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Wanderers gear up for Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Match

There will be special guests throughout the Wanderers Grounds Stadium Saturday as we honour the Canadian Armed Forces and their families.

It’s our Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation match and we’re happy that many military and defence team members from our region will be in the stands getting behind our team against FC Edmonton.

This is the Wanderers way of saying thanks to the men and women who spend many months away from their families to serve us, in addition to the way they jump into action after emergencies that affect us all like Hurricane Dorian just a few weeks ago.

Since our club was founded we’ve been lucky to have the support of the Canadian Forces Base Halifax and it’s a partnership we hope continues for years to come.

Our players even toured Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Halifax back in July and then wore caps when walking out at our match against York9 on July 6th.

Jan-Michael Williams getting a close up look at some weaponry on HMCS Halifax in July.
Keeper Jan-Michael Williams showing expert handling with a missile on HMCS Halifax in July, with Elliot Simmons, Zachary Sukunda and Tomasz Skublak keeping their distance!

It turns out that a number of the more than 10,000 strong men and women who work there are also big Wanderers fans with a number being season ticket holders.

“It’s amazing being there on game day, getting out there early and going to the pub, getting to the game and it’s the best atmosphere in Halifax, it’s fantastic,” said Lieutenant (Navy) Jason Gallant, who has a seat in The Kitchen.

Gallant plays for the Halifax Mariners men’s team which is made up of players from the CFB Halifax region including Royal Canadian Navy sailors, Royal Canadian Air Force aircrew from 12 Wing Shearwater and Canadian Army soldiers from various support units in the region.

Wanderers fan, Lieutenant Jason Gallant, in action for the Mariners.
Wanderers fan, Lieutenant Jason Gallant, in action for the Mariners. (He says he scored directly from this corner!)

Lieutenant (Navy) John Couch coaches and plays for the team.

“Knowing people appreciate us, the public we represent and serve is really valuable and we’re very thankful,” Couch said of the Wanderers’ appreciation day.

When you arrive at the match, watch out for the tent where the Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre will be set up.

They will be holding a raffle for some cool prizes including a Wanderers signed jersey and a Royal Nova Scotia Tattoo family pack for the 2020 performance.

The family resource centre is also asking people to bring change to donate to their organization, which supports more than 12,000 regular and reserve force Canadian Armed Forces members, as well as veterans and their families.

The group’s programming runs through central and northern Nova Scotia, with a history of offering all kinds of help for military members and their families over the past 30 years.

In addition to mental health support, the centre is also there for families and children when their partners are away from home on long deployments.

Couch, who is originally from Ontario, said what it provides is indispensable.

“I have five young children, so as a naval officer who can be deployed, that’s my wife at home while I’m away, so the Military Family Resource Centre does things like emergency family child care and its huge for us knowing our families are safe at home,” he said.

Lieutenant John Couch (centre) coaches and plays for the Mariners.
Lieutenant John Couch (centre), running training at Porteous Field, coaches and plays for the Mariners.

Please drop by the Military Family Resource Centre tent at the Grounds to say hello.

Then prior to the match make sure you sing along to O Canada — because it will be one like no other at our games — with the Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy performing the anthem.

The band is about 30 members strong with a proud tradition spanning more than 75 years. 

The Stadacona Band is making a special appearance courtesy of the Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic.

The Stadacona Band at the Wanderers home opener against Forge, May 4th.
The Stadacona Band at the Wanderers home opener against Forge, May 4th.

And stick around in the stands at half-time as well for a special show bringing together the Nova Scotia Highlanders Pipes and Drums (Army) and the 12 Wing Pipes and Drums (Air Force). 

We’re discounting tickets for Canadian Armed Forces members and their families to show our appreciation in this match.

So get down to the Grounds Saturday to give a shout out to our armed forces and then our Wanderers team on the pitch as we try and fight our way up the Canadian Premier League against FC Edmonton.

Come on you Wanderers!