CIUT is for the children!

Fourteen-year-old Michael DJs alongside Patrick Roots and Devon Wright during CIUT’s Reggae Riddims on Wednesday night. The radio station is currently halfway through their fundraising drive.

The good old hockey game

It has been a long time since Varsity Arena played host to an event that has attracted a large, excited audience. But on Nov. 10, the place will come alive as the University of Toronto Campus Police prepare to face off against a star-studded line-up of former NHLers and Hockey Hall of Famers in a battle that will rival any Toronto Maple Leafs game.

The difference is that tickets are only $10, and with the proceeds benefiting charity, everybody wins.

Organizers Special Constable John Sinclair and team captain Sean Tompa sat down with The Varsity leading up to this action-packed evening.

The Varsity: The University of Toronto Campus Police has done various charity events in previous years. But this is the first year you will be holding a charity hockey game.

John Sinclair: We chose hockey because we thought it would be something that would involve students, faculty, and staff and be an event that would be suited towards everybody. We also knew that the kids from Variety Village, the group that we are benefitting, would also be interested in coming to an event like this. It has a broad appeal. And when people hear the talent that we have—Glenn Anderson, Dale Hawerchuk, Michel Goulet, Borje Salming, Steve Shutt—people get excited.

Sean Tompa: John [Sinclair] and I were the ones who came up with the idea. We grew up playing hockey, but with our shift work we are not able to play or coach hockey as much as we would like to. So we sat down and decided that we want to make it as big as possible.

TV: Tell us a bit about Variety Village and how you hope to benefit them through this occasion.

JS: Variety Village is a special needs charity in Scarborough. They benefit children of special needs so that they can be included in sports. It’s extremely inclusive, and we saw a synergy between the University of Toronto Athletics Department and people interested in sport, and helping an athletic facility geared to people of all abilities.

TV: What can the audience expect to experience at the event?
JS: It’s a show. There will be pyrotechnics, there will be music. It’s being hosted and refereed by Rod Black, who is a host on TSN. And a world-class figure-skating team will be coming in and performing during the intermissions. There is also an afterparty with tonnes of NHL swag at the Duke of York that is included with the price of admission. To go to a hockey game with an afterparty for $10, you can’t beat it.

TV: How were you able to get hockey legends such as six-time Stanley Cup winner Glenn Anderson and 500-goal-scorer Dale Hawerchuk, to name a few, involved for this event?

JS: These guys are all in town due to Hockey Hall of Fame inductions that week. So when we contacted them through Old Timer’s Hockey, we were able to negotiate some extremely talented players and bring them to our campus for the purpose of a charity event.

ST: It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to play with some of these really talented players. Realizing that I will be on the ice with guys who were legends in my mind, it’s pretty exciting.

TV: How has Campus Police prepared for such challenging and gifted opponents?

JS: We wanted to put the best team possible on the ice, because the better we are, the better the NHLers are going to look against us. So we thought where better to find hockey talent than within the Varsity Blues and intramural sports at the university. So we have two representatives from the Varsity Blues, both from the female team. We also have two players from St. Michael’s College, a player from the engineering faculty as well as a student from the pharmacy department. We may also have another team of ringers come in and help us out. And they may be five years old. Hopefully with the support of Timbits hockey, they’ll put some pucks in the net too.

ST: It’s all for charity, so we just want to do our best. It’s all about the players, it’s all about the Hockey Hall of Famers, it’s all about the former NHLers coming out and doing this for charity. So hopefully we can make everyone happy and put up a good fight.

JS: The real winner in this is going to be Variety Village and also the University of Toronto to be able to host this kind of event.

*Tickets to the event are available at the Campus Police office located at 21 Sussex Ave., or online at Ticket Break ( Over a thousand tickets have been sold already and more are being distributed every day. *

Fantastic four

On a windy Saturday afternoon, the Blues blew their opponent away.

