Archive for February, 2018

2018Feb 6

Time For a Transition


I’ve been in Sudbury nearly three years now, and there are two things I still have yet to see.

One of those things is the Big Nickel.

And I’ll get there, eventually.

But first, there’s something else I want to see. That I need to see.

And that’s Laurentian winning a home playoff game en route to the OUA Finals.

I’ve had a lot of transitioning in my lifetime, and I’m ready to help transition Laurentian from the bottom of the table to the top. It’s time to bring that Pride and Tradition back to the soccer pitch at LU.



I was born in Albania but moved to Michigan at the age of 3. It didn’t1 take too long after that for me to fall in love with the game. My parents put me in soccer at the age of 4, playing for the local YMCA and house league teams. At that level, I always stood out and quickly made the jump to a more competitive caliber of soccer. However, when I turned 11 my parents decided we were going back to Albania and I spent the next two years in the motherland.

However, at the age of 13 my parents decided we were off to Canada. It was another transition to a new country and once again I was off looking for somewhere to play soccer. The fundamentals of the game truly stayed the same throughout all countries but I always had to ensure that I tailored my game to the way the team, coach, or country etc. is playing. For example, as I mentioned in Albania they liked to play hard and physical but once I came to Canada I needed to calm down a bit, I was causing too many fouls and I didn’t want to hurt my team. I played the next 5 years at a high level in Toronto and competing for my Highschool Northern.



When it came time in grade 12 to choose what University I wanted to at3tend, I decided to go to Carleton and join their soccer club. It was another transition and this time to a very strict program. I only scored one goal that season and guess who it was against? None other than the Laurentian Voyageurs .. on their home field. Little did I know at that point that I’d be there the following year putting on the gold and blue uniform. Yup, another move. But this time to join the Voyageurs and I haven’t look back since.

Due to OUA rules, I wasn’t eligible to play my first year at Laurentian. Taking a year off really had its toll on me. This was the first time in my life where I had to sit out every single game of the season and observe from the stands. It didn’t help my development as a player because I was only eligible to practice and didn’t get any game action. However, it motivated me for the upcoming year and made me work harder individually. Especially watching the team suffer and end the season with a 4-9-3 record failing to qualify for the playoffs. My second year at Laurentian, I was determined to help the team and play at the quality that I knew we were capable of playing at. We finished with a 6-8-2 record which once again wasn’t the greatest but at least we were back in playoffs.



This past season I feel was truly a turning point in our program. It was the first time we had a winning record (8-7-1) since 2013 and the first time we beat U of T since 2005. We suffered a heart breaking extra time loss in the first round of playoffs at the hands of UOIT. The results of the game could have easily gone either way and if we would have won that game we would have been ready to turn a lot of heads the rest of the playoffs. But this has left me hungrier than ever leading up to my last season of eligibility as a Voyageur.




It’s time to complete that transition from the bottom of the table to the top.

It’s time for the Pride and Tradition to return to the pitch.

And then – after I see us win a home playoff game and head to the OUA Finals –  I know what I’m going to see next.

Plus, I hear the Big Nickel is the largest coin in the world.


2018Feb 6

A Game of Adjustments

xune4c618acq7v7p Nelson Yengue – Laurentian Voyageurs (Men’s Basketball)

Maybe everything happens for a reason.

In 2014 I was a victim of Identity theft. With no passport and no Visa, this was the beginning of a two-year span that I spent stuck in Halifax. And by stuck, I mean unable to work, go to school, or even leave the country to go back to Cameroon. For the first time since the age of 15 when I came over to North America, I was dependent on people. Also, for the first time since the age of 15, when my life had been consumed with academics and training for basketball, I had way too much time on my hands. This was the toughest time of my life for sure. I had been used to independence and a structured schedule, so you can imagine how doing nothing was a difficult adjustment for me. I am often told by others that they would’ve just given up if they were in my situation. Looking back now, I would say it was my positive attitude and faith in Jesus that allowed me to persevere through this difficult time.

Let’s take you back to how I got there.

