Archive for November, 2012

2012Nov 28

SPAD’s Always Ready for Some Football!

By SPAD Blogger Brianne Pankoff

On Sunday SPAD hosted its third official event of the year, the 2012 GC Party presented by the SGA/AGE, to watch the Calgary Stampeders and home team Toronto Argonauts play for the 100th Grey Cup. The third year students continued on their streak of professionally run events with an exciting atmosphere surrounding the big game. The party was held at Alumni Hall packing in more than 130 guests, appropriately decorated in blue and red for the two teams.

Beyond a place to watch the game with friends, other value added incentives included a raffle with prizes from sponsors, including the big ticket iPad won by 2nd year Mark Norris, Twitter trivia, and contests during the commercial breaks. Alex Foeller and Kyle Richey won an intense game of charades, and 4th year Peter Mehta took home the title of “Best Movember Mustache.” Other victories included Matt Jackowetz over Scott Rodgers in the Quarterback Toss Challenge, and Brianne Pankoff for the girls – all third year students likely inspired by last week’s sport media simulation heroes Tiego Brady and Jose Tebow.

A thank you and congratulations goes out to the organizing committee of Nick Andrews, Brittany Bilsborough, Melissa Bouffard, Tanya Lamon, and Connor Stevens for another entertainment filled night at Laurentian. The event’s sponsors are also appreciated for their support and partnership of the program including: SGA/AGE, Bacardi, the Toronto Argonauts, the Montreal Alouettes, Laurentian Bookstore, Vrab’s Independent, Pro Am Sportswear, Laurentian Residence, the Sudbury Wolves, Quizno’s, The Maples Golf, Cineplex Entertainment Silvercity Cineplex, Skaters Edge, and On the Sidelines radio show.

The Grey Cup Party is the last event of the fall semester as classes come to an end and exams start, but students can look forward to a busy winter with the upcoming Suitcase Party, SPAD Hockey Tournament, SuperBowl Party and Laurentian Snow Fight Tournament quickly approaching in the new year.

Click here to see the latest episode on the SPAD YouTube channel.

2012Nov 27

Hockey at Laurentian Thrives in Spite of the Lockout

North Kariya members (from left to right) Sam Boutillier, Noelle Kelly, Scott Rodgers, and Camille Smith.

By SPAD Blogger Benoit Roy

Despite an NHL lockout, students at Laurentian University have kept their hockey spirits high with the 2012 SPAD Hockey League, organized by SPAD students Corey Krupa, Keith Martin, Graham Snee and Evan Wallace.  The league, which is in its fourth week, is comprised of roughly 70 players mixed into 4 teams and has become a staple among the events hosted by SPAD every year.  Games are held on Friday afternoons in arenas across Sudbury and players have come to enjoy the flexibility of these time slots, but this year’s organizing team have added additional value to better the experience for the players.

After a great game of hockey, the players have an opportunity to visit The Plaza Hotel in Minnow Lake by Carmichael Arena, a local bar that has agreed to sponsor the event this year.  This new sponsor has teamed up with the organizers to provide players and teams a spot to discuss strategy and recap plays after games, while getting the chance to build camaraderie over beer and wings.  “This year for the SPAD Hockey League we have looked at creating an atmosphere for players by getting sponsorship from a local bar called The Plaza Hotel.  They are offering us great deals and the bar is a great location for all players,” states organizer Evan Wallace.  “By changing the game this year, we’ve hopefully created additional value for our players that will eventually build continuity and growth for the SPAD Hockey League in the coming years, which is the ultimate goal.”

The SPAD Hockey League is home to one SPAD-dominated team: Team White, otherwise known as “North Kariya.”  The team has a record of 0-3, and is led in scoring by newcomer William Kealey who is a first year Sports Psychology student.  His play was unexpected, but his prowess in front of the net and his awareness are two key components to the team’s competitiveness.  To round out the scoring trio this year are third year SPAD students, Brady Scott and Robbie McLellan.  Once again, Bryce Newton is lacing up the pads for the second consecutive year and has shown some progress, making note that he is making more saves and has shown steady improvement since last year.  The remaining players from team “North Kariya” are Samantha Boutilier, Cassidy Stewart, Benoit Roy, Brian Kelly, Ryan Stewart, Connor Stevens, Scott Rodgers, Sean Meyers, Jordan Kozak, Matthew Kennedy, Noelle Kelly, and Camille Smith, most of who are SPAD students.