Three second-half goals brought the Varsity Blues to a 4-0 win over the Laurentian Voyageurs at Varsity Stadium, sending the Blues to the Ontario University Athletics final four in men’s soccer.

While the Blues led by the slimmest of margins at the half, Toronto head coach Anthony Capotosto thought his team wasn’t performing up to their capabilities.

“I thought at the beginning of the game there was a little bit of the jitters because we have a newer team this year,” said Capotosto.

“Everyone was a bit nervous,” said Blues midfielder Geoff Borgmann. “But towards the end of the first half everyone calmed down and we were able to play our game and that’s when we really took over.”

Laurentian had the opening chance in the 16th minute when Blues defender Federico Vaccaro headed the ball behind him into empty space. Laurentian striker Derek Lubertino ran to the ball and blasted the shot over the net from 20 yards out.

Toronto wasted an opportunity in the 18th minute when Alex Raphael found himself in space, after taking a through ball from Gabe Gala. From 10 yards out he fanned on the shot and the ball rolled harmlessly into the hands of Laurentian keeper Scott Cliff.

Tempers boiled over in the 26th minute when Gala and defender Roger Teves were both awarded yellow cards for pushing and shoving. Last year, Gala had a hand in two goals in a playoff win against Laurentian. Because of that, Teves played Gala very aggressively in the opening minutes. Gala appeared frustrated as he and Teves exchanged words and started shoving long after the ball had bounced out of touch.

In the 29th minute, Toronto missed again when Raphael beat the offside trap and raced in alone on Cliff. The keeper made the save but the ball bounced to Nordo Gooden who shot the ball over the net from five yards out.

“[The ball] was bouncing and I was on my weaker foot,” said Gooden. “There is no excuse, I should have had it.”

Gooden made up for his miscue seven minutes later when he got the Blues on the board with a 20-yard strike that just eluded the outstretched right arm of a diving Cliff.

“The defenders gave me enough time on the ball,” said Gooden. “I had time to control it, set it up, and put it on my left [foot] and shoot it. The goalie got a touch but it went in the bottom corner.”

Toronto keeper John Smits kept the game even with six minutes left in the half. Voyageurs defender James Bond hit a spot kick that was labelled for the top left corner but Smits dove to his left and pushed the ball over the bar.

“[Smits] has been steady all year,” Capotosto said. “In my opinion, he’s the top goalie in the league.”

“That was a big save,” said Gooden. “It would have been heartbreaking giving up our lead going into halftime and the momentum would have swung to them.”

In the second half, Gala seemed to get more room for himself. He made a lot more happen, including scoring to make it 2-0 in the second minute. Cliff raced off his line to get a loose ball but Gala raced in and got his toe on it and the ball bounced into the empty net.

Geoff Borgmann scored two consecutive goals to book a ticket into the final four against the visiting Western Mustangs next weekend.

He cashed in a rebound in the ninth minute and headed the ball home on a set piece in the 16th minute.

The Blues defence held the rest of the way, limiting the Voyageurs to one shot and a couple of set pieces for the remainder of the half.

“That is the type of team that can hurt us on set pieces,” said Capotosto. “We were prepared to deal with that and I thought our back line did a tremendous job dealing with the run of play.”

Home sweep home

The Guelph Gryphons were in town Friday night to take on the men’s and women’s Varsity Blues volleyball teams in a doubleheader at the Athletic Centre.

After dropping their first two matches on the road, the Varsity men (0-3) were looking for their first win of the year, while the ladies were looking to stay perfect with a third-straight victory.

That it was the night before Halloween may have explained the paranormal activity the home crowd witnessed, as the Gryphons pulled out their best witch brooms and easily swept the Blues away in their respective home openers.

In the first game, the men looked to continue their dominance over a Gryphons team they absolutely manhandled last season, winning 3-1 and 3-0. But that was last year.

Refusing to give up any easy points all night, the Gryphons defence seemed impenetrable at times—they never trailed once in the match, and took it in straight sets (25-19, 25-17, 25-16).