I was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon but I grew up in a smaller village called Nkongsamba; a village in Western Cameroon that has roughly the same population as Sudbury. I’m the youngest of six siblings. I have four brothers and one sister and we are all still close to this day, despite my oldest sibling being almost 20 years older than I am.

Growing up, I enjoyed playing sports. I played volleyball, handball and basketball (ironically my least favorite sport at the time), but nothing compared to my passion for soccer. I always imagined I would be a professional soccer player one day. Even my current passion for basketball doesn’t compare to my passion for soccer growing up. I also loved video games. The memories of intense video game sessions with my brothers are some of my fondest memories to this day.

Around the age of 14, my parents and I started to have serious conversations about going to high school in America. Of course, I didn’t want to leave home but I knew it was the right thing to do. My older brother had already made the move and I knew the opportunities I would have in the US were much better than in Cameroon. My brother had helped me secure an academic scholarship to his high school in Atlanta by telling the coach (who also owned the school) about me.

I was only 15 years old when my coach and brother picked me up from the airport.  I spoke absolutely no English and my brother was the only person I knew. I had told my brother about my abilities and how I was able to dunk, but it had been two years since he left Cameroon and I had not seen him since then; so even he didn’t believe me. A few days after being picked up from the airport, I was asked to showcase myself before a practice. Essentially, I put on a dunk clinic. Not only did my brother believe me, but the coach was so impressed that he gave me a jersey and I joined the team for practice.


You can imagine how difficult it was for a 15-year-old kid coming over to a foreign country not knowing a word of the language and only knowing his brother. I was lucky that there were 2 guys from Cameroon (One of whom was James Siakam, Raptor Pascal’s older brother) and 2 guys from the Congo who were French-speaking. In fact, I didn’t have a single class without at least one of those guys in it during my first year. They were huge in helping me not only understand what was going on in class, but also in helping me adjust to my new life.

My start in basketball didn’t go all that smoothly. My grade 9 year was pretty difficult. Keep in mind I had never played basketball competitively before that year. I had to adjust to regular practices and playing the sport in an organized setting. My passion was still soccer, and believe me, I was heartbroken when I realized there was no soccer team at my school. I had only played around 4 games that year and that summer I was looking to transfer to a school that had a soccer team. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately looking back on it, the transfer never materialized. During the first semester of my grade 10 year, I had a moment of self-reflection. I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to transfer and that basketball was my route to earning a scholarship; and ultimately an education. So, I began to put in the work.


“So, I began to put in the work”


By the second semester of grade 10, the work I put in had already started to pay off.  I was starting for the junior varsity team, the varsity team, and the prep team. Sometimes, I started for all three in the same day and didn’t leave the floor. My body was so sore after, but it was worth it. At this point, I knew that a basketball scholarship was within reach. In grade 11, I already had an offer from a division-two school. In my grade 12 year, I had several division-one offers. I had my sights set on going to college in the U.S, but unfortunately it never materialized. My next option was to look to play for a Canadian University. My brother was already playing at Dalhousie so he took care of most of the process. When choosing a University, being able to take courses in French became a priority for me. I found that I was quite reserved in high school because I didn’t know English. I also felt like I was starting to lose my French. Laurentian University was a perfect fit for me, and that’s how I became a Voyageur.

extThe adjustment to University basketball in Canada from high school ball in the States was steep. Back in Atlanta, there was so much size and athleticism but much less focus on the fundamentals and skills. I mostly played small forward in high school and my coaches preached driving and finishing at the rim. Shooting 3’s was considered soft. Despite being thought of as a good shooter, I only ever shot mid-ranges. I maybe shot 5 3-pointers in high school (I made 4 of them). When I came to Laurentian, I was shocked to find that everyone was shooting 3’s. That wasn’t nearly the biggest adjustment I had to make. As I mentioned, there wasn’t nearly as much size and athleticism north of the border. As a result, the games were much less physical and the refs were putting up with much less physicality. I must have fouled out of my first four games at Laurentian and I never fouled out of a game in high school. Still though, my biggest adjustment remained. I had to adjust from being a small forward in high school to being a power forward/center in University.

