Varsity Blues men’s hockey falls short against Mustangs

Blues lose eighth straight contest

Varsity Blues men’s hockey falls short against Mustangs

The Varsity Blues men’s hockey team dropped their eighth straight game 64 in an aggressive matchup against the Western Mustangs on Friday night at Varsity Arena.

The Mustangs outshot the Blues 32–23, giving the Blues their eighth straight loss, placing them second last in the Ontario University Athletics men’s hockey standings.

The Blues started aggressively as Nicholas Turenko of Mississauga drew a slashing penalty 46 seconds into the first period. The Blues continued their approach as Victoria native Hunter Atchison shot one past Mustangs goalie Luke Peresinni to score.

Western responded in kind with three consecutive goals from Kenny Huether, Anthony Stefano, and Ray Huether to end the first period.

The Mustangs started the second period with a goal 35 seconds in, courtesy of Theo Lewis. The Blues responded with an early goalie change as Alex Bishop came in for starting goaltender Frederic Foulem, who had allowed four goals in under 21 minutes.

Blues defenseman Matt Heffernan drew the first of what would be six penalties in the period. Mustangs Jonathan Laser drew a slashing penalty, which resulted in a Toronto power play goal courtesy of David Thomson. With Toronto’s offense shrinking the gap, Kenny Huether answered and closed the second period with his second goal of the evening.

The high intensity eased up in the third period, as Matt Watson scored to extend the Mustangs lead. With less than 30 seconds left in the game, Blues forward Max Lindsay scored his second goal of the evening, but it wasn’t enough as the Blues fell short to the Western Mustangs 64.

Varsity Blues women’s hockey drop contest 3–1 against Waterloo Warriors

Louie Bieman scored Toronto’s lone goal of the game

Varsity Blues women’s hockey drop contest 3–1 against Waterloo Warriors

The Toronto Varsity Blues women’s hockey team suffered a 31 loss against the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday afternoon.

Waterloo put a goal on the scoreboard to open up the game with a tip shot by fourth-year forward Alison Hanson, giving the Warriors a 10 lead to end the period. Despite the Warriors’ early lead, the Blues managed to generate eight shots on goal to the Warriors’ five.

The Warriors’ lead quickly disappeared as Blues forward Louie Bieman tied the game with less than 10 minutes remaining in the second period. Waterloo’s offense appeared to be more aggressive, generating more shots than Toronto’s. With less than five minutes in the period, the Warriors jumped to another lead as forward Angela MacDonald scored, giving them a 21 advantage. Toronto could not find any momentum as the Warriors’ late push carried them into the final period.

Toronto found themselves on the penalty kill twice early on in the third period, reducing their chances of tying the game even more. First-year forward Taylor Trussler committed both of the penalties by bodychecking and boarding. The Blues could not get past Warriors goaltender Amanda Smith in the final period. Samantha Burbridge sealed the game for Waterloo with an empty netter in the final minute, giving the Warriors a 31 victory.

Toronto’s first-year goalie Erica Fryer made 14 saves in the loss. Smith stopped 18 of 19 shots.

“It was back and forth. We had some good spurts. It wasn’t very consistent though. We really only played with a sense of urgency when we were down, like the middle of the second period and the last 10 minutes of the third,” said Blues forward Louie Bieman, when asked about the team’s performance. “So, it’s hard to win when you’re not playing a full 60 minutes unfortunately.”

Bieman scored the team’s only goal. “Megan made a pass out front. And the goalie had been dropping all game. So I just dragged it around her, had a wide open net.”

When asked about the team’s preparation for future games, Bieman said, “Don’t worry too much about this game. We have another one tomorrow afternoon. Have a quick turnaround, think about it a bit tonight. But, rest up, get ready to play tomorrow.”

Why I root for the Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017

Why I root for the Pittsburgh Penguins

Canada’s game is back and, for a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, this season couldn’t come soon enough! Growing up in a hockey-centred household and being from Toronto, I was raised a Toronto Maple Leafs fan but soon discovered the joy in team rivalry. My brother and I have been fans of the Penguins for as long as I can remember. From collecting hockey cards to playing street hockey and not missing a single play, you could say that hockey became less of a game and more of an identity for me.