No matter what the Blues threw at them, the Gryphons always had an answer: consistently getting a hand on balls at the net, digging balls they had no business getting to, or straight-up blocking down Blues’ attacks for points. This was clearly reflected in the final team stats as Blues only managed 17 kills on 73 attempts (compared to Guelph’s 36 on 80 attempts).

After the game, Blues head coach Ed Drakich and his star player, Steve Kung, echoed each other’s sentiments. Both were frustrated with their team’s inability to play consistently over long stretches and mentioned that they were still trying to overcome the huge loss of one of their key players last season, Jessi Lelliott.

“I think some guys might have had a little stage fright [on Friday], but we just couldn’t keep it together over a long series of points,” said Drakich. “We would get right back into a set and then would kill the momentum with a bad pass or service error.”

“The inconsistency [is] frustrating,” said Kung, the 2008-09 OUA player of the year.

The Blues’ biggest nightmare Friday night had to be Winston Rosser. Having an absolute monster game for the Gryphons, Rosser led all players with 15 kills to go along with two service aces and a couple blocks.

Time and time again, the Gryphons looked to Rosser to kill any Blues chance of a comeback. He also emphatically put the exclamation mark on his performance by nailing Killiam Newman in the face with a spike that set up match point.

For the women (2-1), they were also missing two vital players from their starting lineup: Kristina Valjas to injury and last year’s OUA leading scorer, Heather Bansley, who is currently on the other side of the globe in Thailand representing one of Canada’s beach volleyball teams.

This forced head coach Kristine Drakich into starting two first-year players, Alexandra Hudson and Rebecca Crosier.

Again defence played a huge role in this match as the Gryphons were very active on the net, counting 15 points on blocks. Guelph was also very efficient on the offence as they were able to kill 47 of 101 attempts, while the Blues managed only 41 kills on a whopping 133 attempts.

While Drakich admits that her rookies struggled, she also believes her more experienced players may have been trying to do too much to make up for the absence of Valjas and Bansley.

“They perhaps were trying to cover a little too much ground instead of staying in their position and trusting their teammates to make their plays,” said Drakich.

The men’s and women’s teams tried and failed to salvage the weekend on Sunday, losing to the Waterloo Warriors 3-2 and 3-0, respectively.

Golden Hawks outshine Blues

he Varsity Blues women’s hockey team lost 6-0 to Wilfred Laurier’s Golden Hawks on Halloween, while their game against Waterloo the next day was postponed due to several members of the opposing team coming down with the H1N1 virus. Laurier gained a solid lead in the first period, scoring four points on goalie Shayna Moor, who was replaced by first-year Melissa Muir for the remaining two periods. The Blues third goalie, second-year Kendyl Valenta, was out due to a broken collarbone.

Hawks forward Vanessa Schabkar opened scoring at 3:44 with an intercepted Toronto pass, followed minutes later by first-year Paula Lagamba’s shot placing the Hawks in the lead 2-0. Second-year Hawk Caitlyn Muirhead would score again at 12:40, with fourth-year Laura Bartolini cementing Laurier’s 4-0 lead with a wrap-around goal.

Toronto came very close to scoring throughout the second and third periods, but just couldn’t get past the Canadian Interuniversity Sport number-two team and their goalie Liz Knox. Melissa Muir similarly accomplished many admirable saves, but could not stem two goals in the second and third periods. Third-year Katherine Shirriff scored the second period’s lone goal off a pass from teammate Kaley Powers. In the third period, Brittany Crago made the last goal of the game at 4:33, leaving the score at 6-0.

Overall it was an intense and spirited game, with many penalties and collisions on both sides. In the third period, forward Amanda Fawn had a painful encounter with a puck, which hit her arm and bruised her wrist. She was removed from the ice. Head coach Karen Hughes assured that Fawn was fine, commenting approvingly that she did at least block the shot.

