OTTAWA, Feb. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - In honour of the Year of the Korean War
Veteran, Canadian Armed Forces personnel and Veterans, as well as
senators and members of Parliament, gathered for a scrimmage hockey
game that commemorated the Imjin River Cup games played by Canadian
soldiers during the Korean War in the winters of 1952 and 1953.
"While fighting in the Korean War, Canadian soldiers depended on the
truly Canadian tradition of a hockey game for relief from the realities
of war," said the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans
Affairs. "Re-enacting the historic games played on the Imjin River
during the war is an excellent way to pay tribute to Canadian Veterans
of the Korean War as we mark 2013 as the Year of the Korean War Veteran
and the Year of Korea in Canada."
"I was proud to have been invited to play on the military team for this
commemorative scrimmage and honour their contributions to our great
nation. I'm sorry weather problems did not permit me to join the team
in person," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National
Defence. "I knew parliamentarians had as much of a chance of beating
those who serve, and served, in uniform as I have of stopping a Sidney
"I was struck by the photos of Canadians playing hockey in the midst of
war, and can only imagine what the original hockey games must have
meant to them. The Imjin Classic during Winterlude is to honour the
legacy of Canadians and that includes our game—hockey," said Senator
On the Imjin River in South Korea, just miles from the front lines,
hockey was played on a makeshift rink the soldiers dubbed "Imjin
Gardens." Hockey offered a little piece of normal Canadian life to
those who served in a war-torn Korea. One of the most famous matches
was the championship game between the 1st Battalion of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and the 2nd Battalion of the Royal 22e Régiment (the "Van Doos"), held on March 11, 1952. The tradition they began is
carried on each winter in Korea to this day.
"When I spoke with a Veteran who actually played on the Imjin in 1952,
he said, 'it was great, just like being home again, playing shinny.'
Long ago we called it 'shinny' or pond hockey and road hockey," said
Bill Black, President of Unit 7 of the Korea Veterans Association of
Canada in Ottawa.
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when North Korean forces invaded
South Korea, beginning hostilities that lasted more than three years.
Canada sent more than 26,000 men and women to Korea, and 516 Canadians
who served during the war made the ultimate sacrifice. They joined 15
other United Nations countries in their combat efforts to try to
Ceasefire negotiations began in 1951, two years before the fighting
finally ended, with the signing of the Armistice at Panmunjom on July
27, 1953. Following the Armistice, approximately 7,000 Canadians
continued to serve in Korea until the end of 1955, with some troops
remaining until 1957.
More information on the Korean War can be found on the Veterans Affairs
Canada Web site at veterans.gc.ca.
Image with caption: "Minister Steven Blaney, captain of the Parliamentary team, stands behind Senator Yonah Martin and Korean Ambassador Hee-yong Cho, who hold the Imjin River Memorial Cup. Parliamentarians and military members played a friendly game of pond hockey on the Rideau Canal in honour of Canadian Korean War Veterans.(CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130210_C4430_PHOTO_EN_23508.jpg
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information:
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Jean-Christophe de le Rue
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs