UTSC hockey team photo. Courtesy George Bureta.

Hockey season is getting underway and UTSC’s tri-campus hockey team is looking to build on successes from last season. The team’s goal is to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Ontario College Athletics Association (OCAA).

Tri-campus hockey at UTSC operates slightly differently than UTSG’s varsity or intramural programs. The league consists of five teams: the tri-campus team, B team, C team, R team, and women’s team — all of which differ in terms of skill and commitment level. The teams are made up exclusively of UTSC students, who have the opportunity to compete in the OCAA.

The league is organized and overseen by the Scarborough Campus Hockey Players Association (SCHPA), which is led by president George Bureta.

Bureta, who is in his fourth year and completing a double major in economics and human geography, is also a senior member of the tri-campus hockey team. Bureta spoke with The Varsity about the success of UTSC hockey.

The Varsity: How many years have you been involved with the SCHPA and how would you describe your experience as both a player and the president?

George: This is my fourth year on the tri-campus team but second as an SCHPA executive. [In] my third year, I was elected vice president next to Eric Meggeson who ran the association with excellence. This year, I was lucky to be elected president.

My experience as a player is nothing short of amazing, the UTSC Hockey program creates a welcoming, competitive, but fun environment for all hockey players of all sorts of skill levels. In my first year, we went undefeated in our U of T tri-campus league. Winning the championship and going undefeated set the tone for the rest of my university career and set the standard of what the UTSC hockey experience should be like for everyone.

I tried to take that attitude over to the SCHPA, and… am trying to allow our roughly 65 players to have the same experience I [had]. Playing for the tri-campus team and running the SCHPA gives you a sense of pride and responsibility to represent the school, alumni, and yourself.

TV: What makes UTSC’s tri-campus hockey team stand out from U of T’s other intramural and varsity teams?

G: The UTSC tri-campus [hockey team] has a rich history that creates a bond, almost a fraternity type relationship, between [its] players and coaches that sticks for life. Players… usually end up coaching or giving back to the program in other way including sponsoring the SCHPA’s golf tournament, that works as a fundraiser in memory of Steve Scheklesky, a player and leader in UTSC’s hockey program. Players that wore the UTSC jersey from 20 years ago still attend the golf tournament, chat-up the new players and offer advice and personal stories from the times they played. The Tri-Campus team stands out because of this. We are a tight knit community that is held together by the common interest that is hockey.

TV: What is the SCHPA doing to promote hockey and athletics within the UTSC campus?

G: The SCHPA promotes hockey through our events. Every year, we host a player’s night, holiday party, pub nights, and our Steve Scheklesky memorial golf tournament. We also recruit at frosh events where we promote UTSC hockey and our association. We encourage everyone to come out because there is a spot for them on any of our five teams. We are a very accepting and fun association that wishes to improve the university experience for all UTSC hockey players.

TV: How well did the UTSC Hockey tri-campus teams do last year? 

G: The tri-campus, B, C, and R teams enjoyed successful seasons, but none better than the woman’s team which won their winter intramural league and finished second in the OCAA provincial tournament. The women’s team won their first extra-mural tournament in Orillia last year, which helped their provincial ranking to third. The girls then won silver in the OCAA provincial tournament. Coached by program veteran Greg Danko and tri-campus winger Devin Bonk, the girls represented UTSC hockey very well and we wish to see the same success this year.

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