01Brooks for EDC and Cadet Sgt. Elisabeth Pilon & Cadet CPO2 Eric Seguin for the GOFO squad.) An Air Cadet band and tri-Cadet colour party took part in the opening ceremonies during the pre-game warm-up. Local City Councillor Allan Hubley was welcomed at centre ice by team captains General Jonathan Vance and Scott Taylor to drop the ceremonial puck.
LGen Al Meinzinger opened the scoring early in the first period after receiving a nice stretch-pass to net a breakaway goal. With much older and some much larger opponents flying around the rink, all three Cadets displayed impressive talent on the ice. Special mention should be given to Cadet PO1 Matt Brooks who opened up the scoring for the Commandos, tying the game at 1 goal apiece early in the first period. After the Commandos netted a few more goals – the GOFOs picked up their socks and started to climb back on the scoreboard.
Toward the end of the third – and with the game on the line - Cadet Sgt Elisabeth Pilon ripped up the far wing and potted a well placed wrist shot to score with only a few seconds left on the clock, bringing the score within one goal. The final score at the end of 60 minute was 5-4 favouring of the Commandos.
Reportedly, once the game had ended CDS General Jonathan Vance skated over to the organizers and let them know that that the GOFOs really liked having the Cadets involved. VAdm (R'etd) Denis Rouleau and Navy League National Executive Director Doug Thomas were the referees and both men agreed that the Cadet involvement helped keep the game friendly but still competitive. The three Cadets awarded as player of the game by Vance, did their Squadrons and fellow Cadets proud and became the unanimous “on ice” favorites.
At the post game reception Vance presented each Cadet with one of his coins, and they were also allowed to keep their game jersey (with name on it) as a souvenir. The CDS noted that the hockey games provide his crew an opportunity to get together as a cohesive group; something, he added, that doesn’t happen too often during the work day. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of $3,000.00 was raised for the Cadet Leagues and, the solid relationship between EDC Magazine, the GOFOs and the Cadet Leagues continues.