With a new school year on the horizon come brand new seasons of U of T sports — and there’s a lot to look out for. Whether in basketball, football, or hockey, the Varsity Blues athletics programs provide a platform to showcase the accomplishments of student athletes throughout the university. Watching Varsity Blues games is also a great way to spend time on campus by cheering on fellow students and peers. Here are some of the top teams and athletes to look out for in the 2019–2020 school year:
Seeking redemption for last year’s round-one playoff loss to the Ryerson Rams, the Varsity Blues hockey team will be looking for outstanding play from the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Male Rookie of the Year-nominee David Thomson, a forward who finished his last season with the Blues with nine goals and 16 assists. Expect another great season from Captain Aidan Wallace, who teamed up with Thomson this past summer to deliver a bronze-medal finish for Canada at the International University Sports Federation Winter Universiade in Russia.
As the focus turns to a new season, the women’s hockey program has a lot to be excited about, with the addition of four new first-year forwards: Natasha Athanasakos, Lauren Ball, Lauren Hancock, and Nikki McDonald. With a few key players graduating, including Clara Benson Honour Award-nominee Kassie Roache, the team will look to these new players to provide energy and speed across the lineup.
With new offensive coordinator Irv Daymond, who coached the Laurier Golden Hawks for six years, and top national quarterback prospect Kinsale Philip set to join the team for the 2019 season, the Varsity Blues men’s football team looks to rebound after a disastrous 0–8 season. In 2017, Philip helped his high school team — the New Westminster Hyacks — win the AAA British Columbia provincial championship title. The Blues are hoping he can continue this success throughout the rest of his university career.
After their strong performances in the 2019 FINA world championships in Gwangju, South Korea, a new Canadian records for medals was set by U of T alum Kylie Masse and current U of T swimmer Rebecca Smith. It’s safe to say the team is a part of a golden generation for swimming in Canada. Look out for events throughout the year leading up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, where Masse and others hope to defend their spot on the podium.
Fresh off an inspiring offseason, courtesy of the Toronto Raptors, the Varsity Blues men’s basketball team will be entering this season with one goal: playoffs. Second-year player Iñaki Alvarez, who averaged 12.9 points per game and garnered recognition for his significant contributions as a first-year student, will look to build on his strong start and help the Blues contend in the OUA East division.