The SPAD Hockey League is the most successful and popular student-run league at Laurentian University.  As such, the coordinators recognize that although running the event is primarily a learning experience in event management, the leagues long-term sustainability is vital for both future students and for creating revenue for SPAD students’ Fourth Year Consulting Trip.  Evan Wallace knows that “as one of the organizers of the SPAD Hockey League it has been a great experience.  It has taught me a lot, about the logistics of a league, how to be a part of an organizing committee, and what it takes to make it successful.”  We’re confident the organizing team will achieve their goals this year.

The league runs until the end of the academic school year and we’ll inform readers of the triumphs and results of the SPAD Hockey League and team “North Kariya” as they arise.

2012Nov 23

Wild Week in SPAD Classes

3rd Year Students Tebowing after the Sport Media Simulation experience.

By SPAD Blogger Brianne Pankoff

Throughout the program, SPAD students have been called into action during the past two weeks. Last Tuesday 3rd year students took part in a Simulation Day for their SPAD 3046 Sport Media & Communication class, and this week SPAD Frosh teamed up for their annual Scavenger Hunt. In a battle some have likened to the hit reality show “The Amazing Race,” all first years came out on the other side unscathed; however, the same cannot be said for the teams involved in Simulation Day, whom acted as Sports Information Directors, handling a fictional media crisis for the NFL.

To elaborate, on November 15th teams were presented with a hypothetical case waiting in their e-mail inboxes to kick-off the Sport Media Simulation. To their dismay their organization, the New England Patriots, were in Spain promoting the NFL internationally, when lo and behold superstar players ‘Tiego Brady’ and ‘Jose Tebow’ were abducted and ransomed for millions of dollars. Teams selected a leader to portray a Sports Information Director to control the crisis between the team, kidnappers, and mass media. Using teamwork skills and tools learned from class, students navigated the seven-stage simulation using the decision-making process through press releases, press conferences, and media advisories. Although the crisis given to the third years was extremely improbable, it required students keeping a level head, which can transfer to (hopefully) lesser crises in the real world. There were different outcomes in the final stage of Simulation Day, forcing the students to have to deal with how (or if) to address the media after the different outcomes for Seňor Tebow and Seňor Brady, including their demise in some scenarios. Aside from some ‘interesting’ displays of acting by the students, the simulation provided the students with an excellent learning experience.

Winning team for the SPAD Frosh Scavenger Hunt.

On a happier note, to finish off their SPAD 0100 Colloquia “Intro to SPAD” class, first year students were treated to a “Scavenger Hunt” around campus organized by the Student Council. They were split into 6 teams named after professional sports leagues in North America, and, fitting with this upcoming weekend, “Team CFL” won the close competition. Congratulations to Noelle Kelly, Carly Charman, Simon Tomlinson, Sam Dodington, Alex Pittman, Alex Saunders, and Nathan Didone, who earned 252 points by completing various tasks and collecting answers to a variety of SPAD trivia, academic questions, and exploring the entire University campus. After frosh day and a semester of colloquia, the first years have further insight to what the SPAD program and family is all about, and can look forward to the next few years of events to come, and pass the traditions on to the new students themselves.

2012Nov 22

SPAD Internship Profile: Kory Lafreniere and the Bluefield Blue Jays

Kory Lafrenier, a valued member of the Toronto Blue Jays minor league affiliate in Bluefield, West Virginia. Kory is on the far left, third from the bottom.By SPAD Blogger Cameron Brooks

The conclusion of third year for SPAD students is usually an exciting one, as most begin their internships and gain their first impressions of the sport business industry.   Many of our students have great experiences and do fantastic work with their organizations and fourth year student Kory Lafreniere is another one of the many fortunate and hard-working students.  Kory had the opportunity of working for Toronto Blue Jays affiliate, Bluefield Blue Jays which resulted in a unique job opportunity at its conclusion.  The following is a summary of Kory’s internship experience, in Kory’s own words:

This past summer I was fortunate to have spent my time with the Minor League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Bluefield Blue Jays.  This team is based in Bluefield, West Virginia and plays in the Appalachian League, which consists of 10 teams throughout four different states.

