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Volume 48 - Issue 22

March 25, 2015
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OOAK_Ryerson_Mar25.indd 1

2015-03-19 5:02 PM

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

NEWS

3

False alarms could cost school thousands
By Allan Perkins
Last year, third-year aerospace
engineering student Anojan Arara
Salam was right in the middle of
an exam. All of a sudden, the fire
alarm went off.
Here’s the fun part: Arara Salam
said he thinks someone may have
pulled it.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if that
happened,” he said. “I didn’t see
any flames or smoke, so I’m pretty
sure that’s what it was.”
If someone did end up pulling it,
they did so about an hour and 20
minutes into a three-hour mechanisms and vibrations exam. If
there was ever a time to pull a fire
alarm, it would be in a three-hour
mechanisms and vibrations exam.
But incidents like this one still raise
a pressing issue at Ryerson — too
many fire alarms go off when there
aren’t fires.
So far in 2015, it’s happened 20
times.
When it does, it costs the school
money — $410 per vehicle per
hour. Kerri Bailey, manager of finance and strategic planning at
Ryerson, said in an email that the
school had been invoiced for two
false alarms so far this year. At

three trucks each time, that cost
Ryerson $2,460 in total, plus tax.
Bailey said that of those 18 additional false fire alarms, they have
not yet been invoiced and cannot
determine the exact costs, but that
could change.
The charge only applies when
the fire alarm is either triggered
by malicious intent or by a maintenance issue, malicious being
what may have happened in Arara
Salam’s exam and maintenance
being a whole lot of things to do
with the building if they happen
repeatedly. Steam continuously
leaking from faulty pipes and triggering the alarm would be an example that would cost the school
money. Human error where the
alarm is accidentally triggered or
kitchen errors like overcooking
the roast beef are not charged.
“If we’re there three times in a
day due to an issue that could be
corrected, that’s a problem,” said
Paul Versace, captain of the P325
truck at Toronto’s Regent Park fire
headquarters.
Versace added that between three
and four trucks are usually dispatched to Ryerson whenever they
go there, which is more than the one
or two trucks they usually send out.

He added that trucks come from
separate stations — usually the
closest three or four — to spread responsibility and avoid overwhelming one station’s resources.
That means that if Ryerson is hit
with a malicious or maintenance
false fire alarm charge, it could
cost the school roughly as much
as $1,600 in useless fees — each
time.
First-year biomedical sciences
student David Choi thinks it’s possible the same thing may have happened to him.
PHOTO: ROB FOREMAN
He was sitting in a first-year so- Students wait outside Kerr Hall because of another false alarm.
ciology class smack in the middle
Devamrita Swami, Yale grad and an internationally renowned monk
of last semester when it happened.
“Someone probably pulled it to
comes to Ryerson and invites us to a look behind the masks we wear
get out of a midterm,” he said.
and examine the quality of our lives.
Students in Kerr Hall were sent
April 8th, 6:30pm Thomas Lounge
outside for between 10 and 15
Talk, Q&A, Meditation & FREE VEGAN FEAST!
minutes, which may have been just
RSVP@ byoga@ryerson.ca or FB “Bhakti Yoga Club- Ryerson”
enough time to postpone whatever midterm someone might have
tried to avoid.
“False alarms caused by pull
stations are by far the most common occurrence on campus, and
often these spike during exam periods,” Bailey said in an email.
Exams are coming up soon. Recent trends indicate that Toronto
Fire invoices could be as well.

Non-Rye students chillin’ in SLC
By Stefanie Phillips
The rumours are true — students
from other universities are hanging out and studying at the Student
Learning Centre (SLC).
York University student Farrukh
Saleem considers the SLC closer to
his home in Scarborough than his
own campus. Whenever he gets invited by his Ryerson friends to hang
out at the SLC, he takes advantage
of the opportunity.
“I don’t come here as often [as my
own campus],” he said. “So I don’t
think it should be an issue.”
Another York student, Trish Ramos, was studying on the fourth
floor with her old friend from high
school, Eileen Mariano, who goes to
Ryerson.
“There’s no place like here that
you can meet up with friends,” Ramos said.
With their busy upper-year schedules, both of them find it hard to
hang out, but at the SLC they can do
their work and see each other at the
same time.
Right now, the SLC is open to the
public for use. It is closely monitored
by SLC staff and Ryerson security.
“Any complaints about behaviour in the SLC ... is investigated,
and appropriate action is taken,”
said security and emergency services
manager Tanya Poppleton. “Ac-

Chances are, some of these people are not Ryerson students.

tion includes asking for identification and can also include anything
from a warning to ... being asked to
leave.”
Poppleton did not respond to a
question about whether non-Ryerson students have been removed
from the SLC.
Second-year Ryerson urban planning and development student Daniel Orellana said he welcomes students from other schools to use the
SLC.
“It’s cool that we have a space
that people want to come to,” Orellana said.
But his friend AJ Soto is concerned that students from other
schools will crowd the space, forcing Ryerson students to compete for
desks, chairs and rooms.
“The fact that we put in tuition

FREE IN-OFFICE
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PHOTO: JAKE SCOTT

for a new space and now we have to
share it is bad,” he said.
Students from other universities
cannot access the study rooms because they don’t have OneCards.
However, they can still work in the
rooms if they are with a friend who
does.
Ryerson President Sheldon Levy
said the decision whether to kick
out non-Ryerson students would
be a “hard one” since Ryerson students went to University of Toronto
libraries when their school didn’t
have available study space.
“Ultimately, Ryerson students
have to have priority ... And coming to exams it will even be more of
an issue,” Levy said, adding that he
would be “checking into it.”
Read the full article (and more
news) at theeyeopener.com

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Dr. Roy Suarez & Associates
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(Corner of Bay & Elm - Concourse Level)

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editorial

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Oh, snap! there’s no space for the Annoying Talking Coffee Mug! Shieeeee

Eyeopener AGM

Hayley “Break” Adam
Mohamud “Is” Ismail
Sarah-Jayne “OVER??” A. Canlas

Editor-in-Chief
Mohamed “Bread Sports” Omar

General Manager
Liane “Office Sports” McLarty

News
Jackie “Kickass Sports” Hong
Jake “Horse Sports” Scott
Keith “Magic Sports” Capstick

Advertising Manager
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Features
Charles “Grass Sports” Vanegas

March 30, 1:30pm,
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Bring a potato.

Biz & Tech
Laura “Granola Sports” Woodward
Arts and Life
Al “Bob Dylan Sports” Downham
Sports
Josh “SPROTS SPORTS” Beneteau
Communities
Dylan “Java Sports” Freeman-Grist
Photo
Rob “SHIEEEEE Sports” Foreman
Sierra “Cutout Sports” Bein
Stephen “Fit Sports” Armstrong
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Media
Badri “Busy Sports” Murali

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Farnia “E-SPORTS!” Fekri
Behdad “Face Sports” Mahichi
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Design Director
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Circulation Manager
Megan “Circ Sports” Higgins
Contributors
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Karoun “Likes Drake” Chahinian
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Aidan “The Crab” Macnab
Allan “Perk-Piece” Perkins
Devin “DW” Jones
Matt “The Bat” Ouellet
Stefanie “The Illest” Phillips
Salmaan “Party Drama” Farooqui
Jake “Battlestar” Kivanc
Desiree “Beach Again” Amani
Hayley “Bizy” Hanks
Emily “LIVE” Craig-Evans
Brooklyn “BLOG” Pinheiro
Jacob “Elmo” Dubé
David “Big Bird” Lao
Mansoor “Grover” Tanweer
Richa “Oscar” Syal
Robert “Big Mac” Mackenzie
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Deven “Editing Queen” Knill
Super Awesome Interns
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

THE SPORTS ISSUE

5

The Sports Issue
Masthead

Photography
Sierra Bein
Charles Vanegas
Annie Arnone
Rob Foreman
Stephen Armstrong

Managing Editor
Josh Beneteau

Creative Consultant

Writers

Sierra Bein

Layout
Jahmal Jones and the men’s basketball team with the bronze medals they won at the CIS Final 8.

