Hoops festival forces hockey out of MAC

In Sports /

By Harlan Nemers

The Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team will once again play a home game away from home – for at least one game due to a scheduling conflict.

With the Mattamy Athletic Centre’s arena set to host the first annual Ryerson Hoops Festival on Saturday, which includes the men’s basketball team’s matchup against the NCAA’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Ryerson had to find the hockey team another place to play.

Stephanie White, associate director of athletics, said they have been trying to find a venue to host the Rams’ second regular season game against the RMC Paladins for the last six weeks. The team’s home opener on Friday versus Queen’s University will still be played at the MAC.

Originally, Ryerson Athletics confirmed the team would be hosting Saturday’s game at Ricoh Coliseum, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL-affiliate Toronto Marlies.

“If we can’t hold our game at home, we’re very pleased to hold it at Ricoh Coliseum,” said White.

But the arrangement hit a snag late last Monday. While Ryerson had an agreement to play Saturday afternoon, prior to the Marlies 7 p.m.

game, they failed to factor in their opponent’s schedule. The Paladins played Nipissing University the previous night. With the four-hour drive from North Bay, Ont., RMC didn’t feel that an afternoon game was feasible. To allow for a 7 p.m. start time, the game has been relocated to the GM Centre in Oshawa.

Even before the most recent change of plans, not everyone was happy to move a home game away from the MAC.

“I would much rather play at our rink. I don’t really understand why the basketball team has the ability to kick us out of our home rink,” said second-year defenceman Brian Birkhoff. “We lose home ice advantage – we don’t know the bounces, won’t have our dressing room and [fewer] fans will come and watch.” The Ryerson Hoops Festival will include a women’s game versus the Memorial University Sea-Hawks at 3 p.m., as well as the men’s basketball game versus Wake Forest at 7 p.m.

In addition to the men’s hockey conflict, a women’s hockey matchup against Western University had to be moved to January to accommodate the Hoops Festival.

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