Having the opportunity to work within Minor League Baseball was truly a great experience.  Prior to accepting my internship with Bluefield, I had set my sights on interning with an MLB team without knowing how important, invaluable, and influential a Minor League experience can be.  Bluefield operates with such a small staff that the interns were given the ability to manage and be responsible for the sustainability of an entire department.  I was the “Manager of Guest Service,” which basically meant I managed 10-12 game day staff per game.  They were responsible for concessions, servicing fans, on-field product and other elements of game day operations.  The onus was on me to hire, schedule and manage each employee.

As I previously stated, because Bluefield was such a small operation, George (interim GM and team President) relied on the interns to help with every facet of running the team.  One of the ways I greatly benefited from working in Bluefield was through the excellent opportunities networking with industry professionals.  Every game (especially leading up the trade deadline), countless scouts, front office executives, and team representatives from various MLB teams would come and watch the Blue Jays and their opponents.  I took advantage of these opportunities by speaking with and learning from these industry leaders and have since developed a great network of contacts which will assist greatly in my career development.  With that said, I am taking advantage of my time by going to the Winter Meetings in Nashville in early December to reconnect with my contacts and build on relationships that I developed in Bluefield.  The importance of networking and maintaining those relationships throughout the offseason is very important.

Having completed his internship in Bluefield has helped Kory in gaining employment with the Toronto Raptors, where he currently works as an intern.  He works in the Community and Sport Partnership department of the organization, and uses this job to compliment the experiences he had in Bluefield to help better himself as a future professional in the baseball industry.  It is easy to see that Kory made a big impact down in Bluefield with his invitation to the baseball Winter Meetings in the next few weeks.  The work he completed demonstrates the value that SPAD students can bring to an organization while on their internships, and we wish Kory the best of luck at the upcoming meetings in Nashville.

2012Nov 18

SPAD Students Head to Montreal for Some Fun

By SPAD Blogger Brianne Pankoff

Last Thursday over 50 SPAD students made the annual trek to Montréal for the 2012 John Molson Sports Marketing (JMSM) Conference by Concordia University. An all-time high turnout of Laurentian delegates represented Sports Administration for the weekend, networking with other schools from all over Canada and countless business professionals from the sport industry. Four speaker panels, two keynote speakers, a marketing case competition, a dinner gala, social outings each night of the conference, and an optional tour of the Bell Centre lined up the busy weekend ahead.

The first night kicked off with a networking cocktail at the Best Western Ville-Marie where guests stayed for the weekend, and the case competition – a marketing case presented by one of the sponsors Reebok-CCM. The Friday included a Sponsorship panel and New Media and Fan Engagement panel, with five speakers on each topic. Friday evening concluded with a presentation from one of the keynote speakers and a delicious dinner at La Cage aux Sports. Julien Brisebois, the current Assistant General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and former Assistant GM of the Montréal Canadiens, engaged the audience as he spoke personably about his career and the decisions he made and opportunities that came his way to get him where he is today.

The final day consisted of the last two panels, “Winning is Eh-everything” featuring speakers from TSN, MLSE, NFL and NBA Canada, as well as the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL, and Creating In-Game Moments panel, going along with the conference’s theme for the weekend, which was #makeyourmoment. Students enjoyed their last evening at the Forum de Montréal dinner gala, where keynote speaker TV personality Cabbie Richards entertained guests with humorous inside stories he had gained over the years.

The annual JMSM conference is a great opportunity for SPAD students to socialize with other aspiring sports marketers, as well as gain insight from the industry’s top leaders in the historic city of Montréal. Delegates can attest that the invaluable information gained and learned from attending this event for the last three years, and the wisdom shared from guest speakers has contributed to our knowledge as the future of the sports business industry.

2012Nov 17

SPAD Students Head to Montreal for Professional Development

Opening ceremonies at the JMSM conference.

