The $1-million donation Ryerson Athletics received from Al and Brigitte Kavanagh this summer will be used to reward excellence on the men’s and women’s hockey teams, and encourage player development on and off the ice.
The money, the largest single donation Ryerson Athletics has ever received, has been earmarked for new student-athletic awards – the Kavanagh Family Women’s and Men’s Hockey Award – the first of which were awarded at the beginning of the 2017-2018 season. It will also be used to increase the budgets for travel, training and additional exhibition games.
“We are immensely grateful to the Kavanagh family for their investment in the vision of varsity hockey at Ryerson,” Ryerson spokesperson Zandra Alexander said in an email.
The Kavanagh Family Awards are awarded to outstanding athletes. According to Alexander, the purse given to each recipient will change based on how many students win each year.
Alexander said that nothing is set in stone regarding new exhibition schedules, but the general idea is to improve the quantity of both teams’ exhibition games leading up to the regular season. The women’s team played seven exhibition games, while the men played nine before the current regular season.
Alexander said there is no certain number of exhibition games to be added to the schedule yet, and that money towards transportation costs will go towards more trips, not improvements such as upgraded accommodations to existing travel plans.
As for improved training, Alexander said the Kavanagh’s $1-million donation will not be used to hire new coaching staff, but “may involve professional development opportunities,” such as new specialized equipment to benefit the program’s athletes.
The Rams men’s team face the York University Lions tomorrow at the Mattamy Athletic Centre at 7:15 p.m. as part of Ryerson’s winter homecoming event. Ryerson director of athletics, Ivan Joseph, said he hopes for the attendance to reach 1,000 people.