By Justin Walters
In just two years as part of the Ryerson Rams women’s hockey team, Erika Crouse has established herself as not only one of the team’s top players, but also one of the program’s best offensive players of all-time.
Crouse started playing hockey at the age of four and fell in love with the sport immediately. Before joining Ryerson, she played two seasons with the Etobicoke Dolphins of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League. During her time with the Dolphins, she registered 47 points in 71 games. When it came time to decide where to continue her hockey career, she set her sights on becoming a Ram.
“I chose Ryerson for many reasons: the coaching staff was very welcoming and made sure that I was well informed about their program,” Crouse said. “The facilities at Ryerson are some of the best in the country and the campus is one of a kind. I was immediately drawn to Ryerson from the first moment I visited.”
During her first season at Ryerson in 2018, it didn’t take Crouse long to make a major impact. She scored her first-ever Ontario University Athletics (OUA) goal in her first game with the Rams against the Nipissing Lakers in October 2018.
Her rookie season was one for the record books. She recorded 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points in 23 games—just barely below a point-per-game pace. Those numbers were good enough to earn her a spot on the OUA all-rookie team and the award for OUA women’s hockey Rookie of the Year.
“It’s definitely humbling to receive all of these accolades and recognition, but in all honesty it’s not something that consumes me,” Crouse said about the awards. “I just feel lucky to be able to play the sport that I love with a great group of girls and a coaching staff that supports and pushes me every time I step on the ice.”
There was no surprise about Crouse’s talent heading into her second season. Opposing teams knew going into a game that she was someone they had to worry about.
“Crouse was a dominant force on Ryerson when I played her,” said new teammate Jamie Watson, who played against Crouse while a member of the Laurier Golden Hawks the past two seasons. “Her quick release makes her a serious threat in the offensive zone and someone who I would always have to keep an eye on when we were on the ice together.”
Crouse hit another level in her second year, the 2019-20 season. She registered 15 goals, which not only led the OUA but was a program record for most goals in a season by a Ryerson Ram. She added seven assists for 22 points. Crouse also put up three assists in five playoff games, helping the team to the second round of the playoffs.
“Crouse was a dominant force on Ryerson when I played her”
She made the 2019-20 OUA First-Team and was a finalist for the H.H. Kerr Award, awarded to the Rams’ Female Athlete of the Year.
After just two seasons, it’s not hard to find Crouse’s name all over Ryerson’s all-time leaderboard. She already ranks third all-time for goals by Rams players with 26, trailing former teammate Kryshanda Green by 10 and current teammate Lauren Nicholson by 11.
“Erika has an amazing shot and some great hands, which often results in a highlight-reel goal,” said teammate Olivia Giardetti. “Ryerson is lucky to have someone like her who contributes so much to the team.”
She also sits tied for eighth all-time in assists with 18, which puts her fifth all-time in points in the program’s history with 44. What makes Crouse special, though, is how little time it took her to get to those impressive spots.
Everyone else in the top 10 all-time for goals and points in program history has played at least three seasons with the Rams. Crouse is the only name on those lists that has played two or fewer seasons.
Crouse is on track to becoming one of the most, if not the most, prolific offensive players the Ryerson Rams women’s hockey program has ever had.
“It’s not something I think about a lot but it’s definitely an honour to be amongst the best players who suited up for Ryerson women’s hockey,” Crouse said. “I always try to be the best I can and to contribute as much as I can to the team.”
Despite the team having some decent success during Crouse’s first two seasons, they have never been able to get past the second round of OUA playoffs. Crouse might have some amazing stats, but her main goal is all about the team as a whole: bringing a McCaw Cup to Ryerson.
“An OUA championship is always on our minds when we start a new season. It’s definitely something we strive for. We keep getting closer to it every year and I think we have the potential to make it in the coming season.”