A Hug May Be All That You Need

By Emily Willis
Grade 11

True friends make our life meaningful and lead us down a path of success. Stanstead College opened the doors for me to explore new friendships by meeting individuals from different countries with different cultures. So take advantage of this opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and get to know someone you normally would not have had the chance to meet.

I remember my first day at Stanstead College like it was yesterday. I remember sitting in the Colby lounge with my roommates Alyssa, Mackenzy, Abby and Alex. The names of everyone who was in our room were on our door, but there was one name that we were not expecting. We all knew each other before coming to Stanstead College, so I was excited and nervous to meet someone new. We saw someone walk through the Colby dorm door while we were in the lounge, and she looked like she might be in our grade. I was the first to start following her (not creepy at all!), but then she walked into our room. We all ran to the room and met Amanda. I had no idea she would turn out to be one of the best friends I have ever had.

Meeting Amanda was just the beginning. My first couple of years at Stanstead College, I didn’t really participate in a lot of the extra activities. I went home right after sports ended, and I didn’t make many new friends because I never stayed long enough to hang out with anybody. After a while I learned that I shouldn’t just focus on school and sports. I had to be more social and try to relax some of the time.

As a prefect, I have made new friends that I probably wouldn’t have made in 7th or 8th grade because now I have the opportunity to talk to other students and learn more about them.

Stanstead College life has taught me to make new friends and not to be scared of being myself. Throughout these four years, I have learned what it really means to have a friend. You can have a group of friends, hang out with one or two friends or move from group to group. All that matters is that the people you surround yourself with make you happy. All that matters is that the friends you are with don’t stop you from being yourself. All that matters is that you have someone to talk to about anything. Topics like a girl or boy you like, a movie you both enjoy, a joke that you think is hilarious, a teacher that gives way too much homework or an existential crisis should be shared with those people that you really trust. Keeping things bottled up inside is not good for anyone.

Of course, trying your best in school and working towards your goals is very important. Having supportive people to help you through the stress, the nervousness and the writer’s block will even further your chances of accomplishing great things. Sometimes all you need is a little break and some joking around, while other times you need someone to tell you that you should not pull an all-nighter but instead concentrate and get your assignments done early.

Friends are those special individuals who make you feel at home, are fun to be around and help you feel safe. They can help encourage you to make everyday a happy day, and sometimes all a person needs is for someone to tell them that they are there for them.

We are all different, and have different lifestyles, backgrounds and personalities, but that does not mean we can’t all be there for each other. When things are not going your way, a hug may be all that you need. In the words of Stitch, “’Ohana’ means ‘family,’ and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” Stanstead College is a family; we are a family.

VB Hockey: 5 games, 3 days, 1 family

The 2017-2018 MPHL season began last weekend in Burlington, Vermont. The kick-off weekend featured all 10 teams playing five games each. Without question, playing five games in three days is a difficult task for even the most well-conditioned teenage athletes. The biggest takeaway from the five games from a Spartan perspective would be that the league this year is more competitive than it has ever been from top to bottom, and because of this, it will again be a challenge for the Spartans to write history and win the league for the first time ever.

With a record of 3 wins, 1 loss and 1 overtime loss, the Spartans came home with a total of 7 out of a possible 10 points, beating Cheshire Academy, St. Francis School and Shady Side School, while losing in overtime to Lake Forest Academy and in regulation to Gilmour Academy. A blown third-period lead against Lake Forest proved costly, and, against Gilmour, a solid team effort fell short; we simply just didn’t have the energy to make an offensive push and dropped this game 2-0. In many ways these results can be chalked up to the youth of our team as we still strive to play consistently well period-by-period.

As mentioned, it can be very difficult to play five games in such a short period. Without question, the downtime you have between games becomes that much more important. After the weekend was complete, and I was sitting at home Monday night, I watched the Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The inductees spoke well about their playing, coaching or management careers, they referenced friends, teammates, stories, but most of all they spoke about family.

Jeremy Jacobs is the owner of the Boston Bruins. Many people, Bruins fans in particular, have a love/hate relationship with Mr. Jacobs and his ownership of the Bruins. He has owned the team since 1975, but many believe his ownership is directed at making money and not as invested in the City of Boston as it should be. Whether this is true or not, to me that’s not really what matters. He is a lifelong hockey man, a Stanley Cup champion, a Hockey Hall of Fame member, and when he had the audience of the most important people in the hockey world, he spoke about the importance of family and hockey parents.

“That brings me to another noteworthy class of builders: the moms and dads of young hockey players. From earliest days as a mite player, hockey is a demanding sport for family households, calendars are scheduled around 5 a.m. ice time and weekend tournaments, raising a hockey player takes a lot of commitment. These steadfast parents are creating our sports future players and fans.”

Over the weekend, the Spartan hockey team was of course grateful to all of the support it received, from faculty members who made the trip to Burlington, to fellow students, but ultimately to the Spartan parents. A special thank you to Annie Spencer, mother of Richard Hall, who invited the team over for lunch and fun on Saturday afternoon. A common theme in most of my write-ups looks at prep school moments, and this is a great example of the importance of family in hockey and prep school.

Alumni Notes

It was great to see Elizabeth Giguere and Michaela Pejzlova, who were both in Burlington to play against the University of Vermont. Both play for Clarkson University. The girls are the second- and third-leading scorers for Clarkson, the defending national champions.


