By Josh Wingrove
The new coach of the winless men’s hockey team, Mick Mitrovic, considers the recently fired Ed Kirsten his “polar opposite.”
While Kirsten believes in a strong defense, Mitrovic stresses free skating and offense. “There aren’t going to be any restrictions,” said Mitrovic.
“If you win a game 10-8, it’s much more enjoyable from a player’s standpoint.” Mitrovic played with the Rams for two seasons in the mid ’90s, leading the team in scoring each year.
“I’m an alumni; I have a vested interest in the program,” he said. “It’s about understanding what it is to be a student athlete, to be a Ryerson athlete.” “This is the worst shape the program has been in,” Mitrovic said. “I can deal with what needs to be addressed,” he said. “I’m very strict in how many strikes I give you. One error and you’re out. The boys know that.”
Mitrovic hopes that any improvement in the program will start with the players themselves. “Off the ice is the product I want to start with because you’re representing the university first, your team second, and yourself third,” he said. “You’re not going to have a presence on campus unless you have a product people want to see.”
Mitrovic wants to recruit at least three forwards and two defencemen next year. Only one player, Matt Robinson, is in his final year of eligibility; others may not be asked to return. “I would sooner have a third liner that can stay in school for four years than a ‘flash in the pan’ hero,” he said.
The Rams head coaching position does not pay a full-time salary, but Mitrovic is confident he will be able to coach while maintaining his full-time position as an investment banker with BMO Nesbitt Burns. He expects his philosophy to lead to more goals and more wins. “We’re putting the onus on the kids to score a goal by giving them the opportunity to do so,” Mitrovic said. “If we don’t open up the second half of the season at 4-0, I’ll be really disappointed.”
The Rams begin the new semester this Saturday. Mitrovic and the team are looking for their first win of the season against the Royal Military College Paladins (3-7-0-4).