PHOTO: SIERRA BEIN

Keith Capstick
Jackie Hong
Jake Scott
Charles Vanegas
Laura Woodward
Al Downham
Dylan Freeman-Grist

Telling the real Rams stories
By
Josh
Beneteau
After watching both Ryerson volleyball teams win again at the beginning of February, I stopped to
chat with Ivan Joseph, Ryerson’s
athletic director. He was beaming and proudly declared, “This
was the best year ever for Ryerson
sports.”
It’s hard to disagree with him.
I’ve been going to the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) every
weekend for the past three years,
watching the Rams compete with
mixed results.
But in all my time here, this is
the first year where every team
seemed to peak at the same time

— which makes my job as sports
editor a lot of fun. Covering the
Rams has consumed my life, with
me spending more time at the
MAC or the office than my own
home.
But that’s not a bad thing. On
the contrary, it’s allowed me to tell
better stories.
This sports issue is an accumulation of six months of blood, sweat
and tears for both The Eyeopener
and the athletes. In the following
pages we have profiles of 10 athletes who had especially strong
years in their various sports. But
more importantly, these are 10
athletes with interesting stories,
who’ve done amazing things or
overcome incredible odds.
Sure, at The Eyeopener we’ve
covered every game and history

making moment from this year
(and trust me, there were a lot of
those). But as sports editor, I’ve
always looked for the stories that
go beyond the games — stories
that someone who has never seen
an Aaron Best dunk or a Veronica Livingston serve would still
understand.
So thanks for sticking around
these past seven months as we’ve
covered everything sports at Ryerson. The Final 8 basketball weekend was a great bookend to the
year of the Ram and this issue is my
final sendoff before I pass the sports
editor mantle to someone else.
My goal coming into this year
was to have the best sports section
week after week. Given how many
great stories there were, I feel like
I accomplished that.

Michael Grace-Dacosta
Ben Waldman
Charles Vanegas
Luke Galati
Devin Jones
Sarah Cunningham-Scharf
Brandon Buechler
Daniel Rocchi
Krista Robinson
Matt Ouellet

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6

Christian

By Michael Grace-Dacosta

A miniature schnauzer in a pink
jersey is watching his owner, Ryerson men’s soccer goalie Christian Maraldo, taunt the Carleton
Ravens’ forwards by playing
keep-ups. Eventually, one forward challenges Maraldo, but he
simply dekes him and clears the
ball out. While this may seem
crazy to most, for Maraldo it’s
just another day at the office.
Most people fear going against
the grain — Maraldo embraces it.
“I’d be lying if I said he didn’t
keep us up at night sometimes,”
says associate coach Filip Prostran. “Sometimes when the ball
gets passed back to Christian I
just look away.”
Maraldo, who will be graduating from Ryerson this spring

He’s the Charlie Sheen of
the soccer team
with a degree in business management, started playing soccer
when he was five years old as a
midfielder. But he “got too fat”
and moved into net when he was
eight. His lost his first game in
net 14-2. His parents were prepared to buy him ice cream to
console him after the game, but
were shocked when he came off
the field ecstatic and wanting to

play in net again.
“Honestly, I can’t explain that
to you,” says Maraldo about his
happiness after that game. “Anyone can be a defender ... to be a
goalie, it’s something that you
can be remembered by.”
Maraldo spent the next few
years playing in and out of net
before deciding to stay in net permanently when he was 16. It was
around this time that Maraldo,
who grew up playing hockey and
soccer, committed himself to the
pitch.
“I felt soccer was a lot more
geared to my personality,” says
Maraldo. “You can’t really wear
a pink jersey in hockey.”
Maraldo had the option to
play for a U.S. NCAA Division
I program coming out of high
school but opted to stay at home
because he wasn’t offered a full
scholarship.
Ryerson was in need of a goalie
so head coach Ivan Joseph invited
Maraldo to an exhibition game at
the University of Toronto. Maraldo assumed he would be watching Ryerson play against U of T
so he didn’t bring his soccer gear.
To his surprise, Ryerson was just
using the field for an inter-squad
game that Joseph wanted Maraldo to take part in. So Maraldo
hopped in net wearing a guest’s
shirt, buffalo jeans and PUMA
running shoes.
“It was terrible. Absolutely terri-

PHOTO: SIERRA BEIN

THE SPORTS ISSUE

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Maraldo

ble,”
says
Maraldo on his
play that
day. “I was
like, this is
it. I’m never
playing
for
Ryerson. I just
lost my chance.”
Fortunately
for
Maraldo, he had a
chance to show his stuff again
at a recruiting day. He impressed
the coaches and made the team.
Usually, members of the starting 11 warm up by playing Mon- M a r a l d o
and
the
c o a c h ing staff accepted
the
fact that they
have different
viewpoints and
compromised
by meeting each
other halfway.
“At first we
key in the Middle together but
Maraldo bucks the trend and were trying to
plays Monkey in the Middle with fit him in this
the benchwarmers. Later he does square hole. Then
keep-ups and some freestyles to we realized Chrisloosen up — much to the ire of tian doesn’t fit in
that mold,” says
his coaches.
Maraldo and his coaches have Prostran. “We need
contrasting views on the game of to treat him a little difsoccer. Where the coaches want ferently.”
The first step in
a safe and simple play, Maraldo
prefers a flashy and risky one. He this compromise was
to get Maraldo to
loves to play with fire.
“I’m really uncoachable when wear a Ryerson jerit comes to that kind of stuff sey during games.
always
because I have my own way in Maraldo
my mind of doing things,” says wore jerseys from
his previous teams
o r
Maraldo.
Maraldo once wore his sun- league teams. When he finally
glasses and flip-flops while agreed to wear a Ryerson jersey,
watching Ryerson women’s soc- he chose his famous pink jersey.
“The cool thing about being a
cer team play the Queen’s Gaels
in pouring rain because it was goalie is you get to be different in
familiar to him. At the Ontario terms of what you wear,” MaralUniversity Athletics (OUA) Final do says. “I think that because of
Four last season he wore flip- that I always took it a step forflops, three quarter pants and a ward and wanted to be different
pink T-shirt despite it being close than everyone.”
As the coaching staff embraced
to zero degrees because that was
a part of his routine during the Maraldo’s uniqueness, his play
regular season. In his spare time flourished. He was named an
he partakes in interpretive dance OUA all-star in both his fourth
and is a connoisseur of fine wines. and fifth years. He also helped
“He’s the Charlie Sheen of the lead his team to an undefeated
soccer team,” says friend Sami regular season and a berth at nationals in his fourth season.
Bekfi.
“You want to wear a green,
Maraldo became the starting
goalie in his third year when the blue and black hat when you
other goalie quit the team to fo- play, go for it. You want to wear
cus on his studies. That same year, clown shoes when you play, al-

