Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

2017Nov 13

From Air Canada to The Air Canada Centre

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I was lucky enough to get an interview with Michael Friisdahl, which may be better known to the readers of this article as the Chief Executive Officer of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment. This interview was a huge experience for me, and a great chance to see what it was like to be at the top of the largest and most successful sports company in Canada. Michael was born in Denmark and moved to Canada with his parents when he was a young teenager in 1976. When he arrived in the country, he knew very little English. Since then, he has grown into a very successful businessman.
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To start the interview, I first asked him why he chose to pursue a career in the sports industry. He responded by saying, “As a matter of fact, I am relatively new to the sports and entertainment industry. I joined MLSE as President and CEO two years ago after many years in the travel industry, most recently as President and CEO of Air Canada’s Leisure Group.” Michael was actually headhunted and offered his position in MLSE.

In his short time as CEO, MLSE has hosted a number of very prominent events, including, the 2016 NBA All Star Weekend and the 2017 NHL Centennial Classic. These events have given Michael the opportunity to learn about the organization, the sports industry, and how to properly lead his company to continued success. He’s also been given the chance to work closely with many of the company’s partners, along with figuring out what he needed to do to keep the fans happy. Michael stated his feelings towards the fans, saying “One of our most important supporters is our fans and in some ways I see many similarities between my roles in the travel industry and my current role. Delivering the best experience possible for our fans is similar to my priorities for our customers when I was in the travel industry. We are proud to have some of the best fans in sports and entertainment and delivering winning teams, and the best experience possible for them, is one of our top priorities.”
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When I asked him to describe his role as CEO of the company, Michael described it by saying, “I oversee all of the different arms and business operations of the company including the teams that make up MLSE, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC and our Live music business.” Working in the Air Canada Centre, as one of the busiest venues in the world, means every day brings new challenges that Michael and his team have to deal with. He continued by saying, “In my role I work to ensure that our very talented team at MLSE delivers our teams the tools they need to be successful as we work towards our goal of bringing championships to our city and our fans.” Each team, whether it be the marketing, ticketing, global partnerships or venue operations, is operated in a very sophisticated manner, run by the most talented members in the industry. Ending his response, he said, “I’m very fortunate in my role to have such a strong team and it is a privilege to lead our team and this company.”

I asked Michael to highlight a few of his accomplishments in the two years he has been in the industry, and he responded with, “Every day at MLSE sees our team accomplish some incredible things that continues to show why MLSE is one of the leaders in the industry, but one of the things that I am most proud of is our work to give back to the community and the impact it has on so many people, especially young people.” In terms of accomplishments from the teams that make up MLSE, he stated, “The Leafs, Raptors and TFC are building each season to reach contender status and TFC has enjoyed a record breaking season in 2017. We all know there is much work still to do there but that success is the reason we are all here and we’re excited about their direction.” One more accomplishment in Michael’s career, is the announcement of a new naming rights partnership with Scotiabank. “It is the largest naming rights partnership deal in sports anywhere in the world to date and it demonstrates the size, scale and importance of Toronto as a market and MLSE as a company.”

Michael Friisdahl’s early years in his career at MLSE have proven to be successful ones. For someone who could not speak english until he moved to Canada as a teenager, Michael has done amazing things and lead multiple companies to great successes in his life. Although he had minimal education, and nothing close to the experience he may have needed to run a sports company, he has done well with the career that was offered to him, that many of the people reading this now are working hard to one day achieve.

2017Nov 13

Step by Step, Brick by Brick

Step by Step, Brick by Brick

By Nick Porter

Sweat and tears combine with winning comes championships. All starts with hard work and ends in glory. Michael Jordan didn’t come from out of nowhere, he had a strong foundation from his parents, mentors and coaches just like a former SPAD grad, Jan Egert to succeed in their chosen profession. How can a young boy from Switzerland who only knew a handful of English words turn out to be an assistant GM of a well-known OHL team, the Ottawa 67’s? I will tell you.

I interviewed Jan and I will take you back through his journey from moving to Canada at the age of twelve, to finding out what the Sports Administration program at Laurentian was, to finally getting a call from the James Boyd to become an assistant GM of the Ottawa 67’s.

