|Ryerson Rams Men’s Hockey Team, 1962-1963, OIAA Champions
Back Row (L-R): Terry Simmons, A/Manager; Dennis Panchuk; John Taylor; Alex Fex; Bill McKenzie; Dave Woodburn, Manager; Rick Jordan; Reg Folk; Bob Doddridge; Don Borisko; Peter Noakes; Ron Scarcello, Coach
Front Row (L-R): Larry Pringle; Don DesJardine; Ted Kakino; Jim Hayward, Captain; Mike Volpe; Bob Soroko; Paul; Cook; Jack Morgan
The road to Ryerson was a little bumpy for Don DesJardine, 1963 Business Administration alumnus. His recent gift, however, to Rams men’s hockey – the largest individual gift in the history of Ryerson athletics – will smooth that road for future Ryerson athletes.
“Hopefully it’s going to help some young guys that are in the same position I was in,” says DesJardine about his support. “I want to make the choice easier for some skilled players in OHL Major Junior A considering going to Ryerson. It’s hard to believe the facility we have now. For anybody that wants to get an education and play at a high level, Ryerson is perfect.”
Before coming to Ryerson in 1960, DesJardine worked in his uncle’s garage, and on an assembly line making Coleman stoves. He quickly decided he didn’t want to be a mechanic, but he was not certain what his options were. Maybe pro hockey?
“I really admired Dave Keon, and wanted to play centre for the Leafs,” recalls DesJardine. “But I didn’t have his skill. I ran into a guidance counselor from my high school. He told me I should look into Ryerson and sent me a calendar.”
At his mother’s urging, DesJardine enrolled. Once at Ryerson, he was excited to learn there was a “pretty good” hockey team. He attended tryouts and was soon playing centre for one of the greatest teams in Rams history. As alternate captain in the 1962-63 season, DesJardine helped lead the team to an 11-0-2 record, and an Ontario Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship. The entire team was inducted into the Rams Hall of Fame in 2012.
“Ryerson was instrumental to my success, both in business and in life,” he says. He and many of his old teammates meet once a year for an annual golf tournament, and sport their vintage jerseys when they make it to Toronto for alumni weekend and Rams hockey games at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) at the Gardens.
DesJardine’s legacy at Ryerson extends beyond his place in the Rams Hall of Fame. He’s given back to create the Don DesJardine ’63 Award, support the “Adopt-a-Team” initiative, and name seats at the MAC for himself and his teammates. With this recent gift, he’s created awards for players and provided support that will strengthen men’s hockey at Ryerson for years to come.
“Mr. DesJardine’s gift will go a long way to build national recognition for our program,” says Dr. Ivan Joseph, Director of Athletics at Ryerson University. “Our student athletes work hard on and off the ice to achieve excellence, and this support promises to help men’s hockey reach their goals.”
“I was thinking about helping out and giving back. Doing a little more,” says DesJardine. “Blame it on Dave Keon,” he adds. Sure. But the Rams men’s hockey team thanks their alternate captain, Don DesJardine.