Athlete of the Week: Maude Poulin-Labelle

Photo/ Bob Bruce

At this past weekend’s CCM Invitational World Tournament in Detroit, Michigan, Maude Poulin-Labelle was simply outstanding. Offensively she was a constant threat, using her aggressiveness and exceptional speed to keep opposing defenses consistently on their heels. And defensively she may have been even better, covering up mistakes and sacrificing her body throughout the defensive zone, i.e. one second she would be battling in the corner, then the next  she would be battling in the other corner, and then in the NEXT second she would be in front of the next blocking a shot. This Grade 12 student from Sherbrooke, Que. was all over the ice in all five games and skated harder than some players combined. For her relentless attitude, for playing over 30 minutes per game and for giving everything to her team all tournament long, we are thrilled to name Maude this week’s Athlete of the Week. Congratulations!

Honourable Mention: Charlie “Steady-Eddy” Mailhot for her confidence, her poise and her inspirational play this past weekend at the CCM Tournament.

Athlete of the Week: Jeremie Gagnon

This week’s athlete of the week led his team throughout practice, competed hard and displayed an outstanding attitude. In the first two games of the season, this Grade 10 student from Moncton, NB competed hard all over the ice and formed a dynamic line with Caleb Goudreau and Martin Lefebvre. He was an offensive threat the entire first weekend and combined his positive leadership with a successful contribution on the scoreboard. Your athlete of the week, and also a model student, Jeremie Gagnon.

VB Hockey: The State of Hockey

In Minnesota, the dream of many hockey players growing up in places like Eden Prairie, Wayzata, Blaine, Duluth or Bloomington, to name a few, is simple: these kids want to grow up and win a state high school hockey championship. Unlike a lot of North America, where AAA programs and Junior options take on more importance, in the “State of Hockey,” elite hockey is played through high school rivalries. Much like here at Stanstead College, these athletes strive to be the best student-athletes they can be and hopefully give themselves a chance to play for a State Championship. The state playoffs in Minnesota are played at the Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild, and if you want to get a picture of the importance and level of play for these games, just think about this: the state playoffs sell out. Yes, high school hockey fills an NHL rink to its capacity. How cool is that!

Just before all of these players begin their seasons with their respective high school programs, the High School Elite League (a league with 9 teams from Minnesota and surrounding area that encompasses the best high school players in the area) hosts the International Invitational Tournament. For the second year, Stanstead College was a member of the eight-team tournament. Also at the tournament were Shattuck St. Mary’s, Chicago Mission, Tier One Elite All Stars (representing the Tier One U18 league), Michigan Development Hockey League All Stars, Red Bull Academy from Austria and two all-star teams from the High School Elite League.

To understand the level of play at the tournament, one needs to look no further than the fact that of the 12 games played, 10 ended in scores with a two-goal or less spread, and an amazing eight games were decided by one goal, not including empty net goals. This was a wonderful setting for our team to play in.

The Spartans played three games starting with a 3-2 loss to Chicago Mission, and Saturday we defeated the Michigan Development Hockey League All Stars 5-3, and on Sunday we lost to the Tier One Elite All Star Team 2-0. All three games were extremely even and fun to be a part of. The Spartans played well and, as a younger team in the tournament, showed skill and team tactics. Despite a 1-2 record, it was an impressive performance and display of development.

Aside from the on-ice component of the weekend, everything else that went along with the IIT proved Minnesota to be the “State of Hockey.” The staff at the New Hope Arena was once again on point, led by their enthusiastic and expert icemaker Scott. Heidi and the rest of the Elite League State made us feel welcome and at home, the “boys”, as our new friends are known as, wore their new Stanstead College hats with pride, and the exposure that our team was exposed to was second to none.

A special thank-you to Mark Bahr and the Lorenz Bus Company, who took it upon themselves to go above and beyond what was expected to help us have as smooth of a trip as possible.

With a day off Monday, the Spartans will be back on the ice on today (Tuesday) in preparation for the MPHL opening weekend in Burlington, Vermont which opens on Friday.

– Coach Thompson

SB Basketball: Jitters on Opening Day

Stanstead 50 vs DuPhar (Sherbrooke) 54

The Stanstead Senior Boys Basketball Team opened regular season play Monday as we squared off against a young, energetic squad from DuPhar in Sherbrooke. Unfortunately, we were a little awestruck by our first game in the big gym under the bright lights, against an unfamiliar opponent. Before we could blink we were down 8-0. We struggled through much of the first half to regain our composure, but still found ourselves in a 10-point hole as the halftime buzzer sounded.

In the second half of this game we began to find our stride a little and clawed all the way back from a 10-point deficit to take a 4-point lead. Unfortunately, we were unable to sustain any kind of real defensive pressure and allowed our opponents too many open looks at our basket. In the end we came up just short; losing by a slim 4 points.

A wise woman once said to me, “There is more to the game than winning.” Having said that, despite the result on the scoreboard, there is a lot to be pleased about. We are a young, talented team with – wait for it – tons of potential! Excuses aside, we have only just begun our season, and I am extremely confident that we will be a much different team at the end of the season.

The Player of the Game was our captain Alexis Bernier. Alexis (pictured above) was solid at the point guard position on both offence and defence. His intelligence and quick feet led to numerous steals and easy transition baskets. Alexis had a game high 18 points, 7 assists and threw in 3 steals for good measure. Honourable mentions go to James Chadwick and Quentin D. James was the right hand man to Alexis and did everything that was asked of him. Quentin was one of our only players who dug in on defence and truly embraced the concept of “help defence.”

Our next action will be on Friday, November 17 when we will be home to LeBer (Sherbrooke). Should be another competitive contest; one which we hope to, this time, come out on the winning side! Hope to see you there!

– Coach Liverpool

ETIAC League Record: 0-0
RSEQ League Record: 0-1
Overall Record: 0-1