By SPAD Blogger Benoit Roy

On the weekend of November 8, 9, and 10, SPAD students had the opportunity to attend the 17th annual John Molson Sports Marketing Conference at Concordia University in Montreal.  The event, which focuses on providing students with current professional insight into the world of sports marketing, is a unique experience for most attendees.  Fortunately the array of panellists, varying from NHL, NFL and NBA executives, provided the conference-goers with opportunities to learn, network and receive creative inspiration for their own marketing or sponsorship endeavours.  The following will highlight the speakers for whom SPAD students expressed great interest in and provided beneficial information that can be applied during school years and after graduation.

Starting with the second panel of the weekend, it was this group who addressed aspects of social media in sport business that piqued the interest of SPAD students.  Among these panellists, Justin Kingsley, Head of Public Relations Division at SID LEE, explained how his achievements included creating one of the highest valued brands through initiatives created using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for Georges St. Pierre at zero cost.  This emerging marketing tactic is one that SPAD students will look to take advantage of as they progress through academia and their careers.  “Social media is the next best marketing tool for any business professional.  Particularly in sport where fans are emotionally tied to clubs and leagues, social media creates another element of connectivity on a personal level to strengthen those relationships,” states SPAD Student Council 2nd Year Representative, Sean Meyers.

The third panel, mediated by TSN Reporter John Lu, consisted of senior executives who discussed the challenges that Canadian sports organizations face and the methods that they use to overcome these challenges.  However, what was interesting about this panel was the tangent that the panellists created about how they first made it in the sports industry, and what’s required from aspiring sports business professionals.  Check out some of their advice here when they spoke to SPAD Bloggers after the session, in the latest episode on the SPAD YouTube channel. Ian Clarke, Executive VP and CFO of MLSE and Dan Quinn, Director of NFL Canada stated a number of aspects that these aspiring professionals in SPAD should focus on.  First, gaining a specialization and finding a passion in sports business is ideal instead of just focussing on a general education.  Second, building a network of industry professionals will only serve to benefit a student as he or she approaches graduation and seeks work opportunities.  Third, John Lu stated that the acronym “HARP” (meaning humility, appreciation, respect and professionalism) is a guiding light and a method to keep him grounded during his work.  From a SPAD student’s perspective, this insight is worth its own weight in gold.

The final panel of the weekend was about “creating in-game moments” and was comprised of executives in game-day operations and event management, moderated by legendary commentator Pierre Houde.  This particular panel touched on the fact that events are not experiences without engaging and exciting in-game moments, something that Sammy Choi, Director of Event Presentation for the NFL spoke about.  His duties include producing mega-events such as the Super Bowl, where every subsequent event requires innovation and change in order to elevate the fan’s experience from the previous year.  For a SPAD student, particularly those in third year who are organizing events, sitting in on this panel is an affirmation that creating those in-event moments and experiences is a priority for success.  JMSM ’12 was a learning experience for all attendees and was a great introduction into the sports business industry.

2012Nov 16

SPAD Alumni Profile: Tom “Big Poppa” Nicholls and his Big Heart

Tom Nicholls (SPAD’89) presenting a cheque to Ron Waite, President – Sport PEI.

By SPAD Blogger Benoit Roy

On May 12, 2012, Tom Nicholls (SPAD’89) an award-winning business owner, World Champion Powerlifter and Commonwealth Gold Medallist, was involved in a serious crash while racing his pro-stock car at the Halifax Speedway in a practice session, which left him in critical condition and fighting for his life.  Nicholls had been racing for two years with his team, Big Poppas 63 Motorsports at the time of the accident, and was participating in this event to raise funds and awareness for charities such as the Multiple Sclerosis Society and KidSport in Prince Edward Island.  In the past, Tom’s charitable efforts, along with the support of his businesses Vacationland RV Park and Naturally Fit Total FX, have raised $12,600 and another $11,151 respectively for the MS Society and KidSport.  His accident left him in hospital for several weeks as a result of a severe brain and neck injury and three cardiac arrests.  Upon hearing this news, and of an upcoming fundraising event being held by Tom’s family and friends, SPAD faculty members and alumnus Diane Mihalek sought the assistance of SPAD Alumni to help Tom and his family during this period of recovery.  Fortunately, the SPAD family came through once again.

