By Josh Wingrove
Ryerson’s poor track record in athletics has begun to take its toll on athletes.
Braden Deane, last year’s starting goalie for the men’s hockey team, has quit amidst frustration with the athletics program and his team’s perennial losing record.
Deane, a third-year film student, said many reasons led to leaving, including the team’s decision to carry four goalies. “I felt I was not being given the respect that I deserved,” said Deane. “Sometimes a little bit of respect can go a long way towards building better player-coach relationships.”
Deane said that he felt communication would have improved the situation among the four goalies, who were not informed who would start games and who wouldn’t dress.
“I didn’t think I was going to be signing any big contract, but I didn’t think I’d be in beer leagues so soon.”
Deane started the majority of the Rams games last year, often keeping the struggling Rams in close games.
“He made a decision that he wasn’t where he wanted to be,” said Rams head coach Ed Kirsten. “I know that he wasn’t happy with the situation.”
Deane had expressed his frustration to Kirsten with the lack of playing and practice time for the goalies. “In preseason, I never got to play a full game,” said Deane. “It was just too crowded.”
In the lone regular season game he played this season, Deane made 43 saves in an 8-0 loss to Brock University. Deane expressed his distaste with the poor records that have plagued the team.
“If a team is unsuccessful, a change has to be made,” said Deane. “The practice drills remained the same, the game plans were the same, the warm ups were the same, and the results on the ice were the same. The coaching staff was simply repeating the same things they had always been telling us and for some reason they expected different results.”
So far this season, the team remains winless (0-8-0) and continues to struggle defensively (49 goals against, more than six per game).
“I do regret that he left,” said Kirsten. “He was a great kid.” Kirsten said his decision to carry four goalies was so he had a better chance to evaluate their abilities. “We cut it down to four [in training camp]. We tried to give them each a chance to play. No one warranted being cut.”
Kirsten noted that conditioning was one reason for Deane’s departure.
“He was physically behind the other goalies,” said Kirsten. Deane, who has a medical condition that makes him fatigue easily, disputes that his health was a factor. “I didn’t think fatigue in practice or in games was an issue,” said Deane. “Half the time, I wouldn’t even break a sweat.”
Deane’s departure came as a shock to the team. Second-year forward Chris Sutton, the Rams leading scorer this season, said the move was disappointing. “He’s a great friend in the dressing room,” said Sutton. “He didn’t want to have to deal with the locker room politics [of having four goaltenders].”
Sutton also said Deane didn’t let his issues affect the team. “If he had problems, we didn’t see them.” Mark Furman, who made the team as a walk on and is one of the team’s other three goalies, said that while Deane’s departure may weaken the team, he’ll welcome additional playing time.
“Any one of these guys just wants to play.”
With Deane gone, sophomore Joel Schriver will take over the starting role. “Joel is a great goaltender on a pretty disappointing team,” said Sutton. “Our goaltending situation is not really a problem.”
Backing up Shriver will be Furman and rookie Alex Turgeon-Cote, who allowed 10 goals against the University of Trois Rivieres on the weekend.
Despite his reasons, Deane said he regrets leaving his teammates in the middle of the season.
“I understand if they are bitter or angry. That’s what made it one of the hardest decisions of my life.”