I felt soccer was a lot more
geared to my personality.
You can’t really wear a pink
jersey in hockey

PHOTO: SIERRA BEIN

right,” Prostran says. “Whatever
gets Christian going and makes
him comfortable.”
Maraldo was subbed into his
final game as a Ram in the 87th
minute as a striker. Shortly afterwards he got a chance to give his
team the lead on a breakaway but
missed, with a wide left shot — a
fitting end to an unusual career.
Maraldo has no regrets about
his time at Ryerson and wouldn’t
change his flashy style even if it
could have saved him from getting chewed out by coaches and
opposing players.
“[It’s] really risky, but a lot of
fun,” he says.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

THE SPORTS ISSUE

Björn
Michaelsen

By Ben Waldman

Que., where most residents spoke ball.
French, many spoke Spanish and
“When I got there I had to
few
spoke
English.
More
imporfi
nd
teammates just by walking
Moments before his fifth and final
home opener as a Ryerson Ram tantly, almost none played basket- through the hall,” Michaelsen
says.
in November, Björn Michaelsen
He got a lot of attention soon
stood at centre court.
after, playing for the SaintThe six-foot-eight forward
Bruno Cougars club team
from Otterburn Park, Que., had
alongside future Harstood in the spot hundreds of
vard standout Lautimes before, usually with a basrent Rivard and
ketball floating several feet above
McGill guard Sihis head, trying to time his jump
mon
Bibeau,
properly, eyeing the orange eatwo of the
gerly.
t o p
This time, Michaelsen wasn’t
staring at his usual opponent, but
the crowd in front of him. He
held not his weapon of choice,
that orange globe, but one that
sent shivers racing down his
spine: a microphone.
Along with co-captain
Jahmal Jones, it was
Michaelsen’s duty to
welcome the fans,
give an opening
speech and greet
NBA legend Bill
Walton, who was
there to throw
the ceremonial
jump ball.
“That was my
nightmare,”
Michaelsen says, wincing as he recalls his
nerves.
“Speaking in front of
that many people is a lot
different than playing a
game of basketball.”
It doesn’t seem all too imposing, but Michaelsen, 25,
can’t imagine doing anything like
it four years earlier, when he could
hardly speak English and his career
was just getting started.
Michaelsen was born with a slight
hearing impairment, a condition that
affected his ability to communicate as a
child. His parents, both bilingual, chose
one language to teach him, with French
being the obvious choice in their predominantly francophone community.
For years, Michaelsen struggled to share
his thoughts, in French or English, written or verbal, a dilemma that caused him
incredible stress.
“Not being able to express myself made
me angry,” Michaelsen says. “I couldn’t
express myself, so I couldn’t communicate
what I wanted to say to anybody.”
Each day in high school, Michaelsen
made the 35-minute commute from Otterburn Park to École Secondaire Saint-JoPHOTO: SIERRA BEIN
seph, a private school in Saint-Hyacinthe,

7
players in the country.
With the duo flanking him, Michaelsen’s game started to speak
in ways he still had trouble doing,
only two years after picking up
the sport in a fluke accident, albeit
one he caused.
“I was going to school, rollerblading downhill and they were
doing construction and I didn’t
really understand the construction
signs. I saw that there was a gap,
just with small rocks and instead
of stopping, I decided to try and
jump over it,” Michaelsen remembers. “I really regretted that decision.”
Just a few weeks before a hockey tryout, his hand was broken
with no chance to recover in time.
Then, he found his calling in the
post: his niche, his home, his place
of work. Basketball made sense to
him and that injury, Michaelsen
says, was the force that led him
there.
Since then, Michaelsen has broken his hand five more times. “I
can’t even tell you which one,” he
says, staring at his palms.
On the first possession of his
first game at Ryerson, Michaelsen jumped for a rebound and collided with
veteran teammate Ryan
McNeilly. His head
met
Michaelsen’s
mouth, and the
rookie’s teeth were
knocked inward,
forcing him out of
the lineup for several weeks.
In the final regular season home
game of his career,
Michaelsen rose
up for a rebound
and fell hard on his
shoulder,
quickly
leaving to the locker
room.
“All I could say
was,
‘Please,
not
something
serious,’”
teammate Adika PeterMcNeilly said before Michaelsen returned to the
bench.
“I am so impressed with
his resilience,” Ryerson
head coach Roy Rana says
as he counts through Michaelsen’s injuries. “There
were times when I thought
he would say, ‘Enough, I’ve
been injured enough,’ but
he kept going for his teammates.”
Injuries have shaped his
career, but all of the bumps
and bruises have contributed
to Michaelsen’s irrepressible spirit both on and off
the court. As an engineering
student, Michaelsen was required to write an English
proficiency test, needing
at least a B to pass. He
failed three times, but in

the summer of 2014, he improved
drastically.
“Not only did I pass the fourth
time, I got an A,” he says with a
grin. “It hurt my pride a little bit
to be successful at [basketball] but
not English. It was definitely special to get that grade.”
As much as he loves basketball,
Michaelsen is still a self-professed
nerd.
He keeps The Settlers of Catan,
a strategy board game, in his locker, has considered creating an algorithm to calculate optimum arc
and velocity on his shot and is a
three-time Academic All-Canadian. He voraciously reads books by
Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson
and other astrophysicists.
“I love the science of the unknown. The kind of stuff that happens every day, everywhere, but
you don’t see,” Michaelsen says.
“People take it for granted, but I
want to know how it all works.”
His favourite book is Stephen
Hawking’s A Brief History of
Time. He finds it fascinating and
engrossing.
Hawking, like Michaelsen, experienced difficulty communicating the thoughts in his head to
those around him, but the British
physicist overcame the odds to become one of the greatest minds of
modern history.
Michaelsen is not Stephen
Hawking; he would never dream
of comparing himself to him, but
Michaelsen just co-authored his
first research paper based on his
lab work on particle behaviour.
After all of his years struggling
to write or speak in English or
French, Michaelsen’s paper will
likely be published in the coming
months.
The basketball-playing, physics-obsessed nerd has come a long
way since he arrived at Ryerson.
Michaelsen stood at centre
court on opening night.
He spoke.

