Ex STRONG CONTENDER 2017
2Lt CJ MacLean, Recce Sqn
Ex STRONG CONTENDER provides a unique opportunity for the Brigade to come together and foster both competition and teamwork. Coming off Christmas leave, it offers something to look forward to for both the competitors and the spectators, while also providing a change in pace from a year in which courses, exercises, and pre-deployment training dominated the Regiment’s schedule. LdSH(RC) ensured as many soldiers as possible were available to cheer on their comrades and engage in good-natured ribbing of other units, leading to large and loud contingents sporting Regimental gear at all events.
Monday morning saw the Regiment out in force, ready to compete and support their teams in hockey, ball hockey, volleyball, curling, indoor soccer, and basketball, as well as tactical athlete and powerlifting competitions. Having practiced together for the past weeks and months, and with rosters determined and strategies ready, the teams were anxious to get started. Fierce competition was clearly the flavour of the day, and the practice paid off in the form of early wins for both volleyball and basketball. The volleyball team would ride this early success to a 3-2-1 record, setting the standard for the Regiment and contributing one point to the overall standings. Basketball added three close losses to their early win, and played better than their 1-3 record would imply.
As with most competitions, the hockey arena was the focal point of Ex STRONG CONTENDER 2017 and this was displayed by both the efforts of the players on the ice and by the volume of the fans in the stands. Unfortunately, the team fell victim to bad bounces and strong competition, and ended with a 0-3 record. The curling club, while not quite as raucous as the hockey arena, was noted as the only venue which permitted alcohol consumption. While the spectators may have been partaking, the team was all business, scoring 16 points in four tight games, good for a 1-3 record.
Soccer posted an impressive shutout victory over 1 RCHA, but was unable to translate that momentum into their other games, and also ended with a 1-3 record. Meanwhile, members of the Regiment had been hard at work building a ball hockey arena in the LTF, where the team defended well but had some trouble putting the ball in the opposition’s net, as evidenced by two 2-1 losses. Ultimately the ball hockey team wasn’t able to capitalize and was eliminated after three consecutive losses.
In the 3 PPCLI gym, the powerlifting team suffered due to a small roster, and while each participant posted impressive individual scores, were unable to generate the aggregate score need to crack the top-four. The story was similar a few days later in the field house, where the tactical athlete team had to bring in last-minute substitutions to bolster their roster, but also weren’t able to score a point for the Regiment in the overall standings.
While the Regiment finished lower than they had hoped, the competitors performed commendably and the fans cheered loud. With the lessons from this year and more practice, all teams will be hungry to improve on their results in Ex STRONG CONTENDER 2018.
Ex STRONG CONTENDER 2017 Ice Hockey
Tpr JJ Schemenauer, Recce Sqn
This year’s Strong Contender Hockey Tournament included 12 teams: 7 major unit teams and 5 minor. The major units competed in a triple elimination while the minor units faced each other in a round robin.
LdSH(RC) played two games on day one, with the first against 1 RCHA, who would eventually place second in the tournament. The team got off to a discouraging start, and was unable to recover, with the game ending in a 7-3 loss.
Returning to the ice in the afternoon, against 1 CER, it was clear the team hadn’t fully recovered from the morning’s game. When interviewed after the game, the team’s coach, MCpl Michael Dobson, commented that they “struggled on the defensive end,” and it was clear they “…had heavy legs after game 1.” Despite the fatigue the team kept up a physical game and managed to push the game into overtime, where they suffered a 6-5 loss.
The Strathcona’s third game and final chance to continue took a fatal blow near the end of the first period when an elbow sent Tpr Tom Lauderbacher, the LdSH(RC) goalie, to the ice and his helmet flying. After being checked over by medics, he returned to play, but the blow had done its damage. The second period started with the team down by one, they pushed hard through the period, but 2 PPCLI capitalized on too many chances. Back in the locker room the coach gave them a speech fitting for a war movie, “It’s gonna be a battle boys, a battle… We gotta fight for every inch.”
Going into the third the Patricia’s had gained a substantial lead, meanwhile Lauderbacher’s concussion forced him to be pulled and replaced by Tpr Cody Arsenault. Despite being a back-up pulled over from the ball hockey team last minute, Tpr Arsenault fended off all shots sent his way. The team had also listened to the coach, and their own words of encouragement to each other, and came out hard. They took back the initiative and forced their opponents to play to their game. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to change the outcome as game ended with a score of 7-3.
The final game of the week was played by 3 PPCLI against 1 RCHA and despite many shots against the 3 PPCLI net their goalie stopped each attempt. The 3 PPCLI forwards pressed 1 RCHA with their speed and were able to take the win and the championship.
The Strathcona team has already begun rallying, taking the lessons learned from this tournament to ensure that our team will be a force to be reckoned with next year.
Ex STRONG CONTENDER 2017 Soccer
Cpl KML Meaney, B Sqn
As Ex STRONG CONTENDER 2017 got underway, the LdSH(RC) soccer team prepared for their first match, which was set to take place in the field house on Monday at 0800hrs. The first half was exhausting and scoreless, but the team knew it wasn’t over. Led by team captain Cpl Kyle Meaney, they marched onto the field prepared to attack and get on the scoreboard. Chances materialized for both sides, but it was 1 CER who caught the first break, finding the back of the net in the last five minutes to take a 1-0 lead. Despite the loss, the players held their heads high knowing they had played well in their first match.
Tuesday was another early match against 1 Svc Bn at 0840. Once more the first half ended in a scoreless draw, and the team, looking to avoid a repeat of their previous game, came out for the second half dominating ball possession. Despite their best efforts, the finish still wasn’t there, and it was 1 Svc Bn who won 3-1 on the strength of two beautiful headers.
With back-to-back losses and their next game in the afternoon, the team was bruised but not broken. The team was hungry to avoid elimination and notch a win against 1 RCHA, and their play certainly showed it. The team maintained strong ball control and confused the Gunners, eventually paying off with an early 1-0 lead. The score stayed close until Cpl Kyle Meaney found Capt T.J. “Johnny Bravo” Casey attacking the back post for a beautiful goal and giving the team their first win, 2-0.
Wednesday morning had 2 PPCLI standing in the team’s way. An exhaustive and physical game, the LdSH(RC) players held their own throughout the first half. However, credit must be given to the Patricia’s for their drive and determination, and they were rewarded with a 2-0 win. With the loss, the LdSH(RC) team was eliminated from competition, but they vow to return next year with a vengeance.