By Celina Chugani
After four long summer months, the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is back in action. The 2023-24 season has already kicked off for some sports and the others are fast approaching.
Last year, some of the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold sports teams had a sudden end to their season as five out of the six winter varsity teams lost in their respective playoff games, all on the same day. Now, they’re shifting their focus to this season as they look to reach new heights across the board.
From inner-city rivalries to playoff rematches, TMU had many marquee matchups to look out for when the schedules were released. With the OUA fully returning to pre-COVID scheduling across all sports, old foes with new faces are set to meet again.
Here are some must-see Bold games to circle on the calendar:
Men’s hockey: Sept. 22 vs. McGill Redbirds
The men’s hockey team will be going against the McGill Redbirds for their Homecoming (HOCO) game on Sept. 22 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). In the 2022 OUA bronze medal game, TMU defeated McGill 2-1 with a bid to the 2022 U Sports national tournament on the line. As a result of no interlock within last season’s schedule, teams did not play against squads in the opposite division—making 2022’s bronze medal game the last time these two sides faced off. “I think both sides will learn something about each other,” said TMU head coach Johnny Duco about the homecoming matchup, as previously reported by The Eyeopener.
This long-awaited meeting will also play a big part in TMU’s HOCO celebrations, which will likely result in an intense battle setting ablaze in front of a fiery crowd at the MAC.
Women’s volleyball: Nov. 10 at Brock Badgers
The women’s volleyball team will face off against two-time defending OUA champions, the Brock Badgers, for the first time in nearly four years. The last time these two squads competed against each other was on Jan. 19, 2020, when the Bold defeated the Badgers 3-0. Since then, the Badgers have been a powerhouse. In two seasons, Brock has only lost twice across the OUA—taking home the Quigley Cup in consecutive years.
Despite this, the Bold are currently holding a four-game win streak against the Badgers. However, both sides have seen changes since their last game against each other. The Badgers will raise their 2023 banner to the rafters in their home-opener against the Bold as they begin their quest for a three-peat.
Women’s hockey: Nov. 23 vs. University of Toronto Varsity Blues
The TMU Bold women’s hockey team put up a fight to remember last season against the eventual OUA champions, the University of Toronto (U of T) Varsity Blues. After U of T ran rampant across the OUA throughout 2022-23, the Bold crossed paths with their inner-city rivals in the first round of the OUA playoffs. Two close losses in a best-of-three series marked the end of the season for TMU but the valiant effort against the number two-ranked team in the nation at the time still resonates.
“I know we were out in two straight, but I think anybody watching either one of those games would have felt like it would have been hard to tell who was ranked second in the country,” said Bold women’s hockey head coach Lisa Haley, as previously reported by The Eye.
With the new season approaching, the Bold will look to amend their defeat from the winter and take down U of T in the same rink where their elimination took place.
Men’s volleyball: Nov. 25 at McMaster Marauders
After breaking the McMaster Marauders’ undefeated win streak on the second last day of the 2022-23 regular season, the Bold will look to show off their new team and carve out a tough win.
The Bold lost some of their top players in the off-season including Lhexen Rabit, Saad Shaikh and Omari Young. Despite the Bold’s impressive win against McMaster in mid-February, the Bold ultimately lost against the Marauders in the opening round of the 2022-23 OUA playoffs.
Historically, TMU has had a poor record against McMaster, achieving two wins and four losses. To top it off, last season, McMaster had a stellar 15-1 home record—with their only loss at the national tournament, which they hosted.
It won’t be surprising if the 2023 Forsyth Cup champions and U Sports bronze medalists are a tough matchup for TMU, especially when McMaster is in their home gym.
Women’s basketball: Dec. 20 vs. UConn Huskies
Over the winter break, the University of Connecticut (UConn) Huskies are set to play the TMU women’s basketball team at the MAC on Dec. 20.
Not often does a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) powerhouse come into town.
The UConn Huskies are the most successful women’s basketball program in the United States, with a record of 11 NCAA Division I National Championships. The Huskies haven’t captured the title in over seven years, but have made the semi-finals of the national tournament six times since then. After playing high school basketball in Toronto, Canadian Huskies forward and former Olympian Aaliyah Edwards will make her return to the city. In 2020, Edwards was named the most valuable player after leading her high school—Crestwood Preparatory—to the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association championship, which was also hosted at the MAC.
Bold head coach Carly Clarke was among the Canadian coaching staff at the 2020 Olympics, where Edwards competed. “Can’t wait to host this one in December!” read a post from Clarke about the game on the social platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
The usual rink at the MAC is set to convert to a court to fit the rabid Huskies fans from south of the border. This game should be circled, highlighted and marked down on everyone’s calendar as the atmosphere at the MAC has the potential to rival any crowd the building has had in years.
Men’s basketball: Feb. 9 at University of Ottawa Gee-Gees
In one of their final games of the regular season, the men’s basketball team will be facing off against the 2023 U Sports bronze medalists, the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees. The last matchup between these two squads was the 2023 OUA quarter-finals, where the Bold fell short, losing the game 73-72.
Despite a season-high 35-point performance from guard David Walker and Aaron Rhooms’ 19-point performance, it wasn’t enough to pull out the victory against a tough Ottawa team. The 2023 Wilson Cup champions were nearly unstoppable last season, as noted by their 17-5 record in the 2022-23 season.
The Bold have dropped their last five games against Ottawa and have not won a game against the Gee-Gees since the 2019-20 season. This crucial game for the Bold may also be one of their trickiest.