PHOTO: SIERRA BEIN

The Sports ISSUE

8

Jahmal Jones
By Charles Vanegas
Jahmal Jones looked at the CIS
bronze medal around his neck,
earned on home court at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. It’s the first in
team history, but the wrong colour.
“[Coming into this game] it
wasn’t a big rah-rah, and you
wouldn’t expect it because I think
then it would be manufactured,”
said head coach Roy Rana after
the game. “But I think to some degree we’re a reflection of Jahmal.
[With] his intense competitiveness,
there’s no way he’s going to step
on the floor and not compete. That
just never happens with him.”
Jones would be named playerof-the-game after racking up 25
points in the 82-68 win over the
Victoria Vikes, but the gold would
be played for by the Rams’ fiercest
rivals: the Ottawa Gee-Gees and
Carleton Ravens. Jones was held
to just two points against Ottawa
the day prior in one of the worst
games of his career. At the end of
his final season, he’ll never get the
chance to get even.
“I don’t have any feelings right
now. Usually at the end of each
year you’re getting ready for the
next season,” says Jones. “I haven’t
really thought of not playing.”
Since 2010, Jones has served as
the cornerstone of Ryerson’s revamped basketball program under
Rana. Jones received several offers
from both CIS and NCAA schools
after a dominant senior season at
Mississauga Secondary School —
playing with a torn meniscus in his
right knee.
Rana and Ryerson Athletics assisted Jones with getting the necessary MRI and surgery on his knee,
which told Jones that he could
trust them to take care of him during his university career. Declining
offers from both Ottawa schools,
Jones chose Ryerson in the hopes
of creating a new legacy in the
GTA, alongside Björn Michaelsen
— a top forward prospect from
an elite Quebec program — and
Jordon Gauthier, a three-point
specialist from Windsor. Jones
had played alongside Gauthier
earlier that year on an Ontario
select team that travelled to Italy,
coached by then-Roy Rana assistant Ajay Sharma, with the trip
overseen by Rana himself.
“We’re both the kind of people
that tend to stay in our own lanes,
so at first we didn’t really talk until
we knew the other could hoop,”
Gauthier says of his first encounter with Jones.
Yet Jones is the first to admit
that he’s not the most approachable person.
“People have to warm up to

me,” he says. “I’m not going to
approach you with smiles and
hugs and all that. That’s not me.
But after I get to trust you a little
more, you get to see my fun side.”
If you haven’t seen him around
campus, that’s on purpose. Although he attends the majority of
his classes, Jones always sits at the
back — much like in team film sessions — where he can observe everything. Although the star on the
team, he prefers to keep a low profile, never wearing his Rams gear
outside of team functions.
“I don’t want that [attention,]
I don’t need that,” he says. “Because when it comes to athletes,
people have this perception about
you without knowing you and
sometimes it’s not always positive.
So I’d rather be able to just blend
in as a regular student. Me personally, I don’t care what people
think, but when your face is everywhere, you’ve got to conduct
yourself in a certain way.”
Traditionally, Jones has led by
example. Described by teammates
and coaches as “the first guy in,
last guy out,” Jones spends an
incredible amount of time in the
gym — a trait emulated by his
teammates. If Jones isn’t finished
a workout, neither are they; they
keep going. The post-surgery period taught Jones the value of taking care of his body. Ever since,
he’s iced his body after every game
and practice, and spends an hour
every day in physiotherapy.
“We practice harder than we
play at real games sometimes.
You’ve got to ice your body,” says
Jones, who encourages teammates
to utilize the extra time with team
trainers. “You realize that next
day in the weight room that your
body is still sore.”
Jones says he “didn’t see the
point of beating guys in practice”
until his experience playing for
the Canadian national team in the
summer of 2011 at the Pan Am
Games in Mexico and at the University Games in China, alongside
the top players in the CIS. While
he made a few contacts, he says
he prefers to limit friendships to
players on his team to maintain an
edge on the court.
“There’s no relationship with
anyone not at Ryerson. There
are no handshakes or friends. If I
know you, I know you, but I don’t
talk to you,” says Jones. “We
don’t follow each other on Instagram or anything like that.”
Fred Grannum, one of his high
school coaches, attributes Jones’
dogged approach to having had a
chip on his shoulder from an early age. At just six foot and “150
pounds soaking wet,” he always

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PHOTOS: CHARLES VANEGAS

had something to prove.
Once criticized for demonstrating poor body language, Jones
could be seen dancing in pre-game
introductions the past two seasons
— something assistant coach Patrick Tatham says sent a message
to his teammates that their leader
was ready to go. Able to bring
out his voice on the court, Jones
now even helps rookie Filip Vujadinovic with improving his own
court conduct.
“Since day one he’s been helping me with the transition,” says
Vujadinovic. “In games he’s been
teaching me how to play defense,
how to play offense. He’s basically
been an older brother to me on
and off the court.”
Over the years Jones has roomed
with younger teammates, currently living in a townhouse with
third-year forward Juwon Grannum and second-year forward
Jean-Victor “JV” Mukama.
Jones’ older sibling persona
comes naturally, as he has a
younger brother: Jaren, 15. Ryerson’s close proximity to home allows for Jaren to watch his brother’s games in person and hang out
with the team. In the summer, he
spends weeks at a time living with
Jones and his roommates, while
participating in Ryerson’s basketball camps. Though he is a talented point guard himself — taller
and more athletic, according to
his older brother — Jones says he
never puts pressure on his brother
to follow his footsteps.
“We don’t talk about that. We
just talk about getting better,” says
Jones. “People put pressure on
themselves. He’s his own person,
I’m my own person. If he wants to
play [for Ryerson] he’ll play.”
While a guaranteed presence,
the Jones family never sits together at games. Jaren will find a spot
and split time between the game
and his phone. Their mother, Verona, sits in the student section,
where she is sometimes the loudest voice in the crowd.

“She likes being a part of everything — she’s our number one fan,
but sometimes takes it to another
level,” says Jones. “That’s why she
sits by herself — she gets so agitated.”
Seeing Jones’ father Devon is
like a game of “Where’s Waldo?”
Much like his son, Devon likes to
be able to observe everything —
moving throughout the bleachers, sometimes settling for a spot
amongst the other team’s fans. He
likes to hear how other people talk
about Jahmal.
“I’ll just be sitting there laughing
and smiling and they don’t know
why,” says Devon. “I was at a game
at Kerr Hall. [Another player’s] father, he was one seat above me. He
was like ‘pass him the fucking ball!’
I was like, ‘what’s wrong with this
guy?’ They were winning the game
and Jahmal was just running out
the clock. The game finishes and
he said to my wife, ‘where’s your
husband, why haven’t I seen him?’
And I was right there beside him.
The floor could’ve opened and
taken him in when he was going
on and carrying on like that. Guy
didn’t know who I was.”
Since before arriving to Ryerson, Jones and his father have
always
discussed
carrying
out “the plan.” While Jones
worked at the AMC theatre,
his parents have always helped
him — bringing supplies
and home-cooked meals
every Sunday for the past
four years.
“I said, ‘when you get
to university, whatever
you do, stay out of trouble. You’ve already got
a plan. Try not to derail the train,’” Devon
says. “‘I’m going to stick
with you no matter what
you decide … because
I’ve given you everything
I’ve got. I’m going to try
to give you what my father didn’t give me —
anything you want,

you just make a phone call.’”
With the plan almost complete,
the Rams now have to prepare for
life after Jones, the only player in
team history to be named an OUA
All-Star in five consecutive seasons.
The business technology management major hopes to eventually combine his love of sports
and statistics by working in the
growing industry of fantasy
sports, but according to Devon,
he has received several emails and
phone calls regarding a future as
a professional. But Jones has yet
to respond, saying he just wants to
focus on graduating in June.
He says he now feels less motivated to do well academically, as
he has always maintained good
grades to stay on the court.
“People always say, ‘if you
didn’t have sports, school would
be so much easier.’ But some people are in school for sports. They
have to get good grades to be on
teams because it’s a privilege.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Sports ISSUE