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For someone to move across town can be hard but imagine moving to a different country, not even knowing their language. That’s what this SPAD grad did. He came over from Switzerland at the age of 12 and lived in Ottawa. He loved the game of hockey and soccer. As he was in grade 12, not knowing what to do after high school something happened. A young lady came to visit his school. She came and “presented Laurentian University and the SPAD Program at my high school in Grade 12. She asked this situational question, where we had to raise our hand if it applied to us – my hand was in the air the entire time – until she turned to me and said you need to turn to page 25 and read the paragraph about Sports Administration”. Jan did and he knew right there that he was going to Laurentian University in the fall. During his time at Laurentian he helped out with the Switzerland junior team as they defeated Denmark in one of his favourite hockey memory, as seen above and below.

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With working with Switzerland, I asked how did you get into scouting in the first place. He said “Scott Campbell was the video coach of the Sudbury Wolves in our third SPAD year, and learning from him it intrigued me.” After those experiences he got a shot as a communications intern with the Ottawa Senators. “When he was there it really opened his eyes afterwards; as Jan got to look behind the scenes, and the late Bryan Murray shared some great advice.”

Upon Graduation in SPAD and getting his MBA at Laurentian as well, he became a scout for the Mississauga Steelheads for several years. This is where he met his biggest mentor, James Boyd, now the GM of the Ottawa 67’s. “James took a chance on a very green 22-year old MBA student; and was willing to instill his knowledge in me along the way. I now look at the business of hockey completely different now than I did back then, have grown and learned countless valuable lessons; and so much of that is because of the guidance and mentorship from James along the way.”

Several years learning from James, the winning started happening. He was won an OHL Eastern Conference Championship with the Mississauga Steelheads. He climb the so-called ladder and was named assistant GM of that team.

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Then it all came back to earth, he left the Mississauga Steelheads, this past summer. Had no idea what he wanted to do. He flew back home to meet up with some contacts and something unexpected happened. He got a call from his old mentor……..

 

James Boyd. James Boyd called me to go work for the 67’s. “I knew joining the Ottawa 67’s was the perfect fit for me. It kind of felt like coming full circle – my first ever Jr. Hockey Game that I watched was in Ottawa; so coming ‘home’ just felt right.”

Jan knew right there that every step that he took in his life and every brick that he laid, it was all worth it. The long nights, countless hours in a car to drive to a local community rink to watch the game of “HOCKEY”. All the hard work finally PAID OFF.

*Attached below is the full interview*

Questions with Jan Egert

Who is Jan Egert?

29 year old Switzerland native, former Laurentian Voyageur Men’s Soccer player; SPAD & MBA graduate; current Asst. GM of the Ottawa 67’s Hockey Club.

What values have you held true to yourself since day one?

Learn how to walk before you try to run; trust the process, and don’t cheat the game. Everyone wants to get to the top as quickly as possible, but to be successful – you need to appreciate each additional stone that you lay on your professional foundation every step of the way. Don’t try to cheat your way to the top, you’ll stumble and fall. I’ve never seen anyone successfully jump up a ladder – but I’m quite confident that you can climb to the top with a plan in place.

What made you pick Laurentian University and what was your favourite memory of SPAD?

Funny enough, a young lady that presented Laurentian University and the SPAD Program at my high school in Grade 12. She asked this situational question, where we had to raise our hand if it applied to us – my hand was in the air the entire time – until she turned to me and said “you need to turn to page 25 and read the paragraph about Sports Administration”. I had no clue where Laurentian was, or what the SPAD program was until that day; and later that night – I explained to my parents that going to Sudbury was best for me.

What made you want to become a scout/GM?

I was always a hockey fan, but I had no idea where I’d even have gotten started as a scout, or within hockey operations. Scott Campbell was the video coach of the Sudbury Wolves in our third SPAD year, and it intrigued me; maybe that’s what started it. My communications internship with the Ottawa Senators really opened my eyes afterwards; as I got to look behind the scenes, and the late Bryan Murray had some great advice – which kind of triggered the passion and showed me the path of where to start. After that, it’s all hard work.

What is the hardest part about your job?

I thought the player acquisition part of the job would be easy; but it is tough. There are few things more difficult than the phone call to a player to advise him that he is no longer part of your team.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Winning. The emotion that comes with winning – be it at the World Jr. Tournament in Montreal when we defeated Denmark in a must-win game after trailing 3:0 early; or winning the OHL’s Eastern Conference Championship with the Mississauga Steelheads. There are countless hours and resources invested from players, staff, management and coaches that goes into something like that – so to see everyone get rewarded for their efforts is worth every ounce of sweat.

