Although ice hockey may not command over-sized television audiences in the US, its popularity world-wide is unchallenged. In Ottawa, military attaches from the global community quickly learn that their stint here must include strapping on the blades and scraping their way up-ice against determined opponents. No-one has to be asked twice.
On Monday afternoon, May 27, the Esprit de Corps Commando Lites faced off against a diplomatic team of Lame Ducks who are showing signs of becoming serious contenders. In their informal league, the Ducks, featuring America’s Rob Worsham and Russia’s Igor Starkov, just came off a convincing 10-0 shellacking of a rival team made up of international students attending the Canadian Forces’ College in Toronto. The female-heavy Lites, including Brigadier-General Lise Bourgon, plus married couples Scott and Katherine Taylor and Richard and Eva Cohen, were determined not to roll over in any such fashion.
The game was started by an amazingly accurate puck drop by drone, engineered by Easy Aerial. This nod to modern technology aside, the two teams then engaged in a classic three-period see-saw battle kept low-scoring by excellent goaltending. The result, fair to both team’s herculean efforts, was 1-1. For keeping his squad in the game, Lame Duck goalie Scott Bryan was named MVP and Commando Lites rookie Erika Wagner was selected as MVP for her courage.
The second game in this double-header, was the twelfth edition of the ongoing Commando Challenge series, featured a team of Canadian Forces senior officers, (aka The GOFO’s) facing off against a rag-tag bunch of fading all-stars and Esprit de Corps employees. In this case, the ranks of both teams were each bolstered by two hard-working young Cadets who did yeoman service along the boards. Cadet Corporal Shaynen Forgues earned himself MVP honour for the Commandos and Colonel Chris Zimmer was the standout GOFO in the game.
Although this tilt went in favour of the GOFO team with a final score of 4:1, the main beneficiary as usual was the Cadet Leagues of Canada, $2,500 being raised to support their efforts. Also of note, the Corps of Commissionaires was the first recipient of the Esprit de Corps' award of Appreciation for their ongoing transition support for Canadian veterans. The Commissionaires are consistently Canada’s leading employer of ex-military personnel. The award was received by Commissionaires Chief of Staff Harry Harsch.