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BATUS Hockey 2005

Brits Can Play Hockey, Who Knew?
by Private Cody Martin

I would like to start off by thanking Sgt Mike Smith for organizing the game between the BATUS Lions, the team from Suffield, and the Oakleafs. The BATUS Lions are comprised of soldiers from the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS)   who, upon arrival in Canada, have decided to learn and play hockey. Their first year consists of a skating school where they are taught how to skate before they play for a team. The final two years are spent playing hockey in the intramural league in Suffield. These soldiers are keen as any Canadian to learn and play this country's favourite pastime. Our entire team was a little curious about their skill level and ability to be competitive on the ice. They arrived on the Friday night at Mewata Armoury and went straight to the Mewata Garrison Junior Ranks Club for the meet and greet. Right from the start you could tell these guys loved the game when the team captain for the Lions, Mick Lovatt, proudly displayed his Olympic Team Canada sweater and the BATUS goalie showed everyone his Toronto Maple Leafs tattoo. We knew this was going to be a fun game.

Sitting In the dressing room the day of the game, the mood changed and we started to concentrate. Sergeant Christopher Tucker delivered another famous inspiring speech where he dropped the F bomb so many times it would make the RSM and Don Cherry blush. The oldest serving Private, Lynn Moffat, piped the team on the ice for the warm up. During the warm-up we had our first look at the Lions and quickly realized this was not going to be the cake walk we thought it was.

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When the puck was dropped we were off to a quick start with a goal from Corporal Dave Patton, who has been our leading scorer this year. We were off to a good start and thanks to the pipes, playing Black Bear when we scored, the morale of the team was high. The game was fast paced, but this did not prevent Warrant Officer Dave Turnbull from providing some fantastic officiating. Nor did it stop some of the troops from squirting water in his direction. After 60 minutes, the score was Oak Leafs 13, BATUS Lions 1. Before the teams left the ice, Mick Lovatt presented our team captain with a BATUS Lions Jersey.

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All in all it was a good experience for both sides. Just a small side note, the Lions goal was scored by the only Canadian on the Lions team although this will not exonerate Mike for letting that goal in. After the game, both teams met in the bar at the arena where the drinking and socializing began. It was a good game and I speak on behalf of the team, thanks go out to the Brits for their effort to make this game a reality and to the ever loyal fans who cheered us on that night and the rest of the season. Special mention to Dave Patton who scored 5 goals and another to Cpl Jamie Moreau for scoring his first goal this season.

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Goalie Sergeant Mike Smith

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