Ottawa Boxers Bring Home Gold

April 20, 2016 1:45 pm

Photo Courtesy of Erica Adjei.

Two local boxers are putting Ottawa’s name on the boxing-world map, bringing home a national title and medals from this year’s boxing championships in Quebec City.

Erica Adjei (26) and Dave O’Reilly (28) competed at the 2016 National Canadian Boxing Championships earlier this month. When they returned, Adjei brought home her second gold medal and O’Reilly sported a bronze.

Adjei is the two-time elite women’s national champion in her weight class. This was her fourth time competing at nationals but first time defending her national title. After moving to a lower weight class a couple years ago, she found success and was crowned Canadian champion for the first time in 2015.

“Coming into nationals this [year] I was nervous because my coach always tells me it’s hard to get to the top, but it’s even harder to stay on top,” said Adjei.

This was O’Reilly’s first time qualifying for nationals. He says that even though he lost his fight and finished third, it was a good experience for his first time.

Both amateur boxers represent and train with Final Round Boxing. The Ottawa based club was founded by Eric Belanger, and as owner and coach he helps train Adjei and O’Reilly. He says it makes him happy to see their success and how it helps to improve Ottawa boxing’s local reputation.

Final Round has been around for 10 years and trains all kinds of boxers, from those just looking for a good workout, to amateurs like Adjei and O’Reilly and even professional boxers.

“[Ottawa is] a tough town to be boxing in,” says Belanger, “It’s not a boxing city but we’re making it work.” He has been working to improve the sport’s reputation and says that since he’s opened the club, interest and success appears to be in the ‘upswing’.

“There’s more boxing going on than there has been since the ’70s and ’80s,” he says.

Erica Adjei and Eric Belanger, owner of Final Round Boxing shows off the gold medal she received after her final match in Quebec City.

Erica Adjei shows off the gold medal she received after her final match in Quebec City. Eric Belanger (left) is the owner of Final Round Boxing. Photo Courtesy of Erica Adjei.

For Adjei and O’Reilly, boxing in Ottawa and training at Final Round has helped them find personal success.

Adjei has been boxing for about eight years. It all started in her last year of high school when a friend of hers was talking about joining a boxing gym with some other friends. Adjei chimed in, saying it was a good idea and they should all join together. The boy laughed at her, saying girls can’t box and even went as far as saying that even if she did join she wouldn’t be good anyway. Feeling stubborn and competitive, Adjei says she walked into a boxing gym a couple months later and hasn’t looked back since.

When’s she’s not working as a full time business analysts for a Canadian software company, Adjei is at the gym, spending every weeknight and Saturday running, boxing, training and sparring. She says moving to Final Round with her longtime coach, former champion boxer Greg Gayle, has helped provide her a with a more structured training program, pushing her to work harder.

It seems to be paying off, as two time Canadian champion Adjei is a part of the Canadian national team that competes internationally. She is travelling to her first world championships in a month in Kazakhstan, where she will be competing in her 54kg weight class.

“I want to see what I can do internationally, I want to see how many medals I can get, how many belts and wins I can get at that level,” Adjei says. “I would love to be on the podium, gold medal around my neck and the Canadian national anthem playing.”

For female amateur boxers in Adjei’s weight class, it doesn’t get much bigger than that. Women’s boxing was only introduced into the Olympics in 2012, with only three weight classes, not including Adjei’s. And funding for amateur boxers not in the three Olympic weight classes is almost non-existent.

Male boxers like O’Reilly have it a bit easier with more weight classes in the Olympics and the opportunity to move into professional boxing. O’Reilly says his goal is to become a professional boxer and make a career out of it.

He has been boxing for three years and joined Final Round over a year ago. O’Reilly lives in Quebec but trains at Final Round. He says he hopes to improve his technical treating and ring smarts then go back to nationals and take home the gold next year before trying to move pro.

“It means a lot [competing at nationals] because they’re telling you that you’re one of the best boxers in Canada, it’s fun to hear.”

Belanger says, “Hopefully as we develop and gets more [boxers like] Erica and Dave…people will realize it’s not just small, little, club level regional stuff. We’re competing in world class elite sports right here in our backyard.”

Senators Get a New GM

April 12, 2016 9:57 am

 A faceoff during the first playoff game between the Ottawa Senators and the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 2006 Stanley Cup.

After seven years as general manager, Bryan Murray (73) has announced he is stepping down from his role with the Ottawa Senators.

At a press conference on Sunday, Murray says he will be taking a more advisory role with the team while assistant general manager Pierre Dorion takes over as GM.

