Ryerson’s women’s curling team has found a new captain – and they didn’t have to look far.
Maggie Macintosh, who skipped the team in last year’s debut season, was originally planning to step away from the game to focus on her studies. But after being convinced to come back out for a practice run, the second-year journalism student has decided to return full time as the skip this year.
“Things are only going to get better this year,” Macintosh, 19, said. “[Last] season I think we proved that we’re not the underdogs, we do have some skills.”
Both the men’s and women’s team held tryouts on Monday and Tuesday last week. Macintosh’s absence on the first night was a talking point for returning players, despite the fact they had already been made aware of her decision not to return. While the men’s team had four returnees from last season, including skip Alex Champ and vice Stuart Leslie, the women’s squad had only two returning members.
“Change can be good … we may take a step to the side to take a couple steps forward,” Perry Marshall, the head coach of both teams, said after the first night of tryouts. “But we’re not counting Maggie out yet actually, we may still be able to convince her to come along for the ride.”
Whatever Marshall’s method of convincing consisted of, it worked. Surely enough, Macintosh arrived at the club, curling shoes and broom in hand, the following night. From the get-go, Macintosh was playing the skip position during the second night of tryouts, calling shots for her teammates and dictating the run of play.
“I have some valuable skipping experience,” Macintosh said following the second night of tryouts. “I’ve been curling competitively for about six or seven years, so I think that’s a positive thing I can bring to this team.”
Macintosh’s return isn’t the only dose of experience Ryerson’s curling program will be getting this season. During the off-season, the program moved from the Leaside Curling Club to the Toronto Cricket, Skating, and Curling Club (commonly referred to as the Cricket Club), where the Rams will be competing regularly against other university and college teams.
Marshall, who also serves as the convenor of the new Ryerson Rams U25 Development League, said he had a strong first impression of the new club. “[The Cricket Club] is a world-class facility,” Marshall said. “They have top-notch ice staff … it’s a very good environment for development, and we’re quite pleased by the support we’ve gotten here already.”
While Marshall can be credited with getting Macintosh’s foot back in the door, it’s the new club and the environment that Macintosh credits for refuelling her passion for the game.
“After coming out to practice, I was just like, ‘I can’t stay away,’” she said. “I’m going to play this year. Maggie Macintosh is back.”
On Friday afternoon, the initial rosters for both the men’s and women’s curling teams were announced via the program’s Twitter account (@RamsCurling).
Men: Alex Champ, Stuart Leslie, Henry Lin, Jacob Thielen, Jonathan U*
Women: Maggie Macintosh, Nicole Titkai, Corrina Serda, Audrey Wallbank*, Tegan Walton*
*New to the team in 2016-17