The Penguins have had a rough start to the 2018–2019 season and are currently in last place in the Eastern Conference. Here in Toronto, my dad doesn’t hesitate to remind me that the Leafs are in second, with 14 wins and six losses.

There’s plenty for Penguins fans to be optimistic about, though. The team is led by star captain Sidney Crosby, and only a few years prior, in 2016 and 2017, the Penguins became the first back-to-back Stanley Cup champions in 19 years.

I have no doubt that our time is coming soon and that the cup will once again be held by the Penguins. Sharing in your team’s victory and having bragging rights is hands down the best feeling as a fan. But all that aside, I think that love for a team goes deeper than the jersey you wear to moments you share with fellow fans. The ability to celebrate a team as fans and stand connected through our love for the game is why I truly believe that hockey is a game that unites people.

Why I root for the Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks almost won the Stanley Cup in 2011

Why I root for the Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks were in Game 7 in the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, facing off against their archrivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks had tormented the Canucks for the past two years, defeating them in the second round of the 2009 and 2010 playoffs in six games both times.

But this year was different for the Canucks. They won the Presidents’ Trophy for having the best record in the regular season, while Chicago barely snuck into the playoffs and found themselves pitted against the top-seeded Canucks in the first round.

The series started off well, as the Canucks took a commanding 3–0 lead. However, Vancouver was blown out in Games 4 and 5, and Chicago won Game 6 in overtime to send the series to Game 7. “Here we go again,” was the mindset of every Canucks fan.

Early in the first period, Alex Burrows scored a one-timer off a great pass from Ryan Kesler to give the Canucks an early 1–0 lead. However, for the remainder of regulation, Chicago’s rookie goaltender Corey Crawford stood on his head to keep his team within one. With three minutes and 17 seconds left in regulation, Chicago took a penalty. It looked like the Canucks would have a great chance at getting the insurance marker, or at the very least, they would be able to take two minutes off the clock.

In typical fashion, though, that isn’t what happened. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews scored shorthanded to take the game to overtime.

The stage was set for the best regular season in Canucks history to end in the first round, especially with Burrows taking a penalty early in overtime. With the man advantage, Toews set up a perfect centring pass for Patrick Sharp right in front of the crease, but Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo slid across to make the save.

Around five minutes into overtime, Chicago defenseman Chris Campoli made what looked to be a routine breakout pass, but it was intercepted by Burrows. He walked into the slot and fired a shot over the right shoulder of Crawford to win the game for Vancouver. The Canucks bench all came onto the ice to mob Burrows.

Towels were waving across the stands of Rogers Arena. “Finally,” CBC commentator Jim Hughson exclaimed. “After three seasons and 19 playoff games against Chicago, for Vancouver, it’s a wonderful day for an exorcism.”

Why I root for the Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews represents a new era for the Leafs

Why I root for the Toronto Maple Leafs

With the Toronto Maple Leafs full of young talent and viewed as a top contender to win the Stanley Cup, fans have a lot to be excited about.

This feeling of enthusiasm is an unfamiliar one, as adrenaline-filled moments for Leafs fans prior to this year were few and far between.

Nevertheless, this has made the moments that were cause for celebration even more memorable.

Growing up as an avid Leafs fan, one of my first moments was watching my hero, Leafs centre Mats Sundin, net his 500th career goal in dramatic fashion.

With the game tied 4–4 in overtime, Sundin, already with two goals on the night, picked up the puck at the Leafs blue-line, raced down the ice, and unleashed a slapshot over the shoulder of Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and into the back of the net.

A fitting entrance to the exclusive 500-goal-club for a Toronto sports legend.

A more recent memory that stands out is Leafs star Auston Matthews’ unforgettable first game.

In the 2016–2017 season opener, all eyes were on the rookie phenom. After scoring two goals in the first period, Leafs fans around the country erupted in celebration of our newest star.

But then, the unthinkable happened.

Matthews continued his offensive explosion, scoring a third goal early in the second period for the hat-trick. Already breaking records as the first top-ranked draft pick to score a hat-trick in his debut, Matthews scored another goal in the second, making him the first player in league history to score four goals in their regular season NHL debut.

