Follow up on the Resumption of USMA / RMC Hockey

 

Bonjour Bill and Rolande: Many thanks for another delightful edition of eVeritas, which showed up in my In-box this morning. You asked for photos of the RMC/West Point competition. I know that you already have the finished photo, below, which I sent to you last year [I think it was about a year ago?]. But if you can use it, I just thought I would send a reminder about it. The photo in its original condition is also attached.

Best regards to you both.

3959 Phil Smith

RMC ’58

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RMC, West Point revive hockey game

By Mike Koreen/The Whig-Standard – 31 May

After breaking a great hockey tradition five years ago, officials from Royal Military College and the U.S. Military Academy finally have reached a deal to restore an annual showdown.

Last played in 2006, the RMC-West Point clash will return for a 76th edition in 2012 after the schools finalized an agreement last week. The three-year deal was confirmed at the Society for International Hockey Research annual general meeting at RMC this past weekend.

The contract starts with a Feb. 4, 2012 game at West Point, N.Y. The teams return to West Point the following season and then square off in Kingston in 2013-14.

“For me, what was most important was getting the game back on,” said RMC commandant Cmdr. William Truelove, who took part in discussions with leaders at West Point for the past year.

“Let’s get it started again, get the games happening and if there are things we need to fine tune, we’ll look at it. The relationship (between the two schools) is more important than lesser issues that my have been under discussion.

“The hockey game enables something more important — the chance for the cadets to get together (before) they may serve together later in life.”

For a variety of reasons, the game started its five-year leave in 2007, the same year current RMC coach Adam Shell was hired.

Scheduling was one of the issues, along with RMC’s use of reservists and civilian students on the varsity hockey team.

For this contract, RMC athletic director Darren Cates said, the Paladins will not be playing any “pure civilian” players if they, in fact, have any in the lineup.

The loss of the social aspect of the game in later editions also was a concern for Cates. Traditionally — the game was first played in 1923 — the players roomed, ate and hung out together during the exchange weekend.

Cates hopes that can change this time around, though details still have to be worked out.

“Personally, that’s my preference,” Cates said. “There is a good chance guys from our team and their team will serve somewhere in the world one day and during a hockey game, you don’t get to know your opposition that well.

“I think it’s important all players get to learn and experience (life) at the two academies.”

Once the leaders of both schools started making progress in discussions, Shell and Army counterpart Brian Riley began developing a plan.

Truelove said Shell played a major role in making the game a reality again.

Some hockey issues still need to be finalized — some rules are different in Canadian and American university hockey — but Shell said he and Riley have developed a good relationship.

“I’d go on the board saying this is monumental for us,” Shell said. “Anybody who has any familiarity with RMC hockey always asks me, ‘When are you playing West Point again?’ To be able to answer that question is very significant.

“This will help reinvigorate our alumni,” Shell continued. “The notoriety, the (boost) for recruiting — there is no downside.”

Riley agreed.

“I’ve had really good talks with coach Shell,” he said. “Our hope is that the game is eventually cadets versus cadets, but I think we’re going in the right direction … I think we’ve made huge strides just to get to this stage.”

The West Point game will be the culmination of an intense stretch for RMC. On Feb. 2, the Paladins face the host Queen’s Golden Gaels in the annual Carr-Harris Cup game, which will be played at either the Memorial Centre or the K-Rock Centre.

“It will be a good challenge for our guys,” Cates said. “It’s a lot in a couple of days, but Adam felt confident the team could handle it.”

West Point received permission from its league — Atlantic Hockey — to schedule the game. The league asks teams not to schedule non-league games after the second week of January, but made an exception for this game.

“The league understood the tradition that went along with this game,” Riley said. “The teams in our league have been very good in terms of helping us.”

When the West Point series returns to Kingston, Cates is strongly considering making a pitch to play the game at the K-Rock Centre instead of the tiny Constantine Arena at RMC.

That’s an issue for another day. The biggest hurdle — getting the game going again — is cleared.

“I just leap for joy with this news,” said Maj. Danny McLeod, former coach and athletic director at RMC.

“Both sides were guilty (for the five-year break) and RMC had their fair share of it, but that doesn’t matter now. What matters now is some very senior people involved with the game many years ago said ‘Look, let’s get this game back on the rails.’

“(Truelove’s predecessor, Tom) Lawson and Truelove worked overtime and they deserve full marks for getting this back on the rails.”

The Paladins and West Point tied 3-3 in the most recent game at Constantine in 2006.

West Point leads the overall series 39-29-7 and RMC has won the game just three times since 1984.

 

CKWS – Sportscast – SPORTS