West Point weekend much more than a hockey game

Hockey Paladins travel to West Point this weekend


The last time RMC Redmen, later the Paladins, won a hockey game at West Point was 1987. 30 years ago! The score was 4-3. It was last year behind the bench, for Coach Wayne Kirk – it was his 4th win

out of six games against Army. As an aside – he also led the ‘Redmen to a very impressive 5 wins, 0 losses and 1 tie record in head-to-head competition with U.S. Air Force Academy.

Back to the main topic: For a whole lot of good reasons, this game, for years, was considered a classic.  It no longer has the status or emotional interest, it once did.

Once upon a time, there would be a buzz around the campus leading up to the big weekend game whether it was played at Kingston or at West Point.  Not this year, at least, in the circles that I travel.

Nevertheless, this encounter will be a good one.  Coach Richard Lim will have his players well prepared.  At the same token, Coach Brian Riley, who has been around this game since his dad, Jack, used to coach against Danny McLeod will be ‘fired up’ and cover all the bases too.

So, what should happen?

Standings (to date) in 2016-17 league play:

Army West Point – 10-6-1 AHA – good for 2nd place in the 11 team (NCAA Div 1) Atlantic Hockey Conference;

RMC:  4 wins – 17 losses & 1 overtime loss. Last place in the 10 team OUA East Division.

Don’t let what appears ‘on paper’ fool anyone into thinking, that this match-up, will be a one sided affair in favour of West Point.

The Paladins are a much better team than their won / loss record would indicate.

After an impressive 4-2 win this past Friday, against Nipissing Lakers the team couldn’t make it two in a row, as they dropped a tight 2-1 contest at McGill. The Redmen from Montreal at the time were ranked #3 in the country.  Over these 22 games they have competed at a high level in close to 20 of them.

During the same weekend, the Army West Point squad split games, at Tate Rink, against Mercyhurst. They were on the short-end of a 3-1 decision on Friday and bounced back with an impressive 4-1 the following evening.

With respect, West Point are not as strong as McGill or the top six in the OUA.

Don’t be surprised if the Paladins break the 30 year drought. Regardless of the outcome – everyone are winners if camaraderie, and hard fought but clean competition sets the tone and prevails.

Hockey aside, both institutions are in the business of producing leaders.  The respective hockey teams are important parts of the West Point and RMC programs.  However, when everything is said and done – the ultimate aim is to stay focused on creating those leaders. Both Richard Lim and Brian Riley are very well focused.

West Point Weekend – much more than hockey…

While the hockey game is the ‘flagship’ activity, the weekend is much more than just hockey.

Approximately 100 cadets will be travelling to West Point, NY on Thursday, 19 Jan.  The plan is to have our cadets attend classes with their hosts – coincidentally, Inauguration Day. The classes will be interesting, to say the least.

Members representing the band, highland dancers, chess, climbing, debate, and judo clubs; along with the rowing and teakwondo teams will participate.

The weekend is a long standing tradition of camaraderie and cultural exchange between RMC and USMA. Cadets will have the opportunity to engage in social, athletic, and military activities with their counterparts.

While the RMC contingent will be heading south an equal number of cadets from West Point will be heading north on the Hi-way I-81. They will take part in a number of mostly outdoor ‘fun’  activities on and around the college grounds.

The weekend promises to be a memorable one for all concerned.


  • Dave Hall

    January 18, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Good luck to the Reddies this year. The West Point games were always exciting to be part of. It would appear there is a little more camaraderie and cadet interaction between the two skools which I see as a good thing too. It was over-hyped when I played. We had next to no chance to meet/drink with the other team. We billeted with them in my first year which was good, and never after that.

    A comment on the RMC record. With so many players now coming out of the “O” I think the competition and calibre of play today is much higher than when I played. It is good hockey to watch. RMC does well to still be able to play at that level.

    10950 DM Hall

  • 3572 Frank Norman

    January 22, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    As discussed, a little bit more on Wayne Kirk:
    As a volunteer, he took the courses and training needed to become qualified at the most senior level as an amateur Coach of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA).

    Three wins in a row against West Point – 1982, ’83, and ’84 and then 1987. Not seen by the USMA Coach, Jack Ryley Snr, as his best friend, but they did respect one another – Ryley, the paid professional, Kirk, the unpaid volunteer.

    His real job at RMC was that of Professor of Civil Engineering; he later added Dean of Engineering and then Dean of the Canadian Forces Military College to his academic & administrative roles. In addition he was the Chair of the Monuments and Memorials Committee, advising the Commandant on the acceptance of gifts to the College.

    He was quite a character.

    3572 Frank Norman