Although these memories are great, nothing would be more memorable than the Leafs bringing Lord Stanley home to Toronto.

Blues men’s hockey lose to Ryerson Rams in home opener

Ryerson defeats Toronto 6–2

Blues men’s hockey lose to Ryerson Rams in home opener

The Varsity Blues men’s hockey team dropped their home opener 6–2 against the Ryerson Rams on Friday night.

The Blues opened the game with first-year forward Nathan Hudgin scoring on a pass from David Thomson, beating Rams goalie Garrett Forrest to provide the Blues with a 1–0 lead.

Despite the Blues’ early goal, the Rams looked to be more aggressive on offense, leading 12–6 shots on goal after the first period.

Ryerson started the second period with a strong push, tying the game at 1–1 less than a minute into the period. With no time wasted, Ryerson found themselves back in the game with a goal scored by forward Devon Paliani.

The Rams then capitalized on a power play, extending their lead 2–1 with a goal by Matt Mistele.

The Blues’ defense struggled as Ryerson’s Steven Harland and Devon Paliani found the back of the net, making it a 4–1 game, and Paliani’s second of the game. The second period belonged to the Rams as they scored an impressive four goals while shutting out the Blues’ offense. At the end of the period, the Rams offense dominated with a staggering 32–18 shots on goal.

The Rams never looked back, as they scored again to begin the final period. U of T managed to score with a goal by Josh Hanson, cutting the lead 5–2 and bringing hopes of a comeback. Ryerson then added on another goal, dashing any chances of a comeback.

Blues goalie Alex Bishop struggled on the night, allowing six goals. Forrest saved 30 shots of 32 attempts, helping Ryerson cruise to an easy 6–2 win.

“It wasn’t one of our better performances. We’ll just leave it at that,” said Blues defender Josh Hanson. “We expect a lot better of ourselves.”

When asked about the momentum lost in the second period, Hanson replied, “I think it’s as simple as we just weren’t ready to play in the second period.”

However, considering future games, Hanson said, “Games in back-to-back nights like this, you can’t dwell on the negative. We’re not going to sit here all night and think about how differently this game could have gone.”

“We’re definitely going to strive to wipe this one clean of our memories,” he concluded. “We’re going to go forward and play some better hockey.”

From SoCal to Toronto: Navigating the wonderful world of winter activities

How ice skating and ice hockey helped me become the happiest version of myself

From SoCal to Toronto: Navigating the wonderful world of winter activities

People who live within reach of ice often find themselves at odds with its creeping, heat-sapping fingers. Ice isn’t the most hospitable. Or the most helpful. Or even preventable. In truth, ice is quite a nuisance.

I suppose you could say people have a complex relationship with ice. I, for one, certainly did.

Growing up in Southern California, ice activities were a kitschy luxury — something you did when you wanted to avoid the pretense of enjoying the beach. Figure skaters were folk tales, and hockey was just something Canadians did, maybe.

When I arrived at university in the heat of August, I had no idea of the icy wonderland Toronto would become. As it turned out, ice was waiting patiently for me on the periphery. With a dangerous combination of my friends, the True North Strong and Free, and some sheer dumb luck, ice moved from the sidelines to straight under my sweaty, nervous feet in skates.

One fateful week in late November, my friends, as good, Instagramming university students, formally requested we go to Nathan Phillips Square. Any normal Art History specialist might have jumped at the photo op, but me? I was scared stiff.

In the past, my wide feet and more mediocre friends had made me feel as though I could not be ‘good’ at ice skating. It’s difficult to ignore old insecurities, and my anxieties tripped into a conviction that I just couldn’t do it. I told myself that I was going to fail before I even tried, but both my friends and the ice were having none of that.

Even though I could barely balance without someone holding me up, my friends ever so gently took my fear in their hands, ripped it straight out of my chest, and made me skate over it, again and again. By the end, I couldn’t imagine not being on the ice. Frozen water had actually convinced me that I was good enough.

This was my first change to who I was in years.

From there, it all just snowballed perilously out of control. I saw my first Varsity Blues ice hockey game against the Queen’s Gaels — and got a puck, no less! — and fell in love instantly. The 2017–2018 school year then became both my first year in university and my first year as a hockey fan. Who knew sports could be fun?