Tell me about your journey to becoming the assistant GM of the Ottawa 67’s

It all moved pretty quick this summer after my departure from the Mississauga Steelheads. I was in Europe to meet with a few contacts about opportunities overseas; but once my phone rang with James Boyd on the other end – I knew joining the Ottawa 67’s was the perfect fit for me. It kind of felt like coming full circle – my first ever Jr. Hockey Game that I watched was in Ottawa at the then-Civic Centre; so coming ‘home’ just felt right.

What is your greatest accomplishment in work and in life?

I’m not sure – I don’t like to talk about my own accomplishments. Hockey is a team sport; and the business of hockey is a team sport. I’ll likely revert to moving to Canada as a 12-yr old boy; and speaking about 10 words of English at that time. To be able to grow, and move to a different part of the world, and adjust to be successful – that’s likely my biggest accomplishment so far in life.

Who is your mentor/role model and what lessons did you learn from him?

There are a number of role models that have greatly impacted my life and my professional journey – but I would be hard-pressed to go beyond James Boyd, now the GM of the Ottawa 67’s. James took a chance on a very green 22-year old MBA student; and was willing to instill his knowledge in me along the way. I look at the business of hockey completely different now than I did back then, have grown and learned countless valuable lessons; and so much of that is because of the guidance and mentorship from James along the way.

Have you had any failures in life and if so, how did you overcome it?

Everyone has had failures; some small and some much tougher to swallow.
In the end, you have to believe in the process; you have to believe in yourself, your abilities and that you are in fact doing things the right way.
If you can do that – then things will work out in the long-run; facing adversity along the way will actually benefit you once you do reach your full potential.

Thank you for taking your time to let me interview you today, it’s much appreciated.

Thank you.                                                 

2017Oct 31

The Underdogs

BAILEY TABIN

POINT GUARD / LAURENTIAN UNIVERSITY

How tall are you and do you play basketball are the two questions that I have been asked during my entire existence.

I am 6”1 and as a matter of fact, I do play basketball.

My journey began the day my twin sister, Sydney, and I stepped on the court with our oversized uniforms in 2006. Since then we always played together and pushed each other to maintain our fitness, and to become stronger players. We played together all the way until the end of our high school career at Tommy Douglas Collegiate.

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During our final year we finally had the opportunity to make it to playoffs. Our opponent was non other than our rival team, Walter Muarry Collegiate. We have a rich history with majority of our games ending with a one or two point difference. Unfortunately for us, the Walter Muarry Marauders was always the one to win. At times it was very irritating because I truly believed that our team possessed more skill. Nonetheless, the Marauders came out to win and according to the scoreboard, they were the better team.

For that particular game, we were expected to lose due to the fact that we had an unexpected change of coaches. The head coach was no longer available to work with us so we he had to keep our momentum going with a parent who volunteered to lead our team.

Game day finally arrived. I, along with my other teammates was very nervous to compete, as this was possibly our last game playing as the Tigers. Throughout each quarter, the score was very close and each member of both teams were performing Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 17.32.20their best. In the final moments of the game, I got fouled out. I was very anxious knowing that I could not do anything else to help my team win. I even thought that I was letting my sister down because we were the dynamic duo of the team. Minutes later, my sister ends up injuring her right hand. With her determination to win she decided to stay in the game and fight to the finish. With seconds left on the clock, Sydney saw an open space to execute a lay up and added two points to the scored board. Then the buzzer makes an abrupt sound. BEEEEEEEEP! There it was, the Tommy Douglas Tigers moving on to the next round. It was very emotional moment for my sister and me as we thought that it was going to be our last game playing together. Even our mom whipped out her video camera and started taping us for to document this memory.

 

The following game was against St. Joseph. At the time, all the catholic schools had a reputation for playing good basketball and sports in general. This school was one of the top three schools in the province. With that in mind and barely passing through the preliminaryScreen Shot 2017-10-31 at 17.29.39 rounds, we were the underdogs of the tournament. In order to make it to provincials, we had to place in the top three. It turns out that we were playing against St. Joseph’s for the third spot. As we played against St. Joseph’s “we came out hot all our plays came out crisp.” As result we made it to provincials! Everyone was excited because it was out first time making it that far in playoffs, none the less going off to provincials.

In HOOPLA, the provincial tournament, we placed 3rd. Initially it was disheartening because we lost by a few points points. No one enjoys losing, but at the end of the day I was proud to earn that bronze medal! As the saying goes, you lose to get second and win to get third. I was glad to end my high school career in that fashion as it was a thrilling experience. From strengthening my bond with my sister, to having a parent volunteering to be coach, and to having a team that I can consider my family. This moment will never be forgotten!

