Collection plate could be cut off

Home to three Catholic student clubs, one Catholic college and a number of faculty connected to this issue, the University of Toronto is no stranger to the questions posed by religious education. With public funding of denominational schools becoming a wedge issue in the provincial election campaign, debate on the matter has started to swirl on campus.

This past Friday, campus secular club the U of T Secular Alliance co-sponsored a public lecture with the Freethought Association of Canada and the Centre For Inquiry entitled “Catholic Public Schools: Constitutional Right or Archaic Privilege?” at St. George campus’s Medical Sciences Building.

The event focused on merging the current public school system with the separate Catholic school system to form a single school network, a cause championed by the One School System Network, which helped advertise the lecture.

Jan Johnstone, a public school trustee with the Bluewater District School Board, touted the benefits of a single school system while tallying, at length, the drawbacks of the current education system in Ontario as she saw it. Johnstone objected to the overlapping finances of the current system, which she called wasteful.

Currently, Ontario’s separate school system represents 46 Catholic school boards and one Protestant school board.

A staunch opponent of the Christian school boards, Johnstone said the idea of creating of even more publicly funded school boards for other religions was “crazy.”.

Many students and faculty at the lecture were concerned about the controversy over faith-based schools currently taking place in Ontario’s public forums, including last Thursday’s televised debate between Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty and challengers John Tory (PC) and Howard Hampton (NDP), where this issue was debated.

Also speaking at the event was Justin Trottier, president of the Freethought Association of Canada and director of Ontario’s Centre for Inquiry, both foundations devoted to advocating for a secular public sector.

Much of the current wave of dispute over this issue was raised by the Progressive Conservative party’s plan to publicly fund religious schools, with the aim of including all religious groups in the separate school system, not just Catholics and a small group of Protestants.

Trottier, a member of the Green party, was among the opponents of the PC plan at Friday’s lecture. The UTSA, FAC and CFI have stated that the public school system in Ontario is inclusive of all students, regardless of religion. They argued that public funding of religious schools would drain money from the education system, leaving the provincial government with the moral dilemma of deciding which religious denominations qualify for funding and which do not.

Johnstone noted that Quebec, Newfoundland and Manitoba have all recently switched from denomination school systems to a “one school system” model.

A man, a plan, a planet: Mars Direct

Dr. Robert Zubrin is an ambitious man with an equally ambitious idea: he not only wants to see humans on Mars in seven years, he also has a workable plan to make it a reality.

After flexing its technological muscles with the 1969 moon landing, it seemed only logical that NASA would next aim for Mars. Once our lifeless moon was scoured and analysed from every angle, the possibility of sending astronauts to the potentially life-filled surface of the red planet seemed within grasp. With its apparently dry riverbeds and ice-capped poles, Mars has remained a tantalizing target for space programs and the governments that fund them. What happened? Why aren’t we there yet?

As far as Zubrin is concerned, we should be able to get there soon. He expressed the nature of the problem using a simple analogy:

“In principle, it can take any amount of rope to connect two posts separated by 10 metres. The issue is whether you want to connect the posts or sell rope.”

In other words, a bare-bones mission designed to keep costs low while still sending people to Mars is feasible but unappealing to the numerous corporations contracted by NASA to design and manufacture the necessary equipment.

Politicians also complicate the issue. Bush has declared that before America goes to Mars, there must first be a launch pad on the moon. A notso- subtle land grab, the lunar base also carries a huge price tag of U.S. $450 billion. But there’s another problem with Bush’s plan: it just doesn’t make sense.

“Flying to the moon before going to Mars is like flying to Saskatoon on your way to Chicago,” said Zubrin.

Zubrin’s plan is much more elegant and direct. Rather than building Deathstar-sized space ships or lunar Cape Canaverals, his proposed five-year mission plan would involve launching unmanned ships to prepare for a manned vehicle. The beauty of the idea is that it can be accomplished using current technology and allows for four different backup plans should something go wrong, which is all too often the case in space exploration.

Contrary to common perception, the biggest hurdle that we face in the race to Mars is not the distance. With today’s spacecraft, the voyage to the planet would last only 200 days. Instead, the challenge has to do with weight: specifically, how to get our astronauts off the launch pad with enough supplies to make it there and back. Zubrin’s plan sidesteps those constraints. Rather than launching one huge ship, Mars Direct is broken down into several smaller launches. First off the ground would be an unmanned vessel containing an Earth-return vehicle and a nuclear-powered surface vehicle designed to run atmosphereprocessing machinery. Martian atmosphere is 95 per cent carbon dioxide, a chemical that can catalyze a series of chemical reactions to produce methane, the fuel that would get astronauts home. This ability to make propellant on Mars would allow the Earth-return vehicle to be launched from Earth with empty gas tanks. This key step, which has already been successfully tested at full scale, is critical to the potential success of the mission.