The Blues would have played the Waterloo Warriors the next day, except two Warriors came down with H1N1. The game has been postponed, along with the Warriors’ match against the York Lions, which would have also been on Halloween. Coach Hughes said the team will take their usual health precautions, though she commented that she is pleased the match was postponed. “You have to be careful,” she said. “Use your own water bottle, don’t share towels. Same as everybody else.”

As for game performance, Hughes commented: “We outshot them today. […] We just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.” The Blues will travel to St. Catharines to play Brock on Saturday. The next home game will be against Guelph on Nov. 8 at 4 p.m.

In a class by themselves

It’s safe to say that students weren’t surprised to hear that U of T scored a C minus grade for student-faculty interaction in The Globe and Mail’s University Report. It’s unlikely that a student at this university goes through an undergraduate education without getting lost in a sea of students at Con Hall, Bahen, or Bader. It’s not easy raising your hand for minutes on end, hoping your bifocalled prof will notice you in the back, or standing in line behind a queue of classmates waiting to ask a question at the break.

With over 55,000 undergraduate students and only about 3,300 professors at this campus, interaction isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist at all. There are many ways students can reach teachers, and make the most out of their knowledge and teaching abilities.

The Faculty of Arts and Science requires that profs hold regular office hours. Most of the time, however, profs report that their hours are spent sitting there, twiddling their thumbs. The opportunity is there, but students aren’t taking it.

There’s no doubt that speaking up in a class of 200 is intimidating, but asking a question can clarify a lot. And most likely, if something your prof says doesn’t make sense to you, it doesn’t make sense to a lot of others. But if public speaking makes your knees quake, going up to a prof after class is an option. Often, they’re just as starved for student-faculty interaction as their students are.

U of T doesn’t spoon-feed its students. If you’re going to get anywhere around here, it’s going to be through your own volition. So ask that extra question, go to office hours, read comments on your essays, and maybe even sit down for a coffee with your favourite prof (which can happen on occasion).

Having the responsibility placed on our shoulders isn’t such a bad thing. It might just build character. U of T breeds a unique type of graduate. They’re that much more prepared to enter the harsh world put there because, really, they’ve been living in one for four or more years. When the diplomas are handed out, it seems that U of T grads are more prepared to take on their careers and personal lives with authority, entrepreneurship, and confidence.

The chances that an undergrad is going to have a Dead Poet’s Society-inspired relationship with their teacher is slim, but if students step up to the plate and make the most of what’s given to them, maybe that C minus can be bumped up.

Sessional instructors could strike Nov. 9

Update: A university spokesperson previously told The Varsity that arrangements would be made for other professors or TAs to teach classes that sessionals currently teach. This information is incorrect. While U of T has no plans to cancel classes, it will not ask any teaching assistants (members of CUPE 3902’s Unit 1) to take on the work of striking sessionals (members of CUPE 3902’s Unit 3). It is unclear how classes will be covered if the strike happens.

Monday, Nov. 9, marks the first day sessional workers at U of T can legally go on strike. If they do so, the university will still hold classes, a spokesperson said Wednesday. Sessionals make up around 30 per cent of instructors, including lecturers, instructional assistants, and music and writing instructors.

“There are no plans to shut down any classes and there will be alternate teaching arrangements,” said U of T spokesperson Laurie Stephens.

“We’re not in a position to comment on these arrangements as we are not privy to them,” responded Leslie Jermyn, bargaining spokesperson for CUPE 3902, the union that represents sessionals. “It’s hard to imagine how they will cover one third of the term in a way that would satisfy U of T’s high pedagogical standards.”

CUPE 3902 has been negotiating with U of T since August. Negotiations will continue on Friday and over the weekend.

“I think the tone of the negotiations have been incredibly even. Both sides have treated each other reasonably,” Jermyn said.

Sticking points include job security and wages. The union is asking for an eight per cent raise per year for the next two years, and rolling commitment, where one course contract would guarantee three equivalent contracts over the following three years. CUPE also wants more research funding for sessionals.

