OTTAWA, Ont. — It took two overtime quarters, but the Wilfrid Laurier women’s basketball team pulled off what they set out to do.
The Hawks defeated the Carleton Ravens 70-65 in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) bronze medal game Saturday afternoon to claim the bronze medal and a berth into next weekend’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships in Windsor, Ont.
After a rough loss against the Windsor Lancers last weekend, the Hawks refocused to the bronze medal game.
In the only other meeting between Laurier and Carleton this year, the Hawks won 58-49.
“It feels amazing,” fourth-year Whitney Ellenor said after the win. “Doreen [Bonsu], Bree [Chaput], Laura [Doyle] and Kim [Yeldon] have worked so hard over the past four years and really are the core of this team and have helped us to get here. So to do it for them is amazing, as well as for everyone else. We’ve put in so much work to get here over the year.”
“I think perseverance was a big characteristic tonight,” head coach Paul Falco said. “Carleton’s a tough team. I thought the game could have gone either way, so you have to give them a lot of credit.”
The game Saturday began very defensive, as after the first quarter, Laurier only led 9-6.
With a bit of back and forth playing, the Ravens and Hawks played to a 19-19 tie going into the half.
“We like to keep it interesting for everyone, so we like to keep it close in the first half,” laughed Ellenor. “But we went to the locker room as the half time, we talked, and just regrouped and were like ‘we’re going to win this game. We’re going to come out, we’re going to work our butts off, we’re going to win this game.’”
Second-year Kaitlyn Schenck became a large offensive presence for the Hawks, putting up a few three-pointers in the third quarter to help Laurier stay with the Ravens and spread the lead to five. At the end of three quarters, Laurier led 35-32.
In the fourth, the game began to become thrilling. Back and forth buckets forced both teams to foul each other to the bonus. Ellenor tied the game up with 52.9 seconds left and as the Ravens missed their final shot at the buzzer, the game was sent to overtime.
The first overtime would solve nothing as both teams stayed evenly matched throughout the frame. At the end of the first overtime, it was tied 63-63.
“It just shows how resilient we are and how hard we want to work for the entire thing,” Ellenor said about the team battling through two overtime frames. “We have players at the end that I don’t think came off through overtime. So that’s an extra 20 minutes straight of playing. It just shows how hard we’ve worked and how well we were prepared for this.”
“It’s amazing. We’ve worked so hard this season, coming back from injuries and a lot of defeats and stuff like that. So we’re coming back and it feels so good,” Schenck said after the victory.
In the second overtime, Laurier used their free throw strength to their advantage to spread the gap in the final minute. Ellenor was sent to the line and sunk both of her free throws to make the game 69-65 with 6.5 seconds left, and then Samantha Jacobs sunk one of her two free throws at the end of the game to give Laurier the win.
The last time Laurier went to the CIS championship was in 2010-11. This is Laurier’s best finish on the OUA platform since 2003-04 when the team won OUA silver in a loss to the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
“It’s great. It’s especially great for our seniors,” Falco said. “We’ve got four girls who were in Windsor three years ago for nationals and were extremely motivated to get back and finish their careers there. It’s a great accomplishment and it’s going to be a good experience for our younger girls and we’re looking forward to playing the top teams in the country.”
– With files from Laurier Athletics]]>
Fifth-year Isaac Dell knows what it means to deal with difficult situations.
Last summer, the Wilfrid Laurier running back was offered to sign with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at the end of their training camp, but opted to be released by the team after receiving a concussion last June, his second in a three-month span.
“The team doctor and I came to a mutual agreement that it would be best for my health to take the summer off of football and just focus on recovering,” Dell explained.
“I took about two weeks off and basically did nothing. And then I started doing physiotherapy, where the physiotherapist worked on my neck and upper back, and it seemed to be a lot of the symptoms I was having weren’t necessarily directly related to a head injury as much as my neck. Working on my neck and relaxing really helped.
“Eventually I got back to work and had a bit of a regular summer and I was able to recover fast enough to play in my last season at school.”
Dell was drafted 37th overall in last May’s draft, but he returned to the Hawks last August.
And after his final year with Laurier, Dell signed with the Ti-Cats for the upcoming season — and is injury free.
