Rugby Team On Solid Footing –
Women’s Team Can Count On Support!
RMC Rugby Football Club 2008 awards banquet
Most Valuable Player – 2Lt. Matthew McLeod
Most Improved Player – Cpl. Joshua Whiteside
Back of the Year – OCdt. Tyler Gill
Forward of the Year – NCdt. Victor Armes
Phil Cowie Award Winner – OCdt. Chris Wood
Four players who have played instrumental roles in the re-birth of the Royal Military College’s Varsity Men’s Rugby team, are scheduled to graduate in a couple weeks, and move on to the next part of their careers. 2007-2008 Captains, Victor Armes and Tyler Gill, as well as Chris Wood and Martin Hart, are all graduating players who have played their last games for the club. All four graduating seniors received their official team jersey at Wednesday night’s banquet, and leave a solid legacy behind them. Part of the banquet’s events were an opportunity each graduate to reflect and share their own thoughts, memories, and experiences from their time with the RMC RFC; all well thought out, delivered, and received by future graduates and former graduates alike. Each player was able to also express their hopes and expectations for the club, each positive and inspiring. Their optimism for the future, as well as the foundation and experience they have helped provide the remaining players will not be ignored.
Victor Armes has been called a lot of things by opposing players and coaches, as well as teammates, and the RMC coaching staff. However, one thing the future marine engineer will never be called is passive. A one time OUA All Star in the (re) inaugural 2005-2006 season, and team co-captain for the 2007-2008 year, Armes was a massive nuisance and problem for opposing teams. Mentally and physically bruising to opposing teams, Armes’ massive stature, work ethic, mobility and ferocious defensive efforts were a key reason for the continual development of rugby at RMC. The individual improvement Armes displayed was inspirational to all RMC rugby players, and demonstrated his commitment to the squad. A captain who led by example and never shied away from the physicality of the game will be missed by all who were involve with the RMC Rugby Football Club
Tyler Gill was an adaptive and skilled player for his three years at RMC. He demonstrated his abilities and talents, in his willingness to play several different positions, and excel at all of them at the OUA level. Gill was rewarded for his skills and talents in the 2006-2007 season in receiving an OUA All-Star award, and then by receiving the honour of being co-captain for the 2007-2008 season. The only rugger from Quebec, Gill thrived in the free-flowing systems and structures that the RMC rugby team was based on, and demonstrated his ability to lead through his pre and post match speeches, and also by doing his talking on the field, punishing opposing defenses with great offensive skill and talents. An irreplacable member of the RMC RFC family.
Chris Wood, a future armoured officer, and infant to rugby displayed perhaps the most remarkable ability to learn quickly and adapt under fire. Beginning to play rugby only two years ago, Chris Wood has gone from a nothing on the field to one of the elite players, not only in the OUA, but also in the country. Chris was selected as a 2007-2008 OUA All Star, and was named to the North America 4, Canada East long list; a team comprised of the best 80 players in Eastern Canada. An incredibly skilled front row player, Wood was able to show rookies, and veterans alike that hard work and dedication go along way in improving. Chris is one of the most astute students of the game that RMC has seen, and his offensive talents and scrummaging gifts will be greatly missed in the upcoming seasons.
Martin Hart, a silent assassin filled many different roles for the Paladin ruggers, spending time with the forwards and backs, until he found a permanent home at starting outside centre in the Paladins XV. A position playing to Martin’s strengths and giving him all the opportunities he needed to pound on opposing players, and ensure their outside backs never enjoyed or desired the ball. Similarly to Wood, Marty had never picked up a ball before he started playing at RMC, Hart was able to secure a spot in the starting XV and contribute massively both on and off the field. Martin’s calm demeanour and willingness to help out at any number of functions for the RMC RFC over the last three years are off the field talents that will serve him well in his future with the forces. Martin’s organizational skills were recognized by all attending coaches and presenters alike the biggest coaching conference in Canada, which was held earlier in the year at RMC. The RMC RFC owes a massive thank you to Marty for his efforts.
The graduating four players will be greatly missed by all involved with the Royal Military College’s Rugby team, and their efforts are greatly appreciated, and should allow for future improvements for the team.
One of the highlights of the banquet was the presence and speech of the 2007-2008 guest of honour LCol. Hammond CO of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment. LCol. Hammond, a rugby player, expressed in an incredibly entertaining fashion that the skills and attributes, which make a strong rugby player, also make strong leaders for the Canadian Forces. A stirring and inspirational speech was greatly appreciated and well received by all members of the varsity men’s rugby team, as well as the captains of the future RMC women’s rugby team, who were also in attendance. A great evening provided a chance for the RMC men’s team to share in a delicious meal, enjoy awards presentations, and listen to amazing speeches from all graduates, LCol. Hammond, as well as former RMC RFC President Lt. Michael Veitch, who was in attendance at the banquet, while en route to his posting to Edmonton.
