McMaster has a women’s hockey team you probably didn't know about
C/O Lausanne hockey club
As a campus without a rink, McMaster hockey has never been a major source of popularity with students, but they certainly deserve it
Ranging from American football to soccer in both women’s and men’s categories, the Marauders have 16 sports that are representing the school in Ontario University Athletics, with an additional 11 sports that are in U-Sports.
One of the main team coordinators, Natasia Kurysko, described the dynamics of the hockey team, suggesting how it thrives without much university funding, a feat not commonly found in McMaster sports. Classified as a club team, McMaster hockey has to find ways to self-provide.
“Typically, OUA teams would get massive funding from the university because they represent the school on the ‘highest level’. Since we are a club team, it’s normal for us not to be funded [to a large extent]. Instead, we would raise funds through various activities that the whole team does over the course of the season,” said Kurysko.
Team activities could range from volunteering to doing raffles to raise the money for the team from the general public and supporters. Many teams found themselves seeking further funding through campaigns such as giving Tuesday, but the hockey team was vying for more than just a budget boost.
“One of the main ways of us raising money so we could play is through raffles that are hosted every now and then. We would typically raise sufficient funds that helps us buy time on the ice rinks near McMaster. Additionally, we usually offer to volunteer at different venues in return for time on the ice, which does save us a lot of money when it comes to budgeting,” explained Kurysko.
The women's hockey team is not a team to brush over, despite the disadvantages that they’ve been given. Even though they are not in Ontario's largest university league, they have racked up numerous good results over the past few months, for example, in December, where they swept the Guelph Gryphons 5-1 away from home. Other impressive results also came against regional rivals, such as the Brampton Canadettes and Cambridge Roadrunners.
“Our goal right now is to get into the OUA. We have been trying for a while now, but unfortunately it is a long process and it will take some time. Although I don’t think that I will still be here when it happens, I’m hoping that it can be possible soon,” said Kursyko
The team really functions like a typical OUA team in many ways, such as with their regular scheduling. From their current status to OUA status really isn’t as big a jump as many might expect, with the only thing setting them apart is the difference in quantity of practices
“I think that we deserve to be a part of the OUA, we practice every week, we are always on schedule and we do participate in tournament weekends. The tournaments that we play in are pretty much high-level hockey, which is something that we are proud of,” said Kurskyo.
Teams who are not a part OUA or U-Sports teams don’t typically acquire much funding from the universities they represent, no matter how successful the team is, which is why becoming a part of the league is such a significant goal for the team. Despite their current status, they’ve been able to make the best of the opportunity they’ve been given, and want to focus on what's important to the team in their journey to becoming a part of the OUA.
“Obviously it would be ideal if we get any sort of funding that isn't from fundraisers or volunteering, but typically that doesn’t happen [to a big extent] when you’re a club team. I am not mad at all, I am in fact proud to be representing the school on a high hockey level and I’d want to continue working towards making it to the university leagues soon,” said Kurysko.
Although it’s uncertain whether the women’s hockey team will be making it to the big university leagues anytime soon, their results have been very consistent, and the team has been organized with their commitments over the years. It could be said that the women's hockey team is, perhaps, the most underrated team representing our school.