Despite having to stay back a year, Dell made the most of it, and came back to play one last year with Laurier, while also tying up some loose ends with his education.
“Initially I was pretty disappointed that I wasn’t able to play with Hamilton, but I just tried to look at it in a positive manner and I was able to come back and finish up my education sooner than expected,” he said.
“If I played with Hamilton it would’ve taken me an extra couple years to finish my undergrad.”
“So I was able to come back and play one final season of university ball and focus on my education and get that out of the way.”
Finally, he was faced with the decision of whether or not he should follow through with playing a summer season of football, or take the longer route and attempt to fully recover from his injury.
Dell weighed his options before making his decision.
“I think that at the time when I was in the situation of — should I try and struggle through the recovery process and play that season last year— I looked at the current longevity of my career and realized I was still young and if I took my time to recover and did it properly that I would potentially have an opportunity to come back, so I think it just means that I made the right decision,” he said.]]>
For the past four years, the Wilfrid Laurier men’s basketball team has been anchored by strong focus, character and leadership, and at the centre of that has been Jamar Forde — a defensive backbone, and all around leader of the Hawks who has contributed significantly to their success both in the regular season and playoffs.
The 6’3” guard out of Mississauga, Ont., has enjoyed an impressive career at Laurier, especially his last two years where he averaged over 11 points and four rebounds per game each year.
However, Forde really left his mark on the defensive end of the floor.
“Most importantly, my primary thing for basketball is I play defence very well. I always guard the best player on the other team,” he said.
While his time at Laurier has been filled with memorable moments, Forde also has been susceptible to some tough injuries, which he’s been able to battle through.
Forde feels as if his time here has been an excellent learning and growing process for him.
“Now I know a lot more about myself from just being here and playing on the basketball team. I’ve also met a lot of good friends,” he said.
Forde has suffered through many nagging setbacks here at Laurier including a severe foot injury that sidelined him for some time.
However, he has never let any of that get to him or allow him to lose any of his focus.
“I just try to stay calm and strong while I’m injured. When you play basketball you are always battling injuries…once the game starts, injuries are not an issue. I don’t make injuries an excuse, I just want to win,” he said.
In the 2013-14 year, Forde finished the regular season with 270 points and averaged 12.3 points per game in 22 games.
In his freshman year in 2010-11, he averaged 7.6 points per game.
On the defensive end of the ball, Forde improved dramatically over four years.
In 2010-11, he finished with 3.9 rebounds per game, 18 steals and six blocks. In 2013-14, Forde had 6.7 rebounds per game, 27 steals and 14 blocks.
Forde attributes a lot of this to his teammates, but points most of his success and growth to head coach Peter Campbell. Coach Campbell has made a huge impact on many of the players here at Laurier as they all have nothing but high praise for him, and Forde is no exception.
“It was an amazing experience playing for him, he is an amazing coach, [he is] very experienced … He wants us to be our own man and figure out our own way in life, but also play well as a team and play fundamental basketball,” he explained.
Some of his most memorable moments at Laurier on the basketball team revolve around bonding with his teammates and forming relationships and friendships that he values on and off the court.
“I get to know the players more while we are on the road,” Forde said.
“We get to bond, that is how you get that important team chemistry, you stick together, like a brotherhood. I’ll never forget those memories.”
Coming to Laurier out of high school, Forde took in a lot of knowledge from the veteran team that was already in place four years ago. That team made it to the OUA semifinals.
As he has grown as a person and a player at the school, one of his main focuses has been to do all he can to prepare Laurier’s young core of players as much as he can.
“There are a lot of young guys on the team, I just try to help them be a student-athlete, tell them that they have to balance their school and basketball, bring them to the gym and basically just show them the life of a student-athlete at Laurier,” he said.
Forde will be finishing his last year at Laurier, but is optimistic about his basketball opportunities in the future.
“Right now just I’m focused on academics, but if basketball is still my future, I’ll definitely try to play somewhere,” he said.]]>
WINDSOR, Ont. — After a triumphant win against the Western Mustangs a week earlier, the Wilfrid Laurier women’s basketball team headed to Windsor Saturday for the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West final just wanting to play spoiler.
They were going against the No. 1 nationally ranked Windsor Lancers, who were also the defending national champions the past three years, for a chance to play in the OUA final.
