Photo of 3918 Al Roberts – former Adjutant Old Brigade taken Reunion Weekend, 2010 – by 15378 Henry Litjens
First Penalties – The story behind the story – including the first West Point penalty and the first RMC penalty – a year later with the Dr. George Stanley connection.
This article was first produced for the RMC Hockey History Digest (2002) . The article appears on pages 194 & 195. Through a clerical error, credit for authoring the article did not appear – it should have read By: 3918 Al Roberts.
This article is very well written with style and humour and it certainly describes the mood of the RMC hockey players and the interest of at least one college professor in the West Point / RMC hockey game just over 55 years ago.
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Photo: 5780 Bernie Laliberte, one of many RMC star players from the 1960s.
“Fantastic news. Long overdue. It should never have stopped. Hope that the game with the associated pre/post game mingling of players of the two teams can regain its place amongst the most significant traditions of RMC. Our whole hockey season was geared to taking on West Point. I am still in contact with two of the West Point players some 40 years later. It was a great and memorable event for the whole Cadet Wing. Go Redmen, Oops, Go Paladins.”
5780 Bernie Laliberte – 29 May 2011- On hearing the news that the USMA / RMC game was back on!
Background West Point / RMC hockey series…
The West Point series originated when the commandant of RMC, Sir Archibald McDonnell and the superintendent of the United States Military Academy (West Point), Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, suggested a game of hockey between the two schools in 1921. After two years of exchanging ideas the first game was played on February 23, 1923 at West Point. The Redmen won that first game 3-0 and a New York paper stated “Army was beaten at hockey today by Royal Military College of Kingston, Ontario. The Canadian cadets excelled the Army men all the way, displaying the best all around form seen here in years. Hamilton and the Carr- Harris’s were the outstanding stars of the Canadian team. This game was one of the cleanest fought contests staged here this winter and was marked by a fine display of sportsmanship on both sides.” In commemorate of the game, RMC donated the “Challenge Trophy.”
In 1924 the series moved to Kingston thus beginning the tradition of rotating venues. This was Army’s first away game and up until 1941 the West Point Game was the only time that Army played away from the Academy.
From 1923-1935 RMC ran up a record of 14-0-1. The only blemish being a 4-4 tie in 1935. 1939 saw Army win its first game 3-1. As a result of WWII only one game was played, at 3-1 Army win in 1942, over the next 10 years.
In the 50’s and 60’s Army won 15 of 20 games bringing the series close with RMC holding a 21-18-1 advantage. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s the teams played fairly closely. In 1986 the record stood at 26-25-4 in favour of RMC.
Army dominated from the late 1980s all through the ‘90s – going unbeaten from 1988-1999.
The last game in 2006 was a 3-3 tie in front of 3100 fans in Kingston.
When the series “stood down” Army led 39-29-7.
War on Ice – RMC versus USMA.
Article by JW (Bill) Fitsell, Historian first appeared in the RMC Hockey History Diges – 2002
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A little bit of ….RMC / West Point Hockey History
Most of us who were around when the RMC / West Point hockey game was played became familiar with the phrase – the longest international hockey series in the world.
But it was not continuous. Take a good look at the scoreboard, which still hangs proudly on the main floor of Currie Hall.
Why were there no West Point / RMC hockey games in 1926; 1940 & 1941? While doing some research for Volume II of the RMC Hockey History Digest (HHD) which is currently a work in progress – we discovered the following:
The 1926 match coincided with the accidental shooting death of I Year, 1833 WL Campbell on 10th February, just ten days before the hockey game was scheduled Initially, RMC officials postponed the game; however, they ultimately decided to cancel it for that year.
Colonel CF Constantine had assumed command of RMC in the summer of 1925 taking over from Sir Archibald Macdonell who had retired that year from the Canadian Army.
Constantine stated, “ The tragedy has indeed been a big blow to us all. In a small college such as this (RMC) – the strength of our cadet body is only one hundred and sixty odd – an occurrence like this looms very large, and the shadow cast over the life of the college is a very real one.”
The RMC / West Point hockey-break for WW II requires more explanation.
Due to the status of Canada and America in the war, the series was cancelled in 1940 and 1941.
Canada declared war at the same time, as Britain and the United States did not enter the war until 1941. During that time, no “official” relationship was to exist between Canada (a belligerent power) and the United States (a neutral power). By 1942 the United States had entered the war and the hockey rivalry resumed for that year – just two months following the bombings at Pearl Harbour.
RMC closed during the war and reopened with “The New 100” in 1948. This “international” hockey rivalry finally resumed in 1949.
The curtain falls…in 2007…