For the first time in school history, the women’s hockey team will host the homecoming game.
On Sept. 15, the Toronto Metropolitan University Bold women’s hockey team will play host to the defending U Sports national champions, the Concordia Stingers, in a pre-season HOCO matchup at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto.
The last time TMU hosted a fall homecoming game was in 2019, when the men’s hockey team defeated the Queen’s Gaels in a 4-1 win. Four months later, the men’s hockey team also starred in the winter edition of the homecoming game, defeating York University 6-5 in front of a packed crowd at the MAC. These would end up being the last editions of the fall and winter HOCO games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the men’s team had the spotlight three seasons ago, the women’s team got the call to represent the student body in 2022 and the players are eager to showcase their skill to the fans.
Bold forward Olivia Giardetti is getting set to play in her fifth season with the team. When she steps on the ice on Thursday night, the RTA Sport Media grad will finally get the opportunity to play in the HOCO game. This will be the first time a women’s athletics team hosts the homecoming game in school history.
“We [the team] were all surprised, but also honoured that we are the ones hosting it,” she said. “I’m hopeful that there’s going to be a big turnout.”
Men’s hockey often overshadows the women’s game in terms of audience, fan support and exposure, at both the university and professional level. The last two homecoming games saw the men’s hockey team draw a large crowd.
With a women’s sports team hosting one of the biggest non-playoff games of the season, the Bold women’s hockey team has an opportunity to attract new fans on Thursday night.
“The past two (games) that the men’s team have had, there was a big turnout… A lot of the time, the people who are coming to watch the (HOCO) game aren’t crazy hockey fans. They are there because they want to have fun with their friends, they want to feel like they are part of the school spirit,” said Giardetti. “I think this is an interesting situation because hopefully those factors are going to be able to bring a lot of people out.”
Fifth-year defenceman and fellow veteran Tori Butler isn’t shy about echoing the team’s excitement for HOCO.
“It was kind of like holy shit, we have homecoming,” said Butler. “There were a lot of excited people on the team because I feel like we never really expected to get it.”
Amidst all the excitement leading up to the game, the team still has a job to do and the defending champions are looking to spoil the party in Toronto.
“Since Concordia won nationals last year, we’re more looking at the fact that this is a really good opportunity for us to not only show all the fans what we are but also the defending national champions,” said Giardetti. “Being able to play a team like that and hopefully beating a team like that is going to put us on the map.”
While winning the game is the top priority, the prospects of a hard fought performance against the Stingers will hopefully grab the attention of the TMU faithful heading into the regular season.
“I want them to see our passion. I hope they see that we’re fun to watch and hopefully see them in the crowds again,” said Butler.
Homecoming is just two days away! Join us for the big game at the @MattamyAC on Thursday at 6:30 – everyone gets FREE admission!— TMU Bold (@tmubold) September 13, 2022
Have you stocked up on your noise makers and blue and gold swag? 💙💛 Jacob has some great ideas for you on what to bring to the game ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/7Fk1yd43V3
Before the 6:30 p.m. puck drop, TMU will be hosting a tailgate at Lake Devo, beginning at 4:15 p.m. Tickets are not required for the game, entrance is free to all, according to the TMU Bold Twitter page.