Rams coach returns from Sochi with gold

The (Courtesy Winston Chow)

The women’s hockey team at Canada Olympic House after winning their gold medal. (Courtesy Winston Chow)

Fifty-six minutes into the game, Team Canada’s women’s hockey team didn’t seem to stand a chance against Team U.S.A.

Lisa Haley, the team’s assistant coach, was there for it all: the score that broke the tie, the deafening cheers as the tables turned and the goal that won the gold medal for Canada.

“Trying to find the right adjective is tough,” Haley said. “That final moment was amazing.”

When she’s not leading the national women’s hockey team to international Olympic victory, Haley is the head coach of the Ryerson Rams women’s hockey team. She said she is counting down the minutes until she can come back to campus to celebrate the victory.

Though it has been a long journey, and she was only on her way home from Sochi earlier this week, she said that Ryerson played a big part in her success.

“The school knew this was a dream I was chasing,” she said.

After taking a leave of absence, Haley is all set to come back and coach the other team in her life.

“I am so proud of winning this for Ryerson and winning this for Canada,” she said. “It’s fantastic to have won. I feel very well supported from the entire school, especially the athletic team.”

In her first season at Ryerson, Haley helped the team record their first-ever Ontario University Athletics conference victory with a 1-0 shutout win against the Waterloo Warriors.

But Haley said she’ll have more to offer when she comes back.

“Hockey is obviously our passion. I really had an opportunity to work with the best people in the game and that’s made me a better coach,” she said.

“Everything from the opportunity to work with Kevin Dineen from NHL, to managing time off with athletes, power plays and face-offs has made me better.”

The coaching techniques she uses for both Ryerson’s team and the Olympic champions are not all that different.

“I think the one common denominator is that coaching involves relationships with people. As coach at Ryerson, that’s just about having the opportunity to hone your skills every day,” she said.

Haley said she will continue pursuing her passion for hockey and hopes to inspire the students on her team when she is back at Ryerson next season.

“It comes to being yourself. Building relationships with people you work with. Being a lifelong student of the game,” she said. “The game is always changing and evolving.”

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on February 26, 2014.

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