Athletes Devastated By Loss Of Laurentian Programs

Regan Toltesi with the Laurentian Voyageurs

The devastation has continued for Laurentian University this week.

After the school cut 69 programs and let roughly 100 professors go, next on the chopping block were the school’s varsity hockey programs and swimming programs.

For past and present athletes, the move was devastating. Many chose Laurentian to be a part of athletic programs, which now no longer exist.

“My heart is broken. Not for myself, but for everyone in my life that is affected by this decision… for every single one of my current teammates, their whole life is now upended. They have to decide whether to stay at Laurentian to finish their degree, or find another place to play hockey,” Laurentian hockey player Regan Toltesi wrote on social media.

I’m so sad because no one else will get to experience the amazing team culture that we have created.”

“My experience at Laurentian has had a huge impact on me as a person. I’ve met so many amazing people through the women’s and men’s program, people that will always be family to me. I’m devastated that no one else will have this opportunity at Laurentian,” continued Toltesi, a 23-year-old product of Kanata, Ontario who spent four seasons playing with the Laurentian Voyageurs.

Russell Nowry, who spent three seasons with Laurentian, but missed his senior season this year without the league operating was also hit hard by the news.

“With the recent cut of the Laurentian men’s hockey program, this feeling is indescribable. I feel so bad for all my fellow teammates who still had a few years to play as well as the new recruits starting their university careers,” Nowry said.

“I understand this needed to be done to save the university but this news comes at such a bad time. Cutting this program will result in a loss of 25 athletes who would never have come to the school in the first place. Everyone is now scrambling to try and land on another team, and that’s not fair to these athletes.”

Nowry was thankful for his time at Laurentian, getting to continue to play the sport he loved while achieving a degree.

Former men’s hockey player William Gignac, who is now playing professionally in France, echoed this sentiment, and the disappointment in Laurentian pulling the plug on the school’s hockey programs.

“Surely it’s sad for the players who had a season or two left,” said Gignac, who spent four seasons in the QMJHL before joining Laurentian.

“Even for players who just came to the program, they will have to find another place to play and it’s not always easy. It must be hard for them if I put myself in their place.”

Laurentian declared themselves financially insolvent earlier this year, is likely not done with cuts.

The question is, how deep will they go into athletics, academics, and other programming…and what impact will it continue to have on students.

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