Vancouver, BC- Truth, Duty, Valour. Three words that students at the Royal Military College of Canada live by, and it’s no different for the ones who don the Paladins’ crest in athletic competition.
RMC is different. Everyone there is training to be a part of Canada’s armed forces, and that takes priority over sports. It’s different than at other schools, where academics can slide in favour of athletics, there is no time for rest at RMC. However, despite the lack of rest and the rigid structure of life as a Paladin, their team’s hit a string of success this past year. Their successes may not be at the championship level, but their achievements shine brighter than other schools in similar positions.
RMC fields teams in eight different sports across men’s and women’s competitions, and this year was one of their best in a while.
Both the men and women had great success in fencing this year, but it was the men who brought home hardware. RMC finished second overall at the OUA fencing championships for the men, meanwhile, their ladies finished just off the podium in fourth.
The Paladins men were led by their sabre team, who captured over half their points through the competition. One of the best moments from the team came in the sabre team relay, where the team of Garrett Whelan, Hugo Clements, Kyle Grenier, and alternate Timothy Ro won all of their matchups to win the gold medal in Toronto. In epee, RMC athletes won two individual bronze medals but fell in the bronze matchup as a team, a feat matched by the foil team. Although the Paladins showed brilliantly throughout the competition, it was not enough to dethrone the Varsity Blues, who won their fifth straight OUA title.
With a silver medal around their necks, the Paladins got a lot of post-championship recognition. Kyle Grenier, Byoungchan Kim and Garett Wheelan were named OUA All-Stars, meanwhile, head coach Patricia Howes won the OUA Coach of the Year.
The end result may not have been the ideal colour for the Paladins, but the small school gave the behemoth Varsity Blues a run for their money and left the championships with a medal around their neck.
Men’s Ice Hockey
Not many people think of the eighth-place as an accomplishment, but for the RMC Paladins, they can look back on the season fondly. The Paladins made the OUA playoffs for the first time since 2006 and did so in a very exciting manner.
The year began with some top-notch recruiting, as former Peterborough Pete Chris Pacquette joined the team. His introduction sent shockwaves throughout the OUA, as RMC isn’t known for getting a player like him, and once the puck dropped, the shock didn’t stop.
Pacquette went on to score 32 points through 28 games and was named the conference MVP, and Rookie of the Year, as well as being named to the U SPORTS second All-Star team, and All-Rookie team. The former Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick lit the league on fire in a way few could have expected. While his performance alone is “story of the year” worthy, it was his effect on the rest of the team that made it a historic year.
With Pacquette’s goalscoring, head coach Richard Lim’s tutelage and a resilient attitude from the team, the Paladins beat West Point Military Academy for the time since 2002 and sent a scare down the spine of the Carleton Ravens in the first round of the playoffs.
Nobody really expected the Paladins to give the Ravens much of a challenge in the opening round of the post-season, but it took every ounce of Carleton’s efforts to knock them out. On home ice, the Paladins led and stood level with the Ravens until 18 seconds left in Game Two, when they finally broke and fell out of the playoffs. That second game against Carleton showed the amazing parity of OUA men’s hockey, and just how much fighting for every one of your teammates can help in sport.
It wasn’t a championship season, there’s no medal, but it was hard-working, valiant, an effort-filled year from the Paladins, and one that they can build on next season.