Archive for March, 2015

2015Mar 19

SPAD Student Council President Profile – Nathalie Mihalek

By Blog Contributor David Maika

Nathalie Mihalek is this year’s SPAD Student Council President and she graciously gave SPAD Blog the time for an interview during her busy schedule.


DM: Hi Nathalie, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.

NM: Thank you for having me!


DM: What convinced you to come to the SPAD program?

NM: I came to Sudbury during my final year of high school to tour Laurentian. During the two days I was here, I was able to meet a few of the professors, attend a guest speaker and speak with a couple of students. After hearing everything they had to say about the program, its benefits and doing a bit of research myself, my decision was easily made. SPAD offers so many practical experiences in and out of our courses that would have been hard to deny.


DM: Describe your first two years in the Sports Administration program.

NM: My first two years here at Laurentian were absolutely amazing! I had the pleasure of meeting many great people in this program that have grown to become my best friends. Similarly, SPAD has been incredible on the academic side of things. The topics we study and the practical experiences we receive (planning/running events, simulations, cases, etc.) have really surpassed the expectations I had coming in to the program.


DM: As SPAD Student Council President, what are some of your roles and responsibilities?

NM: Some of my responsibilities as President include chairing bi-weekly meetings, overseeing the operations of the other council members, participating in faculty meetings and lastly, just being available to the students for any questions, concerns or anything else I can help with. Additionally, throughout the year, as a Council, we are responsible for planning and running several events for our students, which include a Jays Game at the end of summer, Frosh Day, Bowling night, Formal, etc.


DM: What motivated you to run for this position?

NM: During the 2013-2014 school year, I was Secretary on Council and during that time I gained a lot of knowledge and experience with planning events. Over the year I really enjoyed being involved and helping out whenever I could, which encouraged me to run for a position on Council again. I ran for President because I wanted to take on more responsibility and use the knowledge that I had gained to lead the other council members towards a fantastic year. Fortunately enough, the other council members this year are all very strong and dedicated leaders and with that, we were able to organize new events, incorporate new products for students to purchase and have worked on improving several behind-the-scenes operational aspects.


DM: How has SPAD impacted and prepared you for the third year internship and the sports industry as a whole? Has being on Council further developed the necessary skills for the industry?

NM: Since my first day in SPAD I have definitely grown a lot as a person. First and most importantly, I am a lot more confident when speaking in front of an audience because of the continuous feedback we receive after each presentation. Additionally, being on Council has helped me gain experience in running events, managing my time properly and working as a team towards a goal. I have always been very organized, which has been essential in order to assure all tasks get accomplished, and in a timely manner. I believe these skills have definitely prepared me for my internship coming up soon.


DM: What are your thoughts on being a 2nd generation SPAD student?

NM: Being a second generation SPAD student definitely has a few advantages. I have had several opportunities to meet and network with a number of SPAD graduates in the past, especially more recently. However, the best part for me is being able to exchange stories with my mom and compare how everything is today (campus modernization, residence life, courses I am taking, etc.) versus how it was in the early 90’s.


DM: If you could give one piece of advice to prospective students, what would it be?

NM: If I could give one piece of advice to prospective or first-year students it would be to take advantage of every opportunity that is handed to you, not only academically but go to as many events as possible, get involved in as many extra curricular activities as you can and lastly, enjoy every minute you are here because it will fly by very quickly! I can honestly attest that these past years have been the best three years of my life and I am very thankful to be in this program.


We would like to thank Nathalie for giving SPAD Blog the interview and we wish her all the best in the academic school year.

2015Mar 10

SPAD Events – The Inaugural Sportsnet Video Game Tournament Presented by PepsiCo

By Blog Contributor David Maika

What encompasses any event run by SPAD? The first thing that comes to mind is a display of physical talent. Events such as the Hockey Tournament, Ultimate Frisbee or Flag Football, are a showcase of athleticism for individuals and teams. Another aspect of SPAD events includes the unique and friendly atmosphere that makes the tournaments so enjoyable. This fun and special atmosphere was very evident in the most recent SPAD event, the inaugural Sportsnet Video Game Tournament presented by PepsiCo.

This tournament strayed away from the normal physically active event, which offered a nice change of pace from other events hosted this year. “The Video Game Tournament offered a glimpse into the creative mind of a SPAD student,” said participant Jeremy Ketchen. “It was a great change of pace to see something new and different. When speaking to some of the first years who look to run this event in the future, we agreed that this event has the potential to be one of the most successful events run in the year. There is such a high ceiling because of the popularity in video games and the way this event differentiates itself from the rest.”


Event Organizers (Top Row) Evan Kwan, Tyler Fitch and (Bottom Row) Shawn Salaj, Emma King, David Maika

The event consisted of two competitive tournaments and an arcade area. The competitive tournaments included the NHL 15 Tournament presented by Sportsnet and the FIFA 15 Tournament presented by Frito-Lay. Each tournament consisted of 16 individuals battling for video game supremacy and each tournament winner walked away with a $100 Future Shop gift certificate, $25 bookstore gift certificate and an Xbox One lanyard.

