Archive for the ‘SPAD Athletes’ Category

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 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.

k1                                       k3

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.

3d4882b3ce3d8b28888d13857f5d47c8_400x400           k2

2017Oct 31

Another Day’s Work

rowingMy name is Matt Day, I’m a second year student athlete at Laurentian University.  I’ve been playing a support/training role on the school’s rowing team for a year and a half now.  I was recruited in my first year through the school’s novice program where I was selected by Coach Gergely.  Before joining Laurentian’s team, I had no past experience with rowing as a competitive organized sport.  From what I’ve seen, this program has been an amazing learning experience for me.

If I was asked to give an explanation of what rowing is, I would have to describe it by saying, it’s a group of crazy people, sitting in boats, enduring pain, and going fast.  Rowing is a highly competitive endurance sport where athletes compete in 2km distance races.   In order to prepare for these races, myself along with the other members of the team have to train non-stop, starting practices at 5:30 in the mornings every day.  There is nothing quite like seeing the still lake on these calm mornings as the sun rises.   Weights training is done a few days a week.  We also prepare with race planning, and goal setting.  Some of my personal recorded rowing statistics include my time per 500m, which averages to around 1:50min, and my power output which averages to around 800watts.

Although I am an athlete at Laurentian, my main focus is my studies.  I know that I can’t sacrifice school for sports.  I’m glad I gave rowing a shot as it has changed my life as a student at Laurentian, as it has made me rethink how to prioritize schoolwork and balance my workload.  I’m currently enrolled in the outdoor adventure/leadership.  Balancing schoolwork and training has been hard but I’m learning how to manage and prioritize my time well enough, while still leaving time for myself.  I always pick school before the team, whether that means missing a practice to finish an assignment, or going to bed early so I can be well rested for the next day after morning practice.  With the recent strike, I found myself slipping into a bit of a lazier routine.  I started falling behind on schoolwork for a bit, and was getting into the habit of sleeping in, but I was able to quickly get back on track.  I do leave a little time when I’m not rowing or doing schoolwork to myself.  In my free time I’m either playing video games, playing a bit of guitar or trying to make it to the gym.  I also really enjoy eating, I do eat a lot.  

rainbow rowing

Overall, I’m just an average student athlete, that’s getting by as a student and as an athlete.  Being on the rowing team hasn’t made me any less of a student and being a student hasn’t made me any less of an athlete.  I’ve grown a lot in the almost two years I’ve been on this team and I’m honoured to be a member of the Laurentian rowing team and the Laurentian outdoor adventure/leadership program.  

2017Oct 30

Brotherly Love (Nico Correa)

Nico head shot

For as long I can remember, I have been playing soccer. 16 years of my life I have given to the sport that I love. I have played on many teams, each another chapter in my playing career. But the most recent years have had a different dimension that the others have not. As I finish up my second year as a center midfielder for the Laurentian Voyageurs one main aspect that sticks out to me is this:


The last years have allowed me to play with my older brother Daniel.



Growing up together in Burlington, Ontario we played lots of soccer together, just not on a club team. Because of our age gap (two years) we never got the chance to play on any club teams growing up. That said, we spent lots of time with one another and our friends playing games in the park or on the school field. And whenever one of us was on the road with our respective team, the other one would be there cheering the other on and practicing together if we had time.

But now we get the chance to suit up beside one another. As a second year Sport Administration student, or SPAD as it is generally called, I have had the opportunity to not only pursue my studies, but to play university soccer with my brother. Even though we played one year together in high school, I can say playing with him now is a totally new experience. Getting to experience living away from home, and playing with the Voyageurs together has been great.

Nico and Daniel Correa

The connection we have on and off the field has brought us to a whole new level of communication. After so many years of playing together, or watching the other play there is such a natural chemistry. We can look at each other and without speaking know exactly what the other one means. All this to say like any set of brothers we still have our issues whether that is on or off the field, but as brothers we can handle those issues with love for one another and with a mutual respect that has grown for each other as teammates and brothers. It is such a great feeling getting to experience Laurentian with my brother. The ups and downs of team success and success in the classroom as well. We are able to support each other when we win or lose, or when either of us is struggling. He is there for the good and the bad, and I get to be there for him as well.

Getting the chance to continue my playing career at a university level and pursue a field that interests me is an opportunity not everyone gets to have. I get both of those things, as well as the cherry on top: getting to do it all, with my brother beside me.