As you could imagine, it took quite some time to overcome these changes. My first year at Laurentian, I struggled with nagging injuries. I only missed two games that year, but the injuries took quite a toll. My second year, our team had lost a lot of height and I had to be the starting center. It wasn’t ideal but I did what the team needed from me. Playing full time at the 5 against bigger players was a difficult challenge. It was my third year that I would finally say I had adjusted to the game and felt comfortable.

Near the end of my third season, I had applied to renew my passport. I wanted to return to Cameroon for a vacation during the summer and I had never been back home since leaving for high school. When I sent my passport in, I never got it back. After making some calls, I figured out that it got lost in the system. When I finally went in to get a new passport, it was blocked. At this point I figured out that someone stole my identity. Shortly after, my Visa was due for renewal. Without your passport, you cannot renew your Visa. Without a Visa, I couldn’t work, go to school, or leave the country. I decided to stay in Halifax during that time as my brother was living there.

The one person who I owe the biggest thanks to is my girlfriend. Not only did she help me stay positive during my time in Halifax, but she encouraged me to follow my dreams and enroll in engineering when I got back. I was planning on going into engineering originally but I didn’t think I would be able to balance basketball, engineering, and a part-time job, so I enrolled in commerce instead.

I remember the day I found out this nightmare was over. I was overcome with so many emotions. I was grateful, shocked, and relieved all at the same time. Although, there was part of me that looked down into my hands and thought: “this stupid piece of paper cost me almost three years of my life”.


“this stupid piece of paper cost me almost three years of my life”


I remember praying for good players before I joined the team for training camp in the summer of 2016. When I showed up, I realized immediately that my prayers had been answered. From the onset of camp, I knew we had the tools to win a national championship, we just had to put in the work. That made my first training camp in almost three years slightly easier. Admittedly, after two years off, I wasn’t in the greatest shape physically. As a result, I was playing catch-up and my body felt beat up all year. This year, everything has come together. My body feels great, I’m playing the best basketball of my life and most of all, we have a real shot at the national championship.


Looking back, I can truly appreciate the role that soccer played in allowing me to achieve success in basketball. The ultra-physical, no-rest style of soccer I played back in Cameroon, prepared me for the physicality of high school basketball. I would say that my footwork is probably my best and most important skill as I am often asked to match up against bigger guys in the post. My footwork can be attributed to soccer and a year of Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee’s martial art form).  My background in soccer also taught me teamwork, passing, and selflessness. The soccer pitch is literally too crowded for egos. My ability to see the floor and get my teammates involved can be traced back to soccer. As I follow the careers of Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam, two Cameroonians who started playing competitive basketball in their teens, I can see their backgrounds in soccer in the way they play. If only James was blessed with his brother’s height, there would be another Siakam in the NBA.

I’m the type of person who likes to take things one day at a time. I live in the moment and put my best effort forth in whatever I’m doing; whether it’s engineering, basketball, or something else. Even though it’s my final year of eligibility, I’ll be back next year to finish my engineering degree because I started late. It’s my dream to play basketball professionally and if there is an opportunity to play professionally, of course I’ll take it. I also love engineering and I’ll be happy as an engineer too. The good news is, there is a demand for engineers all over the world and there are also professional basketball leagues all over the world. The possibilities are endless and I’m exited for what the future holds. For now, I’m just focused on doing whatever I can to help my team win the national championship.


Written By: David Miller

Contributor: Nelson Yengue






2018Feb 6

The Comeback

Matt Fiorini – #32

University of St. Francis – Fort Wayne / Pitcher


The Comeback

By: Domenic Fiorini


“Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there”

– Bo Jackson

After the eighth grade, I realized that baseball was my sport, and I wanted to take things more seriously. I thought about working out more and kicking practices up a notch; other than that, I really didn’t know what to do, but I knew wanted to get better.

Coming into St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS in 2011, I couldn’t throw hard, I wasn’t very big and in the tenth grade my coach said, “You’ll be swinging your way into a pitcher in no time”.

As you could probably guess, this is when I realized that I should just stick to pitching.

However, by this time I was roughly 140lbs, throwing about 65mph and still figuring out my body and my delivery.

It was time to kick things up a notch.

