Shearwater Flyers bring home gold from CAF OT Hockey Nationals
By Ryan Melanson,
Heading into the finals of the CAF Old Timer’s Hockey National Championship on March 22, all signs were pointing to a gold-medal win for CFB Valcartier. Representing the Quebec region, the team shut out each opponent through the round-robin portion and semi final, scoring a whopping 24 goals without allowing a single shot to get by their own goaltender.
The final game however, against the 12 Wing Shearwater Flyers, played out differently.
After falling behind 1-0 early in the game, the Flyers took the lead in the second period and didn’t give it up, leading to a 4-3 finish and a championship victory for the Atlantic region.
“We were able to bring it to another level and we shut them down at their own game,” said CWO Ron MacGillivary, head coach for the Shearwater team through their successful stint at the Regional Championship earlier this year as well as at the Nationals at CFB Borden. He said team cohesion was a big factor in the successful season, and also gave credit to the extra players from other Atlantic teams who joined the main Shearwater squad in Borden.
“We had a great team. We ran all three lines though the final, and I think everybody on the team could feel like they were really a part of that win, which was great.”
The Flyers notched wins in the round-robin portion against teams from CFB Kingston (7-2), CFB Edmonton (8-1) and CFB Esquimalt (4-2), and their only loss came at the hands of the Valcartier team that they would meet again in the finals. The Flyers played to a 3-3 tie against CFB Kingston in the semifinal, with their earlier round-robin victory over the team earning them a spot in the finals.
Shout-outs went to MCpl Alan Rockwell of TEME, who took the game MVP award for the finals, as well as WO Maxime Morency, a pickup from Gagetown for nationals who was awarded the MVP title for the tournament overall.
Many of the Flyers players this season were also old teammates and longtime friends of Sgt (ret’d) Rob Sneath, who died in late 2017 after a battle with melanoma, and they dedicated their win to the late CAF hockey standout. At Regionals in Gagetown earlier this year, the tournament MVP award wasn’t handed out to an individual, but rather dedicated to Sgt (ret’d) Sneath, and after the win at Nationals, the team again honoured Sneath with his Flyers #27 included in the championship photo.
“Rob was an integral part of the Shearwater and Old Timer’s hockey teams and won many Regional and National Championships. This one was for him,” said CPO1 Chris Belanger, a member of the team and unit Chief at FDU(A).