 BAILEY TABIN / CONTRIBUTER

(Shenelle Figueroa)

2017Oct 31

The Beginning

Eric Wass

Assistant Coach/Laurentian Voyageurs Men’s Soccer

 

“You’ll never play the game of soccer again,” the doctor said as he looked at my knee, I thought it was over, but it was just the beginning…

 

This was a phrase that Eric Wass never wanted to hear.

 

However, this being a large reason as to why I traveled halfway around the world from Helsingborg, Sweden to Sudbury. A unique opportunity in the classroom and with the Laurentian Men’s Soccer team was something I wasn’t going to pass up.

 

At just 3 years old, my father introduced me to the sport and ever since I have remained involved. Playing for 17 years, I have plenty of experience and games under my belt. So much so, that I have been coaching for the last 4 years and counting.

 

A few years ago, an off-field knee injury put me on the sideline temporarily. Shortly after returning to the game, a few re-injury setbacks and irreversible knee damage ultimately led to my soccer (playing) retirement.

 

Giving up something that you love, are passionate about, and is a vital part of your life can be detrimental, heartbreaking, and difficult to accept. Initially, it was extremely challenging and difficult to give up something that has been a part of my entire life. But, soon realized that I could still play a crucial part within the gam22883158_2120043781354931_309238873_ne of soccer.

 

I quickly transitioned into my next role within the world of soccer and joined the coaching staff of my former club team. To this day, I haven’t looked back.

 

 

Despite not being able to play the game, the ability to coach is a huge advantage to bettering my future career. With a dream of being a professional coach in the English Premier League, I need to be experienced. Thus, starting to coach at such a young age will give me at least 15 years of experience others applicants likely won’t have. Additionally, obtaining the required licenses needed to coach at different levels now will also give me an edge up on other coaches. As well as provide me with a greater understanding of rules and techniques for coaching.

 

Johan Carlsson, my former coach, told me, “you are better in the head than the feet.” Implying that I have a greater knowledge of the sport itself than my ability to play the game. Many would take this an insult, but I took it as a compliment, knowing that I have the skill set and ability to succeed at the coaching level. This could be contributed to the countless hours I spend reviewing tactics and strategies along with spending a lifetime around the sport.

 

A successful, four-year coaching career with the Kullavagen BK, an under 21 club in Sweden, and I was interested in taking the next step.

 

But the real question: Why Laurentian?

 

The cliche “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” proved beneficial for me and landing at Laurentian. My father, a professional women’s soccer coach in Sweden, was able to draft the daughter of LU’s Athletic Director. In turn, putting me in touch with the “right person” to advance my coaching career at the university level. Needless to say, this was something I was not expecting.

 

After learning more about the university itself, the soccer team, and finding a desired program of study (sports psychology), I choose to attend Laurentian University. Before long, I was packing my bags and heading to Canada for a new adventure.

 

13432222_1342227075792511_2780642078468735267_nThe opportunity to help coach at the collegiate level is a step up from my previous coaching position in Sweden. But, also brings along a new perspective and interaction with the athletes.

Playing the role of both student and coach brings a unique set of interaction with athletes such as coaching friends and classmates. When in a coaching role, this is not an optimal situation as you are looking to establish yourself with authority and on a hierarchy level. Which, can be difficult to develop and take time but I have slowly been adapting to this. Throughout the duration of the season thus far, I have had to prove myself to the athletes with my knowledge of the game to gain the desired respect, authority, and position that I deserve as a coach. I have found that the Canadians are more respectful to their coaches than compared to Sweden.

Regardless of the country I coach in, the message I present to my athletes on game day remains the same. “Han du kommer möta där ute vill vara bättre än dig. Han kommer kämpa röven av sig för att vara just det. Min fråga är: kommer du låta den jävlen vara bättre än dig? Vad fan kom du hit för då?” Or as we can better understand it, “The guy you will be against out there today wants to be better than you. He will fight his ass off to be just that. My question is: will you let that sucker be better than you? What the hell did you come here for then?”

 

Eric Wass / Contributor

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2017Oct 31

Homecoming

 

Playing junior hockey is not the most normal way to grow up. I was only sixteen when I was drafted by the Kingston Frontenacs, but when Doug Gilmour (the general manager of the Frontenacs) wants to sign you, it is hard to say no. The resulting roller coaster ride was both exhilarating and crazy. It might not have been the most normal way to go through my late teens, but I would not trade those experiences for anything.