9

Mariah Nunes

PHOTOS: STEPHEN ARMSTRONG

By Luke Galati
After a year and a half, Mariah
Nunes just couldn’t take it anymore. She walked away from her
NCAA Division I basketball scholarship at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), got into a car and
drove home. With her hands on
the steering wheel, Nunes drove
nine hours from New Jersey back
to Ajax, Ont., in the middle of a
snowstorm. “I felt such relief. Just
to call it quits, go home and not
come back.”
On the hardwood she was a
starter and playing her best basketball during the 2012 season.
That’s why she says that everyone
was surprised when she left. “I
was doing well on the court, but
no one saw behind closed doors.”
She says that it got to the point
where head coach Peter Cinella
and the FDU coaching staff would
let the girls on her team “do whatever they wanted to me.” The last
straw for Nunes was at a FDU
practice in Teaneck, New Jersey.
With the ball in her hands, she
was punched square in the face
with a closed fist by one of her
teammates. Her nose felt broken
and was gushing blood. Then her
coach came up to her and said,
“You got a scratch? What’s up?”
“He joked about it and made
it seem like nothing, when really I actually had a concussion,”
Nunes says. Her nose didn’t
break, “but it was so swollen and
I had to sit out games from
the concussion.”
The staff at FDU didn’t
take her to a hospital to get
it checked out. Instead, “the
trainers just assessed me,”
she says.
Nunes says that type of violent

conduct allowed by the staff at
FDU “was just really dirty and
my coaches just accepted it and
allowed it.” She says they rationalized it by saying that it would
make her “tougher.”
During a previous practice they
were training and had to run
timed laps as a team. In groups of
six, three had to make the time,
or the group kept running. Nunes
says that she remembers it was a
5 a.m. practice, so she didn’t have
an appetite and only ate a granola
bar that morning.
“I was the only person making
it, so I kept going in the group to
sprint.”
Before the last lap, she remembers fainting and blacking out. “I
pushed myself so hard and as I got
up my coach asked if I was OK. I
got up and said, ‘I think so,’ and
he said, ‘Well OK, finish up.’”
“I fainted, everything and my
coach was like, ‘OK, finish up
your set.’” So, she ran the next set.
Nunes says that eventually
she became conscious and realized that the way she was being
treated wasn’t worth it, even for
the sport that she loved. Regarding her old coach Cinella, she says
that, “he saw potential in me, he
tried to push me. But, he pushed
me so hard that he pushed me
away.”
Nunes makes it clear that she
doesn’t feel she was abused during her time playing in the NCAA
at FDU. “It wasn’t like the coaching staff was literally hitting me
or anything. But they would say
things — they would talk down
to me. They would say that about
my character, I was ungrateful,”
she says. “They bullied me.”
For Nunes, it didn’t feel right
from the very beginning. She first

went to FDU during her Grade 11
year for a recruiting visit. She says
that the school was hounding her
24/7 trying to get her to commit.
Her trip was a good experience
and her parents were especially
impressed.
“[My parents] loved the treatment. They would take you out
to fancy restaurants, put you in
a nice hotel, they treat you well,
wine and dine you so that you’ll
go to the school. But, I wasn’t
sure. I wasn’t sold on it.”
With two years to go before
Nunes even graduated high
school, the FDU basketball program told her that someone else
wanted what could be her spot.
They said that they wanted her,
so she was given the ultimatum of
having to decide her future in less
than two weeks. She had to either
take the full scholarship now, or
nothing.
She felt the pressure. At the
time, none of her other siblings
had ever gone to college or university. Her cousins, aunts, uncles
and entire family were so excited
about her chance to go away and
play basketball. They were proud
to see someone who they loved
earn a full-ride scholarship in the
United States. Even when she decided to come back home, she felt
a lot of pressure from her family to
stay. “I felt like everyone was like,
‘Oh, this is a great opportunity,
you should stick this out.’ But, I
had to come to the realization that
my happiness came first. So, I just
left.”
Nunes felt relief knowing that
she was leaving behind an environment where she was constantly getting injured, having to play
through sickness and where they
weren’t considerate of her well-

being.
“I thought that it wasn’t fair,
that I was giving so much just to
play basketball. It became a job,
it wasn’t fun anymore.” When
she thinks about it and looks back
now at the training that FDU put
her through, she says, “It was
ridiculously hardcore. Like, I
thought I was going to die, with
all the lifting and running.”
One of Nunes’ high school
coaches told her about Carly
Clarke, the head coach of the Ryerson women’s basketball team. Despite the struggle and the negative
basketball experience that she went
through, she was drawn back to the
game. She wanted to be somewhere
that cared about her well-being, a
place that valued her character as a
basketball player, but more importantly, as a person.
She didn’t want to feel
how she did in the NCAA as,
“just a machine, you know?
Basketball, basketball, basketball.” Nunes knew that
she needed a coach who was
considerate of their players
— a teacher with passion,
willing to guide rather
than just push. “I wanted
to come to a school with
a fresh start and try
to work my way
up.”
At the time, she
was joining a Ryerson Rams team
that lost more games
than they won. Fast
forward two years later
into 2015, and Nunes is
now an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) second-team all-star guard,
solidifying herself as a top 20
player in the
province. She’s
become
the
team’s most efficient
threepoint shooter,
and is an integral member
of what she
calls “the Ramily,” who
finished
the season
with a

16-3 record. Nunes and the Rams
even made history this season,
winning a program-first OUA silver medal and appearing in the
Canadian Interuniversity Sport
(CIS) Final 8.
“This is the best team that I’ve
ever been on,” she says. “I literally love all my teammates, those
are my girls and I feel so fortunate to be a part of this team.”
Nunes, now 21, will be returning to Ryerson next year to finish
up her criminology degree. She
says that despite the setbacks, the
grief and the moments of pain
that basketball has weaved her
through, she hasn’t lost her love
for the game.
“It made me grow as a person to
see my true value and my worth.
Basketball, it’s important to me —
but it’s not everything.”

10

Mitch
Gallant
By Devin Jones
The cliché of athletes feeling lost
once their careers are over is thrown
around quite often in the sporting
world. But Mitch Gallant pauses to
think of an answer to ‘what’s next?’
At six foot and 195 pounds,
the Ryerson Rams right winger
is intimidating to say the least —
that is until he flashes a smile and
cracks a joke. He apologizes for
being late for the interview even
though he’s on time and asks me
how I am, genuine curiosity apparent in his voice.
“He’s a guy you can always
count on, the kind of person that
you can talk to about anything,
whether or not it’s about hockey,”
said fellow teammate and captain
Michael Fine. “He’s a character guy and character player, you
know he’s got your back on and
off the ice. Anything for the team
type of person.”
Gallant, 25, has been around

hockey his entire life. As he shares
the story of his dad building a rink
in their backyard, he looks off into
the distance, a smile forming as he
remembers his childhood.
“[At] four years old, I used to
be out there at five in the morning
shooting pucks. My dad thought I
was crazy,” he says.
“It’ll definitely be an adjustment when he stops playing, it’s
hard for every player,” says his father Donnie Gallant. “Coaching
is the closest thing, when you’re
not a player, to being involved
with the game. But when you get
into the workforce you don’t always have time for the things you
want to do, so we’ll see what he
wants to do.”
There are fathers who
enrol their sons in sports
and then stand back and
let the coaches take over.
Then there are the fathers
who enrol their sons in sports
and end up coaching them. Don-

THE SPORTS ISSUE
nie was the latter, helping coach
his son throughout minor hockey.
While he never gave his son any
slack or preferential treatment
throughout his father-son coaching tenure, Donnie believes his
son always had what it took to
make a career out of playing,
whether he coached him or not.
“Mitch is a pretty straight-forward, what you see is what you get,
nothing fancy player. He can score,
but he finishes his checks and plays
clean and he plays hard,” Donnie
says. “He’s always been a good
player on any team that he’s on.
I’ve always told him to be respectful of the game and just play to his
style.”
Fielding offers from the University of Ottawa and the University
of Prince Edward Island, Gallant
ultimately chose to attend Ryer-

