The Courier

A group photo of the 1 Air Maintenance Squadron members participating in the opening ceremonies puck drop during the 2022 Strawberry Cup at the Col J.J. Parr Sports Centre, 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta on 25 November 2022.  
Rear in the knight suit: Corporal (Cpl) Gregory Allen Center from left to right: Lieutenant Colonel John-Alec Bossence, Commanding Officer of 1 Air Maintenance Squadron (1 AMS), Cpl Charlie Fortier, Honorary Colonel (HCol) Greg Hamel, HCol of 1 AMS, Chief Warrant Officer, (CWO) Derek Rogers, 1 AMS CWO Front from left to right: Cpl Stephany Clement, CWO Pete Telfer – Supplied Photo

Honorary Colonel Greg Hamel dropped the puck on Friday, November 25th marking another annual 1 Air Maintenance Squadron (1 AMS) Strawberry Cup. Junior and Senior Non-Commissioned members battled it out on the ice at the J.J. Parr Sports Centre where the senior members, made up of the shop supervisors, clinched the win during a tense shootout in an 11-10 victory.

The origins of the Strawberry Cup began when Cpl Michael H. Nijeboer, a 1 AMS Avionics Technician (AVS) was involved in a head-on collision while en route to Edmonton to conduct training for the Tactical Unmanned Aeronautical Vehicle for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in January 2008; Cpl Nijeboer passed away in the accident at the age of 23.

A well-liked member of the 1 AMS family remembered for his positive attitude and shining personality, he loved all sports and played for the 1 AMS C League Knights and was also an MVP for the Penguins rugby team the first year he played. His nickname was “Strawberry” due to the bright colour of his hair.

In December of the same year of Cpl Nijeboer’s passing, two members of the 1 AMS Avionics Lab, Sgt Seywerd and MCpl Ferris, organized the First Annual Strawberry Cup hockey game with members of the shop divided into two teams and playing for fun, in memory of their deceased co-worker and friend. After the game was finished the winning team was presented with the Strawberry Cup. This event has been held annually since December 2008. 

The Strawberry Cup has since evolved to not only an AVS Labs tradition, but a 1 AMS tradition as well. 

This year’s event was larger than ever where the 1 AMS Knight was on hand for photos, and members shared lunch and participated in games and activities. A Memoriam Plaque and trophy were displayed at the event to inform new 1 AMS members of the tradition in hopes to continue the tradition, engage in the competitive sports Cpl Michael “Strawberry” Nijeboer enjoyed, and gather in each other’s company. 

1 AMS Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) John-Alec Bossence and Squadron Chief Warrant Officer Derek Rogers were on hand with Honorary Colonel Greg Hamel to say a few words and drop the puck.

“I will take this opportunity to remind all the Knights that the future of this Squadron and Wing is very exciting with all the new infrastructure and capabilities on the way,” said LCol Bossence. “The Chief and I agree that sports and fitness are an important part of Squadron morale and overall quality of life but it doesn’t need to be complicated; the goal is to just get out, get the heart pumping, get a sweat on, and try to have fun while you do it!”

This year’s Strawberry Cup was a huge success for the entire 1 AMS members and we look forward to making it even better in 2023. 

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