Thanks to all who had a hand in the organization of the event.
Leaders From Women’s Rugby Team Receive Olive Branch…
While the recent Rugby Banquet was set-up to recognize the efforts of the Men’s team and the 2007-08 season – leaders of the soon to be RMC Women’s team were in attendance at the closing function. Club President: III Laura Locklin (24431); Club Vice President: II Nicole Bach (24579); Club Supervisor: Capt Kristin Topping (22428); & (W) Coach,John Proctor (CDA HQ) were all welcomed with open arms,”…you can count on us to help ensure your transition to a recognized Rugby Club team is successful”, offered (M) Coach Sean McDonaugh. “We are willing to help out as much as possible and hopefully this time next year we can have a combined year-end Awards Night.” The positive atmosphere and obvious support for the Women to be successful is something very special that may only be found in a sport like rugby!
It should only be a matter of time before (W) Rugby receive full varsity status. Rugby is a natural fit for what RMC is all about and we can think of no better sport to prepare future military female leaders for what lies ahead in the Canadian Forces.
Replacing Hillier – notable hopefuls and a dark horse
Article first appeared in The Chronicle Herald -May 2, 2008
By SCOTT TAYLOR
ALTHOUGH Gen. Rick Hillier will not officially end his tour of duty as chief of defence staff until July, the race has already begun to find a suitable replacement.
Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper may not have appreciated the fact that Hillier – a.k.a. the Big Cod – generated his own considerable political gravity in Ottawa, replacing Canada’s most popular general in recent history with a milquetoast yes-man will not sit well with the troops.
Heading the list of possible replacements is the vice-chief of defence staff, Lt.-Gen. Walter Natynczyk. Like Hillier, Natynczyk is an armoured corps officer with a wealth of operational and international experience. He is also extremely loyal to Hillier and supports the current command transformation designed and implemented by Hillier. Those close to Natyncyzk say that he is not actively seeking the promotion, but he would not turn down the appointment if it were offered to him.
A more likely choice for the top job would be Lt.-Gen. Michel Gauthier, the commander of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command. A combat engineer, Gauthier is a quiet, capable officer who has been managing the war in Afghanistan and all other overseas operations for the past two years. The fact that he already has his finger on the pulse of the Canadian military’s new operational raison d’etre and the fact he’s fluently bilingual make Gauthier the front-runner in a tight race.
Close on his heels would be Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, who commands the army. Even as a young subaltern, Leslie would tell anyone who was within earshot that his career ambition was to become the chief of defence staff. For those who believe in genetic inevitability, Leslie has a strong case – he is the grandson of Brooke Claxton, a First World War veteran and defence minister during the Korean War, and the celebrated Lt.-Gen. Andy McNaughton. Leslie also has a lot of battlefield experience in both the Balkans and Afghanistan, he has a great rapport with the media and has just completed a PhD in Afghan studies.
Although he was only a major-general in 2005, Leslie had so impressed the Liberal government that he almost beat out Rick Hillier for the top post.
What sets Leslie apart from both Natynczyk and Gauthier is that he never fully bought into Hillier’s blueprint for the Canadian Forces of the future. There is some speculation that if Leslie were appointed as Hillier’s replacement there could be another major restructuring of the chain of command, which could prove even more challenging to a military fully engaged in the Afghan mission.
Although it was never set in stone, in the past, the post was rotated on a regular basis between the army, air force and navy officers. If that tradition were to have been upheld, an admiral would have served in Hillier’s place. Naturally enough, the slighted navy feels that after being jumped in the queue on the last go-round, it should definitely get its man in the top job this time.
Unfortunately, now that the war in Afghanistan has been extended to 2011, it would seem that the navy and air force are both being relegated to secondary support roles until at least beyond that time.
It is possible that Harper will appoint Vice-Admiral Drew Robertson for the single reason that he is the antithesis of the outgoing Hillier. Robertson’s intelligence is overshadowed by his soft-spoken and painful shyness in the media spotlight. He may be what Harper wants in a chief of defence staff, but he would not be what the rank and file now expects after 3½ years on a Hilliermania high.
The air force will undoubtedly push forward its own candidate in the person of Lt.-Gen. Angus Watt. Although he just took over as chief of air staff last August, Watt’s resume includes field experience as deputy air commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The big general is considered a gruff no-nonsense officer inside military circles – and not one who will seek to curry favour with the press corps. The air force would be hoping Watt could redress the current imbalance of resources within the service branches. The cost of maintaining the army mission has resulted in a $500-million operational budget shortfall for the air force this past year alone. The Canadian aerospace industry would applaud Watt’s appointment as a sign that the government will move forward with several long suspended procurement programs such as the new search and rescue planes.
One dark horse in this race to replace Hillier is his own protege, Maj.-Gen. Stu Beare. He would need to be promoted two rank levels, but Hillier’s followers have already dubbed Beare the Little Cod.
Remember, if this comes to pass, you read it here first.