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
son in the spring of 2011 and play
for the Rams because, “you can’t
pass up a chance to play in [the
Maple Leaf Gardens].”
Gallant accumulated only 19
points in his first three seasons with
the Rams, but 14 of those came
during the 2013-2014 season. That
was why head coach Graham Wise
decided to promote him to the first
line this season; playing with offensive powerhouses Domenic Alberga and Fine. Gallant doubled
his points from the previous season
and put up 28 points in 25 games
— something Wise attests to his
off-season training and playing
with high-calibre players.
“Mitch has gotten better over
the years, he contributes on offense and he’s an all-around,
hardworking
guy
who
we’ve come to expect a lot
from,” says Wise. “His
off-season training, getting himself where he

Troy

Passingham

By Sarah Cunningham-Scharf
If you see Troy Passingham around
campus, he’ll look like an average
fourth-year Ryerson student. He
sports a midterm beard, a baseball
cap and jeans. If you ask him his
favourite beer, he’ll say Budweiser.
He likes to play video games and
doesn’t like commuting from Mississauga.
But Passingham is anything
but average. This past season, the
six-foot-five goalie played in all
27 games for the Ryerson men’s
hockey team while working toward his degree in geographic

PHOTOS: ANNIE ARNONE

analysis.
“We got into a situation where
we needed to win every game
down the stretch,” he says. “It
turned out I needed to be in there
every game, so I just kept going
out there when [head coach Graham Wise] told me to.”
And starting each game didn’t
phase the self-described “calm
and confident” goaltender. He led
the Ontario University Athletics
(OUA) with 889 total saves — 94
more than the next best goalie.
His .904 save percentage was
the 13th best and he was ranked
fourth in wins with 14.
“It was a good thing,” Passingham says. “As a goalie you want
to play every game, so I take it as
a sign I deserve to be out there.”
Wise says he didn’t plan for
Passingham to play every game
prior to the start of the season.
But since the two backup goalies
were rookies, it became a matter
of experience.
“It’s a big challenge for him to
play that number of games and we

asked a lot, but he was able to
do it for us,” Wise says.
Ultimately, the Rams lost in two
straight games in the first round of
the playoffs and were eliminated
by the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
“The playoffs are where you
want to have the most success so
losing is always tough, especially
when it’s U of T, it’s our cross-town
rival,” says Passingham. “We finished higher in the standings so we
thought we had a good chance but
it was two close games.”
When Passingham started
playing, he wasn’t necessarily a

goalie. “I started playing hockey
when I was seven,” he says. “I
wasn’t very good as a [skater].
When I got my chance at goalie
I thought, ‘wow this is awesome,’
and from there on I was a goalie.”
“My family’s pretty supportive in general,” Passingham says.
“My dad’s always been that driving force to go to all the practices,
yelling at me when I do bad stuff.”
After living by himself for a few
years to play junior hockey, being
able to live at home with his family
was one of the main reasons Passingham chose to come to Ryerson.

PHOTOS: ANNIE ARNONE

needs to be physically, as well as
playing with Fine and Alberga
has paid off.”
While Gallant will be with the
Rams for one more season, his
future in hockey after school is
clouded for now. But whatever he
decides to do, one thing is certain:
he’s perfectly fine accepting any
cliché that’s associated with hockey, as along as it means he can be
around the sport that’s defined his
life.
“Its hard to see my life without
hockey after being involved with
it for 20 years, so if I wasn’t
playing, I’d hopefully be
working somewhere in
hockey,” says Gallant. “I’d
like to own my own business, maybe open up a restaurant. I’d like to work for
myself, have something that
I created. I don’t like working
for other people.”

“Having my family right there,
having that support system behind
me has probably been a big help,”
he says. “I could have easily lived
on my own but it’s kind of nice to
be at home and be able to come to
school.”
While he admits splitting time
between school, hockey and commuting can be a “time crunch,”
he says he’s been able to succeed.
“You just get used to it after a
while. It’s a lot harder to play
hockey and do school but I’ve
been here for four years now and
I’ve kind of gotten used to a routine and balance my schedule.”
His personal goal for next year
is to, again, start every game. “If
they bring competition in I’m going to be ready for it and prove
that I’m ready to be that number
one guy next year again.”
In terms of the future, Passingham says, “I’m just trying to get
through university right now and
see what happens from there. I just
try and continually get better so I
can maybe go places with graduate school or hockey.”
Wise says Passingham’s size is
one of his assets as a goalie. “He’s
a big body, he covers a lot of net.”
But that’s not all Wise says
about Passingham’s skill as a
goalie.
“He was a solid goaltender for
us throughout the year — he was
an iron man playing all the minutes that he did.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Emily
Nicholishen
By Brandon Buechler
A girl sits at a desk, pencil in hand,
furiously sketching the portrait of
an anime character while Lady
Gaga blares on repeat from speakers behind her.
She brushes away her shortcropped blonde hair, rolls down
the sleeves of her sweater, inserts
her thumbs back into its worn
holes, marveling at her work.
An email notification pings: the
results from last week’s volleyball
tryout. The subject reads, “Come
back as a libero.”
A 16-year-old Emily Nicholishen knows the reason — she’s too
short to be a hitter.
Typecast as a libero, a defensive
position where shorter players
thrive, she has been here before.
Five years later Nicholishen — at

five feet seven inches tall — is a key
piece on a nationally-ranked Ryerson women’s volleyball program.
As a hitter.
“I’ve never been your typical
volleyball player,” Nicholishen
laughs, just weeks after completing her fourth season and third
playoff appearance at Ryerson.
But it’s never stopped her — in
fact, it’s pushed her.
“[Being different] used to light a
fire under my butt,” says Nicholishen, now 21.
Head coach Dustin Reid says
that was part of why his club recruited the promising young star
from Sinclair Secondary School in
Whitby, Ont.
“She could do anything she wants
if she puts her mind to it,” he says.
“And we were looking to bring that
type of culture to Ryerson.”

Lucas
Coleman
By Daniel Rocchi
Lucas Coleman has played his
way across Canada, the United
States and the world. But there’s
no place like home for one of the
top volleyball players in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA).
And that means there’s no place
like Ryerson.
“I knew Ryerson was home
for me,” says Coleman from his
seat overlooking the Coca-Cola
Court at the Mattamy Athletic
Centre, killing time before the
daily weight-room ritual in what
he calls his most important offseason. “It had a much better
feel than I found at any other
school.”
Coleman joined the Rams in
January 2014, leaving behind a
volleyball scholarship at Utah’s
Brigham Young University, home
to one of the top athletics programs in the United States.

