Photo by Willyverse.
[J]amie Wise and Domenic Alberga were once rivals.
Before they suited up in blue and gold, Wise, 22, played for the Mississauga Steelheads. Alberga, 21, played for the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
They butted helmets in the OHL not knowing that competition would turn in to camaraderie when they became teammates on Ryerson’s varsity hockey team.
Now, Wise and Alberga are seen as a killer combo contributing to a strong offensive line each game, which lead them to rank top two in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) in points.
“With me and ‘Wisey’ it’s a little competitive, but we’re both line mates and we know what we have to do regardless of if we’re one and two in the league,” said Alberga.
As a freshman and new addition to the team in September, Alberga was surprised at his second place rank in the league with 36 points.
“I didn’t honestly think that it would be possible seeing as there are a lot of guys in the OHL that are good players and I was nowhere near them,” he said. ”But I think this year is a good learning and building year for me.”
Wise, who is in his second year, placed first in the league with 37 points. He says that he wouldn’t be up there without the help of his line mates like Alberga.
“It obviously comes if you’re putting the puck in the back of the net and pays off when you’re working hard and you’ve got two great line mates with you,” he said.
The two have contributed to the team’s success by scoring points to victory. The Rams won their 14th game in the season last Saturday against the Waterloo Warriors, setting a new school record for most wins in a season.
So, what makes this duo click?
Graham Wise, head coach, says that the two have chemistry on the ice and having competed against each other in the OHL contributes to that.
“They’ve competed against each other and now they’re competing as teammates on the ice,” he said. “They’re both very skilled hockey players and fit well together because they see each other and know where each other are.”
Not only is Wise head coach, he is also Jamie’s father.
“Of course, you’re very proud of your son, he’s accomplished a lot,” said Wise cracking a smile.
He adds that despite being happy for his son, he always divides the line between father and coach.
“I think when we’re here I hopefully treat him like any other player,” said Wise, returning to the composed expression you could imagine he wears on game days.
But the two players aren’t letting their success get to their heads, and give credit to their fellow teammates.
“It’s not just me, it’s the whole team and we’re playing together well,” said Wise. “From the goalie out to defence, they’re all doing their job.”
Alberga agreed adding that teamwork is essential on the ice.
“We’re just going to keep helping each other out there,” he said. “We know that if we get the puck that we’re going to end up scoring or creating a good scoring chance for the team.”
The Rams (15-7-0) won 7-1 in a game with the Lakehead Thunderwolves (14-5-1) on Saturday, bringing Ryerson back to first place in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) west division after a losing to Lakehead the previous night.
Despite accomplishing a lot this season, the players know there’s always room for improvement.
“Definitely defensively as a team we have to be better,” said Alberga. “We’re going to obviously provide offense, but we have to work on our defensive game more against big teams like Western and McGill.”