At one team practice, as the goalie was absent and Dave had told Ted he’d been a goalie as a kid playing outdoor hockey in Ottawa, Ted persuaded Dave to put on the equipment and fill in. He didn’t explain that six of the players had played Major Junior A, one had played a few NHL games and that all had hard shots. At Alumni events years later, Dave used to love to regale the story to the younger players. “They used me as a shooting target – it was unbelievable – the next day I was sore on every part of my body”.
For the 1962-63 season, Dave took over as team Manager. This team was one of the best in Rams history – it had an undefeated season and won the OIAA Championship – a feat that no other Ryerson team has done since. Well beyond their abilities as student-athletes, a bond developed among the entire team – players, coach and manager – that lasted a lifetime.
As his wife Ida Mae notes in his obituary, “words to describe Dave would be integrity, inclusiveness, generous and always willing to lend a helping hand” describe him not only as Ida Mae knew him but as the players on the team did at the time. He enjoyed just being around the players and we regarded Dave as one of the boys. So much so, that 50 years later when Ryerson inducted the team into the Athletics Hall of Fame – we made sure that Dave was included and ordered him a team retro sweater with “WOODBURN” on the back – which he proudly wore for years at Alumni events.
Dave was also very active assisting with the Ryerson Rams Hockey Alumni golf tournaments and annual Alumni Game events. As RRHA President Kevin Krasnowski notes, “Dave was usually the first person to email me to help with the putting contest for the golf tournament and alumni game and I enjoyed the time I spent with him”.
For the golf tournaments, he would not only run the putting contest but help man the registration desk. For the Alumni games in Maple Leaf Gardens, Dave would arrive early wearing his retro RIT WOODBURN sweater and resume his old duties of organizing the rooms – handing out sweaters, towels, tape and water bottles, collecting fees, locking the doors with special locks he’d purchased and painted blue and white as well as working the bench during the game – just like the old days.
Along the way, he developed a good rapport with the younger Alumni players. They called him “Woody”. As with the 62-63 team – it was evident that Dave just loved being with the Alumni players and they enjoyed having Woody around.
Dave graduated from Business at Ryerson in 1963 and went on to a very successful career. He initially worked for Hudson’s Bay and was one of the first Canadians in the furniture industry to escort study groups to the Far East. He was also editor of “Forum” – a respected monthly furniture magazine and became the national furniture buyer for HBC. In 1983, he formed his own consulting company for home products which he directed until retirement in 2015.
The entire Ryerson Rams hockey community was privileged to have had the opportunity to know Dave and participate in so many enjoyable events over the years with him. Without playing a game, with his infectious and welcoming personality and his successful career, Dave helped raise the reputation of Ryerson’s fine student-athlete hockey program to the top 10 level program it became.
Our sincere condolences are extended to Ida Mae and the members of the Woodburn family.
Submitted by: John Taylor, #20: 62-65 Rams, with input from Ted Woods, Paul Cook #10, Kevin Krasnowski #19 & Frank Sheffield #6