“They have a fantastic volleyball program, probably the best
in the NCAA,” says the professional communications student of
his first post-secondary stop. “But
I couldn’t see myself living there
for four years. I wanted to be close
to home and Utah was just a little
too far.”
Coleman seemed to click well
with his new team as soon as he
arrived. He was second on the
team with just over three points
per game in his 23 sets as a firstyear player.
But he confesses that it wasn’t
until Ryerson’s first-round playoff game against the York Lions
that he finally felt comfortable as
a Ram.
“That was probably the most
[high-] pressure game I’ve played
at Ryerson,” recalls Coleman. “I
was able to come off the bench
… and immediately step in and I
knew I wanted to be the leader of

The Sports Issue

11

The team improved to 6-13
in the 2011-2012 season before
breaking out the following season,
going 14-4 and winning bronze in
the Ontario University Athletics
(OUA) playoffs.
And Nicholishen was a mainstay
all the way, averaging 55 appearances and 164 points each season.
Nicholishen admits that she was
a little bit different from the rest of
her teammates coming up through
the high school and club volleyball
systems.
“I was an awkward kid. I never fit the stereotypical volleyball
player: Lululemon pants, Hollister
shirts, that kind of thing,” Nicholishen says. “I had the sweaters with
the thumb holes, short hair — the
‘emo’ cut, with the eyeliner.”
But coming to Ryerson allowed
her to grow — both her hair and
her character.
“Coming here, I really found
myself, who I am as a person,” she
says, her straight blonde hair now
reaching far past her shoulders.
“Emily loves the city,” Mary
Ellen Nicholishen, Emily’s mom
says. “[Toronto] is contemporary
and immediate, and she wants to
be a part of that.”
Mary Ellen describes her daughter as somebody who is energetic,
fun and excitable, yet quiet, studious and thoughtful at the same
time.

“Emily had plenty of friends
[as a kid],” she says. “But then
she was always in her room, doing her homework or drawing
something. She was very good at
science.”
Nicholishen spent her first year
at Ryerson in the new media program, believing it would be the
ideal outlet for her artistic talent.
“It ended up being complete
the opposite kind of art that I was
into,” she says. “It’s that Nuit
Blanche kind of stuff that you
have to wrap your head around
and I wasn’t into that.”
After her first year, she decided

to change her direction, enrolling
in biology. But ask her what she
plans to do with that degree and
you’ll get wide eyes and an open
mouth in response.
“I’m still trying to figure that
out,” she says. “We don’t have a
kinesiology program here, which
really sucks. I’d like to maybe stay
involved in volleyball as a personal trainer.”
Whatever Emily decides, her
mother knows her competitive nature will push her forward.
“She’s always been super competitive ... and I think that’s a good
thing,” Mary Ellen says.

this team and take this team as far
as we can go.”
Coleman had 17 kills, second
amongst all Rams, in a tight 3-2
road win over the Lions.
Joining the team halfway
through last season meant missing
summer training camp and teambuilding excercises. Although
he was playing with former colleagues, Coleman did feel somewhat out of place.
But when this year’s campaign
began, it was obvious that Coleman felt right at home.
The Rams were dominant all
season long, jockeying for a position near the top of the league
en route to a 15-5 record and a
second-place regular season finish. In his first full season in a
Ryerson uniform, Coleman led
the way offensively for the Rams.
He tied for third place among
all OUA players in kills and kills
per set, claimed third in the conference in points and points per set
and finished in the top ten for total
service aces and aces per set.
Those numbers were good
enough to earn Coleman a spot on
the OUA First All-Star team as Ryerson’s only representative. Coleman also became the second men’s
volleyball player in Rams history
to earn All-Canadian status when
he was named to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Second
All-Canadian team.
“He was so impressive this

year,” says head coach Mirek Porosa. “He exceeded, I think, his
own expectations and those of the
coaching staff. He was so consistent and efficient.”
Coleman still has high hopes for
his future with the Rams, especially after two quick playoff exits.
The quarter-final win against
York in 2014 was followed by
a defeat at the hands of the McMaster Marauders in Ryerson’s
first Final Four appearance since
2008. This season ended in disappointment after the Windsor
Lancers upset the nationallyranked Rams in the quarter-finals.
Coleman believes his team is

better than those results and that
Ryerson can be a perennial challenger for both the provincial and
national titles. He intends to prove
it before he graduates.
“We just need to get a little more
consistent, but all of the pieces are
there,” says Coleman. “It’s tough
to create a dynasty — if it was easy
everyone would be doing it. But I
would definitely like to start something.”
Down on the court below, a
few of Coleman’s teammates are
playing basketball, a frequent
pass-time for the team. Rising
from his seat, Coleman calls out
a greeting to them and departs to
join the game.

PHOTO: SIERRA BEIN

PHOTO: SIERRA BEIN

THE Sports ISSUE

12

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kayla Karbonik
PHOTO: SIERRA BEIN

By Krista Robinson

CONTINUING
STUDIES

The secret behind the success of
the Ryerson women’s hockey team
this season might have a lot to do
with grapes.
Rookie Kayla Karbonik says she
won’t play a game without first eating a bunch of the bite-sized fruits.
When she talks about the double-overtime loss that eliminated
the Rams from the playoffs last
month, the right-winger unmistakably grins.
“It’s hard to be upset because we
did so well as a team,” she says.
Ryerson’s hopes of managing
more than a quarter-final appearance may have vanished early on,
but for the 18-year-old first-line
forward, the finale was just the
start of her Ontario University Athletics (OUA) career.
“We’re excited to have her here
[at Ryerson],” says head coach Lisa
Haley. “Kayla is very tenacious,
she loves to score goals and she
puts herself in a position to do so.”
Pronounced with the ease of alliteration over the PA system, Karbonik’s name was not only mentioned, but mastered by announcers
this season. Her stats hovered
around the top of the Rams charts
throughout the year. She finished
the regular season with 17 points,
including eight goals.
Defenceman and team captain
Jessica Hartwick praised the hard
work and smooth integration of all
the new recruits this season.
“Our first-year players came in
with a lot of talent,” she says. “The
coachability of our team has never
been better — when [Haley] shows
us a play, we pick it up right away.”
Before this season, the Rams
were never in playoff contention,
and even Hartwick smirks at the
thought of the team’s past records.
“The posters at the [Mattamy
Athletic Centre] never used to be
for women’s hockey,” Hartwick
says. “They aren’t going to promote a losing team.”
By the second half of the season,
Karbonik was placed on the first

line alongside veteran forward
Melissa Wronzberg and formerNCAA player Emma Rutherford
to form the best offensive line the
Rams have seen in its four-year
history.
“Typically the same three players
do not play together all the time,
but they certainly led the way as
our first offensive line,” says Haley.
“We’ll continue to switch up the
lines come next season.”
Whenever faced with a shootout situation in the regular season,
Haley would point to Karbonik to
do “her move.” With a left deke
too quick for most, she easily puts
the puck past the goaltender on
the open right side.
“I keep telling her that any good
coach is going to tell their goalie
what Kayla’s going to do,” says her
dad, Ross, who watched all of the
Rams games through video stream.
“But it really does work often.”
Late last August, the Karboniks
drove 22 hours from their small
town of St. Andrews, Man., to
Ryerson’s downtown campus. She
longed for the diverse and fastpaced environment that Toronto
promised, along with an Olympic
coach behind the bench.
“It’s tough not having her
around the house,” says Ross. “But
as a team that’s still building, we
thought it was the best opportu-

nity for her in Canada. Maybe she
could build and learn with them.”
Despite her impressive stats,
Karbonik has faced some difficulties off the ice. First years notoriously suffer academically in
their transition to post-secondary school and for her it’s meant
switching majors. Moving from
accounting to economics next year
could mean a fifth year for Karbonik, something the team certainly wouldn’t mind.
As a new face in the dressing
room, Karbonik also admits that
it’s been difficult integrating socially with some of the older players. Many of them have played
together since the team’s formation and the newcomer describes
herself as “pretty shy.”
“I’m always quiet coming into
a new team and I haven’t exactly
opened up to everyone yet,” she
says. “But I get along with everyone and I’m looking forward to
next season, for sure.”
With training for next year already underway, Karbonik, Haley
and the rest of the Rams now set
their sights on improving on the
team’s first playoff appearance.
“We took a significant step this
year and Karbonik was certainly
a big part of that,” said Haley.
“Hopefully we make another
jump next year.”