Says Zubrin, “You have to ask yourself: why is the Mars mission so heavy in the first place? 75 per cent of what they are shipping to Mars is the propellant to come home. That’s what makes the [Mars Direct] mission sing: 95 per cent of your return propellant comes from Mars.”

The window of time suitable for launching a mission to Mars opens up once every two years. This means that by second ship’s launch time, NASA would already know if there would be enough propellant to bring the astronauts home safely. This second part of the mission would launch four brave souls towards the red planet, a voyage lasting six months. After landing on Mars, the crew would spend 18 months conducting research and thoroughly exploring the planet. The astronauts would then use the fully fuelled return vehicle to travel back to Earth. As a backup, a second Earthreturn vehicle would be launched during the astronauts’ time on Mars, in case the original did not work. If this Earth-return vehicle is not needed, it could be used by future missions.

Another safeguard built into the mission design is a methane-powered rover, complete with habitat module. With a range of 1,000 kilometres, the rover would allow the team to reach the additional Earth-return vehicle if it happened to miss its designated landing spot.

These safeguards—critical for a mission so far from home—are a big step forward from the original Apollo missions. The abort protocol for those missions was simple: “If anything goes wrong, you quit and go home,” said Zubrin.

Venturing farther into the reaches of space presents a unique set of challenges. The most hazardous parameter to consider is not one that would immediately spring to mind for most people: radiation. Solar flares are a large source of radiation and can deliver fatal doses in a matter of hours. Frustratingly, they occur about once a year on an irregular basis. The Mars Direct plan has a convenient way of dealing with this problem. By storing their food and water around a small room in the centre of the living quarters, the astronauts can hide out during solar flares, with the solid matter blocking deadly radiation. “Our pantry becomes our storm shelter,” says Zubrin. With advanced warning from Earth-based monitoring systems, the astronauts would be given plenty of time to reach their safe haven. Another type of radiation, the mysterious “cosmic radiation,” is less serious in nature. The exposure levels that the astronauts are expected to endure would increase their likelihood of getting cancer by only one per cent.

If the price tag for the Mars Direct mission seems astronomical—a cool $20 billion to $30 billion— it seems less so when compared to the inflation- adjusted $135 billion cost of the Apollo program. Considering NASA’s 2007 operating budget is over $16 billion, Mars Direct seems affordable, even if sizeable cost overruns were to occur.

With improving technology and a quickly-filling planet, the case for sending people to Mars grows stronger. More than just a scientific curiosity, Mars could potentially prove profitable in the long run. With rich mineral deposits, including large amounts of deuterium (a valuable nuclear fuel), mining and resource exploitation will be an important aspect of humanity’s future endeavours on the red planet. Even more pressing is the imminent overcrowding of Earth and the eventual food shortfall. A terraformed Mars capable of growing crops could support and provide space for the human race.

All of this hinges on actually reaching Mars, of course. If Zubrin had funding for the project today, he is convinced that we could set foot on the planet by 2014. It may well be wishful thinking, but the point that Zubrin wanted to get across was clear.

“If used correctly, the same resources that make Mars interesting can make it attainable.” For more information about future Astronomy and Space Exploration Society events, visit

asx.sa.utoronto.ca

A tale of two education policies

Since Progressive Conservative leader John Tory announced this summer that his party would support the expansion of public funding to non-Catholic religious schools, Ontario has been gripped by heated debate.

Tory’s flawed “solution” to the faith schools debate should be opposed by Ontarians on three grounds: on principle, on consequence and on economic basis. In the first, the PC leader’s disregard for secularism in favour of shameless populism is appalling. Equality can only be achieved by governmental indifference to religion, which in addition to not favouring one religion over another, includes not marginalizing the non-religious. This aside, while promising to fund “all” religious schools may sound reasonable, I question whether Ontarians would wish to see public funds diverted to Scientology or Satanist schools. Tory’s seeming inability to comprehend secularism appears to have blinded him even from the irony in proposing to have former premier Bill Davis (the man responsible for exaggerating the problem by extending full funding to Catholic secondary schools) implement the policy.