Update: Dorion’s first act as general manager has been the firing of the senators’ head coach, Dave Cameron. Dorion also let go of assistants Rick Wamsley and Andre Tourigny.

The position of head coach has not yet been filled, and Dorion will be keeping his eyes out for someone with NHL experience. Some have suggested that the club is looking at Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien as a replacement, but swinging that will be a anything but easy.

“We just felt we needed to make a full change,” Dorion said at a press conference on Tuesday morning. “we needed to have a clean slate.”

The coaching staff had been under evaluation for the past month according to Dorion. He says he was disappointed in the way the team played this season, giving up too many shots, and falling short defensively.

“We have a team that underachieved this year.”

Murray’s resignation does not come as a surprise. It was rumored that after a tough season for the Senators, changes were going to be made. Murray himself even mentioned a year ago that this would likely be his last season in the position.

He has been with the team since the 2005, and spent two-plus years as head coach. He led the Senators to their only appearance in a Stanley Cup final in 2007 where they played the Anaheim Ducks but ultimately lost after five games.

Midway through the 2007-08 season, Murray transitioned to GM and has been in the position ever since, making him the longest reigning Senators GM to date.


Ottawa Senators former general manager, Bryan Murray in 2013.

In November of 2014 Murray announced that he had been diagnosed with inoperable Stage 4 colon cancer. With the support of the team and his two assistant general managers, Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee, he was able to stay on.

This was Murray’s 34th year working in the NHL, before coming to the Senators he worked with Washington, Anaheim, Detroit and Florida.

As Murray now moves into an advisory role, Ottawa-native Dorion (43) is ready to take over. This past season marked Dorion’s ninth year with the Senators. Before that, he had spent two years as a scout for the New York Rangers and 11 years with the Montreal Canadiens.

Dorion told reporters at the press conference that the position did not come as a surprise to him, and that he’s known he’d be getting it, and was prepared. Murray had already been delegating duties to both Lee and Dorion, with Dorion playing a large role in contract negotiations and making trade decisions.

He said at the press conference his goal for the Sens is to build on the strong core that they have already created, but key changes will be made.

After a season plagued by injuries and inconsistencies, the Senators finished 11th in the Eastern Conference. Unlike last year, they were unable to pull off an end-of-season comeback, the Senators fell short and did not clinch a playoff spot.

This off-season may prove to be an interesting one, as the Senators led by Dorion try to get back to being a winning team.

Quick Ottawa Fury Facts Before the Season Opener

April 1, 2016 2:48 pm
What you need to know about Ottawa Fury-image1

Two seems to have been Ottawa’s lucky number in 2015. Ottawa Fury FC, much like the Redblacks, made it to the North American Soccer League championships (or Soccer Bowl) after only two seasons together.

Whether you’re new to Ottawa or were inspired to start cheering for the team after their successful year, here are a few things to know about the Ottawa Fury FC.

Fury plays in the North American Soccer League (NASL), which consists of 11 teams across Canada and the United States. Home games are played at TD Place with regular season games starting April till October.

The year is broken down into two seasons, spring and fall, with a month long break from June to July. After playoffs, four teams make it to the Championship tournament. These teams are made up of the spring and fall champions plus the two other teams with the next-highest records. These teams then play for the Soccer Bowl trophy.

What you need to know about Ottawa Fury-image2In 2014, Fury players started their first season together. They finished with an average record, placing sixth overall and falling short of the playoffs.

While Fury and its management had been hoping for a better entry into the league, the season was not a complete loss. It gave the team experience and the building blocks they needed to develop for year two.

During the off-season, the franchise made minor changes but stuck with its veteran players. Starting 2015 with a strong core of players helped bring around a whole new season.

The first half of the year had Fury in eighth place, but in the fall, Fury astounded fans and newcomers alike by winning 13 of 20 games. This astounding streak landed them a spot in playoffs.

Much like the Redblacks, Fury FC made it all the way to the end, playing the New York Cosmos in the championship game. Unfortunately, also mirroring their football counterparts, Fury lost their championship dreams after the Cosmos came out on top 3-2.

Coach Marc Dos Santos was one reason for the team’s success. He created a stable and goal oriented environment for players to strive in. The NASL didn’t overlook his efforts, and Dos Santos was named Coach of the Year.

Players like the team’s top scoring striker Tom Heinemann and goalkeeper Romuald Peiser also contributed to the team’s success. Romuald was even awarded the Golden Glove by the NASL, naming him the top keeper in 2015.

Since losing to the Cosmos, Ottawa Fury has gone through many changes: most notably Dos Santos leaving, replaced by new head coach Paul Dalglish. A slew of players also left, including captain Richie Ryan.