By the twelfth grade I had hit my growth spurt and was standing at 6’1”, weighed about 180lbs and was throwing roughly 85mph. Things were finally coming together for me. I was confident, I was locating my pitches and I was throwing the ball hard and like never before.

In the fall of 2015, I joined Lake Erie Storm playing division two baseball in Painesville, Ohio.


However, while I was there, things weren’t always sunshine and rainbows.

Growing up I had always been a starting pitcher. That was my thing; to give my team a chance to win.

During this time however, I had been moved to the bullpen. This was a difficult adjustment for me. Instead of trying to give my team a chance to win, I’m trying to lead them to victory and as a freshman, let’s just say the nerves were high.

Also while attending Lake Erie, I had never had the opportunity to use a radar gun to see how fast I had been throwing.

By the end of the season, I realized that playing in Lake Erie wasn’t for me. Although I made the second most appearances on the mound for my team in my first year, really ramped up my intensity in games and built some strong relationships with my teammates, I felt that it was time to move on.

After playing my last game with Lake Erie, tensions were high, emotions got the best of me and I threw one of the worst games of the season, I just couldn’t wait to go home.

When I came home, I thought to myself that I was done playing high level baseball. My plan was to attend Laurier University, get an education and pitch, but after that, I was done.

That summer, I got in contact with one of my former coaches and I told him my intentions with baseball. Before doing anything rash, he told me to come by the facility and jump on the radar gun, something I hadn’t done in about a year.

I hit 90mph for the first time…Boom.

That same summer I played for a local baseball team called the Toronto Maple Leafs where I struck out a bunch of batters and threw minimal walks.

I was at the top of my game and was recruited to pitch at the NAIA level in Fort Wayne, Indiana by the University of St. Francis.

Needless to say, I wasn’t attending Laurier the next school year.


As the school year approached and my summer with the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team was coming to an end, there were only a few games left in the season. Warming up one game, I felt a little tweak in my shoulder, I didn’t think anything of it and thought that it would just go away.

After popping a few ibuprofens into my system, I thought I was back to my old self.

Well, I was wrong.

That night I felt unbearable pain in my shoulder. Shortly after, on January 11th, 2017, I saw a doctor and was told that I needed a posterior capsule release in my left shoulder and that the recovery would take about a year.


Great, just what I needed to tell my coaches at St. Francis. Luckily for me, they were understanding of the situation.

In that moment, after the surgery I thought to myself, now what?

I love baseball and after a summer of pitching so well, I knew I had the potential to be great.

So I sat back and realized that I should document this thing; my “comeback” story. I wanted to show that baseball players who suffer injuries similar to mine should not let it set them back from their goals at becoming great at the game and doing what they love.

Fast forward to July 2017, I got the go ahead from the doctors to pitch again.

I was filled with excitement, happiness and relief. The fact that I was able to throw the ball again so quickly from the time of the surgery meant the world to me.

I was back to throwing 100% shortly after the doctor’s okay. Although the pain still lingered every once in a while, this was normal and not overworking myself was the key to coming back.

Now I monitor myself a lot more with respect to how I’m feeling, what I am eating, my sleep schedule and I am working out constantly, but cautiously. If I stick to my routine and not overwork myself, I know that I am destined for great things.

My goals for the upcoming season are to be the best pitcher in the conference and to beat St. Franics’ current record of 9 wins in 12 appearances during the 45 game season.

Follow @fiorinipitching to join me through my journey to the “Comeback”

Season starts February 10th.


“Watch me come back from this, or don’t.”