And the Lancers had everything to lose.
But a too big, too athletic Lancer team shut the door on any upset, sending the Hawks home with a tough 86-58 loss to swallow.
“They’re a great team, they’re ranked number one in the country for a reason,” fourth-year Whitney Ellenor said.
“They come out and compete hard every single game and we needed to come out and compete hard as well. I think we did a good job, but I think we turned the ball over too much and that’s what killed us.”
From tipoff to the final buzzer, the Lancers dominated the Hawks.
Three players finished the game with over 20 points, and that didn’t include star fifth-year player Jessica Clemencon, who finished with 14 points.
Miah-Maris Langlois, Korissa Williams and Cheyanne Roger finished with 24, 22 and 20 points, respectively, for the Lancers.
“I think we saw what they do best and that really hurt us,” head coach Paul Falco said after Saturday’s game.
“Their pressure hurt us in terms of turnovers and it created a lot of transition and easy hoops for them.”
“I think our girls battled extremely hard. It probably didn’t reflect in the scoreboard, but I was pleased with the effort,” he continued.
With little height to the Hawks’ roster, and their only player matching up being the 6’3” Ellenor, Laurier struggled with the inside game.
However, Ellenor had her best game statistically of the 2013-14 year, as she put up 18 points and two rebounds in the losing effort.
Throughout the season, Ellenor averaged 7.3 points per game, dropping from 11.1 per game in the 2012-13 season.
After suffering a foot injury that kept her off the court for the majority of the season, Ellenor’s offensive game came at a key time for the Hawks.
“Whitney had an extremely good game,” said Falco.
“She played hard from start to finish. Not only did she score a bit for us, which was nice, … but she played Clemencon extremely hard.”
Despite the loss, the Hawks’ season isn’t done.
With their win against the Mustangs last week, Laurier has a second chance at a spot in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national championships in Windsor next weekend.
But to get that berth, they have to go through the Carleton Ravens.
Laurier defeated the Ravens 58-49 in their only meeting throughout the season back on Nov. 22.
With a team that plays very similarly to the Hawks, Laurier will look to go inside with their post players. However, Ellenor mentioned that when they collapse, Laurier’s sharp shooters will come in handy.
“We’ve worked so hard all season in the gym every day watching our progress, it’s amazing to see where we’ve come from,” Ellenor said.
“And there are a lot of people doubting us so we’ve worked our butts off to get here and we’ve earned our spot to play in Ottawa this weekend.”
“I think what we did last week earned us a second chance and we’re trying to take advantage of that,” Falco echoed.
“Carleton’s a tough team and we have to go into their gym … They’re a tough defensive team, but we’re looking forward to heading to Carleton and taking them down.”]]>
Giiwedin is a riveting and beautiful tale that captured the audience this past weekend at Wilfrid Laurier University, even for those not already fans of opera. Giiwedin is told from the perspective of a 150-year-old First Nations woman and speaks to the history of First Nations people in the Temiskaming region of Northern Ontario. The performance was devastating, funny and held a powerful message about honouring the First Nations history and knowledge. The score, the singing and the acting spoke volumes to the history and culture of First Nations people. This is the second production of Giiwedin, as a contemporary opera, the first being on stage in Toronto three years ago.
“The composers, when they saw our performance … and our interpretation was vastly different from—in some ways—from the original production in Toronto,” stated the director, Anne-Marie Donovan. “It’s a way of growing the piece that we brought out different things and they brought out things and we brought out other things because we never saw their production,”
One of the interpretations was the choice to use paintings of the land, spirit world and psychiatric ward for projections in order to achieve the evocative, deep imagery in Giiwedin. The opera, a recent release, introduced an intimidation factor for was some of the opera students because they were unfamiliar with the piece.
“I think what was intimidating for me was that I had nothing to go on in the start,” admitted Kendra Dyck, who played Mahigan.
Despite the challenges associated with performing a contemporary opera, all of the singers performed wonderfully on the opening night. Giiwedin is full of beautiful melodies and the performance drew on powerful emotions.
“Noodin-kwe comes in singing with her son [in the spirit world after her death] and there are just some beautiful melodies, especially at the end it kind of sounded like a creepy hymn,” said Dyck, reflecting on a favourite moment.
