The well-used boards of the Canadian built hockey arena  *Our hope is that these boards will help to tell the story of Canada in #Kandahar –hardship, courage, triumph and tragedy*( Canadian embassy)

The well-used boards of the Canadian built hockey arena *Our hope is that these boards will help to tell the story of Canada in #Kandahar –hardship, courage, triumph and tragedy*( Canadian embassy)
Photo Credit: Canadian Embassy AFG, twitter

Canadian “historical” hockey rink in Kandahar, gone, but saved

Time out from war, time for hockey

Where Canadians go, so to goes hockey, even if the temperature is 40 degrees Celsius.

Afghanistan was a deadly place for coalition forces, but Canadian soldiers decided to build a hockey rink to help them forget about the dangers that surrounded them. Of course ice was out of the question, but for about a decade, ball hockey was a very good substitute

2007: More than 2,000 hockey fans from Canada and the United States crowded around the *rink* as temperatures reached 40 C in the baking Afghan sun.
2007: More than 2,000 hockey fans from Canada and the United States crowded around the *rink* as temperatures reached 40 C in the baking Afghan sun. © (Derek Stoffel/CBC)

The Canadians served in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014, with the rink built in 2006 mostly by Canadian engineers volunteering any free time they had.

Two teams of Canadian soldiers play an improvised hockey matchunder the lights at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010.
Two teams of Canadian soldiers play an improvised hockey match under the lights at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010. © Alexander Zemlianichenko/The Associated Press

At the height of the Afghan mission, the airfield housed about 50,000 people, with thousands more passing through all the time. Almost everyone stopped at the rink at least briefly if time allowed.  At is peak there were some 24 teams that played regularly, mostly Canadian, but with at least one US team and two teams representing Slovakia.

2007- Though the games gave a chance to have fun and forget about the dangers of war, it was never far away as some soldiers watched while carrying their weapons. © Derek Stoffel- CBC

For many it was an important release of tensions.

Another Maple Leaf at centre *ice*
Another Maple Leaf at centre *ice* The puck (ball) drops here. © Canadian Embassy AFG- twitter

Capt. Travis Smyth of the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) served seven months there in 2010. Quoted by the CBC he said, “When I think about it now, it seems a little bit surreal that I was playing hockey on a rink in the middle of the desert, in the middle of a war zone. It seems a little crazy, but it certainly was a great relief for the troops that got to play on it.”

At its height the *rink* was busy at all hours and over the years many NHL stars and even some politicians played. The actual Stanley Cup was brought of in 2007 for a competition called the *Afghanistanley Cup*
At its height the *rink* was busy at all hours and over the years many NHL stars and even some politicians played. The actual Stanley Cup was brought of in 2007 for a competition called the *Afghanistanley Cup*

When Canada’s combat mission ended, the hockey games fizzled out soon afterward and with a net set up in the centre it was used as a tennis court.

Canadian embassy staff and others play a final game on December 28, before the rink was disassembled. © Canadian Embassy AFG- twitter

For the Canadians who served there it was an important symbol and that will now be preserved. Portions of the boards have been returned to Canada where they will soon be displayed at the Canadian War Museum as part of the story of the war.

Taking the boards home to Canada for eventual display at the Canadian War Museum and at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Taking the boards home to Canada for eventual display at the Canadian War Museum and at the Hockey Hall of Fame. © Canadian Embassy AFG

The Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame will also be getting some of the boards but a display date has not been established.

Additional information- sources

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in History, International, Lifestyle, Military, Sports

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

One comment on “Canadian “historical” hockey rink in Kandahar, gone, but saved
  1. Azizullah says:

    Please do not your freinds