– Matt Fiorini


Contributor / Matt Fiorini

2018Feb 6

Stay The Course

Ever since I can remember, hockey has been in my life, whether that be playing competitively through minor hockey, on TV on Saturday nights watching DScreen Shot 2018-02-06 at 6.04.24 PMon Cherry, or the cold nights playing shinny on the outdoor rink with friends back in my hometown, North Bay, Ontario. I first laced up when I was three years old, as a forward that is and played that role up until I was eleven. I did not have very much confidence in my goalies so I ended up rushing back and standing in front of the net blocking any shot that came at us. It was at that time my dad recommended I might as well put on the pads and I haven’t looked back since. From then on I was between the posts but since I found my role eight years into my career, I had some catching up to do. I had never worked with a goalie coach or went to a goalie school until I was fifteen. When I had the opportunity to go to goalie school, I quickly realized my style had not been taken on by many. My goalie coach recognized this and completely changed my style making many adjustments, which took me a year or two to get completely comfortable with. Since being such a late bloomer I was inexperienced and ended up having to go through many heartbreaks, getting cut from AAA teams up until Midget. Some may think of Appleby (right) at local rink for free skate with childhood friendit as a loss, even myself at that time, but when I look back on it now I think of waking up at 6 a.m. for practice, enduring a forty-minute drive to a small town which is home to the coldest arena I have ever played on to this day, Trout Creek, Ontario. I also think of playing on my high school hockey team, Chippewa Raiders’ first year back into the local high school league, winning only three games throughout the entire season but creating some great memories throughout all the losses. Some people might have described those as setbacks, but those setbacks played a big role in developing me into the goalie and person I am today.




North Bay Trappers Midget AAA take on the elements for a fun practice on an outdoor rink Appleby (second from the right) tries to bring out his skills as a player

North Bay Trappers Midget AAA take on the elements for a fun practice on an outdoor rink. Appleby (second from the right) tries to    bring out his skills as a player

After a hard work of summer camp and tryouts, I made my first AAA team in Major Midget AAA for the North Bay Trappers. From there I was able to work my way through the year, and the hard work paid off as I ended up getting drafted to the Oshawa Generals, in the Ontario Hockey League, in the second round, thirty-fifth overall. Following my draft year, I played a year in Kirkland Lake with the Kirkland Lake Blue Devils. I played that year with the Blue Devils and ended up getting the call for the Generals the following year. I was leaving my family, friends, and my hometown, entering a whole new world I was unfamiliar with. Luckily I was not alone as I had my teammates and my billet family. They treated me as one of their own making me homemade meals and helping me get to the rink. I played there for two years and started to think about what will come after my years in the OHL. I was undrafted but still had one more year along with my overage year ahead of me; I decided then to start takingScreen Shot 2018-02-06 at 12.38.11 AM some courses at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. I was interested in business so decided to take their commerce program focusing in microeconomics and business math. While dealing with classes, we ended up having a very successful year on the ice. We made our way to the OHL Conference Finals where we met up with my hometown’s team, North Bay Battalion. After winning that series we began to prepare for the next challenge against Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters. We fought through another huge series winning ourselves the OHL Championship and were on our way to the Memorial Cup. After battling our way to victory winning 2-1 against the Kelowna Rockets, I held the Memorial Cup Trophy in my hands and couldn’t be happier to be in the position I was. After my performances from that season, some NHL clubs began contacting me sending invitations to camps. This was the first time I had ever seriously thought about being able to compete on the professional level. I went to a few different teams’ camps and ended up signing with the New Jersey Devils, playing with their affiliate team, the Binghamton Devils.


Now I was in a somewhat familiar position. Entering a new city, playing for a different team, in a stronger league. I was in my first stage of my professional career. Since I was in the pros now, I had to take all the lessons I’ve learned from my parents and billets and live on my own. This meant finding an apartment, roommates, and figuring out on how to cook for myself. It wasn’t too easy but I managed to figure it out, now living in an apartment in Binghamton with two teammates, we all pitch in together. Now my days typically start up at seven and get to the rink around eight. We stick to the plan for the day whether that is having team meetings or workouts, and then around ten we go for practice. After practice is done, a group of us get together and figure out where the post-practice meal will be. After lunch I head back home and do some meal prep, take a nap, or play some Xbox with my roommates. It’s not your typical job, so I tend to find myself searching for ways to keep busy quite often. In the off-season I surround myself at home with family and friends, I like to spend my summer days at the golf course or on the lake. Game days are fairly similar to regular praAppleby in first NHL appearance against the Colorado Avalanchectice days but just add in the game later that night. I played the majority of my first year of professional hockey with the Adirondack Thunder in the East Coast Hockey League, occasionally getting a chance to play with the AHL team, which was the Albany Devils at the time. The following year I had a larger role with Albany and ended up getting the chance to have my first NHL appearance with the New Jersey Devils playing against the Colorado Avalanche, backing up goaltender Cory Schneider. I couldn’t believe I was in the position I was, and the camera sure caught that. I was joking around with my trainer and the next thing I see is my face smiling ear to ear on the big screen. I’ve always learned to enjoy the ride and that was exactly what I was doing.