SPAD Alumni donated a variety of items towards the fundraising evening in an effort to support Tom’s recovery during this time.  The response to this call to action certainly demonstrates the lengths to which the SPAD network will go in order to support one of their own in need, particularly for someone who has done so much for others in need.  Currently, Tom is still in recovery but in the four-month period since his accident, he has made incredible progress towards making a full recovery. Through physiotherapy, he has even returned to doing some light training (he squatted 260 lbs. just last week) and continues to organize charitable events.

Tom’s strength lies in the fact that he is a successful athlete, has won many world, national, and provincial titles in powerlifting and stock car racing, proving his determination and passion for sport.  This strength and positivity have played a significant role in his incredible recovery, along with the support of all of his friends, family and strangers, and demonstrates how a terrible situation can be remedied through one’s positive outlook on life.  A recent post to his Facebook page included the following: I hope others can gain something from what we have gone through.  Several adjectives, etc. can help explain the journey – determination, togetherness, friends, appreciation, stay positive, never give up or never yield, smile, happiness, strong support network, hard work, love, only the strong survive, and the one I don’t do well at-patience! Tom”

It can be stated that what you put forth will pay dividends if performed with good intentions and that is certainly the case as Tom has been able to walk away from this accident knowing that his strength and charitable nature resonated with SPAD Alumni (many of whom he did not know) who rose up to support Tom’s charitable causes and his recovery.  From the School of Sports Administration, we would like to thank all of those who came together in support of our alumnus and we’d like to wish Tom a speedy and healthy recovery. Tom, you represent everything good that SPAD tries to be.

2012Nov 13

SPAD Student-Athlete Profile: Sam Hirst

By SPAD Blogger Cameron Brooks

As we get closer to the winter months, another athletic season dawns on sports fans at Laurentian: basketball season.  With this comes an opportunity for another SPAD student to begin his journey as a Laurentian Voyageur, and this student is Sam Hirst.  Sam is a first year SPAD student from Barrie and he is one of the first SPAD students to be a member of Voyageur Men’s Basketball in a couple of years.  With the Laurentian Basketball home opener on November 16, the SPAD Blog decided to speak with Sam about his experiences with SPAD and in playing varsity basketball.

Q: What has it been like being a part of a men’s university basketball team since the start of the school year?

A: I feel like I get along and fit in well with the team. They are a great group of guys, I have really enjoyed the first two months of school playing with the team. They have really welcomed me to the team.

Q: What role do you see yourself playing on the team? What are your hopes for this upcoming season?

A: For this upcoming year I see myself being the spark off the bench, bringing a lot of defensive intensity to the game. My hopes for the upcoming season include having our team making the playoffs and hopefully continuing on to make nationals.

Q: For how long have you been playing basketball, and what is your greatest achievement as a player?

A: I have been playing organized basketball since I was in grade 3. My father loved basketball so I have always said that basketball was in my blood. My greatest basketball achievement came in my last year of high school when my high school team won the Single A OFSAA championships.

 Q: How have you been enjoying SPAD over the first few months?

A: SPAD is everything I expected and more in a university program. The SPAD students and alumni are all so close that it has created a family atmosphere. I have made a great group of friends so far and I can’t wait for the next four years.

Sam’s past successes and love for the game are sure to land him some quality playing time this year, and help him work towards being a key figure on the team in years to come.  As mentioned above, Sam and the rest of his teammates have their home opener on November 16 as they take on Windsor, so students should come out to cheer on their fellow class mate in his first univeristy home game.  We want to thank Sam for taking the time to talk with us, and we wish him the best of luck both this Friday night, as well as over the course of the season.

2012Nov 10

SPAD Across the Airwaves

By SPAD Blogger Benoit Roy

SPAD students have taken over the airwaves at Laurentian University with the inaugural run of On The Sidelines, a radio talk show discussing the goings-on of professional and amateur sports.  Hosted by SPAD students Kelly Turner and Connor Stevens who are in second and third year respectively, the gentlemen sought to create an alternate avenue on which to discuss their opinions on the matters that they are so passionate about in sport.  Laurentian University’s radio channel, 96.7 CKLU, took on the project in early October where the boys are currently in business and now broadcasting their show every Wednesday at 7 PM.

