Fencing for family: An emotional journey

Canadian Armed Forces CISM Men’s Epee Team, from left: Cpl Hugues Boisvert-Simard, SLt Kyle Deveau, and Cpl Clement Feminias-Metivet.

Canadian Armed Forces CISM Men’s Epee Team, from left: Cpl Hugues Boisvert-Simard, SLt Kyle Deveau, and Cpl Clement Feminias-Metivet.

SLt Terence Kazimierczak, HMCS Vancouver Public Affairs Officer ~

When SLt Kyle Deveau competed in last month’s CISM World Military Fencing Championships, it represented a means to honour not just the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) but also his father.

In March, SLt Deveau’s father, MWO (Ret’d) Jackie Deveau, died in a hit and run. The elder Deveau played hockey throughout his 35-year career as an Avionics Technician in the Royal Canadian Air Force; he always said it was a great way to maintain friendships and strengthen the bonds within the military family.

“After meeting many of the members my dad had played hockey with, it became clear to me how important the sport was to him and the people in his life,” said SLt Deveau. “I decided to rediscover a similar sense of purpose and the same sort or friendships that can only emerge as a result of sport.”

Two weeks after his father’s funeral, SLt Deveau was fencing competitively again.

Inspired by his father’s example, SLt Deveau set a goal: to get on the CAF CISM Fencing Team. After showcasing his talents at Provincials in Vancouver, B.C., he was accepted onto the team and began preparing for the 45th CISM World Military Fencing Championships in Acireale, Italy, held from Sept. 13-17.

The CAF Fencing Team had no illusions about how challenging this event would be. Several athletes from other nations were Olympic medalists, and most of the Canadians had never competed at such a high level.

“If it wasn’t for the CISM program, I would never have had the opportunity to represent my country on the international stage. I’ve watched these guys on YouTube, fencing at the Olympics and at World Cups. I can’t believe that I got to go head-to-head with some of them.”

Although there were a few surprising victories for the underdog Canadians in the early stages of the tournament, most of the team was eliminated following the initial poules.

In the spirit of the CISM event, SLt Deveau and his teammates challenged some of the other teams who had been eliminated to a friendly match outside of the actual tournament.

“It was very rewarding to fence some of the other military teams in a ‘just-for-fun’ bout. And like true Canadians, we brought maple syrup to share with our new friends from other militaries around the world.”

For SLt Deveau, the last several months have been a whirlwind. His transition from not competing at all to representing Canada at an international sporting event was as rewarding as it was challenging.

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  1. Mary-Lee Ingraham/Harris says:

    Way to go Kyle!

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