I am now entering my third year of professional hockey; I am sharing the starting role for the now Binghamton Devils and continue to work as hard as I can to better myself. My expectations for this season were that Binghamton was my home for the year. I was looking to play lots and focus on developing my game. I didn’t have too high of expectations, I just wanted to come in and have solid year. Halfway through this season I got my second call up to the top level. We were playing against theAppleby NHL Debut Philadelphia Flyers. Again I sat on the bench, ecstatic that I was where I was, and then halfway into the first period I saw Kinkaid go down. I could tell right away that it did not look good for fellow goaltender and that I would most likely be going in. As I looked down the bench I got the nod, my heart started racing as I started to get my mask and gloves together, I kept thinking to myself is this really happening? Before I knew it I had to react to Wayne Simmonds flying down the wing coming directly at me. We ended up losing the game 3-1 however I took it as a very positive experience and a day that I will never forget. A few days later I got told I was getting my first career start against Nashville Predators.

Appleby walking through the tunnel entering his first NHL start

Appleby walking through the tunnel entering his first NHL start

gifAgain, my mind was racing, I had to calm down and try and focus on what I had to do, which is have a good game. My mindset for the game was to focus on making the first save, and move onto the next, keeping my game simple and hopefully do enough to give the team a chance to win. Throughout my whole career I’ve learnt not to take anything for granted, whether that be getting called up, making a team, or being named a starter. I try to take full advantage of those opportunities because they don’t come around too often. It was all very nerve racking but I took advantage of the situation. Once the game got going and I made the first save, I realized it was just another hockey game and I am looking forward to the next.


Written By: Kyle Wilkinson

Contributor: Ken Appleby, New Jersey Devils/Binghamton Devils

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 5.51.20 PM






2018Feb 6

Jordan Spadafore – A Tale of Life in Hockey




Profile 1

By now everyone has seen the scouting report; Tall defensemen with great reach, physical game style, great ability to move the play down the ice, solid hockey vision and a knack for finding his open teammates with the puck. But before leading the Rayside-Balfour Canadians in penalty minutes and assist there was a lot of hard work, support from my love ones and anxious moments along the way. From what came to be know as the story of a good northern boy growing up through the proving grounds that is  hockey.


With Dad







Having separated parents from a young age was difficult, but it added fuel to my fire and helped my compete level. Ever since I can remember my Dad has been my number one fan. He made a point to be at every practice, try-out, training camp, game and tournament he could. Being the only son and having four sisters really helped my old man and I bond. Whether it was fishing, hockey, or even just spending the afternoon together, I knew then like I know now. He has my back.  My first hockey memory was having my dad teach me how to skate on the O.D.R. in Whitefish, I couldn’t have been more than 3 years old. But that’s a memory I’ll hold dear to me for a long time.Jordan little

The Spadafore men have lots of things in common, but over and above all. We love to play a physical brand of hockey. It must run in my genes; my grandpa was a farmer and the toughest guy I know. My dad would tell me about his upbringing and how it shaped his game play; so, I tried to model my game after that and I got quite the reputation in AAA. It’s something else when you go to training camps in Southern Ontario and other guys recognise you. “Hey there’s that tough kid from Sudbury” they would mumble to each other.


My career really took flight when I transition to playing defence in Pee Wee. That’s when my agent Adrian Gedye picked me up. I remember from the first time I met him, that I trusted him to help me on my way. I was getting interest from other agencies out of Toronto and other metropolitan areas, but it felt right to side with someone who was going to be in the North and whom and I had developed a relationship with.

