Archive for the ‘Voyageur 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 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






2017Oct 31

Starting From Scratch

By Jason Rankin


Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 4.26.36 PMJust fourteen months ago, in September of 2016 I was approached by professor, Dr. Amanda Schweinbenz. She asked me to try out for the Laurentian rowing team. Twice I declined to join the team due to having my mind set on school and making new friends, although on the third try I was given a piece of paper with the Olympic qualifying times displayed on it. I was told if I could achieve those times, I could start training for the Olympics and with that my decision was made, and shortly after was in a boat.

My name is Charlie Alexander, and I am from southern Ontario, and live in a small town called Fergus. Growing up in Fergus was great, I would spend most of my free time at the mechanic shop down the street, working on my Jeep, or learning from my father and friends who also worked there. Never would I have pictured myself rowing competitively in those days. Becoming a police officer or joining the RCMP was my dream as a child, however my love for the outdoors drove me to chose a different path. Currently I am taking the Outdoor Adventure Leadership program at Laurentian.

It was in my first few weeks in the program when I met Amanda Schweinbenz, who has been the rowing coach here for about 9 years and has helped produce many successful rowers such as, Curtis Halladay and Carling Zeeman. With no rowing experience at all, I accepted her offer to join the team. Even though it seemed like a remote possibility, I decided to go for it, and committed with everything I had, even though I knew nothing. Amanda helped me through everything, and taught me from scratch all there is to know about rowing. She quickly became my trusted coach and mentor in the sport.Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 4.36.07 PM

Balancing school and my busy training schedule isn’t easy. I sacrifice some much needed sleep, for our 5:30AM starts only then to come home to make breakfast, then once more head back for another row at 11AM and then once more around 4PM. All of this is completed while getting to class and finishing all of my homework and it is all worth it in my mind. The feeling I get when pushing through a long hard workout on a cold morning is something I’ve never felt before, and only something that I can describe to you as a “rowers high”. The sound of the water splashing at the back of the boat as it slightly lifts off the water with every stroke, and hearing the slight hum of the hollow bodied hull, when everything is just perfect, is somewhat blissful.

My main goal is to reach the Olympics, specifically I am striving towards the 2020 Summer Games held in Tokyo, but a more realistic goal is the following Summer Olympics is 2024 in Paris. In just my first year of eligibility for rowing I have competed in 5 events, most notably the Head of the Trent or HOTT, and the OUA finals. At the HOTT race, I placed 4th and at OUA’s I won the bronze medal. In October, I was named Ontario’s Strongest Male Athlete of 2017 presented by RBC, which is the most important achievement of my career so far. Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 4.32.42 PM

Never would I have thought I would be rowing for a chance to compete for my country, but with just a year under my belt in the sport, I am pushing my limits and looking to join the Canadian National Rowing Team, as soon as I can. It’s only a matter of time and experience until I will be seasoned enough to join and contribute to our national team.

2017Oct 31



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

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 31

Dear Hockey, Thank You

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 11.40.05 PM

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.


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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2017Oct 31

“The Demons in the rear view”

“The Demons in the rear view”

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Soccer. The sport I love and can’t live without. Can you imagine losing something that you loved ever since your existence?I thought I had. I’m going to take you back through my life up until a day that I can see so clearly.  The day that I was given another chance playing the game of soccer.

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My name is Sam Daoust I was born in California USA, my father is originally from Sturgeon Falls and my mother was born in Russia.  When I was younger, I moved around quite a bit as a kid in the US from California to Connecticut and then Rhode Island. After that, I moved to Richmond Hill in the GTA area and grew up there from the age of 6 to 16. When in the GTA region I found my passion, which was the game of soccer. I’ve been playing soccer my entire life.  I started playing organized soccer when I turned 6 years old.  At the elementary school where I attended from grade 1-6, our gym teacher was actually an ex-pro player. He had played in France for some very notable soccer teams.  All we did in every gym class and at every recess was soccer and it sort of just took off from there. When I was 16, I finally moved to Ottawa, which is where my family lives now. With all the practice in gym class and working extremely hard I started to see the success. When I was younger I achieved something not many people can say. What I accomplished was I won a provincial championship in Ontario and a state championship in the US.

I couldn’t be prouder and still say to this day “it’s my greatest accomplishment”.

Flash forward to recruiting day for University. I was so excited for this day to come and I was hoping to play for my hometown team in Ottawa. I got a call from Carleton University and they wanted me to come play for the Ravens, in you guessed it, my hometown. This was one of the greatest days of my life and I’m so humbled it happened.

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I go into training camp with the team and I noticed we had a big recruiting class. A lot of seniors and a lot of freshmen coming in. I knew that I had to work my tail off in order to make the team. Tryouts were exhausting and I thought I played well.

Then the unspeakable happened.

I got cut. It was the lowest time of my life. I was down for a while”.

I took time off from the sport and I got to talking with Laurentian, I had a tour there. I went to the campus and loved it, the scenery and a chance to play on the soccer team. I got accepted for the program of Kinesiology in the Human Kinetics Department. Trying out for the team this time “I found my love for the sport again and am feeling better than ever playing the game”. After training camp I made the team and was excited for the first game of the season with my new te am, new school and new program. My first game was against Nippissing Lakers. That day came and………..

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I stepped on the field with my team and I knew that the demons suddenly were in the rear-view.

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.




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.