2017Oct 29

Connor Vande Weghe

Connor Vande Weghe
Written by Tyler Rivest


Being the best isn’t about your natural talent or how lucky you are. Being the best is about working harder then everyone else and wanting to improve yourself to be the best you can possibly be. I would like to tell everyone the path I took to get here and how I came to be the person I am today. I want people to know my story, hear the challenges I went through and where I want to go from here.

       1297867784149_ORIGINALEveryone sees me as the tall goalie from Laurentian University that stops everything that comes his way and has the most amount of saves in the league. But, no one sees what it took to get here and all the hard work and dedication endured. I started off as the goalie for my high school. I had a coach there who really pushed me to my limits. He made me see the game as more than just a sport. He made me see soccer as a lifestyle. We worked hard at practice and whenever I would misstep or make a mistake, he was sure to let me know. However, all that pressure made me a better player and helped me step up to be a leader. I give him a lot of credit and I think he is the biggest reason why, I am now captain of the Laurentian Voyageurs Soccer Team.

3d4882b3ce3d8b28888d13857f5d47c8_400x400 (1)Soccer didn’t always come easy to me and sometimes it still doesn’t. I had to overcome various challenges and obstacles. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to surpass these obstacles. However, I now know first hand that with a enough hard work, you can do anything. In my first year of playing for the Laurentian, we had a terrible season. We ended with a record of 4 wins, 9 losses and 1 draw. Moral for me and the team was really down. We had the mentality of accepting defeat before the game even started. But, you gotta be able to look past that and into the future. On the off-season, me and team worked hard and it payed off. Now, were in a really good spot to clinch a play-off spot and are sitting 3rd in the league.

Sept_9-17_-_416_storyBut the journey doesn’t stop here. I want to continue improving and growing with Soccer. Next year I want to be able to make it far into the play-offs and make it to the semi-finals and prove to other schools that Laurentian is here to compete and we shouldn’t be taken lightly. Then, the year after that I would like to actually win a championship with my team. I would also like to continue my coaching with my youth team and watch them progress into future athletes and stars. I have made it my main goal to help make soccer grow in the community of Sudbury and allow other people to experience the game as I have.

2014Oct 1

SPAD and Voyageurs Continue Partnership in 2014/15

By Blog Contributor Tyler Fitch

One of the most attractive features of the Sports Administration program at Laurentian University is the amount of hands-on work students experience before earning their degree. Building off of last year’s success, SPAD and Laurentian Athletics have once again partnered in order to give students the opportunity to apply material learned in class, while playing a prominent role in the production of Voyageurs hockey, basketball, and soccer games.

Voyageurs Hockey returned to Laurentian in the 2013/14 Season.

Voyageurs Hockey returned to Laurentian for the 2013/14 Season.

Third-year SPAD students Erica Newman and Melissa Johnstone are managing the men’s basketball twitter account (@VoyageursMBB) for the second year and have also spearheaded the women’s soccer twitter account (@VoyageursWSOC) for the upcoming season. Johnstone believes the experience will help her with her job aspirations.

“I really enjoy social media as well as marketing, and those are two things that I consider as career opportunities for myself,” she said. “I’ve really learned the value of the information we provide and the effect it has on some of our followers. We have people who regularly retweet us and tweet at us, mainly on the men’s account, and are very interactive and engaged in the teams. I think they are very happy [with Athletics adding social media].”

Men’s and women’s hockey, basketball, and soccer all have twitter accounts that are managed by SPAD students, with others helping out in different ways. Second-year student Ben Goodman managed the statistics for both hockey teams last year, and will now be the video coach for the men’s hockey team this year. Like Johnstone, he is confident this experience will be beneficial in the future, as he hopes to one day pursue a career in hockey operations.

“I think my position with the team will be a really valuable experience and a huge step for my development. Over the last year I’ve been trying a lot of different things in different parts of the game so that I could really understand the kind of environment that I’ll be dealing with, but this is really my first shot at contributing directly to a hockey team,” Goodman said. “This season is going to give me a lot of room to grow and a lot of chances to make an impact. I’m really looking forward to it.”

We are excited to closely follow SPADs contribution to Laurentian Athletics and sharing in all of the Voyageurs successes this season. Best of luck to all of our teams, and click on the link below to follow them on twitter.

