The start of classes marks the beginning of a new and pivotal athletics season for Ryerson. The university is looking to take the next step towards becoming a major player on the national stage.
Since the opening of the Mattamy Athletic Centre in 2012, Ryerson has shown a commitment to athletics and the investment has paid off.
It hosted the Wilson Cup, a tournament that crowns the Ontario University Athletics champion in men’s basketball, the last two years, and will host the Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s final eight men’s basketball championship this coming March.
This will mark the first national championship Ryerson has ever hosted. Hosting the first national championship in school history goes along with the message Ryerson has been sending in recent years, that the school is no longer here to just participate.
From giving the mascot, Eggy, a fiercer look to unveiling a sleek new team bus at this year’s Week of Welcome, Ryerson is showcasing its new attitude.
For Stephanie White, the associate director of athletics, hosting a national championship is a big step. “It’s a reputation builder for our program and the university. I think it’s a sign that we’ve arrived.”
Sports information specialist Andrea Elliott agreed with White’s assessment that hosting the CIS final eight games is a culmination of what Ryerson has shown in recent years. She said she believes Ryerson will continue to attract high-profile events.
Ryerson’s athletics growth has been rapid. And has followed the path of internal goals made by the athletics department, said White.
“We open a great facility like the MAC, then we hosted the Wilson Cup, now the national championship, and we’re building contending teams in all our sports,” said White.
The next goal for Ryerson athletics is to become a program with teams consistently ranked in the top 10 of the CIS and win provincial and national championships.
“We don’t just want to host these championships, we want to win them,” said White.
By Pierce O’Leary
This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on Sept. 17, 2014.