On the frozen, South Korean Imjin River in the winters of 1952 and 1953, the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) and the Royal 22e Régiment (R22eR) faced off in a series of friendly hockey matches to boost the morale of troops stationed to defend the Republic of Korea during the Korean War.
Now, 65 years later, the two regiments will once again play each other to recreate this historical event on Nov. 18 in Ottawa, ON.
“Hockey is like Canada’s favourite winter sport. It also reflects the essence of Canada and the spirit of those soldiers who were there at that time during the war to defend the Republic of Korea. That’s what they turned to keep the morale,” said Capt. Geneviève Fortin-Ratte, in-charge of Saturday’s event for the Canadian Army.
In 1952, Canada deployed more than 26,000 troops to defend South Korea from North Korea. During the cold Korean winters, the troops stationed near the Imjin River carved out a makeshift hockey rink, just a few miles from the front lines.
One of the more well-known Imjin hockey matches took place on March 11, 1952. It was a championship game between the 1st Battalion of the PPCLI and the 2nd Battalion of the R22eR.
The recreation of these historical games started in 2013 and is an annual occurrence. The Imjin Hockey Classic is hosted both by the Republic of Korea Embassy and the Canadian Army.
“It’s a meaningful [game], not only for the troops laying, the PPCLI and the R22eR, but also for Canada-Korea bilateral relations,” commented Fortin-Ratte.
The Classic is said to be a family-oriented event. Representatives from the Korean embassy and the Canadian Army mascot will be present at the game.
Additionally, promotional gear from both regiments will be handed out to attendees.
The Imjin Hockey Classic 2017 is open to members of the public. It will take place at TD PLACE at Lansdowne in Ottawa on Saturday, November 18th at 5 PM.