Before being drafted by the Frontenacs I played AAA hockey here in Sudbury where I grew up. I was joking around with my buddies recently, and I said I went to six different high schools and they were shocked. That is normal for a junior hockey player, all that traveling and being traded required me to change schools frequently.  I had never thought of it as a thing that I had to overcome. I always loved the traveling going around to all those different places, and it really gave me the life experience that I am lucky enough to have.

After playing for a couple of seasons in the OHL I joined the Truro Bearcats organization of the Maritime Junior Hockey League. One of the highlights of my career happened while I was with the Bearcats organization, which was winning the league championship (Kent cup) in 2014. There’s just something about it that you can’t replace, after the season’s done, after the playoffs are done, being able to turn to the guy beside you and say that you’re the champions.

After my last year with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the QMJHL, I gave Darryl Moxam a call. I asked him, I think I’m just about done my junior career and I’m looking for a place to go, a place to continue playing hockey and getting into a place that’s fitting for my future. He said well what do you want to get into, and i said well something sport related, something business related. He said it’s funny you should say that, because we have a sports business program here at Laurentian. He was the coach of the men’s hockey team at Laurentian at the time so he enticed me to come play hockey here, as well as to join the sports administration program.

That’s the story of my junior career, and my homecoming to Sudbury as a member of the Laurentian Voyageurs men’s hockey team. Being back has been really great, I get to reconnect with friends and family. When playing junior during the summer I would be home in Kingston with my parents, and in the winter I’d be off playing hockey. It has been really nice to reconnect with all those I haven’t seen in a number of years. Whatever lies in my future I will always be grateful of this period that I got to spend in Sudbury with friends and family.

 

 

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2017Oct 31

Dear Hockey, Thank You

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Thirteen years ago I stepped on the ice for my very first time. If you ask my dad, he will probably tell you that teaching a four-year-old to skate is no walk in the park.

Growing up in Northern Ontario I think most Canadians can relate their childhood memories to staying up late on cold winter nights to break out a scrimmage on your homemade backyard ice hockey rink. I couldn’t even tell you how many nights my dad spent out there flooding that rink with a hose so it would be ready to play on. Just a young kid strapping on my skates to tear down the ice, I had no idea that this sport would change my life so much.

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Photo by Laurentian University

I remember my older brother Myles was just learning how to skate where he joined a hockey team shortly after. I have never seen someone enjoy something so much, so I decided to give it a try. I started out in tyke and didn’t get the chance to play a ‘real’ game until the following year in novice. Over the years I bounced back and forth between the boy’s league and girl’s competitive. I made my final switch to the girl’s competitive league after having both positive and negative experiences in different leagues and here I am today playing in my second year as a centre for the Laurentian Voyageurs Women’s Hockey team. 

Thirteen years of hockey. Believe it or not, this is not how my sports career started. With help from the rest of family, my parents had this crazy idea that I should be a ballerina, so they put me in ballet. Anyone who I am close with knows I hated it. I mean, like most people I enjoy casually dancing, like when a killer song comes on in the dressing room before a big game, but to do it every day of my life it just wasn’t for me.

Photo By Esso Cup

Photo By Esso Cup

I was born to play hockey. Getting a chance to play in the Midget AA Nationals, The Esso Cup, in my second year in Midget AND winning gold confirmed that.

Nothing about this experience was easy but playing this sport my entire life has taught me how to deal with any challenge thrown my way. We only had one week to prepare for our flight to Red Deer where every other team finished provincials earlier. Most of us girls never played three twenty minute periods before and to play like that once a day for a solid week straight was an obstacle. The entire thing was very nerve-racking but that’s something you just have to put aside in the back of your mind. You have to stay focused on the game, or you’ll never be happy with how you played. 

Photo by Esso Cup

Photo by Esso Cup

We pulled out a huge 7-2 win against the Red Deer Chiefs in our third game at Nationals, who would’ve thought they would be the team we’d be playing in the finals. Looking back at that final game it was extremely exhausting. We started to worry as the game went on and we were still tied 1-1 close to the end of the first period with our captain (Karli Shell) scoring our only goal. With 3 minutes left on the clock in the first, I was put on the ice for a long shift. One of our defensemen passed me the puck to finally break out, and all I was focusing on was to get the puck deep in their zone and change because I was dead tired. I dumped the puck and headed off to change. As soon as I got to the bench I saw my entire team jump up, and in that moment I realized that we just scored. Little did I know my captain scored our game-winning goal from a pass by yours truly but if you check the stats I never was counted for that assist. It’s frustrating but any player in the league knows it happens too often even in the OUA and CIS.

