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When Kryshanda Green steps out onto the ice, she’s hard to miss.
Standing at just five feet four inches tall, she still has a shot like a bullet. Going into her third season as a Ryerson Ram, she has the second-highest number of goals and assists in the team’s history. She’s also never been afraid of getting physical — she’s racked up 52 penalty minutes so far wearing the blue and gold.
The 25-year-old Brampton, Ont. native is even more noticeable this season with a brand new ‘C’ on her chest. With her undeniable skill and grit, she demands respect. So when it came to naming a replacement for former captain Ailish Forfar, who played her final season with the Rams last year, Green made the decision easy for head coach Lisa Haley.
“It was pretty much a unanimous decision. She’s quickly earned the respect of everyone in the dressing room,” said Haley. “Everyone was on the same page that she stands out above the crowd.”
And the fourth-year politics and governance student’s reaction to the good news was exactly what Haley expected from the poised, calm leader.
“I was humbled by it to be honest . . . It was really nice to know that [the coaches and the team] thought I deserved the position,” said Green. “I was very ecstatic.”
“She immediately recognized the level of responsibility that goes into it, so she sees it the right way,” said Haley. “She doesn’t see it as a reward and that she’s owed it.”
For Green, the promotion wasn’t entirely unexpected. As an assistant captain last year, she said she figured she’d be a part of the core leadership group in some way this season.
But while Green says she’s ready for the new responsibility, this wasn’t always the case.
“I don’t think if you asked her three years ago if she was ready to be a leader, she would’ve said that she is,” said Forfar, Green’s former teammate. “She’s got a story that’s definitely different than any other player I’ve ever played with.”
Green started off her Ontario University Athletics (OUA) career at Western University in 2012, where she scored nine goals and 11 assists in 26 games. Unfortunately, she didn’t see the same success when it came to her grades.
Struggling academically, Green left university and subsequently, the world of hockey. She didn’t pick up a stick in the OUA again until 2015, when she enrolled at Ryerson.
“I missed it. I didn’t think I finished in the right way [and] I didn’t want to leave a sour taste in my mouth,” said Green. “The OUA is a very competitive league and I wanted to cultivate my skills in that environment.”
But Green’s return to the OUA came to a quick and frustrating halt. Since she didn’t pass all of her courses at Western, she temporarily lost her eligibility with the Rams. She had to pull up her grades if she wanted to play with the team in the 2016-17 season.
“She still practised and trained with us,” said Haley “The only thing she wasn’t allowed to do was dress [for games]. It’s a challenging situation for anyone to be in, but I thought she knocked it out of the park when she was in that situation.
“She maybe regretted how some of [her time at Western] unfolded and came into the opportunity at Ryerson understanding that this was a second chance, and she wanted to get it right.”
Now as an irreplaceable member of the Rams, it’s obvious that Green got it right.
“She’s passionate. She’s got this energy that you just can’t ignore,” said Forfar. “Whether she’s fired up or angry out on the ice, you just want to watch her and be inspired by her. For her to have that energy and that drive is what makes her a special leader.”
When Green is out on the ice, she demands to be noticed. And she sure as hell isn’t going to leave the OUA again until she absolutely has to.
Unfortunately, with graduation looming, she only has until the end of this year before she hangs up her Rams jersey for good.
“I think [being named captain for my last year] is very fitting,” said Green. “It’s what I came back to do — to come back and be impactful. I think that it only helps me gain more confidence and become a better person.”