By Erin Valois
Their equipment may be older than the opposing team, but the Rye Profs are bringing passion, heart and pulled groins to the Ryerson intramural hockey league.
Captain Richard McMaster, an English professor, formed the faculty team in 2005 when he met another Ryerson professor while playing in a men’s league at York University. They were confident they could build a competitive team at Ryerson.
“We thought it would be great to have a team,” he said.
They may only have won half of their games last season, but this year the Rye Profs are still searching for their first win after five games. At their November 13th game against the Cold Shots, the Profs came out blazing in the first period with the opening goal. But they soon collapsed, allowing six consecutive goals, mere minutes apart.
McMaster has many explanations for their losing streak, including inexperience. He didn’t establish the team to create a hockey powerhouse; instead he saw intramurals as a way to meet new people. Beginners and old-timers make up the foundation of the Profs, and their passion for the game is what keeps them forging on during this winless season.
“Our goalie is from India and he had never played hockey before. He was a goalie in field hockey and thought he would try out ice hockey. He’s still adjusting to being on skates,” McMaster said of business management prof Tarun Dewan. “I’d call us all hockey enthusiasts. We have a wide range of skill levels and backgrounds. We have the chair of the philosophy department on our team.”
The injury bug has bitten the Profs, which is understandable when the majority of the team was around for the Maple Leafs’ last Stanley Cup win. This has forced the faculty members to look to younger counterparts to fill the bench. Brad Jones was on the team last year and returned to play with his older teammates this year.
“It’s quite eye-opening to play with the profs,” he said. “For their age, they do pretty well.”
Students like Jones are the main reason for the creation of the team. McMaster wanted to expand the teacher-student relationship beyond the classroom and promote a healthy rivalry. Many students end up playing against their current professors, but McMaster insists that the Profs don’t receive any special treatment from the other teams.
“We threaten them with grades and they threaten us in the corners but there is a lot of sportsmanship involved,” he said. “We don’t want them to go easy on us and they haven’t, which is reflected by some of the scores.”
Cold Shots goalie Jimmy King likes the power reversal students experience when they battle teachers on the ice.
“It’s just the best feeling to stop them on breakaways,” he said.
The Profs may miss out on the intramural championship but they don’t care. They prefer to enjoy the friendly competition between the faculty and the students instead of worrying about wins. However, McMaster says the Profs haven’t completely given up their dreams of hockey glory.
“We have a perfect record so far this season in that we haven’t won a game,” McMaster said.