PHOTO: SIERRA BEIN

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

THE SPORTS ISSUE

Bryan Vardzel
By Matt Ouellet
The Ryerson Rams baseball program led the Ontario University
Athletics (OUA) league with 41.1
innings played last season and if
ace pitcher Bryan Vardzel had it
his way, he would have thrown in
all of them.
“We were playing Western in
a doubleheader and Vardzy had
started the first game,” catcher
Keith Capstick* recalls. “And in
the seventh inning of the second
game, we fought back and it was
a huge deal for us because Western is one of the better teams. [So]
Vardzy just went to the bullpen
and started warming up, he had
already thrown 130 pitches that
morning.”
Since the program started two
years ago, Vardzel has served as
the anchor of the Ryerson baseball
team and has acted as a consistent
force for a team that is still trying
to find its footing in the OUA.
“Bryan has sound mechanics
and a very repeatable delivery,”
head coach Ben Rich says. “This
results in him throwing a lot of
strikes, as evidenced by his extremely low walks per nine-innings.”
Vardzel exudes confidence in his
own abilities, having been around
the game since he was six years
old. He started in the Wexford
Baseball League in Scarborough,
Ont., and exhibited great skill for
the game at such an early age.
“I was generally a little bit bigger and stronger than other kids
even at a really young age,” Vardzel says. “I had good hand-eye
motor skills so it came pretty naturally and easily to me.”
Vardzel doesn’t rely on his natural talent, he takes every opportunity he can to learn more about
the game and observe other pitchers. He studies their approaches
to game situations as well as pitch
sequences. He takes pride in his

PHOTOS: ROB FOREMAN

“sports IQ” and hates the notion
of the “dumb athlete”.
“I think just having that knowledge of the game and being in tune
with the game, I find gives me
a competitive advantage,” he
says. “I take a lot of pride in
making sure I’m prepared to
accomplish what I can, I have
a pretty strong mental focus,
I’m pretty hard on myself at times
and I expect a lot out of people.”
Vardzel’s focus can often come
off as intense both on the diamond
and in the dugout. It can often take
coaches a few minutes to convince
him to leave the mound once it’s
time for the closer to come in, and
even then, he’s not always happy
about it. It can be said that Vardzel
would rather play the whole game
and be the reason why the team
lost, than come out and watch the
team lose for another reason. And
according to Capstick, Vardzel’s
not shy about his high expectations for his teammates.
“If you’re being dumb, or not
trying hard enough, Vardzy will
let you know about it and it won’t
be pretty,” the catcher says.
Vardzel also takes this calculated approach to his studies. He
had some scholarship offers from
American universities, but wasn’t
satisfied with their academic quality. He instead chose Trent University — where he spent two years
studying environmental science
— before he realized he wanted a
career where he’d have more stability and financial wealth, so he
switched to marketing at the Ted
Rogers School of Management.
Vardzel has dreams of working
on Bay Street, a world his parents
know very well. His dad is a risk
audit manager for Royal Bank of
Canada while his mom is a senior
vice president in charge of business process outsourcing at Capgemini, an IT company. They are
two very busy people, but they always made sure to make time for
him.
“They’ve always supported me
with everything that I’ve done
through the sport,” Vardzel says.
“They were willing to sacrifice a
lot of time and money along the
years to make sure I have the best
equipment, drive me to all the
away tournaments. It was pretty
much every weekend in the summer we were in a tournament
somewhere.”
Vardzel’s life as an athlete doesn’t
begin and end with baseball. His
main sport as a kid was hockey,
which he played at the AAA level
up until his minor midget draft
year, but was forced to stop when
he had to undergo two knee surgeries that were caused by injuring

himself playing volley-

ball
in gym
class.
He
was also a
member of his
high school’s
golf team and
boasted a single
digit handicap.
His
favourite
golf course is
TPC of Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Between his
athletic and academic schedule,
it
may seem
like Vardzel would
h a v e
time for
nothing
else, his serious persona taking over his entire
life. But he prefers to think there
are many different sides to him,
sides that show all aspects of his
personality.
“I have a very relaxed side to
me when I’m hanging out with my
friends,” he says. “I do have a serious side when it comes to sports,
but I can turn that switch off when
I need to.”
Even still, his coaches and teammates report occasions where
— in the middle of being serious
— Vardzel will have a one liner or
Pokémon reference that will leave
everyone doubled over laughing.
Whatever side of Vardzel you’re
getting, it can’t be denied that his
contributions to the young baseball program will be greatly missed
when he graduates this year.
“With us being such a young
team, organizationally, it’s important to have a guy like Vardzy
around,” Capstick says. “It’s all
about consistency. It would be
difficult for the rest of us to do
[our] job without a guy who can
consistently take the mound every
Saturday or Sunday morning, and
you know you can rely on seven
innings, 120 pitches and a shot to
win the game. That’s what Vardzy
brings that sets him apart.”

13
*Note: Keith Capstick is also a news editor at The Eyeopener.

Eyeopener Elections!
Speeches begin at 7pm, April 2nd in the
bottle-service-only VIP section of the
Ram In The Rye.

Voting is from 10am to 4:30pm on April 3rd.
Vote in person at SCC207, via email or by phone.
Email editor@theeyeopener.com for details.

CALLING ALL MEMBERS

RSU Spring General Meeting

AGM

Annual General Meeting of the Ryerson Students’ Union

WEDNESDAY,
APRIL 1
SCC115

Student Centre
5:00pm Registration
5:30pm Start

YOUR UNION
YOUR VOICE
• Discuss student issues
• Have your say on RSU
campaigns & initiatives
• Exercise your democratic
right

All RSU members (full time undergrads and full
and part-time grads) are eligible to vote on by-law
changes, motions, & set direction!

FREE DINNER
ASL interpretation provided. If we need other accommodations to
ensure your participation, please contact internal@rsuonline.ca as
soon as possible.

For more info on your
membership in the Students’
Union visit www.rsuonline.ca

14

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

15

[

]

Women’s Volleyball
Nationally
ranked for
three weeks

woMen’s Soccer
TIED RECORD
FoR MOST
WINS IN
A SEASON

]

Men’s Soccer
Makes
back-to-back
appearance
at Final Four
championship

[

Men’s Hockey
THREE RAMS SIGN
PROFESSIONAL
CONTRACTS

]

Women’s Hockey
FIRST PLAYOFF
APPEARANCE in
Program
History

] [

Men’s Basketball
First CIs
National Podium
Finish : Bronze Medal

Women’s Basketball
First
national
championship
Appearance & OUa
Silver MedalistS

[

THANK YOU!

Men’s VolleyBall
FINISHED 15-5,
MOST WINS
IN 8 YEARS

FOR AN AMAZING SEASON

ATHLETIC CENTRE

16

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

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2015-03-09 9:45 AM

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