The students skillfully drew on their talents and aboriginal culture to bring the performance together. The opera class was incredibly involved; the students are able to participate in making sets, costumes and being a part of the promotions.
“They built the canoe, which is actually a [usable] canoe,” stated Donovan.
In preparation for Giiwedin, the cast consulted extensively with the local aboriginal community, who taught them about their history and culture. One of the First Nations students at Laurier is a traditional dancer and she came and taught three singers how to dance.
“Before we even started rehearsals we had a meeting with Spy Dénommé-Welch and Catherine Magowan [the writers of Giiwedin] and the entire production team and they were all telling us ‘this is OK, we are behind you every step of the way, if you have any questions always ask’,” said Dyck.
Giiwedin was part of the opening weekend for Aboriginal Awareness Week. They were honoured that 50 tickets were purchased by attendants of an aboriginal conference for the Saturday show. Additional tickets were offered to Elders and those who helped out in the surrounding community.
Giiwedin was an incredible performance. It was so relevant to our modern history and current reality. The cast and crew of Giiwedin performed so well and truly honoured aboriginal history and culture. It was a performance worth seeing.]]>
Construction plans for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Waterloo Region are in motion.
A $532 million bid proposed by the consortium GrandLinq to build, design and construct the coming LRT—known as ION —was approved at a meeting of regional council’s planning and works committee on Tuesday.
Council has not yet ratified the decision.
An additional $901 million is allocated for operating and maintaining the train line for the duration of the 30-year contract. The provincial government is also contributing $300 million while the federal government is adding $265 million to the project.
Altogether this brings the final numbers to a $1.9 billion project for the Region of Waterloo to finance over the next 30 years.
“This is a great step forward,” said regional chair Ken Seiling.
The cost-effective proposal, which fit comfortably within the $818 million capital budget allocated for LRT, was deemed a success by councillors.
“There was a scoring system made up of two components: technical and financial. GrandLinq had the highest technical scores and the lowest costs,” said regional councillor Tom Galloway.
GrandLinq is a registered Ontario consortium. It consists of many different companies who have formed a partnership for the Region of Waterloo LRT project. These companies include Aecon, Canada’s largest publicly-traded construction company, infrastructure investor Meridiam and a popular global transit operator, Keolis.
Galloway described the group as having “extensive experience in public transit and other projects around Canada and the world.”
However, tensions surrounding ION emerged upon the decision. Four councillors —Cambridge mayor Doug Craig and Waterloo mayor Brenda Halloran, as well as regional councillors Jean Haalboom and Claudette Millar — voted in opposition to the LRT contract.
Craig told council members that he believes that the project has made Cambridge residents feel isolated and angry, to the point where some believe that Cambridge should no longer be a part of the Region.
“It’s a very serious situation,” said Craig. “Nobody around the table really picks up on the comments. They think they can be dismissive of us.”
His opposition stems from the fact that Cambridge will not get LRT under phase one of the plan. However, they are slated to have improved bus service and phase two would see ION extended into downtown Cambridge.
A press release detailing an impending lawsuit against the Region over the LRT was also issued on Tuesday. Stop Light Rail, a group led by a Waterloo business, announced its intention to seek an injunction to stop any work affiliated with the LRT. The group has gathered more than 2,400 signatures on an online petition to stop a LRT from coming to the region.
However, regional council sees the LRT decision in a more positive light.
“The contract that council [considered] today fits within the $818 million capital cost that was developed in 2011,” said Region of Waterloo chief financial officer (CFO), Craig Dyer.
“Put another way, we’re currently on budget.”
With the conformation of GrandLinq as the builder and operator of the Region of Waterloo’s LRT system, the Region can soon start move forward, making concrete moves towards construction.
The regional council will be asked to make a final selection for builder/operator on Mar. 19. Utility work and other project will begin as early as September of this year. Actual construction will commence in 2015.
“Most of the land we needed has been acquired, and utilities have been getting relocated along King Street,” said Galloway.
King St. will be closed to facilitated construction in the midtown area all the way to Kitchener’s north end. It will likely be closed for eight months.
“We’re very pleased to see that the bidding process has been successful,” said Tim Mollison of the transportation advocacy group TriTAG.
“It looks like it will come in on budget and on time, and we really look forward to the opening of the LRT.”