Just like ice skating, I had always told myself sports weren’t my thing. I was never very athletic or physical. Soccer, volleyball, and — God forbid — baseball, never really did it for me. But when I watched my first ice hockey game?

Oh, man.

Remember the first time you listened to your favourite song? Or how it feels when you see someone you really love? Or when a movie makes you weep tears of joy? I felt like a little kid again. It had highs and lows, drama, fights, passion, and some sick jerseys. And plastic discs flying at the speed of cars in school zones!

And my new friend, ice.

Ice skating had instilled a sense of confidence in me that I didn’t know I could have, and ice hockey provided me with a community that I didn’t know I could belong to. In an odd way, ice allowed me to become my favourite version of myself.

Ice is that annoying little sibling that we wish to get away from but also can’t stand to leave entirely. Of course, it might cause you to slip in the middle of Queen’s Park right in front of a really cute guy, but it can also turn your lemonade into a delicacy and a boring winter’s day into a crystallized miracle.

So, if you’re in the area, take my advice and stop by some ice. Shoot the breeze! Live a little! Who knows, it might just change your life.

Take it from me, ice certainly isn’t all it seems to be.

Indigenous Studies Students’ Union offer helping hand

Sarnia’s Aamjiwnaang Jr. Hitmen hockey team receive support

Indigenous Studies Students’ Union offer helping hand

All it takes is one phone call. Earlier this month, the annual Little Native Hockey League took place in Mississauga. The league, which is for First Nation youth, consists of 209 teams and approximately 3,000 players. One team in particular caught the attention of the Indigenous Studies Students’ Union (ISSU) at the University of Toronto: Sarnia’s Aamjiwnaang Jr. Hitmen.

The Hitmen are a hockey team based out of Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia, Ontario. As a youth hockey team, they don’t receive a lot of funding. One of their coaching staff made a call for support, prompting the ISSU to take action. One of the union’s coordinators, Joshua Bowman, decided to lend a helping hand.

“They reached out to us for community connections and financial stability to see if we could make something happen,” said Bowman. With the help of the ISSU, the boys were able to afford teamwear and even have a party after the tournament.

As long-time fans of the Little Native Hockey League, Bowman and the members of the union felt that supporting the Hitmen was more than just an act of kindness. They hoped their actions could have an impact on Indigenous youth and groups in Canada.

“It’s a great opportunity for Indigenous children to flourish in an environment that’s designed for them,” said Bowman. The tournament seeks to provide players with skills such as fair play and sportsmanship, which will bring success on and off the rink. “It also makes the Indigenous youth proud to be from their communities and a culture that has historically been disenfranchised from them,” he added.

Bowman described the union’s collaboration with the Aamjiwnaang Jr. Hitmen as a success. “I just remember when I was a kid playing sports, getting a team jacket was like no other feeling quite like it. Walking around my school and showing everybody my team I played with, the group of friends that I had, just means that much more,” said Bowman.

For Bowman and his peers, bringing a little light to the kids’ day was a great reward. “In the end the impact was seeing the smile on their faces.”

Bowman added that this positive impact can help create pride in the kids’ identity, because in “a lot of educational institutions, such as ours, people have been made to feel ashamed of their identities.”

The ISSU, which is a course union under the Faculty of Arts and Science Students’ Union, strives to foster “respectful relationships within and beyond the membership in the spirit of the Indigenous values of friendship and community.” They provide services and support students who need a helping hand on campus and hold events, such as the annual Pow Wow, which brought in more than hundreds of spectators and volunteers. One of their goals is to make the University of Toronto a place where Indigenous peoples can feel accepted.

The ISSU exemplifies how people can come together and appreciate one another’s cultures. Still, there’s a lot of work yet to be done in order to create true equality. “There are media outlets everywhere that love to paint Indigenous people in a negative light, and it’s because of this Indigenous people are politically, socially and economically marginalized,” said Bowman.

Giving students, and more importantly, children, a chance to showcase their talents is necessary first step.

“We are just providing a platform for those voices to be heard, so by helping the Aamjiwnaang Jr. Hitmen and doing more events like these it’s a step in the right direction.”