R is for Rams

Ryerson University doesn’t have the greatest reputation when it comes to sports. From 1985 to 2005, the women’s soccer team had a combined record of 11 wins -179 losses – 11 ties, as well as a winless streak that spanned almost seven years. And since the 1971-72 season, the men’s hockey team has only finished with a winning record twice.

Even worse than Ryerson’s results have been its facilities. George Bell Arena was a terrible venue to watch hockey games in, and the hour-long distance from campus was always a hassle for players and fans alike.

With the opening of the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens, Ryerson is hoping to also open a new chapter for athletics – one that includes championship banners rather than the losing mentality of seasons’ past. Admission to Rams’ games is free for all students (just bring your One Card).

Teams To Watch Out For:

Men’s Soccer After finishing 7-2-5 and making the OUA semi-finals in 2010, the Rams took up from where they left off and finished with 8 wins – their most ever – in 2011. While the departure of defender Dimitri Karopoulos hurts, the Rams still have two returning firstteam all-stars from last season – defender Michael Jan, and leading goalscorer Viktor Anastasov. The team still plays its home games at Lamport Stadium, but it’s well worth the 30-minute transit trip from campus.

Women’s Hockey The inaugaral varsity season of women’s hockey was less than ideal. While they got their first win, it was the only one, as the team finished 1-25. As cliche as it sounds, there truly is no other way but up. They simply aren’t bad enough to lose that many games again. And while her stats are horrible (19 L, .874 SV%, 4.51 GAA), goaltender Emma Crawley is a star who can only improve.

Men’s Basketball The men’s basketball team went 29-103 in the six seasons before Roy Rana was hired as head coach in 2009. With Rana at the helm, the Rams have made the playoffs in each of the previous three years, reaching the CIS Final 8 last season after upsetting Lakehead, the #2 ranked team in the country, in the OUA semi-finals. Led by two-time OUA firstteam all-star Jahmal Jones and second-year forward Aaron Best, the Rams are hoping to put themselves in a similar situation this season. Already deep in the backcourt with starters Jones and 2011- 12 second-team all-star Jordon Gauthier and regular contributors Afeworki Gebrekerestos and Ola Adegboruwa, the Rams have added former York sharpshooter Ostap Choliy this offseason. Highly-rated prospects Kyle Hankins and Juwon Grannum – both 6”7 – will look to help out star forward Bjorn Michaelsen in the frontcourt, the Rams’ biggest area of need. While it may be a little premature to book March accommodations in Ottawa (site of this season’s Final 8), this year’s team has more depth, size and experience than the previous, and will look to prove that they belong in the conversation about CIS basketball’s elite.

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