With a successful year under their belt but many changes in the air, this year promises to be an interesting one for Fury soccer fans. All eyes will be on the team during the season’s first game, which takes place Sunday April 3 against the team that defeated them last year, the New York Cosmos. Stay tuned to Ottawa Life Magazine for continuing regular season coverage.

Art Competition Announced for Stanley Cup Memorial

March 30, 2016 2:00 pm
Stanley Cup exhibited at the Hockey Hall of Fame. (13 May 2008)
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Stanley Cup will soon find its home in Ottawa, or at least a monument dedicated to the trophy will.

The Lord Stanley Memorial Monument Inc., has announced a public art competition to design and build the memorial which will be donated to the City of Ottawa and revealed in 2017.

The big reveal is timed to commemorate the trophy’s 125th birthday. Lord Stanley of Preston donated the cup to the It was given to the “the championship hockey club of the Dominion of Canada” on March 18, 1892 in Ottawa. Stanley was known for his passion for the game, which many of his sons and daughters played in Ottawa.

The reveal also coincides with 100th anniversary of the NHL and Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. It will be placed at Sparks Street and Elgin, facing Confederation Square, where Lord Stanley originally announced the Cup in what was formerly the Russell House Hotel.

Art competition announced for Stanley Cup memorial-image2 (1)

Portrait of Lord Stanley of Preston May 1889 Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 Lord Stanley Memorial Monument Inc. is a non-profit charitable organization that was created in 2010 by the late Paul Kitchen, (a local hockey historian) with the purpose of creating the monument and commemorating the historical event.

 The cost of the monument is to be $4.5 million with contributions from the federal government, the Senators, the NHL and the City of Ottawa.

 The group is currently calling for interested design teams from all over Canada to submit their qualifications and experience. Up to eight teams will be selected to submit design ideas and proposals.

 The winning team will be announced October 28th, with the monument being revealed in December 2017.

 Details of the competition can be found at

Hammond Stars as Senators Edge Closer to Playoffs

March 21, 2016 11:03 am

Photo courtesy

Saturday was a great night all around for the Ottawa Senators as they romped to a 5-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens to strengthen their push for a playoff spot.

As well as sending off one of their main rivals in a game that saw the Sens score three shorthanded goals, Ottawa also showed just what Andrew Hammond is capable of. The goalie produced his first shutout of the season in a sensational performance.

Having been thrust into action following Craig Anderson’s injury, Hammond has gone a long way towards proving that his incredible streak last season — in which the goalie went 20-1 with the Senators – was not luck alone.

While plenty of Ottawa fans felt there was a good chance Anderson’s injury would be the final nail in the franchise’s playoffs hopes, Hammond’s recent displays have sent out a message that Senators will still be playing hard over the next few weeks.

Having spent a month on the sidelines, 28-year-old Hammond made an immediate impression after stepping on the ice to replace Anderson at the beginning of March. Ottawa might still have a lot of work to do if they are going to squeak into the playoffs, but they’ll feel a lot better about their chances with Hammond in this sort of form.

"New York Islanders vs. Ottawa Senators -" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Dougtone

“New York Islanders vs. Ottawa Senators -” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Dougtone

Despite Montreal throwing everything they had at Hammond in the Senators goal, the Canadiens were frustrated time and again by the Ottawa stand-in keeper.

They watched as 30 shots bounced off an immaculate all-round performance by a player who is beginning to fulfil his NHL dream after spending years working his way up the lower leagues.

Since the Senators are coming up against a string of fellow playoff-chasing teams between now and the end of the current campaign, maintaining this form will be essential. Nowhere will this be more true than when they end the regular season against the Boston Bruins, a team priced at the time of writing at around 20/1 at  

With Hammond working miracles between the posts, the Senators were able to focus on offence and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Curtis Lazar, and Alex Chiasson all scored short-handed goals for the visitors, with Marc Methot and Mika Zibanejad adding the other goals in a game the Canadiens will be keen to forget.

In what was just the fourth time in franchise history, and first time since April 2008, Ottawa’s three short-handed goals highlighted just how dangerous the Senators are during a powerplay.

Ben Scrivens in the Canadiens’ goal more than held his own on the opposite side of the ice to Hammond, making 39 saves despite conceding five goals in a tough night at the office. But the fact the Ottawa offence managed to score five goals past such an inspired goalie really shows how dominant they were in a successful trip across Ontario.

Currently fifth in the Atlantic Division, time is running out for the Senators to book their place in the playoffs. But with a number of very winnable games coming up, there is still a chance the franchise could upset the odds and sneak into the post season at the last minute.

Article By David Harrison. 