In terms of social utility, the segregation of our children according to religious faith can only have detrimental effects by breeding inter-communal alienation and mistrust. Tory may claim to want to bring the approximately 53,000 private school students “into the fold,” when in reality his plan will only serve to send more kids out. And all this in the name of a bastardized version of that quintessentially Canadian sentiment, multiculturalism. To top it off, the plan will deprive an already strained public education system of much needed funds.

Not surprisingly, premier Dalton McGuinty has positioned himself in opposition to the PC plan, ostensibly on these grounds. While hypocrisy is hardly new to politics, McGuinty’s stance on the issue of funding faith schools is steeped in it. Yet his defense of the status quo ignores the already discriminatory dual system that exists: the continued funding of Catholic school boards by taxpayer dollars. This practice has been twice condemned by the United Nations as a breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (in 1999 and 2005). Public funds continue to allow Catholic schools to discriminate against non-Catholic teachers, including those who are homosexual. The bureaucratic redundancy of the dual systems also continues to drain hundreds of millions of dollars from education. The stalwart argument supporting this hypocrisy is that the funding is a constitutional guarantee of the BNA Act, when in fact Section 93 permits its elimination as demonstrated in Manitoba and Quebec, both of which eliminated funding to Catholic schools years ago.

The only solution to this mess is the creation of a single, secular public system. To this end, a number of secularist and religious groups (including the Hindu Conference of Canada and the Muslim Canadian Congress) formed the non-partisan, umbrella organization known as the One School System Network (OSSN) on May 26 of this year. This group respresents the roughly 60 per cent of Ontarians who desire a secular public school model. But apparently this popular sentiment makes no difference to the Conservatives and Liberals, both of whom seem hell-bent on compelling Ontarians to choose between an archaic system of discrimination and the further balkanization of our society.

Schreiber Pereira is Vice President Advocacy of the Freethought Association of Canada and a member of the One School System Network.

Delta Biotech Society: a change in attitude

A 2006 report on biotechnology noted that, on the whole, Canadian entrepreneurs in the field are risk-adverse. Recent development projects such as the MaRS Discovery District research centre on College Street are attempting to break the ice, but more work remains to be done. A group of students at the University of Toronto took note of the report’s findings and developed what they thought would be an effective solution to the problem: get Canadian students involved in biotechnology while they are still young.

Undergraduate students at U of T often find themselves streamed into specific career paths, and rarely have an opportunity to interact with students outside of their area of interest. For life science students, career paths such as attending medical school or pharmacy studies are overemphasized and seen as the only choices available. A new student-based initiative known as the Delta Biotech Society is setting out to change these attitudes at the undergraduate level.

Justin Chakma, one of the group’s founders, explained: “We found that the majority of our colleagues desired to enter medical school. There was little passion for the subject material, or understanding of the broader purpose or point to it. Most students were completely unaware of this whole other realm of development in biotechnology. One-on-one patient care is enormously rewarding and important, but what if you could help a million patients in one go by joining a biomedical start-up?”

Chakma and his co-founders, Tim Zhao and Ray Guo, are trying to introduce students to the possibility of pursuing a career in biotechnology and give them an appreciation for entrepreneurship through three different activities: seminars, case studies, and a magazine published by the group.

The seminars allow students to get up close and personal with CEOs, venture capitalists and scientists, and learn from their experiences firsthand. In the case studies, students try their hand at running a theoretical biopharmaceutical company. They prepare by critically analyzing 20 to 30 page long scenarios that include drug descriptions, product development information, and financial statements.

The group’s new magazine, Bio- Synergy, features interviews from such names in biotechnology as Dr. Daniel Vasella, CEO of Novartis, and Stephen Scherer of the Hospital for Sick Children. Student-written articles covering issues from gene therapy to personalized medicine are also a part of each issue. The magazine was inspired by Chakma’s previous experience with the USbased Journal of Young Investigators, which had undergraduate students across 16 countries writing science articles.

Delta Biotech Society’s activities caught the eye of David Naylor, who asked them to follow up with a report on undergraduate biotechnology education describing initiatives at Stanford and other universities. This report started discussions among department chairs over how to revamp the current biotechnology-related course offerings at the University of Toronto—to the point where Terry Amburgey, a professor at the Rotman School of Management, is attempting to create a course that brings together undergraduate life sciences and commerce students in a class format similar to MBA programs.

“Biotechnology requires both scientists and businessmen,” said Amburgey. “You’ll often have the science students explaining to the businesstypes why this particular protein interacts with this receptor the way it does, and the implications for drug development. On the other hand, the business-types explain how cash-flow models work and why they’re relevant to biotechnology.”