All eyes are set on the grand opening of the Region of Waterloo’s LRT system in 2017. With many of the steps necessary to start actual rail construction completed, the construction process is expected to follow the schedule as planned.]]>
Chief Justice Annemarie Bonkalo of Ontario Court of Justice has approved an increase in distracted driving fines from $155 to $255.
This increase is set to start Mar. 18 and will include surcharges, bringing fines up to a possible $280. Currently, tickets that are $125 encompass a $30 surcharge, whereas $225 tickets will bring an additional $55.
“People don’t think it’s a big deal to take a few seconds to look away,” said Linda Wolf, an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) constable. “They think nothing bad will ever happen and it’s only a matter of time because it’s gambling whenever they do this.”
According to Wolf, this “gambling” has led to an increase in distracted driving charges from 16,000 in 2012 to 19,000 in 2013.
78 OPP investigations of fatalities affiliated with distracted driving in 2013 served as an indicator for the significance of the problem.
“To compare, that number is greater than the alcohol-related fatalities and speed-related fatalities that same year,” she added.
Drivers who fight the ticket in court may face fines of up to $500.
Anna Paolella, a representative for Bas Balkissoon, MPP for Toronto and Scarborough, believes fines will deter people from distracted driving and that commuters will become more aware of the increase.
“It will be like when they first introduced the bill for tickets — it was on billboards,” she said.
Balkissoon introduced a private member’s bill in October 2013 to penalize distracted driving with fines from $300 to $700 and demerit points. According to Paolella,
Balkissoon’s commitment to preventing distracted driving was actually driven by a personal incident, when a distracted driver hit and killed a woman in his riding who was boarding a bus.
While young people are often stereotyped as the most common perpetrators of driving while using electronic devices, distracted driving is not limited to any sex or age.
“Distracted driving is not just an issue for young people and it does not relate to more men or women it is men and women of all ages that are in the driving age group from 16 to whatever,” Wolf added. “We haven’t identified any particular age group or sex that is texting more than any other.”
Not all see the increased fines as a good idea, however.
Second-year Wilfrid Laurier University student Hussein Pradhan believes that the government “is just looking for ways to get money.”
“They don’t care about our safety as they claim they do,” Pradhan added.
Other officials argue that the issue is of extreme importance.
“Clearly the lawmakers recognize that this is a priority for the community and that people stay off their phones,” said Shaena Morris, staff sergeant for Waterloo Regional Police Services. “The fact that they are increasing the fine certainly speaks to the importance of the issue within the province and that distracted driving kills people.”
Those who endanger others on the road due to distracted driving can also be faced with charges of up to $2,000 for careless driving and upwards of six demerit points.
Other penalties may also be in affect, including license suspension, criminal charges and jail time.
After 11 years of service in office, John Milloy, the Liberal MPP for Kitchener Centre, has announced that he will not be running for re-election.
“I’d like to explore some other opportunities,” Milloy told The Cord in an exclusive interview. “I also have a very young family and it’s getting tougher and tougher to maintain the Toronto, Queen’s Park, community life.”
Milloy is married and has two sons, ages eight and three, whom he believes have made “considerable sacrifices” to allow him to work in politics.
“I’m away a lot and I think it’s maybe time for a change that will allow me with more time for my family.”
Milloy is also the government house leader and was appointed minister of government services in May.
He has assumed a key position in the community since he was first elected in 2003 and has fought for a number of transformational local initiatives.
This includes the University of Waterloo’s pharmacy school, the Communitech Hub, the redevelopment of Grand River Hospital, Wilfrid Laurier’s incoming Global Innovation Exchange building and lobbying support for the Perimeter Institute, amongst others.
Milloy believes one of his greatest achievements was the arrival of GO trains in the Kitchener community.
“I was absolutely delighted to have GO trains finally come here,” he said. “I’m very supportive of the rapid transit program.”
For whoever assumes Milloy’s roles, they will be walking into a position where there is a lot of talk on regional growth and adaptation.
According to Milloy, many of K-W challenges are “around growth.”
“As the community continues to grow there will continue to be demands on infrastructures and some other related issues,” he said. “I think that’s something that representatives will have to deal with for years to come.”
Students and post-secondary institutions in the area have also been a major focus for Milloy.
