By Krista Robinson
You might not recognize the Ryerson men’s hockey team this season, as ten players have left the program.
Jamie Wise, top scorer on the team last season, left Ryerson to try out for a spot on the Chicago Blackhawks. Former captain Andrew Buck, along with forward Dustin Alcock graduated after five seasons and defenceman Tyler McCarthy transferred to Conestoga College to become an electrician.
Forwards Daniel Lombardi, Steve Taylor and Jason McDonough are gone, along with defencemen Peter Hermenegildo and David Searle, and backup goalie Steve Gleeson. According to head coach Graham Wise, they all quit to focus on school.
At the time of publication, the former players either declined to comment or hadn’t responded to The Eyeopener’s requests for an interview.
“It came as a surprise to me,” said defenceman Brian Birkhoff. “But [hockey] takes up a lot of time, and not everyone is able to do it.”
The Rams practice up to five days a week and usually have two games on the weekend.
“It’s not easy,” says centreman Michael Fine. “When you’re on road trips and have those three, four hours on the bus, you’ve got to bring homework.”
Last year, the Rams came in third place in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) west division. They finished second overall in goals per game. In short, it was a successful season, but it didn’t come without some setbacks.
The Rams were suspended last November for drinking on a road trip in New Jersey. They had to forfeit two games and assistant coach Lawrence Smith was fired.
But Birkhoff says that didn’t hurt the team, it did the opposite.
“It’s no secret we went through a lot of trials and tribulations as a team but I don’t think that would push them away,” he said. “I actually think that brought us closer together.”
Despite the roster revamp, Graham isn’t worried about his team.
“You can’t worry about who you don’t have,” he said. “I think we’ve got a really good group of kids here [and] they’re capable of putting a very competitive Ryerson team on the ice.”