Such efforts to move beyond a career- centric environment are also reflected in a new U of T curriculum report that urges a move away from the British-style career-focused system towards a more American liberal arts education. It may be the case that early interactions between students from various programs could help improve the often complicated relationships between doctors, scientists and investors.

Chakma is confident in the group’s initiatives.

“We believe our grassroots movement for entrepreneurship complements broader initiatives to bring together scientists, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Undergraduate, graduate, engineering, commerce, medical—all kinds of students are coming together because they want to make a fundamental difference to humanity through biotechnology. Our dream is to catalyze the birth of the next generation of biotech pioneers. People say that entrepreneurs are born. We disagree. All it takes is a little bit of exposure.”

The Delta Biotech Society will be holding a general meeting on Thursday, September 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the MaRS building (101 College St). For members of the public interested in participating or learning more about the group’s activities, further information is available at deltabiotech.org.

Battle of the celebrity killers

Back then, the O.J. Simpson trial was called the “trial of the century.” Now it’s the twenty-first century, and O.J.’s legacy has been stretched rather thin. His recent misbehaviour—attempting to cash in on a belated confession through a book and television deal, followed by an attempt to rob a sports memorabilia dealer—calls his status as Hollywood’s number one wife killer into question. It’s time we delivered the crown to its rightful owner: Robert Blake.

O.J.’s story may be the stuff of bad TV movies, but Blake’s would make one hell of a lurid feature film. Courtroom theatrics—from Johnnie Cochran’s excessive race-card playing and much-satirized hyperbolizing to Judge Ito’s non-sequitur field trips— helped make O.J.’s case one of the mostly widely reported criminal trials in history, but Blake’s comparatively modest ordeal had substance. He may have shuffled through four different lawyers over the course of his trial, but his backstory is far more compelling than any of his post-arraignment antics.

O.J.’s story—former football hero batters and eventually murders his pretty, blonde wife and her male counterpart— is predictable at best. Aside from a pre-teen stint in a street gang, his history is bland, at least compared to Blake’s. A former child star and born underdog, Blake claims to have suffered appalling abuse at the hands of his alcoholic father. After joining the army, he reportedly fell in love with a 16-year-old girl, an affair which culminated in Blake aiming a gun at her disapproving dad. Blake had a successful career in film and held a starring role on the TV series Baretta, but the role he’s best known for (to university students, at least) is that of the Mystery Man in David Lynch’s Lost Highway. When we heard that the lipsticked gremlin who so eerily informed Bill Pullman that he was “at his house” had been charged with murder, we shuddered with primal fear. The handsome athlete, with his chiselled features and pathetic eyes, is not as disturbing as a villain. Blake, unlike O.J., is infinitely quotable to boot. His profanity-laden, borderline-psychotic rants are an important part of his mystique.

O.J. and Nicole were equally goodlooking, and formed an all-American couple; that is, they had your textbook abusive relationship. Bonny Lee Bakley and Robert Blake were a perfect match as well: she was embedded in a netherworld of scandal and depravity parallel to his own. Nicole had been making an honest living as a waitress when she met O.J. Bakley, by contrast, had been pulling “lonely hearts” schemes, taking out personal ads and sending nude pictures to respondents in exchange for cash. She stalked faded fringe celebrities, and managed to trap Blake in a loveless marriage via a trick pregnancy. Though she didn’t have Nicole’s looks, her rotten character added a philosophical dimension to the Blake trial: if one contemptible human being gets rid of another, is the universal balance of good and evil really offset?

Finally, compared to O.J., Blake’s post-trial conduct has been exemplary. After their respective acquittals, both were slapped with civil suits, and both were ordered to pay damages of over $30 million. O.J. has paid little of the $33.5 million he owes to the Brown and Goldman families, although he enjoys a legally untouchable NFL pension, which reportedly pays him upwards of $20 thousand a month. To supplement this, he had the now-infamous If I Did It ghost-written, and set up a dummy corporation to receive payments from Harper Collins. After his plans were thwarted—the publisher got cold feet, legal troubles erupted, the Goldman family obtained the book rights and published the hypothetical confession without the hypothetical angle—he lost his head, held up a sports memorabilia collector, and got himself arrested yet again.