In 2007, Milloy was named as minister of training, colleges and universities and in 2009 he was given additional responsibilities as Minister of Research and Innovation.
He has worked closely with students from both K-W’s universities and colleges.
“I’ve had such a great relationship with the students,” he said. “I had the privilege of being the minister of training, colleges and universities twice and I was able to bring a lot of that first-hand experience from our institutions to that role.”
Milloy wants to thank the students in the Region for their support throughout his years in office.
“I’ve always enjoyed them,” he said. “It was so great to hear first-hand from people with classroom experience.”
Milloy’s next step is yet to be determined. His announcement was very deliberate in timing, as a new provincial budget to be released in the coming months may trigger a spring election.
“I wanted to give notice to the community, to people who might want to run,” Milloy added.
What Milloy has learned during his many experiences in the political sphere is the importance of community involvement and a governmental presence. He believes it’s crucial.
“It’s been a big part of my job,” Milloy said. “At the end of the day what you have to be most proud of is the work that you’ve done and your community.”]]>
Protests began in Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev, after its president, Victor Yanukovych, went against his word by improving ties with Russia at the expense of developing ties with the European Union. Although an agreement was eventually reached with the protesters, Yanukovych was ousted by an act of parliament after he fled the country.
The first action of the interim government — led by Oleksandr Turchynov — was to publicly revise Yanukovych’s decision and declare intentions to align with the EU. As expected, the pro-Russian factions of Ukraine were less than comfortable with these developments, and in response, they gathered in thousands to protest and oblige Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, to intervene. And he did just that.
On February 28, six days after Yanukovych’s ousting, unidentified military men occupied Crimean institutions, including several key buildings and the airport; Turchynov would eventually deem this an invasion by Russia. The first unambiguous indication of Putin’s intentions, however, came two days later, when the Russian Senate unanimously gave Putin the permission to take military action in Ukraine, should the need arise.
There are many viewpoints on what the implications of Ukraine’s possible alignment with the EU will be. Some genuinely believe that a determined Russia can be stopped from annexing Crimea, while others think the threat of secession is a real one. Nonetheless, and with full consideration of realpolitik, there is no doubt in my mind that Ukraine will suffer in the hands of an unforgiving Putin if it decides to align with the EU at the expense of strengthening ties with Russia.
First of all, Putin generously offered Ukraine a $15 billion aid package in exchange for its allegiance with the Russian Federation. Additionally, Ukraine receives several billions from Russia in the form of discounted energy prices and favourable debt payback plans.
Kiev’s alignment will most likely incite Putin to scrap all the unconventional benefits it offers Ukraine. On the other side of the river, not many EU member states —popularly Poland, Finland and Spain — are completely on board with creating a bailout plan for Ukraine. This does not come as a surprise, considering countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece are still in need of favourable bailout plans to speed up recovery from the 2008 financial meltdown
There is an added air of scepticism because Ukraine has a reputation for corruption and misappropriation of aid funds. Should Kiev go forward with aligning with the EU, its money problems will not be solved; instead, it would have to endure a frustrating and possibly endless period of economic stagnation, characterized by the Western-inspired adjustment process.
Secondly, and as we have observed in the news in the last couple of days, Putin and pro-Russian Ukrainians would not sit back while the interim government institutes pro-EU policies. Kiev’s alignment with the EU would do very little to curb the secessionist cries from Russian populated cities like Crimea.
There is little Kiev, the EU or NATO can do to stop the negative consequences of secession. Russia, for one, is very keen on annexing Crimea, possibly because it plans on maintaining its naval base, which gives it a strategic advantage on international fronts; or more sensationally, with the aim of protecting the Russian citizens in the region.
Whatever the reason might be, the threat of secession is a real one, and Ukraine (whatever is left of it) cannot afford it.
The EU, US and Russia all know this. Much of Ukraine’s viable economic activities come from the Eastern, pro-Russia parts of the country, and without them, Western Ukraine will slump deeper into an economic crisis, albeit it might have a stable and pure democracy.
Kiev cannot unconditionally align with the EU because of the pro-Russian factions of the country; it cannot unconditionally align with Russia because of the pro-EU factions of the country. It seems then that, like most disputes in international politics, a middle ground must be reached. Ukraine is undoubtedly in a dismal economic and political position; hence, it is need of foreign assistance.
