By Libaan Osman
Ryerson’s Homecoming (HOCO) this year turned out to be dope. And that’s not an exaggeration.
To my surprise, the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) was nearly filled to capacity with students rocking blue, gold and also purple? Engineering students, who had an exam the day of last year’s HOCO, came in large numbers. No one seemed to be worried about studying that day.
This year’s HOCO was truly a sight we don’t often get to see at Ryerson. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the school boasts some of the best basketball, volleyball, soccer and hockey programs in the country. And even though the event is traditionally a football game, Ryerson isn’t your traditional school.
After last year’s disaster of a HOCO—also our first-ever HOCO—where students travelled 30 minutes to BMO Field to watch a Toronto Argonauts team that nobody cared about—my expectations were low. Nobody should have suffered having to watch an Argo’s team that could barely win two games in 2019. I can’t speak for everyone, but you’d have to pay me to watch the Canadian Football League.
This year we started out at Pitman Hall with the tailgate featuring a bean bag toss, hockey nets and free Red Bull (if that’s your thing). Students then marched on Church Street in unison with a Toronto police escort all the way to the MAC.
Packed at the opening face off, the atmosphere helped the Rams men’s hockey team dominate the Queen’s Gaels. Cavin Leth, forward, scored the first goal for the Rams. Hayden McCool, Jared Walsh and Mathew Santos followed with the other three, ending the game with a 4-1 score.
The decision by the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) and Ryerson Athletics to partner up and market it towards students living on campus was genius. While I was there reporting on the event, I chatted with many eager first-year students, looking to experience a homecoming for the first time. They commemorated the night by taking selfies and drinking until the sun came up. One student at the event went as far as calling it “the best homecoming” he’s ever been to.
“I think it’s amazing to see so many people come out today, we filled the MAC for the first time,” said Joshua Wiggins, RSU vice-president student life and events.
When Rams men’s hockey goalie Taylor Dupuis spoke to The Eye last year, he questioned the decision of last year’s RSU executives to have HOCO at BMO Field. Dupuis even suggested HOCO be held at the MAC, but he didn’t anticipate such a large turnout from students on Friday.
“We could hear them from the dressing room,” said Dupuis after the game. “We were really excited to get out there…it’s hard to explain just how fun that was. It blew my expectations out of the water.”
The end of the night was nothing short of spectacular. Getting to witness students chant “Ryerson” together as they exited the MAC was like the end of a movie that’s too good to be true. But Ryerson having a prosperous HOCO was exactly that.
“That just shows what the energy is going to be for the rest of the year. It’s going to be all about supporting our athletics teams and school spirit,” said Wiggins.
Arguably, it was one of the best sporting events I’ve attended in my three years at Ryerson. And for someone who doesn’t watch hockey at all, I now call myself a fan of the game.
To the people that weren’t interested in attending HOCO, you missed out. The expectations for next year will be through the roof and The Eye will be there to cover it all.