In a tight match to the finish, the Tinker Air Force Base (AFB) Canadian Forces Detachment Hockey Team completed its seventh annual fundraising game, winning by one goal against the Oklahoma University Sooners on Saturday, March 30, 2012.
The game was played at the Blazers Ice Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
“This game is a great outreach to our community,” said the deputy commanding officer of the Canadian Detachment, Major Kevin Ciesielski. “We appreciate this opportunity to have fun while raising money for a good cause.”
The yearly game doubles as a fundraiser and a different cause is chosen every year. This year’s selected beneficiary was the University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, one of the world’s most respected centers devoted exclusively to cancer patient care, research, education and prevention.
“It’s good for the kids to give something back to society and participate in charitable causes,” said Sooners assistant general manager Chris Perry. “They learn that an education is not just about grades but also learning to become responsible adults.”
Fully half of the Canadian personnel at Tinker AFB play hockey. Not only that, the Sooners also had Canadian connections. Head coach Peter Arvanitis hails from Montreal; he came to the Sooners after playing professionally in Oklahoma with the Central Hockey League. “We have a great relationship with the Canadians on the base,” he said. “This game is a great way to foster that relationship.”
One of the Sooners players comes from Surrey, B.C., and another goalie, Louis Libin, who is the grandson of Calgary Flames owner Alvin Libin, is from Calgary. Louis said that he was encouraged by his father to check out Oklahoma University. “When I saw the hockey facilities and met the people here, I was sold on it.” Mr. Libin traded places with the Tinker AFB goalie and played for the Canadian team for the whole game.
Tinker AFB Canadian detachment members, Lieutenant Chuck MacDonald and Captain Shawn Guilbault organized the game. Their efforts resulted in $2000 being raised for the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Approximately 40 Royal Canadian Air Force personnel are posted to 552 Air Control Wing at Tinker AFB, where they work under the command of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), flying the E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system aircraft (AWACS).