The Arcade Area presented by Pepsi was a pay-per-play zone that featured games such as Call of Duty, NBA 2K15, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Need for Speed, Street Fighter and Rock Band. For a small fee, participants could play the game of their choice. Based off their scores, players would be awarded raffle tickets for awesome prizes such as Xbox One prize packages, Toronto Blue Jays tickets and more!

The day started at 10AM, when SPAD Blog’s own Tyler Fitch commenced the NHL 15 draft. Based off a randomized draft order, participants would select their teams from the Sportsnet desk. Upon completion of the NHL draft, the FIFA 15 draft was underway. This time, participants had their teams selected for them at random, with the opportunity to reselect. Once the drafts were complete, the games were underway! Each tournament consisted of four divisions, with the top two from each division advancing to the Quarter Finals. The atmosphere was awesome, with some games ending in blowouts and some games going down to the wire. After the smoke cleared, the field was cut in half, as eight teams from each tournament moved on. The games raged on, and after close games in the semifinals, the championship for NHL and FIFA commenced. With a good crowd on hand, the FIFA 15 final began. Fellow SPAD Blog writer Alex Saunders duked it out against SPAD frosh, Jake Sparks.  In the end the veteran prevailed, and Mr. Saunders was the FIFA 15 Champion. In the NHL 15 finals, 2nd year SPAD student Mitch Schnitzler battled SPAD frosh Eric Foster. There seemed to be a trend prevalent, as the veteran prevailed and Schnitzler was dubbed the NHL 15 champion!

The tournament organizers would like to thank their volunteers for all their hard work, as well as to all those who lent their equipment. Another big thank you goes out to the sponsors of the event, which include:

  • Sportsnet
  • PepsiCo
  • Pepsi
  • Microsoft
  • Laurentian University Bookstore
  • Motley Kitchen
  • Crocodile Printing
  • Wacky Wings
  • Buck or Two Plus
  • Cosmic Dave’s Guitar Emporium
  • Cosmic Dave’s Vinyl Emporium

Just around the corner lies the last SPAD event of the year- The Laurentian University 3rd Annual Dodgeball Tournament. Registration is underway and the event will be held in the Ben Avery Fieldhouse on Saturday, March 21st.  For more information regarding the tournament, follow them on Twitter (@LUDodgeball2015) or on Facebook.

2015Mar 6

2nd Year Events Class Ready to Present to Ottawa Senators

By Blog Contributor Tyler Fitch

It’s been said time and time again, but a major benefit of SPAD comes from the experiences that students receive over the course of their degree. Field Trip, Internships, and GameDay are major selling points of the program, but there are numerous other projects that are invaluable experiences. This year, students in the 2nd Year Event & Facility Operations class are excited to work with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators in what surely will be a tremendous opportunity to gain insight into working in the professional sports industry.  While Event & Facility Operations have always been an important topic taught in the program, it has recently shifted from being taught in upper years to a 2nd year class, and the upcoming project with the Senators will see students work in groups to discuss the Senators recently implemented Sens Supporters Section.


Senators fans cheer in section 319, the "Sens Supporters Section"

Senators fans cheer in section 319, the “Sens Supporters Section”

This year, the Ottawa Senators have reserved Section 319 during certain games for their loudest & proudest fans, offering a chance for Senators super-fans to buy discounted tickets and unite (in red) in the section in an innovative attempt to create a European Football-like atmosphere at the Canadian Tire Center. Fans go through the “Red Scarf Union” (as a Senators supporters group) and are instructed to learn chants & loudly sing them throughout the game. The section has been put to the test in games against arch-rivals like the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, whose fans usually show up in numbers that rival the number of home supporters. SPAD students have been tasked with analyzing the current section & proposing additional measures to improve the atmosphere at the Canadian Tire Center for next year.

Students & faculty will travel to Ottawa to present their feedback & recommendations to the Senators. While the presentation with the team will undoubtedly be the focus of the trip, the students will also enjoy a tour of the facility before many will take in a game between the hometown Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres. Students will also get an incredible opportunity to meet SPAD alumni and Senators executives prior to the game and at a post-game reception.

Kiersten Briscoe is thrilled at the chance of working with her favourite team, saying “It means a lot. I have learned an incredible amount in the last week. Specifically, how to strip down a problem, and really see what someone is asking. Once you have that, your solutions become a little easier to see. It’s also been a great chance to learn about the Senators and RSU (Red Scarf Union) and a lot of the industry best practices. I’m also excited to learn that the Senators have their own Pulled Pork Sandwich. I’m pretty excited about that.”

With this being a new experience, second year student Shannon Brooks has kindly agreed to partner with the SPAD Blog in sharing the details & stories of the second years’ visit to the nation’s capital. Be sure to check out the SPAD Blog next week for a recap of the trip. The SPAD Blog wishes the 2nd years good luck on their presentations today!