“It’s something I’ve always been at ease with, and is a sort of forum for me to talk about sports with people who share my passion,” states Turner, the creator of the project.  Having been inspired by a talk made by Rogers Sportsnet personality Rob Faulds to SPAD students, Turner has created an opportunity in a field often ignored by graduates of Sports Administration.  Kelly’s interest in radio broadcasting began in high school as he hosted a similar show on a channel dedicated to young sports broadcasters.  As for Connor Stevens, his first indulgence in radio broadcasting occurred more recently.  “Kel shared his idea of starting the show through social media, and this represented a pretty unique opportunity for me to get involved in something most SPAD students or students in general don’t often do.  The show allows myself, Kel and our guest hosts to share our opinions on the subjects we’re most passionate about to an interested audience which is a really great experience.”

The guys of On The Sidelines know that “sitting in a SPAD classroom is a lot like sitting in the studio for On The Sidelines.  Everyone involved has a passion for sports, and we all love sharing our thoughts on hotly debated topics.  SPAD has broadened our knowledge of sports, and has made it easier to have intellectual conversations on a variety of sports topics,” making the radio show more engaging for the listener and comfortable for the broadcaster.   Despite the material covered in SPAD classes pertaining more towards theoretical and analytical topics in sport business, the ground work created in class sets up the hosts for turning their opinions into fact-based arguments.  Topics such as the current NHL lockout, weekly NFL picks and fantasy predictions have been covered on On The Sidelines, among other areas of interest including current news on Laurentian Athletics and SPAD Events hosted throughout the year.

SPAD students are encouraged to join Kelly, Connor, and their more frequent guest hosts Ross Wallen, Sean Meyers and Cameron Baker in the studio or through call-ins to talk about the world of sports or to provide insight into what’s going on at Laurentian and in Sports Administration.  Tune in to 96.7 CKLU in Sudbury or online at on Wednesday evenings at 7 PM and be sure to follow the show on Twitter (@0nTheSidelines) and like it on Facebook (On The Sidelines).

2012Nov 6

SPAD’s Inaugural 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament a Huge Success

SPAD Ballers

By SPAD Blogger Brianne Pankoff

On Saturday November 3rd SPAD hosted its inaugural 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament presented by the SGA at the Ben Avery Gymnasium at Laurentian. The tournament consisted of a Men’s Competitive and a Co-ed Recreational Division with games beginning at 9:30am and continued until the champions were declared; all 20 teams guaranteed a minimum of 5 games and a free pizza lunch from Topper’s Pizza. The day also included a 3-point competition in front of 150 people. Tristan Ritchie won the competition and scooped up two lower bowl Toronto Raptors tickets. Other prizes were up for grabs from official tournament sponsors such as: Leisure Line, Ontario Basketball, Quizno’s, Eddie’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, Wallaceburg Bookbinding, Northside Toyota and Mardalvi Intl.

The Men’s 3 on 3 Champs.

With all teams advancing to the playoffs, the intensity was turned up, as two 3rd year SPAD teams faced off in the Co-ed division quarterfinals, where number 3 seed “Yao Know What I Ming” upset number 2 seeded “Dwight People Can’t Jump” to advance. The semi-finals were the end of the road for SPAD teams in both the Co-ed and Competitive Divisions as 2nd year competitive team the “T-Birds” were also eliminated. The 1st place winners of the SPAD 3 on 3 Tournament presented by the SGA for the Men’s Division were the “Scalabrine Crew” (Tristan Ritchie, Eric Lavergne Giroux, Mark Filliter, Joe Camelettie), who defeated the “Buddha Heads” in the finals. First place in the Co-ed division was won by “Gangnam Style” (Chris Crowder, Clint Knott, Roxanne Landry, Melissa Lariviere), as the “Carlos Boozers” finished in second.

With many comments from participants about the positive atmosphere and success of the tournament, a big thank you goes out to tournament organizers Mark Wiersma, Josh Dreith, Kevin Launeville, Chen Guang Zhu, and Alonso Gutierrez for a smoothly run event and fun day. Additional thanks to all the players and spectators who came out, as well as to all sponsors for their contributions. SPAD looks forward to many more years of the 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament to come. Check out more basketball action through the SPAD YouTube Channel.