University of Toronto Varsity Blues
2002-2003 Record: 16-5-3, 1st OUA Mid East
2003-2004 Projected Record: 18-3-1, 1st OUA Mid East
Key Player: Ian Malcolm, C
The Varsity Blues had a great 2002-2003 campaign, going undefeated at home to finish first in their division and place top 10 in the country for the third consecutive season. On top of the team’s success, the Blues had three players named to the OUA East All-Star team: Ian Malcolm (1st team), Mark Hynes and Jamie Bruno (2nd team). Things are only looking to get better for this team in 2003/2004, despite the loss of 2nd team OUA all-star goalie Jamie Bruno. His spot in net wide open, Tim Knight and George Ellard are battling it out in training camp for starting rights. The Blues defense is strong and extremely disciplined which will bode well for their chances this year, particularly with defenseman Andrew Smale returning after his impressive rookie season. Up front, skilled centers Ian Malcolm and Frank Pallotta lead the Blues. Offence is this team’s strength with Malcolm, who last season racked up 38 points, and Pallotta, who earned his keep with 10 goals and 5 assists, on the ice. As U of T head coach Darren Lowe enters his ninth season behind the bench, the Blues will finally take significant strides forward and make a run at the OUA championship. A trip to the national championship could also be in the cards for this year’s Varsity Blues.
Queen’s University Golden Gaels
2002-2003 Record: 7-17-0, 2nd OUA Mid East
2003-2004 Record: 6-16-2, 3rd OUA Mid East
Key Player: Ryan Poll, D
Queen’s will be hard pressed to repeat last season’s record. With numerous key players graduating from last year’s squad, the 2003/2004 recruiting class will see a lot of ice time. Inexperienced goaltending will be helped by dynamic Russian forward Anton Pavlechev. Pavlechev has the skill and size to be a star in the OUA, but he must adapt to the North American style of play. Queen’s will be rebuilding in the 2003/2004 season.
Royal Military College of Canada Paladins
2002-2003 Record: 6-17-1, 3rd OUA Mid East
2003-2004 Record: 8-16-0, 2nd OUA Mid East
Key Player: Louis-Michel Charland, F
There is much optimism for this team in 2003/2004 after last year’s success under head coach Kelly Nobes. Heading the Paladins offensive attack is dynamic scorer Louis-Michel Charland, who last season led the team with 26 points. The defense, led by fourth-year defenseman Jared Saunders, is solid and extremely physical. The Paladins have the chemistry and the talent to improve from last season, and will be the Blues’ strongest competitors in the Mid East.
Ryerson University Rams
2002-2003 Record: 2-21-1, 4th OUA Mid East
2003-2004 Record: 1-22-1, 4th OUA Mid East
Key Player: Braden Deane, G
No two ways about it – the Ryerson Rams stunk last season, and there’s no indication that the team will improve this year. Up front, young forwards with little to no university hockey playing experience lead the team. Forward Steven Farquharson, who had 12 points last season, will be counted upon to provide the team with some offensive spark. On the back end the team’s defense consists mainly of Chris Pethicky, who last season had 10 points. Goaltender Braden Deane is the Rams’ ace in the hole, and will most likely log plenty of minutes and see lots of rubber this season. Ryerson will battle Waterloo to be worst team in the OUA, and will win that title.
University of Western Ontario Mustangs
2002-2003 Record: 24-0, 1st OUA Far West
2003-2004 Record: 22-1-1, 1st OUA Far West, OUA Champions
Key Player: Joe Talbot, C
The 2003/2004 Mustangs may, believe it or not, be better than last season. The defense, led by Kelly Paddon and Abe Herbst, may be the only weakness of this team seeing as a several veterans are graduated and gone. After the shocking defeat last season in the OUA playoffs, Western will rebound to win this year’s title.
York University Lions
2002-2003 Record: 17-6-1, 1st OUA Mid West
2003-2004 Record: 19-5-0, 1st OUA Mid West
Key Player: Derek Dolson, G
Goaltender Derek Dolson was named the OUA West Division’s MVP and Rookie of the Year. Goaltending is the strength of the Lions’ team, with 2003 OUA West MVP and rookie of the year Derek Dolson returning to nets. Believe it or not, the Lions will be much improved from last season and they will land a spot in the national championship.