“Right now, people at York are making close to $1000 [more] for full courses than people at U of T,” said Jermyn.

U of T has countered with an offer to create another level of seniority and pay for sessional instructors who have eight years’ experience.

CUPE 3902 is not satisfied with this offer. “They have offered a very low, in fact substandard wage increase to everybody and they haven’t come back with anything that is useful for the majority of our members,” Jermyn said. “Fewer than 10 of us would even be able to qualify in the coming year.”

U of T is remaining tight-lipped about the progress of negotiations.

“We’re not talking negotiating points [at] this point in time publicly,” Stephens said. “All we can confirm is we are indeed negotiating, and we will try to have a fair and responsible settlement” before Nov. 9.

I’ll be 3D for Christmas

It’s often said that movie trailers represent not necessarily the tone and spirit of the movie, but rather the tone and spirit the moneymen wish the director had brought. Despite what you may have inferred from the inescapable trailer for Robert Zemeckis’ A Christmas Carol, the film is not a showcase for the mugging, pratfalling, and backside-talking antics of Jim Carrey. Nor is it a glorified theme park ride, although the 3D, computer animated film does make time for several outsized action sequences. The surprise in Zemeckis’ film is that it sticks relatively close to Charles Dickens’ brooding atmosphere, from the memories of Scrooge’s failed marriage, the deeply cruel visions presented by the Ghost of Christmas Future, and even the dark, dingy London interiors, made even darker and dingier by 3D glasses.

“For some reason, past versions of the story have not delved into the idea that Dickens had great tension and suspense in the way he wrote it,” says Zemeckis (Forest Gump, Back to the Future) in a conference call. “And that seems to have been watered down in all these other versions. Y’know, that kind of feeling of foreboding and that feeling of dread you have in the first half of that story I think has been missing. I feel very strongly that you have to have the dark before you have the light.”

Zemeckis, who also wrote the screenplay, calls Dickens one of the greatest writers of all time and A Christmas Carol one of the greatest stories of all time. Hearing him talk about his adaptation, this does not sound like hot air. “It’s a timeless story that is rooted in Scrooge’s character, his character development, and his story of redemption, so we had to be true to that. The other thing I did which made everyone very nervous at the studio, but it couldn’t work any other possible way, is I have everybody speaking in the language of the time, the way Dickens wrote, which I think is beautiful. So we kept all that, and we basically kept the tone that Dickens wrote in the original piece.”

Following The Polar Express (2004) and Beowulf (2007), A Christmas Carol is Zemeckis’ third film using the image capture technology—not universally beloved, but with some of the flaws ironed out. How does it work, you ask? Well, our man on the inside is happy to walk you through the process. “The actors are surrounded by receptors, which, for lack of a better word, are cameras that record digital information that comes off their sensors, which we strategically place where all their joints are in their bodies. We have a new rig of cameras that capture their facial movement, and those are actual high-def cameras that run at 60 frames a second, so every pore, every crease, their tongue, their retina, their eyelids, everything becomes a marker, and these cameras record everything that their face does.”

“So what happens is the actor steps in this volume and his entire body, face, everything he does is recorded in three dimensions, all the time. Of course, the sound is perfect because the microphone is put wherever you need it, and that’s invisible because it has no marker on it. And so the actors do a scene from beginning to end interact with each other, pace the scene. They don’t worry about camera marks, lighting marks, anything like that, they just do the scene. We take that information […] and we basically wrap a digital skin, digital hair, digital costume around that performance. Then we take that character and put it in a digital environment.”

Which is how the 47-year-old Jim Carrey can play the 80-ish Scrooge. He may not appear an ideal Scrooge, but for Zemeckis the Dickensian scholar, he was the first and only choice. “I knew that you needed someone who had a magnificent sense of humour and a great ability to do drama to really make Scrooge as mean as Dickens actually wrote him.”

A Christmas Carol is in theatres

A Christmas Carol Trailer