The longest-running annual international hockey series in the sport’s history resumes on Saturday in Kingston.
The Paladins from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) will play the United States Military Academy from West Point, N.Y.
The tradition originated in 1921 when the commandant of the RMC, Sir Archibald Macdonell, and the superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, Brig.-Gen. Douglas MacArthur, suggested a game of ice hockey between the two schools.
After two years of exchanging ideas, the first game was played on Feb. 23, 1923 at West Point. The Canadian cadets prevailed 3-0.
The U.S. army has dominated the competition in recent years. The Black Knights have won eight games in a row and lead the overall series 48-29-7.
There was a five-year period from 2006 to 2011 when the series went on hiatus due to scheduling problems.
“I believe this is our year,” said RMC goaltender Brad Van Schubert.
The second-year cadet from Barrie looks forward to Saturday’s battle on the ice.
“I played in last year’s game,” said Van Schubert, a graduate of the Aurora Tigers Junior A program.
“It was a great experience. It was 2-2 late in the third period, but we ended up losing 5-2. I really believe we have a stronger team this year, and playing at home is a huge advantage. There’s a buzz on campus, and we expect our school to be there in full force. I’m sure they will be loud and proud.”
Playing in his first RMC-West Point game is Paladin’s rookie forward Chris Paquette.
“I am told it’s a very exciting and emotional game,” said Paquette, a former star in the Ontario Hockey League with the Niagara IceDogs and Peterborough Petes.
“It will be nerve-racking, but I’ve played in some big games in the OHL,” added Paquette, a Kingston native.
The first-year infantry soldier at RMC is confident his team will rise to the occasion.
“This team plays hard every game and never gives up. We’ve been very competitive in the Ontario University league this season, and hopefully, on Saturday, all our hard work will pay off with a victory,” he said. “I really look forward to playing in this historic contest.”
Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.