2015Mar 5

CKLU 96.7 – The Locker Room Hits the Airwaves (Wednesday @ 7pm)

By Blog Contributor David Maika

The SPAD program at Laurentian University prides itself on being the only sports administration program in Canada that offers a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Being so prestigious, numerous applicants apply each year with hopes to become apart of the SPAD family.  Those who are accepted try to take advantage of all the program has to offer, with internships, consulting trip and the various unique courses. Some students use their passion for sport and venture outside the program to create unique experiences for themselves. Four students in third year, including myself, Jon Nelsons, fellow Blog writer Alex Saunders and Kyle Cormier, took the initiative to create their own sports talk radio show at the Laurentian-owned CKLU 96.7 radio station. Each Wednesday, The Locker Room discusses the past week of sport news.

The opportunity opened up at the beginning of the semester, when Jon Nelsons was contacted regarding open radio slots. Jon has a separate radio show that has been running for the past year. Called ‘The New Alternative’, it focuses on up-and-coming artists in the alternative music world. You can check it out every Friday night from 8-10 at  You can also follow The New Alternative on Facebook and Twitter.

With instantaneous commitment from all four members, a new radio show was born. All we had to do now was find a name, which proved more difficult than anticipated. After much deliberation, The Locker Room was selected as the name due to its simplicity and the fact it “resembles the comradery between the group we have” says co-host Alex Saunders. With a crew, a name and paperwork signed, The Locker Room was ready to air. Being in a program specifically related to sports, talking sports was a part of day-to-day life of our group. The banter came easy and The Locker Room was in full swing on January 28th.


From L to R: Jon Nelsons, Kyle Cormier, David Maika, and Alex Saunders of The Locker Room

From L to R: Jon Nelsons, Kyle Cormier, David Maika, and Alex Saunders of The Locker Room. Guest star Andrew Vani is pictured sitting on the couches.

Since the inaugural show, each week has gotten better and better and each member has become comfortable in the studio. I asked each of the members why they wanted start the radio show, to which they replied:

Alex Saunders: “I feel it is something that gives us a lot of experience moving forward.  It’s something unique that not a lot of people get to do. Being able to put something like that on my resume is appealing and something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s awesome that our school can offer us the opportunity to do something unique and fun.”

Kyle Cormier: “I have a great passion for sport and sport talk radio. I just wanted to try my hand at it and see how it went and just gain some more experience.”

Jon Nelsons: “I found out there were open slots on the radio and I wanted to try sport talk radio because I think I know a bit about sports and I wanted to test that against other people. I just went with it, am having a lot of fun with it and I’m going to put it on my resume too. It’s a great experience.”

For myself, The Locker Room offers a great opportunity to take up something that I might not have the chance to do in the future. I love talking sports and what would be better than an opportunity to do it now with my peers. It’s truly a unique experience that not many people have been part of. Not to mention it’s something that future employers can potentially be interested in.

Catch the newest episode of The Locker Room next Wednesday at 7pm. Follow the link at You can also catch us on Facebook for past shows and on Twitter if you have a question to ask.  See you next Wednesday!


2015Mar 3

SPAD Speaks #2 – The World Cup of Hockey

By Blog Contributor Alex Saunders

The World Cup of Hockey will make its return in September 2016 after the National Hockey League had previously kicked around the idea for several years. The competition will be comprised of six national teams (Canada, United States, Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic), a team featuring the best NHL talent from the European countries not included, and finally, a team made up of North America’s top NHL talent under the age of 24. Since the announcement was made this past month regarding the tournament’s return, there has been some significant criticism from journalists and fans alike. It only seemed natural to publish SPAD Blog’s second-installment of “SPAD Speaks” to see what current students think about these criticisms.


It is easy to see that current SPAD students are not as pessimistic as those who have openly criticized the framework for this upcoming tournament. Over 65% of the students polled answered that they are content with the aforementioned framework. But the one thing that is intriguing about these results is the difference in responses ranging from year to year. First year students are overwhelmingly positive and confident that the tournament will be successful while third year students seem to be split nearly right down the middle on the subject. “What is the reason for the variance found within the results from year to year” one may ask?

Current third year SPAD student, Mitchell Seabrook, spoke about his optimism regarding the tournament. I find the North American young stars team interesting, as it definitely gives the younger players in the league an opportunity at the international stage that they wouldn’t have gotten for several years otherwise.” However, Mitchell acknowledges that there may be some competitive disadvantages associated with the way that this tournament will play out. “But I don’t see (the North American young stars) being overly successful”. This one point of view seems to sum up the overall results found when analyzing the results of the third year students who were polled as there seemed to be some indecision in weighing the pros and the cons.

First year SPAD student, Riley Harbour, spoke about his uncertainty about how the tournament will be run. “I actually like the idea of the World Cup, but I’m not the biggest fan of the two mixed teams. But it still intrigues me on how the tournament will turn out. It will, however, be exciting to see the best young North American players going up against the top Canadian and American players. One of the things I wonder about the tournament is what anthem they will use for the two mixed teams. Overall I am very excited about the tournament and it should be very exciting to watch!”

While students are generally positive about the prospects of this World Cup, it is clear that there are many questions that have been left unanswered regarding how the two non-National teams will be operated and branded. Team anthems, jerseys and overall functionality as well as the competitive balance of the tournament are the main focal points for concern but we shall see how these issues are addressed as 2016 looms closer.

This is the second installment of the SPAD Speaks series. If you have any suggestions for future topics, please e-mail them to .