Andrew Ference Visits the Regiment
by: Corporal Calvin Delisle
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram - social networking. You never know who you’re going to meet. On a quiet Sunday night checking twitter, I noticed that a professional hockey player, recently acquired by the Edmonton Oilers, was looking for some open ice. I tweeted an offer to come skate with some soldiers on base and take a tour of the Regiment. “Bam” - a new follower on my twitter account, Andrew Ference (@ferknuckle). Andrew was willing to come out and play some hockey. After a proposal to the Commanding Officer (CO), Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Peyton, and some coordination with Andrew during our 0600hrs river valley Physical Training sessions, we settled on a skate day.
It didn’t take long for the news to spread through the Regiment about a visit from a National Hockey League player and a pick-up hockey game. On a warm Wednesday afternoon, Andrew was greeted by Reconnaissance Squadron, Officer Commanding (OC), Major Chris Nolan and Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM), Master Warrant Officer Iain Fox. After a quick discussion with the OC and SSM, we rushed off to tank barn. Unbeknownst to Andrew, Sergeant Matt "No I don't have high blood pressure, but my face says otherwise" Williams and his crew Corporal James Younger, and Trooper Shaun Armstrong were waiting for him there. I told Andrew that he had to sign a waiver; he laughed and asked, “what am I getting into?” I pointed towards the Leopard 2A4 before him and replied, “That!” Andrew returned from his Leopard tank ride grinning ear to ear.
After a few a few photos and some autographs, he was off to the Simulation Centre for some gunnery training. Corporal Evan "I live for AFV" Stewart gave Andrew a rundown on the gunnery trainers, gave some tips, and a few rounds later - “Target Stop!”
Next we were off to see the CO and his son, Liam Peyton, in the CO’s office. His son was on his twitter account watching the Leopard tank ride videos Andrew had just recorded and posted. The CO welcomed Andrew to the Regiment and presented him with a Regimental sweater. After a few photos, we were off to see the Regimental Sergeant Major, Chief Warrant Officer Antony Batty. A spirited discussion ensued between Andrew and the Regimental Sergeant Major about football/soccer and the difference in opinions over who was the better team.
Once at the rink, Strathcona soldiers waited for Andrew’s arrival. Andrew started on the Red team, and took full advantage of the opportunity to chat with our soldiers on the bench and on the ice. After scoring a couple of goals, Andrew was traded to the White team in exchange for a few pylons and some empty water bottles. During the game, members of the White team informed Andrew about Red Team’s # 4, who was trying to play rough. It was suggested that Andrew give # 4 an “education.” Andrew jumped the boards, skated passed #4, and gave him some stick work leaving Master Corporal Wallace "I am so sweet" Churchill stunned. We finished the game with a shootout.
We finished the day off with a group photo - a great day for the Regiment. Our soldiers were treated to some ice time with a true professional on and off the ice, and our Regimental family grew by one more.