Kori Cheverie has already leapt into her new role as an assistant coach of the Ryerson Rams men’s hockey with relish.
The New Glasgow native made waves recently when the Rams named her to the team’s coaching staff, the first female hired as a full-time assistant coach in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) men’s hockey.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “Ryerson believes in equal opportunity, be it on the ice or administration. Ryerson leads the way in its fast-forward thinking.”
Cheverie’s rise in hockey includes her time at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax where she was a three-time Atlantic University Sports first-team all-star, team captain, an Academic All-Canadian and two-time Saint Mary’s female athlete of the year. She has also played in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League for the past six seasons.
She feels undaunted by the adjustment to men’s hockey.
“I always feel I have confidence in myself,” she said. “It’s going to be a learning curve. The game is all about needing to move the puck before you’re going to get hit. There’s some hitting in female hockey but in men’s hockey they’re just bigger bodies out there.”
The team was scheduled to start tryouts on Tuesday among incumbent and prospective players. A scheduled exhibition game and a tournament at nearby York University will precede the Rams’ first regular-season home game on Oct. 6 against Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
Cheverie is not entirely sure what her responsibilities will be but she has already begun transferring their playbook from diagrams to video.
“We’re all young and eager to get started,” she said. “We’re still figuring out what everyone is doing.”
She is also channeling her achievements as an academic All-Canadian to help the Rams’ players raise their academic standards. One way to achieve that is to supply a smart phone app that will help players schedule their transportation, meals and other activities to coincide with their courses.
“It really helps them keep track of where they are,” she said. “Less stress in the classroom means less stress on the ice and better performance.”
Where the Rams play hockey is also top of mind for Cheverie – the 85-year-old edifice once known as Maple Leaf Gardens now called the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens. It features a ground-level supermarket, second-level gym that seats 1,000 and an upper level hockey rink that seats 2,600.
“I’ve found out how important its history is to a lot of people,” said Cheverie, who has an office there. “Ryerson did a great job of renovating it and keeping a historic touch.”