Women’s Basketball
Men’s Basketball
Women’s Soccer
Men’s Soccer
Women’s Hockey
Men’s Hockey


2014Feb 20

@LU_SPAD Student Athlete Profile: Jordan Hotta – LU Varsity Swim Team

Jordan Hotta is a first year SPAD student on is also on the swim team here at Laurentian. Although Jordan is in his first year here at Laurentian, he does have some past post-secondary education. He also recently attended the OUA swim competition at Brock University. He discusses all of that, and more in this blog interview. Enjoy!

Jordan in the water

Jordan in the water

SB: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I’ll start off by asking how you are enjoying your first year in SPAD?

JH: My first year in SPAD was a nice change in pace from my Western Medical Science degree. Highlights of the SPAD program to me are definitely the personal learning experience afforded to students by the highly invested staff. In SPAD you can definitely tell that both students and teachers are here because they truly love what they are doing, and not just to ramble on, or earn a slip of paper.

SB: You used to attend the University of Western Ontario, what did you study there? What made you want to switch to Laurentian and SPAD?

JH: At Western I was enrolled in the Bachelor of Medical Science program, specifically in the Physiology and Medical Cell Biology streams. I decided that Laurentian would be my next step because I wanted to pursue competitive swimming at my home pool under a coach I know and trust, Phil Parker. Further, SPAD seemed like just the right mix of the practical and theoretical aspects of business, with some nice athletic flavor thrown in. Skills inherent in business, in my opinion, represent a highly transferable credential that could compliment my science background.

SB: How long have you been swimming competitively? Where did you find such a passion for the sport?

JH: I’ve been swimming competitively for around ten years up to this point; however, that span of time isn’t without a few breaks. I originally attended Western set on training, and competing in royal purple; but the rigors of academics bested me in my youth. After a four year hiatus, I realized that chlorine is in my blood and I needed to get back in the pool – enter Laurentian. The atmosphere at LU pool conjured from not only fellow swimmers and coaches, but from the history of Olympic gold and world record setting swims, is something that gets into your veins and builds an insatiable hunger for the roar of competition. When you get in the water, and this may sound cliché, it feels like the whole world, and all of the problems that hammer on you, day in and day out, just flow off. When you get in the pool, it’s just you, the water rushing by your ears, the black line running underneath you, and a goal of where you want to be in 1, 2, 3, or 4 years.

SB: You recently represented Laurentian at the OUA Swim meets earlier in February, how was that experience for you? Will there be any more competitions this year?

JH: The OUA experience was something that I’d been waiting for, for a long time – since I was a club swimmer looking up to the “varsity guys.” My expectations were definitely exceeded. The air in the Brock pool was electric, the stands were full, the deck was packed; and for a few exhilarating races you could tell everyone there had put their chips all in. In particular was the 4x100m freestyle relay, a classic underdog scenario. Off the third exchange the defending champs still held the lead but then the a team seeded third in the race began to charge; every spectator was on their feet cheering, chanting, whatever they needed to do to will their team on to victory. The gap was shrinking precipitously and the two last racers were running out of pool. As both competitors extended aching arms into the wall, the finish was too close to call. Everyone’s eyes darted to the scoreboard, the third ranked team had upset the defending champs, it was this sort of collective excitement that I had dreamt of experiencing as a chubby ten year old who just loved to fool around underwater.

For me personally, I had the bad luck of getting food poisoning on my first night of competition – it will be the last time I order a roast beef sandwich at a meet, instead of my usual pasta and chicken. Despite this, I was able to mine 3/3 for best times and get a second swim in my 50m breaststroke, finishing in 13th place. I knew going into the season I would need to fight every day in order to make up the ground I lost during my 4 year reprieve from the water. With that in my mind, my goals for 2013/14 were all very nearly met, aside from my ongoing battle to score a CIS time standard in the 50m distance.

The varsity season has drawn to a close; however, I will still be competing for the Voyageurs sister club, the Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club.

SB: Do you ever find it challenging to balance both school and sports?

JH: There are certainly times when the strains of meeting the expectations I set for myself both academically and athletically seem daunting. With that in mind, I think it’s important to be conscious of the balancing acts that everyone experiences. I’m fortunate enough to be balancing a sport I love with an education I find interesting. That being said, I always try to always remain relaxed and tackle one challenge at a time, whether it’s a monstrous set in swimming, or an assignment for class.

SB: What are some of your aspirations after completing your degree in SPAD?

