By Alan Hudes
In March, the Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team upset the CIS #2-ranked Lakehead Thunderwolves at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Final Four, guaranteeing them a spot in the CIS Championship for just the second time in the program’s history.
The five busloads of fans Ryerson sent to Waterloo made the game feel like it was being played at home. If the Rams advance to the Final Four next season, they’ll likely be feeling that home crowd vibe again, as they are rumoured to be hosting the tournament.
According to a tentative schedule released by Lakehead University last week, the 2013 Wilson Cup Championship weekend will be played at Ryerson’s brand new facility inside the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) at the Gardens. However, both the Ryerson Athletics department and the OUA have denied that this year’s Final Four site has been selected.
“We haven’t been awarded (the Final Four),” said Jim McLarty, Ryerson’s Sports Information Co-ordinator. “We’ve bid to host it and we’d like to host it….I would say there’s a good chance.”
That’s because this isn’t the first time the league has had its eye on Ryerson for the event. Bryan Crawford, OUA Sport Programmer, acknowledged that the university is one of four to apply, and both he and McLarty confirmed that the Gardens was originally scheduled to host last year’s Final Four, had construction been completed on schedule. Crawford added that this could lead to speculation that Ryerson is the favourite to land the Championship.
And according to Lakehead’s tentative schedule, the highly anticipated grudge match between the Rams and the 2011 OUA Champions may also be Ryerson’s first OUA game played at the Gardens. The game is scheduled for Nov. 9. While this is unlikely to change, schedule adjustments can still be made until June 1.
In addition to basketball, a few notable Rams hockey games are now known as well. According to schedules released by Queen’s University, the women’s squad will host the Gaels on Oct. 7, which could potentially be the first OUA hockey game played at the Gardens.
The Rams men’s team will visit Kingston for an October 12 matchup, and then return to host the Gaels at the MAC on Oct. 20.
The OUA will officially release all schedules for the 2012-13 season beginning next week.