I’m still in disbelief today that this all happened. It’s dreamlike now. Almost too good to be true. Everything was all really well organized, we were treated like professionals. We had an itinerary to follow, provided meals and Coach bus transportation. There was an opening and closing banquet, two of my teammates even sang in front of everyone by request of the entertaining singer.

There are so many things I have got to do because of hockey and many more open doors for me to come. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Thank you, Hockey. Without you, I would have never known I could love something other than my friends and family so much.

Thank you for teaching me how acting on aggression doesn’t always lead up to the results you want, how you have to put in the time and work to be the best you can be, and that you don’t have to stop when things get tough.

Thank you for allowing me to build relationships with teammates and coaches, and to learn more about myself as an athlete and as a person to a greater extent than what anyone else could have ever taught me. You helped shape me into the person I am today and I couldn’t be more proud of what I have accomplished.

As long as you are a part of my life you will continue to teach me things about myself that I would have never had the opportunity of knowing. I know what I want and who I want to be thanks to you. One day I would love to play for Team Canada but even if I can’t make that happen just know that I will always be keeping active and involved in this sport.

I will continue to learn whether it is from watching, hearing, or experiencing the game. I will work hard to play a physical game like Martin St. Louis, to be a playmaker like Sidney Crosby, and who doesn’t want to be hammering pucks into the net like Alex Ovechkin or John Tavares.

You drive my competitiveness, you keep my life exciting.

You are intense. You are engaging and all-consuming. I love every part of you and just being able to go out on that ice to try something new will probably never get old for me.

At this point in my life, I can pretty much say that hockey will always be a part of me.

Who knows where I’ll end up when I’m done playing for Laurentian that is still two years away, but for now practice is over, it’s game time.

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MYLA MCCORMICK / CONTRIBUTOR

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2017Oct 30

A Big Heart From Hearst- Amelie Samson

NAmelieot many athletes make it out of Hearst (my hometown).  To paint you a picture it is a six hour drive north of Sudbury, and has roughly 5,000 people. If you asked someone from Toronto about Hearst they would think you’re talking about another planet.

Although Hearst is a small town I would still consider it a ‘hockey hotbed’. After all it is Claude Giroux’s hometown, and where my sister and I learned how to play hockey. I laced up my first pair of skates when I was two years old. Believe it or not they were not hockey skates, but figure skates. I skated until sixth grade then decided to make the jump to hockey, the sport which my sister had been playing her whole life. My dad lives and breathes hockey and didn’t care much about my figure skating career. He was always with my sister helping her improve until I made the switch. He was so happy, and became instantly consumed, while I fell instantly in love. He pushed both my sister and I to be the best we could be. My dad was so crazy about hockey he made me wake up before school to shoot pucks and practice.

Growing up I had mostly played with boys, but knew I would have to transition to playing with girls if I wanted to go somewhere in hockey. Going into the twelfth grade I decided to try out for the Midget Lady Wolves in Sudbury. I made it. I was lucky because my Aunt lived in Sudbury so I stayed with her. The transition was easy, however the biggest challenge switching to girls hockey was staying confident. In Hearst I was always seen as the best girl playing with the boys. When I made the Lady Wolves all the girls were equal if not better than me so it made me doubt myself at times. I found it hard to stay confident, but had learned to overcome it, especially at the university level. My year with the Lady Wolves was successful all round. We won the Esso Cup (National Championship), which was my coolest hockey experience to date. The tournament was hosted in Red Deer, and was televised nationally. Such a surreal experience knowing you’re on TSN!  That same year I was being watched closely by the assistant coach of the Laurentian Voyageurs women’s team (Willy Montpellier). He liked the tenacious style of game I played. My dream was to play at the university level once I realized I could keep up with the boys. I knew I could do it.

