By Aaron Sands
After his first year as head coach of the Ryerson Rams hockey team, Louie Carnavale said he is more than pleased with the help he has received from Ryerson’s athletic department.
Two weeks ago, ex-coach Jim Cairns publicly claimed that Ryerson’s athletic department lacks commitment to winning. In contrast, Carnavale said he couldn’t ask for anything more from the athletic department.
“I’ve been hired to do a job,” Carnavale said. “I’ve been given certain things to work with and I’m very happy with what the athletic department has done.”
Cairns said the frustration of consistently losing and receiving no help from the Athletic department in recruiting players drove him to quit after 10 years as the Rams head coach.
Carnavale, however, said recruiting players is the responsibility of the coaching staff. He said the recruiting process has been made more difficult for Ryerson because of the Rams’ reputation as a losing team.
“The big hurdle is that the program has been unsuccessful and that makes it difficult to attract and recruit players.”
Carnavale said that in his tenure, the team has received royal treatment from the athletic department. “We have two great facilities to practice and play in – Maple Leaf Gardens and St. Mike’s Arena. Our players are very well looked after. What more could you ask for?”
After an improved record last year, Carnavale predicts good things for this season’s squad. With approximately 13 new faces in the Ryerson lineup, the rebuilding process towards a winning future for Rams hockey has begun.
“We can play competitively against any team in the league,” Carnavale said. “This year’s team is set. The hard work in recruiting has been done and we’ve added a lot more depth. I think the team can definitely be a winner this year.”
While his experiences with the athletic department have been positive, Carnavale admits that being head coach is no walk in the park.
“It’s taken a lot of work. Building a competitive team is a full-time job,” he said. “I’m doing the same job Jim (Cairns) was doing and probably more. I put more hours into hockey than I do at my own business – about 40 hours a week.