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Secret Weapon Baden Raiders

Sun, Jan 21st, 2001
Submitted by: Joe Warmington

It was the height of the cold war and these soldiers where definitely the super power of Europe. And for kids growing up on Canadian Forces Base Baden-Soellingen, the players on the Baden Raiders hockey team were super heroes, even held in higher esteem than the popular CF 104 fighter jet pilots.

The Raiders, for much of Canada's more than 40 years of NATO involvement in Germany, where always A good team of Canadian players playing in a European League and tournaments. But in the 1971-72 season it took an upturn thanks to a hockey-loving base commander who pulled some strings and posted all of the best military players. Col. A.J. Bauer was the Punch Imlach of the armed forces and what the base suddenly had was a stacked team of players, many of whom would have played in today's 30 team NHL.

The Team was Jag Young, Ted Blaker, Paul Godin, Andy Burges, Ron Hughes, Barney Barnhard, Cal Kemp, Tom Hanna, Wayne Mitchell, Pierre Lessard, Andre Boucher, Jack Roussell, Ray Demeules, Jacques Desbiens, Gerry Bowes, Tom Simming and Jimmy Gebhard. They where Canada's nuclear weapons on ice.

The guy I remember most from the team was captain Gebhard, who is a real character. He's retired in Kingston now and even at almost 68 still plays with pals. Back than he was a kind of Paul Coffey and Marty McSorley wrapped up into one. There was one time he chased a Swedish player into the stands to pay him back for a slash. "I don't remember that," Jimmy told me over the phone this week… It happened while I was there.

He also downplayed the time he skated with the Toronto Maple Leafs and turned some heads.

It was the 1968 training camp and Jimmy, than 36, and Royal College fellow Warrant Officer Wally Travis were brought in by Imlach to get the Leafs in shape. After awhile the Maple Leaf players were getting a little tired of the military regimen and at the suggestion of captain George Armstrong decided to invite them for a scrimmage to get back at them a little. In a column, Sun legend George Cross wrote in the Toronto Telegram Sep. 14, 1968 "It didn't work out that way. As a matter of fact , Armstrong and his team mates looked as puzzled as when they missed the playoffs last spring. " It's abbreviated a bit but Gross also wrote "Gebhard nailed Armstrong near the boards, passed the puck to Travis who promptly beat Bruce Gamble with a low shot. Actually Gebhard and Travis forgot to tell the Leafes something- they were both former Kingstin Aces Senior players."

I stopped by George's office last night and we both had a laugh as he recalled seeing these guys teach the NHLers a little lesson. "The Leafs could use Jimmy Gebhard today." Jokes George, who at the time quoted an in awe Johnny Bower saying: "You know Punch should take a look at this fellow Gebhard,. Maybe Punch should sign him." Of course , Jimmy just continued on with his military career and eventually made history with the Baden Raiders . But you have to wonder what might have been if he had had been just a few years younger at that camp in Peterborough in the fall of 68.
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This piece on the Raiders history was printed on January 20, 2001 in the Night Scrawler's column of the Toronto Sun.
We thank Joe Warmington the author of this article; for giving us permission , using it on our web page.

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