By Richard Lawrence
Once again the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) suited up to play hockey against the Royal 22e Régiment (R22eR) in the annual Imjin Classic Hockey match. This match is sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Canada and commemorates the original Imjin Hockey game played on the Imjin River in Korea in 1952 by the R22eR and the PPCLI. This year the game took place on the 3rd November, 2018, at the TD Place arena, home of the Ottawa 67s hockey team, and turned out to be a classic battle. Both teams came ready to play and did not disappoint the crowd.
The skating was fast and the puck handling crisp as the teams traded ends for the first half of the first period. The stalemate was broken when the R22eR scored the first goal at 10:52 of the first but they didn’t hold the lead long as the PPCLI answered with a goal of their own at 8:08. The second period was just all out skating with both teams holding the other at bay. It wasn’t until 16:44 in the third period that the PPCLI pocketed their second goal and took the lead. Undeterred the R22eR came back at 7:22 to tie it up again and finally went ahead at 4:21 with their third goal. With a minute and a half to go, the PPCLI pulled their goalie to get the extra attacker but it was to no avail as time ran out giving the R22eR the match 3-2.
At the reception that followed, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Canada, Shin Maeng-ho, stated that, “It is my sincere hope that the Imjin Hockey Classic will continue as an annual tradition. Each year we will come together like we did today not only to celebrate the strong alliance between Korea and Canada but also to remember the enduring legacy of the Korean veterans who brought freedom and democracy, and hockey, to the people of Korea.” He also added that, “It is my dream that in the near future the Korean Hockey team will become the 2nd best hockey team in the world.”
Other remarks were presented by Colonel Evraire on behalf of the R22eR and by Major-General Peter Dawe, Commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, on behalf of the PPCLI. The most interesting remarks were presented by Mr. Bill Black of the Korean Veterans Association, Chapter 7, who took the time to bring up three Korean veterans who actually played in the original hockey game on the Imjin River in Korea in 1952. Mr. Peter Dillon (taking a face-off) and Mr. Denis Moore were each given large pictures showing them playing hockey in Korea in 1952 and Mr. Claude Charland, although he played, managed to do so without getting a picture taken.
Further to that, Mr. Black introduced Mr. Delphis Cormier, at the time a Corporal in the R22eR platoon led by then Lieutenant Claude Charland. He recounted the story about how Lt. Charland’s platoon was returning from a patrol one night when they were ambushed by the Chinese and 17 year old Cpl. Cormier (he lied about his age to get in) saved the platoon and was awarded the Military Medal by Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 for his actions that night. Or as Mr. Black so eloquently put it, “He saved their asses!”.
With the official remarks concluded, the Korean War Veterans grouped together with members of both hockey teams from CF Recruit and Leadership School in St. Jean, Quebec, for pictures and then returned to the reception.
To see all the images, go to: http://www.richardlawrencephotography.ca/rlpgalleries/2018/imjin2018/