Among the senior class of the Ryerson Rams, Stephanie Chiste has been part of an evolutionary epoch for its program, contributing towards an upward progression reaching respectability. From its humble roots as a team filled with freshmen in a challenging inaugural season to its current on-ice home at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, housed inside the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens, the program has experienced positive changes.
Exceptionally proud to be part of such an exciting time is Chiste, who was part of the Rams first playoff run in the spring of 2016. Complemented by the graduation of players such as Melissa Wronzberg to the CWHL, it is indicative of how much the program has developed. To have contributed to this growth is one that stands out as one of Chiste’s legacies as a player,
“The program has gone a large amount. Looking back on my first year and realizing the amount of talent on the team this year just goes to show how much the team has improved.
This year is the most fun and cohesive team I have been apart of at Ryerson. The team made history while making it to playoffs and need to keep the upward climb going. We fell short this year, but I believe the team will be able to make it to playoffs next year.”
Having captured provincial medals with the Willowdale Red Wings and starred with the PWHL’s Toronto Jr. Aeros, the chance to stay close to home and skate for the Ryerson Rams, coached by Winter Games gold medal winning coach Lisa Haley, allowed for more heroics. Early on in program history, Chiste made her mark felt. Bestowed the honor of the Team MVP honors in the aftermath of the 2012-13 season, her first with the program, she was also a nominee for Ryerson’s RSU Female Rookie of the Year. Heading into her senior season, Chiste was able to add an exciting new milestone to her Rams career. Bestowed the honor of the team captaincy, it was reflective on her impact for the program,
“To me, being named captain meant that my team saw something in me that they believed I could help lead the team. I felt very honoured and grateful to be able to be the captain for a year.”
Entering this season, the chance to be the team captain added to a great feeling of momentum for Chiste. With the team having qualified for the OUA playoffs the season prior, that sense of achievement was significant.
Having risen from the difficult one-win season that defined its inaugural sojourn in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the postseason symbolized a great team achievement, one that was even more important because it allowed the inaugural senior class to share in this. Undoubtedly, it is an experience that has proven unforgettable for Chiste, who also finished the 2015-16 season as the Rams leading scorer among blueliners,
“My favourite moment with the Rams is definitely making playoffs. Although we didn’t do very well it was still a first for the program and I felt so happy and honoured to be apart of it.”
In the second game of her season, an October 20 tilt with the Toronto Lady Blues, Chiste registered her first point of the season, an assist in a 2-0 win. Logging one point in six different games this season, the Rams would enjoy a 5-1-0 mark. She would also assemble a mini scoring streak, getting assists in back-to-back games on February 4 vs. Queen’s and February 10 vs. Laurentian. Of note, the Laurentian game would signify the final point in her CIS/U Sports career.
Coincidentally, Laurentian would also represent another unique aspect in Chiste’s time with the Rams. A January 10, 2016 road match in which the Rams emerged victorious in a 3-1 final, saw Chiste record three milestones.
Scoring twice in the game, including the game-winning tally, it signified the last time that Chiste would provide a multi-point output. Said match also featured the last goal of her career, scored on Laura Deller, and simultaneously, her last game-winner.
Chiste’s final game would be one to remember. Joined by fellow seniors Michelle Evagelou, Justine Glover, Blair Malthaner and Danelle Im, who aspires to gain a spot on the South Korean national women’s ice hockey team for the 2018 Winter Games, the Rams hosted the Waterloo Warriors on February 18. Scoring a season-high six goals, the result was a fitting send-off for the team’s graduating players. As a side note, the 6-2 final saw Krashandra Green tie the program record for most goals and points in one season.
That type of effort embodied what made playing at Ryerson so enjoyable for Chiste. From the sense of family, to the feeling of making history, these are all elements that defined a remarkable run. In discussing what she will miss most about donning the Ryerson colors, the camaraderie and the amity, a collaborative sense that they were helping to build something significant, it was an ambiance built on ambitious achievement, serving to strengthen Chiste’s love of the game, simultaneously inspiring others to bring forth their best effort.
“I will miss my teammates most, walking into the dressing room every day and seeing the family that we created. It’s always a good time and we comfort each other in times of need.
The team built a family atmosphere in the room and we had each other’s backs, there was always someone to talk to. I will also miss pulling my jersey on and stepping on the ice. Ever since I was a kid I loved to play the game and I don’t think I will ever lose my love for hockey.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credits: Ryerson Rams athletics