Then, in early April 2016 came on the most exciting days of my hockey career so far, OHL draft day.  Adrian had had lots of conversations with G. M’s and scouts across the league, and I had gotten lots of interest going into tJordan fighthe draft. Emails, phone calls, a hand-full of old school letters. It was a great feeling that everything I worked for was coming to light and I felt recognized. I was projected to go in the 4th or 5th round, the 5th round passed I was a little nervous; then the 6th, 7th and 8th round past. I started sweating, I could feel my dream slipping out of my now clammy hands. So, I did what I felt, I had to do. Got my shorts, shoes and tee on slipped my mp3 in my pocket and just I was about to leave I checked the screen one last time and there is was.” 9th Round pick of the North Bay Battalion, #174 overall Jordan Spadafore” I could not have been more excited. That was the best feeling in the world.  Promptly after the draft the General Manager from North bay gave me a call to congratulate me and invite me to rookie camp. I had a great reception in North bay with promotional events and engagement with fans, signing autographs for kids. I remembered being in their shoes and having the wolves sign my mini-stick and give me a fist bump. It was nice to make their day as Wolves from the past had done for me.

This hockey story has definitely not seen it’s final chapter yet, I’m looking forward to this year’s long playoff run with my NOJHL team. Building off of my performance at last year’s camp for the Battalion and hopefully cracking their opening day roster. Moving forward I’m going to keep working hard and playing my game to try to be drafted into the NHL, with hopes of ultimately making it to the show one day and if not, I’d love to play in Europe or in the ECHL. When asked about pursuing a full-time career in hockey Jordan had this response: “Quite simply Logan, I’m doing something everyday to accomplish my goal” said with his signature smirk

2018Feb 6

Staring Down the Face of Adversity – Ellery Veerman

Veer 7    Ellery Veerman / Center / Laurentian Voyageurs


From a young age, hockey has always been a passion for me and I have done whatever it takes to be able to play the game.

Growing up in the small Northern Ontario town of Englehart I played minor hockey on a boys team every year. The closest girls team was 40 minutes away and having three older siblings who were also playing hockey made this commute nearly impossible.


Veer 8                                              Veer 9


When the time came to think about my future and apply to post secondary, I had not been in contact with any schools regarding competitive hockey and to be honest, I didn’t know much about the university sports scene. In pursuit of my undergrad I decided to attend McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Once I got there, I continued playing the game I loved on the universities club team. Playing on an essentially self-sufficient team without funding from the university was a new experience for me and was adversity in itself. We competed in a Senior A/AA league and the commitment level was very different from that of a university team.

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While the four years I spent going to school and playing hockey at Mac was a great experience, I wanted to continue my education somewhere closer to home. Due to the limited schooling options up north, Laurentian was one of the few choices I had and lucky for me, Laurentian had just started their women’s varsity hockey program while I was in my last year at Mac. Despite knowing that players were sometimes recruited years before coming to school, I decided to go to tryouts and face even more adversity because I am willing to do anything to play the game I love.

After battling and competing through the highs and lows of training camp and pre season I was finally told the good news; I had made the team and I could not have been happier. “I will never forget the day the coaches pulled me aside and told me they wanted me to stick around”.




After two successful seasons in the blue and gold I was excited to get my third season underway. However, early in the season I suffered an injury – my ACL was completely torn and I was shocked. Not willing to stay away from the ice I did what I have been doing my whole life to play the game I loved – I stared down the face of adversity and battled through the pain of such a serious injury. Knowing there would be an extensive recovery time if I decided to have surgery I made the choice to continue playing the rest of the season.

Upon the completion of the season I opted to have surgery to repair my ACL. Knowing I would be facing adversity once again, I did whatever it took to get back on the ice as quickly as possible. “Even though there were numerous challenges early in my recovery – even some that continue now – I was back on the ice in October thanks to the endless support of family, friends, teammates and coaches.”




After countless hours of rehab and working to get back to game shape, I was finally able to get back into the lineup for our last weekend of games before the exam break in December. Stepping back on the ice to play the game I have loved since I was little, especially after such a hard road to recovery, was a feeling like no other. Each and every day, I continue to play my heart out knowing that you cannot take any practice or game for granted.

