Ryerson students and alumni cheered on the Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team against the York University Lions at their second-annual winter homecoming game on Saturday.
Ryerson alumni were given free tickets for the game at the Mattamy Athletic Centre thanks to a collaboration between Ryerson Athletics and Ryerson Alumni Relations.
Jeff Giles, the interim athletics director, said bringing the alumni back for the winter homecoming game was an important part in creating the atmosphere in the arena.
“It’s really great when alumni come back and see the students… and how much fun their having because it reminds them of the good old days,” he said.
Giles said he hopes the homecoming game will inspire people to attend more regular season matches and not only the big events.
“We play a selective number of sports but we’re very good at them. We need students and alumni to come out and support it. I think a lot of schools that have football games that attract 2,000 to 3,000 [people], we can attract 2- or 3,000 without having football.”
After the controversy of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) hosting the fall homecoming with the Toronto Argonauts, Taylor Dupuis, one of the goalies for the men’s hockey team, said it was nice to have the school’s support for this game.
“Everyone’s excited that Ryerson did go ahead with its own homecoming with their own teams on display,” he said. “I think as athletes we appreciate that [the school is] putting in effort to advertise and promote things outside of Ryerson’s [academics].”
Ram Ganesh, the president of the RSU, said communication between Ryerson Athletics and the RSU has improved since the fall homecoming.
“One of the bigger things that we’re doing now is to try and incorporate the annual concert with the athletic games,” he said. “So we’re on the same page, we [want to] show athletics our support and that we’ll be there.”
Erica Antonitti, a second-year marketing student at Ryerson, attended both the fall and winter homecomings and said that the energy between the two games was very different.
“The energy at the Argos game was kind of a bit more dulled down because it was a CFL game,” she said. “Even though we did have a designated section [at the fall homecoming], our team wasn’t actually playing.”
Antonitti said having the winter homecoming on campus really added to the Ryerson spirit.
“[At the winter homecoming it’s] all Ryerson students, this is a Ryerson arena, even the Ryerson alumni are here,” she said. “Since it’s our team and our arena I feel like that really binds us together.”
Giles said Ryerson Athletics is looking to host more events in partnership with other groups on campus in the future.
“We are working with alumni relations and the RSU to next year do a fall homecoming game,” he said. “I think this whole homecoming movement will grow. We’ve learned from our experience in the fall and we’ll get more people involved.”
The Rams won the game 7-6 and will be going to London, Ont., for their next game to face the Western Mustangs on Jan. 25.