The Future Looks Bright for One Ottawa Curling Team

March 3, 2016 12:56 pm
Future looks bright for one Ottawa curling team – image 1

Team Ontario members at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts 2016, Grand Prairie Alberta (from top left to right), Pascale Letendre alternate, Bob Hanna coach. (from bottom left to right) Jenn Hanna skip, Brit O’Neill third, Stephanie Hanna second and Karen Sagle lead. Photo courtesy of Pascale Letendre.

An unexpected successful season for the Ottawa Curling Club’s Jenn Hanna and her team ended on the national stage this past week.

Hanna (skip) and her team comprising of her younger sister Stephanie (second), Karen Sagle (lead), Brit O’Neill (third), and alternate Pascale Letendre competed as Team Ontario at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts held in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

In just their first year playing together, Team Hanna placed 5th overall on Friday, just shy of securing a playoff spot.

O’Neill says they are not at all disappointed with the results. “The experience itself was incredible. This is the dream; this is why I’ve curled my whole life to get to the big show here. It’s just unbelievably amazing to experience it and to represent your province.”

“Coming into this week, we’re a new team, we’re a rookie team,” explained O’Neill. “A lot of the teams here, it’s almost (as if) they curl as a profession. They’re on the tour, they’re traveling all season (with) lots of sponsorship and opportunity and time to train.”

O’Neill is a full time dental hygienist student at Algonquin College, Sagle works full time, and the Hanna sisters are both moms with young kids. With these factors in mind, the team decided to set realistic goals for the Scotties Tournament. The team decided to shoot for more wins than losses, and believed that it might sneak them into a playoff spot. The team turned the goal into a reality, ending the week with a 6-5 record.

This was O’Neill and Sagle’s first time competing at the Scotties, but for skip Hanna (36) and her sister (33), this was familiar territory. The sisters had last been at the Scotties in 2005 with a different group of women, where their team lost in the finals. They came back this year to competitive curling after a three-year hiatus to compete with O’Neill (29) and Sagle (29).

It was a surprising win earlier this year at provincials where they beat two-time Canada champion Rachel Homan and her team, winning them a spot representing Ontario at nationals.

Homan, also from the Ottawa Curling Club and 2013 national champion, was a favourite to win and represent Ontario at the Scotties. It was a surprise to many when Hanna and her team took the game.

“To come out of that game it just put our names on the map. It woke a few people up, and woke us up too, realizing what we’re capable of as a team,” says O’Neill.

The team’s unique dynamic is one reason for their quick success according to O’Neill. The Hanna sisters function as a strong duo, and O’Neill and Sagle have been dating for four years.

“Some people would think that would be detrimental but it absolutely wasn’t, not one bit,” declared O’Neill, “(The Hanna’s) are very comfortable with each other, obviously, and (Sagle) and I are (as well). You can say things you just might not be able to say to strangers.”

She says it was partially their unique dynamic what made them comfortable as a team much quicker than usual.

Another unique factor about Team Hanna is that all of their team members live in Ottawa.

According to O’Neill, most of the time players are from across the province. Having all their members in the same city makes it easier to practice and play together.

It just may have been that comfort level that helped them achieve their goal this past week. While they fell just short of playoffs, they were able to boast significant wins against Team Alberta and Team Northern Ontario, who respectively placed first and second.

Team Alberta started off the tournament with six straight wins and was undefeated until they faced Team Hanna, winning that match 7-5. Alberta, led by skip Chelsea Carey, only lost two games the entire week and finished overall champions with a record of 9-2.

Team Hanna also beat Team Northern Ontario 6-4. Northern Ontario later went on to play defending national champions led by Jennifer Jones, winning 7-5 and beating Team Canada out of a spot in the championship match.

O’Neill says that her team is very happy with how they played even if things could have gone a bit better. “There are some games that we let go that we should have won. One in particular that would have got us in for sure, so it’s disappointing knowing it’s just right there. (However) I’m not at all disappointed with how the week went.”

After a long week, the Ottawa curlers flew home from Alberta Sunday morning. Though O’Neill says they haven’t talked about the future yet, she sees good things ahead.

“The season obviously went very well, it’s not very often that a first year team goes to a national championship. So there are obviously great things to build on.”

A Beginners Guide to the Ottawa Redblacks

February 26, 2016 10:03 am
Begineers Guide to the Ottawa Redblacks-image2

With two seasons under their belt, the Ottawa Redblacks have shown this city what they’re all about.

The professional football team went from winning only a couple games in their opening season to making it all the way to the Grey Cup this past year.