Knowing how tough of a league the OUA is, there is a little more adversity I must face to finish off my varsity career. However, knowing adversity has never stopped me before, I am poised to continue to lead my team in the push to make the playoffs and take us as deep as possible into the post season.

See you on the ice, adversity.

2018Feb 5

Lady V’s Bring a New Goalie to The Team

Introducing Kailen Jeffries who has newly joined the Laurentian Women’s Varsity hockey team. Kailen recently joined the Lady V’s after the third goalie had stopped being a part of the team. Kailen is 20 years old from a small town called Innisfil, ON. She is in her first year at Laurentian in the Sports Administration program. Before coming to the University she played for the Ottawa Lady Senators in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League (PWHL). Joining a team mid-way through their season can be stressful when everyone on the team already knows each other. Kailen explains her journey with a question and answer process, explaining how her hockey career started with the Laurentian Voyageurs.

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MW: Why did you choose Laurentian University?

KJ: I chose Laurentian because it’s a smaller school, it’s not in a huge city, it’s pretty close to home and the travel from my house is very easy. I also chose Laurentian because of the Sports Administration course as well as the kinesiology courses that they offer. They were the top two choices of programs for me so it would be easily transferrable if I wanted to switch courses at any time.


“when an opportunity came up I had to take it because I knew

that it would probably be my last chance to play university hockey” -KJ

MW: Why did you choose to start practising with the team?

KJ: I chose to start practising with the team because it was always a goal of mine to play on a university hockey team. Growing up I knew there weren’t many options for continuing my hockey career beyond high school. You are given the option to continue to play in university, or if you’re really good, then possibly playing for the National Women’s team or maybe the CWHL/NWHL after finishing university. For me though the only option was to play university hockey. So, in Bantam I began to think seriously about my post-secondary hockey. When it came time to start actually making some decisions about university hockey, I decided that I wanted to take a year off of school and just play hockey and work. One year then turned into two years off and by the end of the two years, and some-what not so good hockey seasons, I ended up not being recruited by any schools and chose university and program over playing hockey. Coming into Laurentian I knew my possibilities of making the team were few to none because I had spoken with the coach and she had told me their goalie situation going into my first year. However, when an opportunity came up I had to take it because I knew that it would probably be my last chance to play university hockey. So, that is why I decided to be the third goalie for the women’s hockey team.

MW: Has being able to play competitive hockey isolated you from being from a small town?

KJ: Yes, I believe it has. I don’t know if I’m a unique situation or not but growing up in Innisfil there were about 5 girls who played hockey at my 2,000-population high school. Due to there not being enough girls for a girl’s hockey team at high school I had the opportunity to play with the boys’ team. So, for grade 11 I played on the boys’ team which I believe isolated me because I don’t think I played against any girls on other boy’s high school hockey teams.

MW: Has joining the Lady V’s mid-way through their season affected you in any way?

KJ: Joining the Lady V’s midway through their season has affected me as joining any well-established team half way into their season would. Trying to learn all the rules and tendencies of the team is hard because everyone assumes you know them already and they may forget that I haven’t been around to learn them. I find myself asking a lot of questions. It also has affected me mentally and physically. Coming off of 4 months of not training or being on the ice regularly and then having to be on the ice 3-4 times a week as well as 2-3 workouts a week has been an adjustment.

MW: Do you find it hard keeping up with you studies and being a part of a varsity team?

KJ: I have found it to be slightly harder to keep up with my studies but not too much of a difference. I am learning to make use of my free time better. I’m not able to pull all-nighters or stay up until 2am to finish projects when I have practice at 7am the next day. I don’t think my studies will be largely affected in the long run.

MW: What were your goals before you started University? What are your goals now being apart of the team?

KJ: My goals before I started University was to attend university and play on their women’s varsity hockey team. That was a goal of mine since I played Bantam hockey. Since being a part of the team my goals have been to show that I am good enough to stay on the team and that I am good enough to compete at this level in hockey games. I look to be on the team next year and hope that through hard work I will be able to make that possible.

Thanks to Kailen for taking the time to talk about her student athlete lifestyle on the Laurentian Women’s hockey team.

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