Russia alone cannot absorb Ukraine’s calculated $35 billion in aid, and assuming Putin is a pragmatic man, he would recognize that help from the West would go a long way in springing Ukraine up from the gutter.
A likely solution, although highly theoretical, would be for Kiev to accept Western assistance along with the adjustment requirements that comes with it, while assuring pro-Russia Ukrainians and Russia itself that it would not become a Western puppet.
A good way to do this would be to reinstall Yanukovych as president of Ukraine.]]>
In the past when the Wilfrid Laurier women’s hockey team won the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship, it was a done deal early in the season.
Until a few years ago, Laurier finished atop the OUA and tore through the playoffs without much competition.
But this year, it was an unfamiliar situation.
The Hawks were seeded second in the OUA for the first time since head coach Rick Osborne joined the team and for the first time since the OUA moved into division one. They had lost plenty of games and had to work twice as hard to keep up with the growing competition.
So when the Hawks won the OUA championship Sunday night, it was that much sweeter.
“It feels really, really good. We’ve got such quality veteran players on this team and no one would know how hard they work,” Osborne said, sporting the gold medal around his neck.
“And what we put them through to get to this point in the season. The veterans, [Devon] Skeats and [Candice] Styles who have stuck around have taken everything I’ve thrown at them for five years.”
Laurier had a year off the top of the podium last year after winning the championship in 2011.
“It feels amazing,” fifth-year Skeats, who was named the player of the game, said after hoisting the cup. “We’ve had such a history with Queen’s so it feels extra special … I said it at the beginning of the game, I’m so proud of how far we’ve come and how hard we’ve worked. It’s extra special with this group of girls.”
The Hawks capped off a challenging provincial journey with a 2-0 win Sunday night against the Queen’s Gaels in game three of the series. After dropping the first game in overtime,Laurier put on a defensive clinic, blocking shots with their bodies, playing the systems and allowing rookie goaltender Amanda Smith to play an almost perfect series.
“There’s nothing that makes my heart warmer than two shutouts to finish off the playoff series. I love those zeroes on the board,” Osborne smiled.
Smith was named series MVP after stopping all 77 shots she faced in the final two games. She was named the OUA athlete of the week Monday afternoon.
After being pulled in game two against the UOIT Ridgebacks in the first round, and not playing game two against the Toronto Varsity Blues, Smith made a statement.
“She had to battle [Toronto goalie] Kesteris and [Queen’s goalie] Dodd-Moher, two fifth-year goaltenders that are outstanding athletes and goalies. And if anyone thought there was a big edge for the opposition, it was in that position,” Osborne said.
“And you know what, that position ended up being the MVP of the series.”
“I’m so proud of these girls right now,” Smith said after winning her first OUA championship. “I couldn’t think of a better group of girls to spend this with. They were laying everything on the line. You know what, we wanted it and we just did everything we could and we were laying our bodies out there. It’s just amazing.”
A team with eight rookiews and a rookie goaltender made a leap for their 11th provincial title in program history. Included in the rookies is dual-athlete Jacky Normandeau, who became the first Laurier athlete to win two OUA championships in the same year.
“It’s just unreal. It’s more than anyone can ask for. The two teams, all of the girls are amazing and it’s so great to know all of them. There was so much hard work from everyone and it paid off.”
And fourth-year captain Laura Brooker laid her body on the line for another game, blocking shots and taking hits from the pesky Queen’s Gaels. Brooker joins a line of elite captains who have led teams to championships.
“Years before with the captains, you see them do it and you hope one day to do the same, so raising that cup with the C on my jersey, and doing it for Skeats and the ones that are graduating, it feel amazing.”
And with the top seed out of the OUA, Laurier now sets their sights on the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick next week.
The final two conferences in the CIS will finish their playoff play this week.
And while they’re playing, the Hawks will be working.
“I need to get them refocused and frame the next two weeks for them. We did everything we could to prepare for this game, but I have a two-week plan in place also,” Osborne smiled.
“We need to enjoy the moment and feel really good. We beat a hell of a team down there … And now we have to get ready for the next task at hand, which is getting ready for our first shift at nationals.”]]>