HMCS MONTRÉAL at sea—In this series, we will focus on hockey and its ability to unify Canadians everywhere, especially those who serve in our Armed Forces while overseas. To show this, sailors on the HMCS Montreal will be profiled so that they can provide that unique perspective.
The subject of this profile is Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2) Maurice Hodder. The Newfoundland Native joined the Royal Canadian Navy for life experience and adventure. Maurice also displays his passion for the game of hockey and for his beloved *gulp* Edmonton Oilers on a daily basis.
Why did you choose to join the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)?
I chose the RCN because as a kid, I enjoyed watching war movies and had a fascination for Warships. As I was undecided on a career right after high school, I decided enroll to the RCN, where I have been now for the past 20 years.
How long have you been a hockey fan?
I have been a hockey fan since the early 1980’s. Of course, this was because of Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers.
Who is your favourite NHL team?
Who is the one team you feel is your team’s biggest rival, and why?
Calgary for sure, as they are from the same province and the Battle of Alberta is always entertaining to watch. I do remember the Dallas / Edmonton rivalry back in the 90’s and the magical save by Curtis Joseph and the breakaway goal by Todd Marchant in game 7 of the ’97 Playoffs.
While aboard HMCS MONTRÉAL are you able to watch your team?
Yes, providing someone else is not watching Montreal or Toronto play…lol
What lengths do you go to see them while deployed?
I have stayed up after watch just to see them play, if not check the highlights from the game.
How do you keep up to date on the team?
I do follow them on Facebook, and via sports websites.
What is your favorite hockey memory?
I will have to say that the 1997 Playoffs against Dallas, and the 2006 run to the Cup Finals hold some fond memories for me, but getting to see them play at Rexall Place against San Jose and the Vancouver Canucks in 2009 was an awesome experience. I cannot wait to go again, but this time taking my son to see the Oilers play live.
Why is hockey an important part of your life on the ship?
As you can be on the ship for long periods of time, you need to find ways to disconnect from your work schedule. So just sitting and watching a game after work can help you wind down and relax.
Does hockey help you to feel more connected to family, friends, country while on missions/out to sea?
In a way it does. My son, my brother and a few friends are avid Oilers fans. So when I am away, by posting things on Facebook about an Oiler win or status of the players, we can comment and trade thoughts on the team and how they are doing.
Do you ever engage in video game hockey tournaments or other such activities on board?
I have not lately, but back when I was on HMCS Halifax (2002) during OP APOLLO, the ship had a hockey tournament playing on the PlayStation. As I was relatively unknown in my gaming skills, I managed to make it to the final and win the Stanley Cup which was made by someone on board.
Why do you believe hockey is the greatest sport?
I believe hockey to be the greatest sport as it is quick paced, shows off the amount of talent and skills of the players, and the tremendous amount of effort it takes to go through the whole regular season and the playoffs in order to win Lord Stanley’s Cup.
For anyone making a trek to Montréal to experience the city during the NHL playoffs and wishing to visit a Canadian Warship, the HMCS Montréal will be visiting the old port of Montréal between May 12 – 21, 2017 as part of the city’s 375th Anniversary Celebrations.
If you missed any parts of our series on the HMCS Montreal, you can link to them here:
FEATURE | The HMCS Montréal Canadiens
FAN FOCUS | Sailors Aboard HMCS Montréal: David Gagnon
FAN FOCUS | Sailors Aboard HMCS Montreal: Stan Ryan
FAN FOCUS | Sailors Aboard HMCS Montreal: Gillian Good
FAN FOCUS | Sailors Aboard HMCS Montreal: Peter Hughson