GGFG Hockey Champions
For the first time since 1987, the Foot Guards are hockey champions. From 6 to 8 April, the regimental team participated in the 45th Annual Sgt Rick Foldeak Memorial Invitational Hockey Tournament in Brockville. This event, hosted by the Brockville Rifles, honours the memory of one of their regimental NCOs who died in 1973. Primary Reserve units from across Ontario compete for top prize in the oldest military hockey tournament in Canada.
The championship team consisted of members from across the battalion, with each company represented from the newest recruit in Number Two Company, Rct Alex Perron, up to the Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding, LCol Chris Lynam from HQ Company. More importantly, the team was supported by a boisterous and enthusiastic fan base of nearly 50 friends, family, and members of the Regiment who cheered at games at home in Ottawa and on the road.
2018 GGFG Hockey Team
Front row (L-R) Maj Elliott MacDonald, LCol Chris Lynam, Rct Kirby Scott, Jack Lynam (front), Gdsm Tom Taetz, Cpl Ivan Grubisic, Cpl Max Kathron, Cpl Justin Farrell, Gdsm Brian Landry, Cpl Erik Altoft
Back Row (L-R) MCpl Colin Muldoon, Cpl Mathieu Valcour, Cpl Patrick Fortin, Rct Jacob Feeney, Rct Otis Moore, Cpl Victor Jung, Sgt Anthony Near, Rct Alex Perron, Cpl Jasper Szpotek, MCpl Conor Faga
In preparation for the tournament, over 25 interested players attended a tryout session in March. The task of picking a team fell to the Second in Command, Major Elliott MacDonald, assisted by Sgt Anthony Near (the only representative from the WO1 Keating Club). There was a tremendous level of talent, skill, and heart from everyone who participated in the tryouts. It was very difficult to decide who to keep on a roster limited to seventeen players according to tournament rules.
On 30 March, a friendly contest against 30th Field Regiment was played at the Carleton University Ice House in preparation for the Brockville Tournament. The Guards defeated the Bytown Gunners 10-3 based on a strong four-point effort led by Rct Kirby Scott. Cpl Ivan Grubisic and Gdsm Brian Landry also had three points apiece.
Gdsm Brian Landry breaking out of his own end against 30th Field Regiment RCA
The Brockville tournament itself consisted of a three-game round robin where GGFG fell 2-1 in the opening match against the Ontario Regiment (Ont R). Following this defeat, Esgn Declan Lloyd could be seen sporting an Ont R jersey having lost a bet with a family member on the team. In the second game, GGFG defeated the hometown Brockville Rifles 1-0 based on perfect goaltending including some TSN-worthy saves by GGFG goaltender, Cpl Max Kathron.
In the third and final game of the round robin, the division title and a chance to play on Sunday in the playoffs depended on winning a rematch against 30th Field Regiment. The gunners showed up determined to win, but GGFG emerged victorious by winning each period and securing first place seeding in the “B” Division, earning a bye to the division championship and tournament semi-final.
Sgt Anthony Near accepts the “B” Division championship plaque from CWO Robert Gagnon, Regimental Sergeant Major of the Brockville Rifles, after defeating the hometown Rifles for a berth in the tournament finals.
In the “B” Division championship match up on Sunday, GGFG had to face a vengeful Brockville Rifles team who had defeated the Ontario Regiment earlier that morning. Led by a superb defence corps, GGFG up-ended the hometown team for the second time in as many days by a score of 5-1. The exciting part of the win was that our enthusiastic booster club of fans, who were losing their voices by this point, were still louder and more numerous than the Rifles own fans in their arena.
Rct Kirby Scott fights off a defender from 30th Field Regiment RCA while Cpl Ivan Grubisic waits for the pass.
The tournament final on Sunday afternoon was played against 4th Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment from London, ON who had defeated the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa in the “A” Division final. Initially falling behind 2-0 to 4 RCR early in the game, the gritty Guards earned a pair of goals in the second period to tie the game before giving up the go ahead goal to the RCR. The arena erupted in the third period when Cpl Victor Jung of the Regimental Band, playing a shift on a penalty kill, connected a stretch pass to Gdsm Brian Landry as he stepped out of the penalty box, which he artfully shot over the 4 RCR goalie’s outstretched glove on a breakaway to tie the game at 3-3. The game was decided in a tense shootout where Gdsm Landry scored the tournament winning goal and Cpl Kathron was perfect one more time, turning away five attempts by the RCR’s best.
One question that remains to be answered after this year’s effort is where to hang the awesome championship banner.
2018 GGFG Hockey Team
Front row (L-R) Cpl Justin Farrell, Cpl Jasper Szpotek, Cpl Max Kathron, Rct Alex Perron, Gdsm Tom Taetz, Cpl Ivan Grubisic, LCol Chris Lynam, Cpl Riley Cross
Back Row (L-R) Maj Elliott MacDonald, Cpl Mathieu Valcour, Gdsm Brian Landry, Rct Otis Moore, Sgt Anthony Near, Rct Kirby Scott, Cpl Erik Altoft, Rct Jacob Feeney
Missing From Photo: MCpl Colin Muldoon, MCpl Conor Fagan, Cpl Victor Jung