Robert Blake on the other hand, filed for bankruptcy. Though Bakley’s children claimed he was hiding assets, it’s not hard to believe that Blake is genuinely broke. Now in his mid-70s, he reportedly works as a stable boy. He resides in a small apartment, lives on a Social Security and Screen Actors Guild pension (presumably much smaller than that provided by the NFL), stays out of trouble, and hopes to act again before he dies. No contest.

Kicking grass!

With the struggles of University of Toronto’s football and rugby teams so well documented, one could certainly say (metaphorically) that the grass is greener on the other side of the pitch (since the Varsity Centre field is actually synthetic turf). The women’s soccer team is off to its best start in five years (5-1-2) currently sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference, behind the Ottawa Gee-Gees. But head coach Beth McCharles, recalling her early experiences, can empathize with her Blues colleagues: “I can’t speak for the other coaches, but it takes a while to build up a team. You need to have patience to get there. It’s like you’re starting from zero–it’s going to take a long time to get to ten.” Its only four years and already, Mc- Charles’ hard work is starting to pay dividends. From recruiting players to instilling a new philosophy for the team, it really has been a grassroots revival. The lady Blues are a formidable team, well-balanced and skilled. Many of the players McCharles brought in when she first took over in 2003 are also entering their fourth years, and that maturity has shown on the field.

“We’ve been in development mode for the past couple of years,” said team captain Katie Hill, a freshman when McCharles arrived. “We’re really coming together this season, the young players are stepping up, and we expect to go all the way.”

It’s the kind of confidence that only comes with experience. The right defender has seen a team that struggled to win even one game in 2003 (1-4-5) grow into one that can’t seem to lose even when they, aren’t playing well.

Coach McCharles certainly wasn’t pleased following a 1-0 victory over Carleton this past weekend. The Blues strayed from a strategy of forcing the competition to adjust to their line up, one that has made them successful so far this season.

“When a team plays a direct game against us, we need to keep it on the pitch and play a possession game,” said the Blues coach following the game. “We started playing too much of a direct style ourselves, keeping the ball in the air, and that’s one thing that we need to improve on.”

The Blues will need to work this out before they face Queen’s later this week. Last year’s OUA silver medalist, Queen’s eliminated U of T in the 2006 OUA quarter-finals. They find themselves in unfamiliar territory this season, trailing the Blues by a point in the standings. Still, coach McCharles remembers last season’s defeat well.

“Of course there’s always revenge against Queen’s. They’ve eliminated us twice in the last two years. But we’re a better team this year and I’m very confident in saying that. We just need to take it to them and put the ball in the net, and we’ll come up with the win.”

If the Blues had difficulty playing against Carleton, it is imperative that they learn from their mistakes by Saturday, as Queen’s employs a similar offensive approach. “Queens is traditionally a very offensive team. They play direct style and keep the ball in the air,” McCharles said. “They’re not as physical as Carleton, but they’re better technically, and are always a good rival for us.”

This past weekened, facing the afforementioned Carleton Ravens, the Blues had to remain patient in order to grind out a 1-0 victory. The game, though quick-paced, was beset with sloppy play, which Blues captain Katie Hill attributed to a lack of communication. Carleton came out aggressive, keeping the Blues’ defence on their heels by playing the ball in the air, but overall there were few scoring chances early in the game. The pace especially wasn’t conducive to the Blues style, as their skilled players usually allows them to play a more creative and controlled game. It wasn’t until the 29th minute of the first half that their patience finally paid off, as second-year forward Erica Basso scored her fourth goal of the season on a cross from the 18 yard box.

Basso, one of the top scorers in the OUA (currently ranked 7th) is just one of the many accomplished players on the roster this year. Striker Rebecca Vos is also having a solid season, as is mid-fielder Guinevere Kern. But the story in this game was all about defense. Blues goaltender Mary-Anne Barnes, recently named the OUA’s athlete of the week after her fifth shutout of the season, made several key saves throughout the game. Late in the first half with the Ravens pressing, she made the play of the game stoning a Carleton player in front of the net after a defensive breakdown. The game as a whole may not have been the best example of what this Blues squad is capable of, but make no mistake, these women are a force to be reckoned with.

Finally, justice

The Canadian government began the process of doling out over $1.9 billion in the country’s largest- ever class-action settlement last Wednesday. The beneficiaries of this money are over 80,000 First Nations people who suffered abuse while studying at residential schools across the country.

The historical importance of this settlement cannot be overstated. Over a period of 150 years, more than 150,000 aboriginals were forced to attend residential schools, which were designed to deal with Canada’s “native problem” in two generations by destroying indigenous culture and assimilating First Nations youth. Physical and sexual abuse were rampant at the schools, most of which were run by the church.

