Royals’ CAF jersey a tip to NHLers wartime service


The Victoria Royals will be wearing this Jersey at the game Nov. 19. Photo by Kevin Light Photography Instagram: @kevrlight.

Peter Mallett, 
Staff Writer

CFB Esquimalt’s rich hockey history will be front and centre on ice on Nov. 19.

The Victoria Royals will wear a specially-designed historic replica jersey of the 1942/43 Navy team while facing off against the Prince George Cougars. The Western Hockey League team revealed the jersey Nov. 15.

“It’s a forgotten story of what could be argued as the greatest single season of hockey played on Vancouver Island,” said Matt Carlson, Base Public Affairs Projects Officer. “The players were all members of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and called to serve in the war effort and stationed at CFB Esquimalt.”

Victoria Royals players will wear the jersey for a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Appreciation event at the Save on Foods Memorial Centre. The white jersey with blue stripes features a bull dog wearing a sailor’s cap with the words ‘HMCS’ inscribed.

Derived from a black and white photo from the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum archives, the jersey commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Base’s star-studded team that competed in the Island Senior League (ISL). The team was comprised of both National Hockey League (NHL) and minor league players from across Canada.

Dubbed by the Victoria Daily Times as the ‘bluejackets’, the team featured Chucky Rayner, Hockey Hall of Fame and Canada Sports Hall of Fame goaltender, whose NHL career was interrupted by the Second World War. Rayner served three years in the RCN before resuming his career in New York with the Rangers. He went on to win the NHL’s Hart Trophy for Most Valuable Player in 1950.

Also in the ‘bluejackets’ lineup was Bob ‘Golden Boy’ Goldham, five-time Stanley Cup winner and defenceman. After serving in the military from 1942 to 1945, Goldham played 11 NHL seasons with Toronto, Detroit and Chicago.

Bernie Strongman, another hokey player from Victoria, also was a veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy, and enjoyed a successful professional hockey career that he finished as captain of the Victoria Cougars in 1953.

Carlson said along with celebrating the Navy’s intriguing and largely unheralded hockey history, the event will also honour current members of the Defence team.

“Along with this wonderful tip to hockey heritage, this CAF appreciation event will also include dynamic, interactive interior and exterior displays,” said Carlson. “This event is all about community building in partnership with the Royals while recognizing and highlighting the amazing work the Defence team does.”

The Royals CAF Appreciation event will also include static displays and demonstrations by Naval Reserve Unit HMCS Malahat, 443 Helicopter Squadron, 5th (British Columbia) Field Artillery Regiment, 39 Signal Regiment, Regional Cadet Support Unit Pacific, the Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre, HMCS Venture R&D, CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum, Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDAV) CFB Esquimalt Base Fire Services, Military Police Unit (Esquimalt) and the Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre. The opening ceremonies will feature PO 1 Bligh from the Naden Band signing the National Anthem, a three flag colour party and the Base Commander Captain (Navy) J. Jeffrey Hutchinson dropping the ceremonial puck at 6:05 p.m.

A limited number of complimentary tickets has been made available to military members with further information available through Unit Chiefs. Discounted tickets of $15 are also available to military and civilian members of the Defence Team. They can be purchased through the website by using the promo code CAF Appreciation.


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