Photo: Sarah Krichel

Ryerson athletes, athletic staff unhappy with homecoming setup

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By Hayden Godfrey

When the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) announced that it would be holding a Ryerson homecoming (HOCO) at a Toronto Argonauts game instead of a Ryerson Rams event, many were upset at the lack of appreciation for school athletics.

While some students were excited by the prospect of trekking to BMO Field to support a Toronto sports team, the matter remains that Ryerson, one of Ontario’s most competitive athletic universities, will not get the chance to showcase its varsity teams in a larger initiative.

Taylor Dupuis, a fourth-year RTA Sport Media student and goalie for the Rams men’s ice hockey team, spoke to The Eye regarding this issue, noting that when he first heard about the homecoming, he initially thought it was a joke.

“It was frustrating to see that the RSU seems to have forgotten the state-of-the-art facilities we are lucky to have,” Dupuis said. “The [Mattamy Athletic Centre] is one of the top, if not the best facility you will find in U SPORTS and it’s somehow forgotten.”

Dupuis isn’t just irritated for his hockey teammates, but for all the student athletes who proudly wear the “R” in competition. In particular, the women’s volleyball team who, just last year, won the National Championship.

“While I think a hockey game would be a great homecoming, why not flip the ice into a court so we can get 3500+ loud students cheering on our volleyball or basketball teams?” he said. “The MAC gives us so many options that you really can’t go wrong with hosting any event there.

In response to Syed Abbas, a Ryerson student and an MLSE account executive who set up the event, Dupuis had another question for the RSU. “How can students show their school pride when a Ryerson team isn’t even playing in the game and it’s nowhere near campus?”

BMO Field, located near Dufferin Street south of King, is 6.2 kilometres (or a 25-minute TTC trip) away from the intersection of Church and Gould streets in the heart of Ryerson’s campus.

It’s not just athletes that are upset with this decision.

Lisa Haley, head coach of Ryerson’s women’s hockey team, is equally surprised. Though she understands the decision to go with a more “traditional” homecoming setup (that is, one centred around football), she thinks that it would more true to Ryerson’s core values to go against the grain.

“One of the special things about Ryerson is that we are not traditional. We are innovative, forward-thinking, new-age,” she told The Eye. “We don’t need to copy anyone, we can create our own uniqueness of what homecoming is.”

For her and other members of athletics, trying to emulate an American-style homecoming, all while pushing aside the numerous terrific student athletes, seems to juxtapose a big part of the Rams’ culture. Haley, a former coach for Team Canada’s International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) women’s hockey team, sees it mostly as just a flat-out mistake on behalf of the RSU.

“I do feel like it’s a missed opportunity to connect our student-athletes with Ryerson alumni and Ryerson students, but perhaps there are bigger initiatives at play that I haven’t taken the time to educate myself about.”

The hometown Toronto Argonauts will face off against the rival Hamilton Tiger Cats October 12th at 7:30 p.m. Ryerson students will get discounted tickets and will have the chance to win free tuition at halftime.

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