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The Royals of CFB Baden-Soellingen

Recreational sports can be an important part of everyday military life. Sports encourage fitness, teamwork, leadership, and camaraderie. From team sports such as hockey and baseball, to tests of individual skill like billiards and shooting competitions, our collection holds many examples of trophies, banners, and paraphernalia related to RCR sporting events. In this Story, we highlight items related to the 3RCR “Royals” hockey team.

Canadian Forces Europe (CFE) was the name given to the large formation of Canadian military personnel stationed in Europe during the Cold War period. Their aim was to assist Canada’s NATO allies in monitoring the activities of the Soviet Union and areas under the Warsaw Pact, as well as participate in training exercises. The CFE operated in two areas of West Germany, CFB Lahr and CFB Baden-Soellingen, with a headquarters in Soest until 1968.

Battalions of The RCR served as part of the CFE from the mid-1950s until CFB Baden-Soellingen closed in 1993 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The 3rd Battalion, The RCR (3RCR) was stationed at CFB Baden-Soellingen twice; first from 1977 to 1984, and then again from 1988 to 1993. It was during the first period that the 3RCR hockey team won their championships.

CFEHL Championship 1980

In the RCR’s history there have been many hockey competitions, both between individual units of the Regiment and between the Regiment and other units of the CF. The CFEHL was a competitive hockey league played between The RCR and other regiments and units stationed in West Germany. The champion of this league would go on to play in the Canadian Forces National Championships. Some team names were related to the name of the regiment it represented, such as The RCR “Royals” or Royal Canadian Horse Artillery “Gunners.” Other teams were named for connections to a unit’s iconography, such as the Royal Canadian Dragoons “Springboks,” a reference to the Springbok gazelle featured on their regimental badge.

Home games at CFB Baden-Soellingen were played at the Schwarzwald Arena, and games were broadcasted over the radio on CFNS-FM, the Canadian Forces Network-Soellingen radio station.

In 1980, the Royals won the CFEHL championship. It is not known which teams they played to win this championship, but the Royals received this hanging banner and a pennant as part of their victory.

DATE: 1980
Donated By: Unknown
Object ID:  RCRM2018.001.266a
DATE: 1980
Donated By: Unknown
Object ID: RCRM2017.009.086a

CFEHL Championship 1981

The Royals went on to repeat their championship victory again in 1981, after a nearly undefeated season. Summaries of games were reported in the weekly CFE newspaper Der Kanadier. Highlights include an 11-1 victory over the CFB Lahr Flyers on 18 November 1980, a 13-1 victory over the 1 R22eR team on 27 November 1980, and another 6-3 victory over the Flyers on 6 January 1981 (with their goalie facing 71 shots on net). A Remembrance Day Classic was held on 11 November 1980, where the Royals faced the 1st Canadian Air Group (1 CAG) Knights. The game was attended by special guest Brigadier-General Paul D. Manson, commander of 1 CAG, and the 3RCR Pipes and Drums band performed between periods. The Royals defeated the Knights 4-0.

To demonstrate the quality of Canadian sports instruction, the CFEHL hosted an annual exhibition game with the hockey team from one of the three Canadian military colleges. The Royals were selected to host the hockey team from le Collège militaire royal (CMR) for an exhibition game on 14 December 1980. The team from the Royal Military College of Canada had been hosted by the CFEHL the previous season.

The only loss in the Royals’ season came on 17 February 1981, in a 6-2 defeat by the Gunners. This game occurred too late in the season to affect official standings though, as the Royals had already guaranteed first place in the league with a 7-2 win over the Knights on 8 February, 1981. This victory is mentioned in the April 1981 edition of the regimental journal Pro Patria. A letter from 3RCR’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel R.P. Alden, CD featured the following message: “Regimental hockey fans can rest assured that the 3RCR Royals are still in a league leading and commanding position in the Canadian Forces Europe Senior Hockey League. To date, the Royals have lost only one game and with a little luck, give every indication of repeating as CFEHL Champions.”

In the semi-finals, the Royals defeated the Knights in two games to win the Base Championship. They went on to play the Gunners in the inter-base CFEHL final. The August 1981 edition of Pro Patria included an update from Lieutenant-Colonel Alden: “The inevitable result of a hard-fought Canadian Forces Europe hockey season was a 3 RCR Royals championship victory. Team Manager, Major J.A. Boyd, and Coach, Warrant Officer R.H. MacIntyre, directed their Royal Canadians through an exciting season of hockey action and finished up with a good effort at the Canadian Forces National Championships at Cold Lake, Alberta. Normal rotation will open a few holes in the Royal’s lineup next year; but it should also serve to draw some new blood into the system and add some fresh faces and young legs to the Royal’s colours.”

Championship Banner, 1981
DATE: 1981
Donated By: Unknown
Object ID: RCRM2018.001.266b
Championship Pennant, 1981
DATE: 1981
Donated By: Unknown
Object ID: 2017.009.086b

Royals Patch

This patch depicts the crest of the “Royals” hockey team from the 1983 to 1984 season CFEHL Championship. The 3rd Battalion, The RCR finished their rotation in West Germany in 1984, consequently the team retired from the league until 1988. The patch was manufactured for players of the team, but it may have been made available to other members of the Regiment.

Date: 1983
Donated By: R. LeFave
Object ID: RCRM2007.010.0001