It is midway through the season here at Ryerson and although the standings and statistics over the past 3 months make our season seem bleak, I assure you there are many outstanding things happening in this inaugural season of the women’s hockey program at Ryerson University.
We have an outstanding group of people who have come together to jumpstart this program into CIS contention, and will undoubtedly be holding up the middle to top half of the OUA division within the next 2-3 years. This may be a bold statement, but I say it with confidence.
After the St Mary’s Huskies women’s program was cut last spring, we were blessed with the coaching prowess of Lisa Jordan. Lisa is one of the most levelheaded, skilled and loving coaches I have ever known. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge of not only the game of hockey, but of the aspects that create a strong team. She has been dedicated since the first day we stepped on the ice to improving every single individual, is fair, kind, and makes sure everyone on this team, from players to staff, know what their responsibilities are. Everyone is held accountable.
An incident just before a road trip at the beginning of the season let me know how true this is. We were on the bus and ready to leave on our trip. Lisa called for our attention at the front of the bus and made an announcement informing us that our assistant coaches would not be coming on the trip because they did not arrive early to pack the bus, as they had been asked to. Cases like this seem to epitomize Lisa’s philosophy – We are a team and no one person is more important than another, we all contribute to the success of each other. Surely, the lessons we are learning from coach do not just apply to our time at the rink, but to our lives in the real world.
With such positive energy from a seasoned coach, it is inevitable that those who have been coached by her share the same values and lessons. Of the 21 players on the Ryerson roster, 19 are first year players in the CIS. The remaining two are fifth year players, our captain, Kyla Thurston (Ajax, ON) and assistant captain, Lauren McCusker (Newmarket, ON), who came back from St Mary’s with Lisa to help build this Ryerson team. Kyla and Lauren have taught us so much about the work it takes to be varsity athletes, to stand up for teammates, and of course, the art of pranking. On the ice, Kyla has the powerhouse play of Hayley Wickenheiser digging in the corners making a huge play out of seemingly nothing. Meanwhile, Lauren is the Lidstrom of women’s hockey, gracing her way up the ice, turning opposing players inside-out while they were too busy having been mesmerized by her smooth skating stride. It is amazing to watch their opposing styles compliment each other in such a one-two punch; it is amazing to see their experience hold our team together through their play on the ice, their demeanor in the dressing room, and their timeless tales of pranks and life living in Halifax while with St Mary’s.
This team is going to be something great. There is energy everywhere that is hard to put to words; it is love, it is excitement, it is a passion for the game. The players who are playing in this inaugural season are blessed to have such great leadership; from the girls in the room, to the approachable coach at the helm. Though our 1 and 14 record might gardener different opinions about this team, I assure you this is no indication of our potential success in years coming. We lose two amazing examples of the individual growth and leadership qualities that can mature under Lisa Jordan in Kyla and Lauren next season. However, it is amazing to know that 19 other young women will be given the same tools to grow into successful leaders and respectful players of the game in years to come.
We are the Ryerson Rams, come RISE WITH US.
And, Lets play hockey baby!
Gino (Emily Rose)