Since the earliest days of Canada’s existence, the prosperity of the majority has come at the expense of aboriginal communities. The government is using taxpayer money—collected from the general population—to compensate some of the people who suffered most acutely in the course of Canada’s progress, in a symbolic attempt to tip the scales of history towards some kind of balance.

Former residential school students who lined up to fill out claim applications at government offices across the country last week can expect to receive an average of $28,000. For any who think that such amounts are over-generous, consider the major report on the schools, which found that mortality rates in some institutions averaged between 40 and 70 per cent. Many of those who filled out claims last week can count themselves lucky to be alive.

Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, called the settlement a “turning point” in Canadian history. While the Canadian government’s unprecedented acceptance of blame in this scandal should be praised, it is what happens next that will truly determine the nature of this so-called turning point.

The driving force of the residential school program was vile racism that sought to relegate First Nations people to a subclass of humanity. It is too soon to believe that such racism is dead in this country, as news of the government settlement was marred by editorials and news stories expressing concern that aboriginals would blow the settlements on drugs and alcohol.

Sentiments like this are grounded in a distorted image of Canada’s indigenous peoples. They paint First Nations people as essentially irresponsible and childlike, a characterization that spawned the brutal assimilative policies of the residential schools in the first place.

Many of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples are forced to live in abhorrent conditions, impoverished and largely cut off from important government services. Although these conditions are not solely the fault of the national government, we disgrace this country by allowing them to persist. General attitudes towards indigenous peoples, which often carry this undertone of racism, have kept the state of First Nations communities from becoming an important part of the national agenda.

This settlement is a landmark decision, but let us hope that it is one of many on the road towards an equal standard of living for Canadian First Nations.

Ravens lose? Nevermore!

If Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” is about loss and madness, the Blues’ most recent loss to a Carleton team of the same name can be said to exemplify frustration. Carleton came into the game this past weekend having only lost one regular season game since 2005, and they didn’t appear interested in experiencing another defeat for a while. Playing against the same Blues team that eliminated them from the OUA quarter-finals just the year before, Carleton must have had revenge in mind.

It didn’t quite turn out that way, much like the protagonist of Poe’s famous poem, the Blues turned out to be their own worst enemies in the end. The Raven’s did not have to do much to take the win. Toronto started out flat and just couldn’t seem to get an offensive game going. When opportunities presented themselves, the Blues either hit the cross bar or the side of the net.

“We lost the game in the first half,” said head coach Anthony Capotosto, “we didn’t follow our game plan, we came out flat, our intensity level was too low, and I’ll take responsibility for that.”

It has been a frustrating season so far for the Blues, a team with championship aspirations. Toronto has taken home the consolation prize in the last three OUA finals, but coach Capotosto is taking it all in stride. The third-year coach put this season in perspective, saying, “We definitely have a lot to look forward to. We are interested in how we finish the year, not how we are doing at the middle or the beginning. We got off to a very slow start this season by our standards and we’re looking to improve as a team and play our best soccer in October.”

Last season, Toronto finished third in the conference with an 8-3-3 record. But with 2 losses and 3 ties to open the year, they will have to run the table the rest of the way to match their impressive 2006 performance.

It will be a tough feat against Queen’s who comes into this weekend’s tilt second in the OUA, behind Carleton, and has only lost once this season (5-1-2). As Coach Capostoto explained, “Queens is an organized team, a high pressure team. They have good spirit and good energy, and they’re going to come in here and try to take three points from us. There’s no doubt about it.”

Against Carleton over the weekend Toronto’s lone goal came courtesy of defender Dustin Chung, as the team could only muster four shots on goal compared to the Ravens’ nine. Goaltender Matthew Willis tried to keep the game close for Toronto with six saves, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Evan Milward led Toronto with three shots, while striker Mike Bialy, last seasons CIS MVP, was neutralized by the Ravens’ defense and finished the game without registering a shot on net.

With October fast approaching, the Blues will have to find their groove in a hurry, or at least have a few four-leaf clovers in tow. Blues captain Joe Reeny saw the Ravens game as a case of bad luck, not in the superstitious sense, but rather in terms of missed opportunities and bad bounces that could easily have been goals or saves.

“I agree with the coach, we came out really flat in the first half. But we had a few bad breaks, balls just bouncing through, with weird goals that put us behind. In the second half we tried to come out hard and got one goal back, but we also hit a few posts and cross bars. We had our chances, but in the end they were a better team today.”