Impromptu hockey for love of the game

In Communities /

By Rachel Surman

Skates dig and cut into the ice, disrupting the soft glow of the rink – illuminated by the changing lights of the Image Arts building – as sticks smack against the cold, solid ground. It’s 1 a.m., maybe 2, and students are stumbling home from the bar, but a group of hockey lovers have just started their game. The early hours of the morning are the only time they can play.

“There is the intramural hockey league but sometimes it’s hard to commit two or three times a week and pay an extra $200,” secondyear film student Lucas Ford said. “Pond hockey is just so relaxed, you make it when you want to make it, and you can just have fun with the guys and/or girls.”

For many Ryerson students, paying tuition and making time for their demanding class schedules doesn’t allow them much freedom to do anything else. But that doesn’t mean they want to give up hockey.

So to compensate for the lack of time during the day and the cost of the intramural leagues, a group of about 10-15 students play hockey on the deserted Lake Devo a few times a week, when the weather is right.

Ford said that anyone can join in on a game of late-night hockey. The group often stays out until 3 a.m. because it’s a time when everyone is free and he insists that the deserted rink is worth it.

“The scenery is great,” said Ford. “It’s crazy how there is an ice rink literally right across from the bookstore.”

But Ford and the other players aren’t trying to exploit the ability to drink and play rowdy games of hockey on the outdoor rink; they take the game pretty seriously.

Katie Steckley, a third-year fashion student who met the other players on the ice when she decided to join in on the fun, said that when it comes to alcohol and hockey, the game is always played before any drinking is involved.

Steckley said the casual hockey club puts safety first and tries to avoid injury as much as possible. So while they don’t drink on the rink, Steckley and Ford said they will often go for drinks at a friend’s place after the game.

“It’s funny because a lot of people are coming back from the bars at the time and we are just going to play puck then,” Ford said. “It’s something we love to do and we meet new buddies. Also it’s cheaper than going clubbing.”

For many of the students, these impromptu, almost subculture-esc, hockey club games are considered a major stress reliever, but Ford likes the sense of community best.

“I really like being out there with the guys and just playing hockey. It’s that whole process of hockey that I miss… having the locker room talks with the guys, the chirps, the goals and celebrations; that’s the best part,” said Ford.

Second-year engineering student Joe Weves enjoys the club for one reason only: “I just like playing hockey.”

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