2002-2003 Record: 20-2-2, 1st OUA Far East, OUA & CIS Champions
2003-2004 Record: 18-3-5, 1st OUA Far East
Key Player: Eric Desjardins, G
UQTR dominated last year, winning its 5th straight OUA championship and the CIS title. This year will tell a slightly different story. The forward unit will be extremely weakened by the loss of the OUA’s leading scorer and MVP Alexandre Tremblay. This loss will damage UQTR’s dominance-they will not be six-time OUA champions.
U of T Varsity Blues
2002-2003 Record: 20-0-2, 1st OUA East, OUA Champions2003-2004 Projected Record: 21-0-1, 1st OUA East, OUA ChampionsKey Player: Jennie McRae, F
The Blues finished in first place in the OUA East last year, going undefeated with a remarkable record of 20 wins, no losses, and two ties. They went on to capture their third OUA banner in the last four years, defeating Wilfred Laurier. The Blues advanced to the CIS Championships, only to suffer an overtime loss to Alberta in the gold medal final. U of T has reached the podium in five of their six visits to the nationals, earning a CIS championship in 2001, the silver medal in 2003 and 1998, and bronze in 2002 and 1999. Veterans Alison Houston, Susie Laska, and Kim Malcher all played outstanding hockey in their final season in the Varsity Blues uniform. Houston posted the OUA’s best goals against average (0.43) and earned 11 shutouts in the OUA-she will be sorely missed. Lisa Robertson will now be the Blues starting goaltender. With Laska and Malcher gone, the defense will be young but still extremely talented. Senior Safiya Muharuma will log plenty of minutes as this young unit develops. Line mates Jenny McRae and Jill Savin will head up the Blues offense. The Blues will once again go undefeated in the OUA, and will look to avenge their gold medal loss at the nationals. Can you say dynasty?
Queen’s Golden Gaels
2002-2003 Record: 14-6-2, 2nd OUA East
2003-2004 Projected Record: 13-7-2, 2nd OUA East
Key Player: Elizabeth Chaisson, F
The strength of this team lies in its forwards. Sniper Elizabeth Chaisson led the OUA in scoring last season with 39 points, and joining her this year are key recruits Jenn Vriend and Melinda Casselman. Goaltending will also be strong for Queen’s as Caroline Hare returns for her senior season. The development of the Golden Gaels young forwards will determine how well this team will fair in 2003-2004.
2002-2003 Record: 7-14-1, 3rd OUA East
2003-2004 Projected Record: 9-12-1, 3rd OUA East
Key Player: Ingrid Munson, G
With veteran Melanie Roach gone from the team, the Lions’ forwards Yvonna Novkovic and Laura Perchuk will be asked to pick up the brunt of the scoring. Ingrid Munson should be rock steady for the Lions in between the pipes. York is slowly starting to bridge the gap between themselves and Queen’s.
2002-2003 Record: 4-15-3, 4th OUA East
2003-2004 Projected Record: 3-16-3, 4th OUA East
Key Player: Amy Patrick, C
Last season was extremely tough for the Brock Badgers, who finished at the bottom of the tough OUA East division. The key to this team is center Amy Patrick, who played all 22 games last year. Recruit Briar Komenda will be asked to light up the scoring sheet in her first season with the team. The defense is just plain bad, and it gives up too many odd woman rushes to its opposition. The loss of goalie Angie Mallory will hurt the Badgers, and training camp will see a four-way battle for the starting position. The Badgers will once again be rebuilding in 2003-2004.
2002-2003 Record: 13-8-1, 2nd OUA West
2003-2004 Projected Record: 15-5-2, 1st OUA West
Key Player: Kate Ennis, F
After back-to-back season’s finishing second in the OUA West, the Gryphons are poised to take the number one spot. OUA all-star Kate Ennis and the other forwards are the strength of the team. The pieces are in place for the Gryphons, and they will be the most exciting young teams to watch in the OUA this season.