My dad always advised me to dIMG_1078o just school because he saw how much I hated it growing up, and thought I would struggle balancing it with sports. Not only that, but my sister was a true scholar who loved school so I was constantly compared to her. While she went away to pursue hockey and academics at the University of Ottawa I was faced with the same decision. I looked into NCAA, but knew it was an unrealistic goal. Since I am bilingual my two options for university in Ontario were the University of Ottawa, and Laurentian University. I was always interested in living in Ottawa, but the thought of playing plus going to school with my sister made me sick to my stomach. I didn’t want to compete with her. The decision was easy once the Laurentian coaching staff  showed interest in me. They took notice to the little parts of my game that made me a good player. Once I was accepted into Kinesiology at Laurentian I never looked back. To this day I believe I would not be successful in school without hockey. Having hockey forces me to be on top of my work, and stay focused. After my first year of school I proved to my parents that I could succeed in school while playing. I am now in my third year of school, and my role continues to grow on the team. My passion is hockey, so why not add school into the mix.

Seeing as there are only two female university athletes to make it out of Hearst (my sister and I), I am very thankful to be where I am. When I am older I wish to move back and become involved with youth athletes in the community. I would like to work for a chiropractor, but my end goal is to eventually open a hockey training facility in Hearst similar to RHP in Sudbury to push girls to get to my level and further.

 

 

 

2016Nov 2

SPAD Wear 2016

14632808_1149881298440211_7487804014940766476_n-jpgThe release of SPAD wear has always been a yearly tradition that is heavily anticipated by students who want to take pride in their program and want to represent it in style. Each year, SPAD’s Students’ Council announces a partnership with an apparel company to produce the clothing students know and love. This year, Student Council has announced a partnership with Bauer and CCM. Unlike previous years, SPAD wear is available for immediate purchase – meaning you can try-on, purchase, and walk-away with your clothing in one stop. 

SPAD students Calder Lyons, Chad Mallory, Clayton Lewis, and Isak Moen have compiled the information below. For more information, please contact a member of Student Council.

Student Council and Bauer have worked together to produce a wide variety of clothing that suit both men and women, that are sure to impress. Here are some of the highlights:

The SPAD Colloquia Polo 

Perfect for representing your program both on the golf course and in the classroom. Combine this shirt with a pair of khakis and you’ll be set for any business casual class you will ever have. Coming in a moisture wicking material, you will be able to stay cool and refreshed in even the hottest of School of Education Building classrooms.

The SPAD Monday 8:30 Fleece Hood 

Whether its a 8:30am, 10am or 4pm class, this hoodie is the perfect thing to throw on when you’ve just woken up and are in a rush. It’s not just for rushes though, cause once you put it on, you’ll never take it off! Coming in a nice, cool colour of grey, with our very own SPAD logo printed on the front, people will never forget what program you belong to.

The SPAD Official Program Jacket 

Similar to past year’s jackets, Bauer is back, with a jacket that is arguably the warmest and stylish jacket yet. Coming in both men’s and women’s styles, this jacket will keep you warm, even in Sudbury winters.

Don’t limit yourselves to just these popular items, there are many more styles and options. These include a SPAD mesh cap, SPAD gym T-shirt and shorts, SPAD women’s 1/4 zip, ladies v-neck, and SPAD classic zip sweater. With options like these there is something for everyone.

If you are interested in purchasing SPAD wear you can do so online at https://squareup.com/store/spad-council or in person at these times and locations this week:

Wednesday November 2nd

6:00-8:00 (West Residence)

Thursday November 3rd

2:00-4:00 (West Residence)

Friday November 4th

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM (SPAD Learning Lab)

2016Oct 24

Student Profile: Jennifer and Dania Arrive in Austria

14671343_10210505216844476_7860131875434533149_nLast year we spoke with SPAD students Jennifer Thomas and Dania Johanson who were chosen to be SPAD’s first ever exchange students. Jennifer and Dania have now settled down in Austria and have taken the time to chat with us about everything they’ve experienced since landing in Kufstein on September 27th.

SB: Being in another country who’s native tongue is so different from ours, do you find that there is a language barrier?

 

JT: We go to an International School that teaches its classes in English so everyone in the university knows how to speak the language to varying degrees. Though, for most people it isn’t their first language. When we speak in class our professors ask us to slow down because we’re speaking too fast.

 

DJ: In town it isn’t too bad. When we first landed, we went into town looking for amenities and it was really hard trying to communicate with people and find what we wanted. Most people know at least some basic English or have co-workers who can, and we eventually figure it all out.

 

We are trying to pick up on some of the language. We have learned some basic phrases and words such as “how are you” and “My name is Dania” but there are some sounds that we struggle to pronounce. Our favourite word is “Fachhochschule”, which is equivalent to the word University in English.