JH: I would love to be involved with Swimming Canada; or aquatic sport in general. The understanding of the human body from my physiology background, coupled with management skills from SPAD will give me a unique perspective on how best to elevate and push the sport of swimming forward. I would also like to coach swimming on the side if time allows – the swim world is one I never want to stray from again.

SB: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Good luck with the rest of your semester!

JH: Thanks so much!

Stay connected to the SPAD Blog on social media. Follow us at @LU_SPAD or like us on Facebook for all the latest updates

2014Jan 14

Voyageurs Get Set To “Shoot For The Cure”

1609599_10153650812845147_1833029723_nBasketball season is in full swing here at Laurentian University. Both the men and women teams’ are battling for position within their respective conferences. As per tradition, the women’s team, LU Athletics, and SPAD will be hosting the annual “Shoot For The Cure” game with proceeds going to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. This year, the game will take place on Saturday, January 18th at the Ben Avery Gymnasium on campus. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00pm.

The CIS began the “Shoot for a Cure” campaign in 2007, and it has been a tremendous success ever since. All CIS Women’s Basketball schools take part in the fundraising campaign. This is a total of 45 teams nationwide. In it’s 6+ years, the campaign has amassed over $600,000 in donations, and has generated over $520,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. You can read more about the fundraising efforts here.

Much like the “Pink The Rink” game back in November, “Shoot For The Cure” allows for SPAD’s Event Management students to get involved with LU Athletics, and give back to the community. Students have been hard at work organizing and preparing for the big game, so be sure to come out and show some support on Saturday night!

A number of fundraising initiatives have been planned for the event. Official event t-shirts will be on sale in the Great Hall throughout the week and at the gym before/during the game. Fans at the game will also receive a “rally towel” to add to the game’s atmosphere. Furthermore, raffle prizes will be available at the game. Moreover, a halftime contest will be held for prizes where a participant will shoot from varying distances for different prizes. Fans will be able to buy a chance to enter the halftime contest.1609812_10153657024795147_1396126192_n

For students living on residence, there will also be a “Pep Rally” taking place in West Residence from 4:30-5:30pm on game day. Everyone will be wearing Pink, Blue, and Yellow so you won’t want to miss out on all of the excitement!

For more information on the event, or to find out how you can help, please visit the Event Page on Facebook, and follow the event on Twitter! Hope to see everyone at the gym on Saturday night!

Stay connected to the SPAD Blog on social media. Follow us at @LU_SPAD or like us on Facebook for all the latest updates

2013Dec 23

@LU_SPAD Student Athlete Profile: Maggie Brennan


Maggie Brennan, 1st year SPAD student.

Maggie Brennan has had a lot of additional responsibilities this year above and beyond being a 1st year SPAD Student. Maggie is also a 1st year athlete for the Voyageurs Women’s Hockey team, now in the midst of their inaugural season for Laurentian. Recently, we were able to sit down with Maggie and learn a bit about the life of a SPAD student athlete.

Q: Hi Maggie, thanks for sitting down with us to give us and our readers a better idea of the life of a SPAD student athlete. We wanted to just start off by getting a bit of a background on you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background in hockey.

MB: Hey, yeah it’s no problem! Thanks for having me and asking me to be a part of this. So obviously my name is Maggie Brennan, and I am here at Laurentian in my first year of SPAD and to be apart of the Women’s Hockey team. My hometown is Ottawa, so I live in Nepean, Ontario. I have been playing hockey since I was just little, I have been playing for the Nepean wildcats for the past eleven years.


2013Dec 13

@LU_SPAD Student Athlete Profile: Cam Brooks


Cam Brooks, our very own OUA All-Star in action.

Cam Brooks, 4th year SPAD student and 4th year defense for the Varsity Men’s Soccer team, completed a four month summer internship with XMC Sports and Entertainment from May to August of this year. He then returned to Laurentian for his 4th and final SPAD year and his 4th season as an key contributor to the Men’s Soccer team. He recently talked to us about the Roller Coaster that was his 4th season with the team and his academic aspirations surrounding his final year in SPAD.

Q: First off Cam, congratulations on what is an incredible accomplishment, a 4-time OUA All-Star in as many years. Tells us a bit about the season through your eyes?

CB: Thanks Cam, it was a big honour to be named a first team all-star again this year. It was nice to be rewarded for the hard work that I put in and the excellence that I strive for every single day and in all facets of my life, academically and athletically.