 

SB: What’s the coolest part of being at an international school?

 

JT and DJ: There are so many people from so many different countries. Our core group of friends consists of people from Finland, France, and Australia and we socialize more with people who can speak English fluently. It’s the same way for other people, most people hang around with the people who share their first language but not exclusively. Everyone is interested in each other’s cultures because we are all so different, we joke around and make fun of each other. There are lots of stereotypes; one of our friends keeps saying we’re from Nova Scotia.

 

SB: Culture has been said to have an affect on people’s preference in sport. How do you think this has affected your discussions in class?

 

JT: In class the other day we were talking about events and I used the World Cup of Hockey as an example and our whole class bursted out laughing. They make fun of us and hockey all of the time. Europeans have a lot of love for soccer so it’s what most people talk about.

 

SB: What is your overall class structure like for this year?

 

JT and DJ: Our first semester started in October and will end in February, although we will be home for a couple weeks for Christmas. After this semester, we have four weeks off in which we plan on backpacking around Europe. Our second semester starts in March and ends in July.

Our class schedule is very different than the one’s we would have at Laurentian. We never have a week with the same schedule, there could be a week when we have the same class Monday to Friday and then we end with an exam on the Saturday, others we have every couple of weeks.

 

SB: What is your favourite class?

 

JT and DJ: Austrian History and Culture. It’s a Saturday class and we basically go to different historic locations in Austria. The first week we went to the fortress that’s located in Kufstein, we can actually see it from our window. Tomorrow we’re going to Innsbruck, and in a couple of weeks were going to Salzburg. We get to see so many different cultures, the cities are so close together but they have such different cultures because of their differing history. It’s interesting because Austria’s history is so much older than Canada’s history; it’s all very new to us.

 

SB: What’s the best place you’ve been so far?

 

JT and DJ: Neuschwanstein Castle was awesome and the most impressive. It looked like something out of a story and was the castle that Disney first based their animated castles off of. Everything about it was surreal.

On the other hand, we went to a concentration camp in Germany and it was really eye opening. We felt weird the whole day after. The whole situation made us feel so emotional. People were crying and no one spoke. We just walked around and paid our respects.

 

SB: What is the best piece of advice you would give the Austrian exchange students that have joined SPAD in Sudbury for the year?

 

JT and DJ: Attend and join as many extra curricular activities as possible throughout Laurentian and the Sudbury community. At FH Kufstein, they don’t have structured intramurals like Laurentian does so they should take advantage of Laurentian’s and really get involved in the school, make the best of your time there. (more…)

2016Oct 4

SPAD Frosh Day 2016

froshAfter a summer full of internships, friends, and fun, it was time to head back to the books for SPAD student during their first week back to school. For first-year SPAD students, it meant it was time to get acquainted with Laurentian University and the Sports Administration (SPAD) program. Founded in 1972, the SPAD program has been a tradition-rich program since it’s early years at Laurentian. An annual tradition for first-year SPAD students is the SPAD Frosh Day.

SPAD Student Council welcomed the program’s newest students, bright and early at the Laurentian Track and Field Stadium. Upon check-in, each first-year student received their first pieces of SPAD swag. After a few quick introductions, the group got into some ice-breaker activities and learned about each other’s most embarrassing stories, competed in a laundry line race, and even participated in a few Harambe memorial chants. Although ice-breaker activities can be a little awkward at first, it is only a matter of time before this group of frosh look back and have a few good laughs at the activities that transpired.

After a quick lunch courtesy of Topper’s Pizza, the first-year students boarded the bus for Dodge This Paintball. Frosh and Student Council members were divided into teams upon arrival at the paintball park for a classic, Frosh Day battle. The troops participated in games such as capture the flag, free-for-all, and a clan battle on the various maps on the Dodge This Paintball campus. Council member, Josh Bousada, put together a fantastic video which can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJHCXYcjUtI.

Upon returning to school, the first-year students were given some time to wash all the paint off and freshen up for a new tradition, the SPAD Program’s Meet N’ Greet. SPAD faculty and SPAD students were brought together to reconnect after a long summer away for some food, music, and laughs. Congratulations to first-year student Julian Hull who won the raffle grand prize for a custom sports jersey of his choice.

SPAD Students’ Council would also like to thank all who attended and hope to see you soon at our next SPAD event. To all the SPAD Frosh, welcome to the family. Get ready for the most amazing four years of your life here at Laurentian University!