For those of you new to Ottawa, or anyone who wants to support the team in the upcoming season but would like to know a little more, here’s your guide to the Ottawa Redblacks.

The Redblacks are a professional football team playing in the CFL. Their run started in 2014, and the Redblacks are the third CFL franchise to play in Ottawa. The former teams were the Ottawa Rough Riders, who played from 1876 to 1996 and the Renegades, who had an unsuccessful stint between 2002 and 2005.

The team plays home games at the TD Place Stadium, where lumberjack mascot Big Joe is a crowd favourite. It has become a tradition for a team of woodcutters to chop off the end of a log every time the Redblacks score a touchdown.

In their first season, the team finished last in the East Division with only two wins the entire year. It was a building year and in the off-season trades were made, players were acquired and the Redblacks came back strong.

The Redblacks took 12 games this past season, winning the chance to play the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for the East Division Championship. They beat the Tiger-Cats 35-28 to the cheers of a home crowd at TD Place. For the first time in 34 years an Ottawa team was on its way to the Grey Cup.

In November, the Redblacks and fans travelled to Winnipeg in pursuit of the championship. But their dream was not to be. After a tough 26-20 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos, the Redblacks ended their second season.

A new attitude, successful player development and small changes made in the off-season contributed to the Redblack’s success this past year.

Beginners Guide to the Ottawa Redblacks-image1

Coach Rick Campbell’s team-first attitude helped transform the Redblacks into a cohesive field on and off the field. His work helped change the Redblacks from a last place team to the winning team fans adored in only one year. He was named 2015 CFL coach of the year.

Top quarterback Henry Burris also led his team to success. After a troubled year in 2014, the 40-year-old quarterback came back a renewed player. He led the league in passing with 5,703 yards, set a new CFL record with 481 pass completions and won the league’s outstanding player of the year.

Now in the off-season, the Redblacks are making changes and fans are looking forward to cheering on their team for another great year.

Make sure to stay tuned to Ottawa Life Magazine for off season updates and continuing coverage.

Gee-Gees Dream of Winning National Championship

February 23, 2016 11:55 am
Gee-Gees dreaming of winning national champoinship-image4

Gee-Gees team and fans rush the court to celebrate their victory at the Capital Hoops Classic, February 5th. All photos by Meagan Simpson.

They say the third time’s the charm, and that just might be true for the Ottawa Gee-Gees. After losing in the championship game to the Ravens two years in a row, they are itching to take home the title.

Head coach James Derouin says he and his group of veteran players have set their sights on becoming Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) national champions.

“The team’s goal this year is to win a National Championship,” says Derouin. “But unlike the past we are trying hard to focus on getting better throughout the season and focus more on being at our best when it matters most.”

Gee-Gees dreaming of winning national champoinship-image2

Gee-Gees point guard Mike L’Africain dribbles past Ravens forward Ryan Ejim at the Capital Hoops Classic, February 5th.

They have won the last two games this season against Carleton University men’s basketball team, the most recent at the Canadian Tire Place on February 5th. The University of Ottawa’s team won this year’s 10th annual Capital Hoops Classic 78-72.

It has been eight years since the Gee-Gees men took home the Capital Hoops trophy and Derouin says the win was extra special for them and definitely helped get rid of some of their ‘ghosts’ in the building.

“Winning the Capital Hoops means a lot for our team and our program,” Derouin says. “Carleton has dominated that game in the past, and despite the fact that is only a league game, for a lot of fans in this city, it might be the game they remember the most.”

However the team has their sights set higher Derouin told Ottawa Life Magazine, “We’re different this year and we’re focusing on the future. We’re happy with the win but we want to win [nationals] in March.”

With an almost perfect season, the Gee-Gees may have what it takes to unseat the 11 time national champion Ravens. With only two losses in 15 games this season, they are leading the CIS Northern Division with 26 points.

Though the Ravens are not far behind with 24 points and only three losses this season, two of which were against the Gee-Gees.

Both teams have been going back and forth, vying for top spot all season and the latest statistics from CIS have Carleton ranked 2nd and the University of Ottawa 3rd after the Ryerson Rams.

The difference for the Gee-Gees this year? Derouin believes it is his team’s experience and size that sets them apart and makes them stronger compared to previous years.

More than half of the team consists of veterans, fourth and fifth year students, including point guard Mike L’Africain, forwards Matt Plunkett, Nathan McCarthy and guard Caleb Agada who is just coming back from an ankle injury.

Gee-Gees point guard Mike L'Africain about to shoot a three-pointer at the Capital Hoops Classic, February 5th Photo by Meagan Simpson

Gee-Gees point guard Mike L’Africain about to shoot a three-pointer at the Capital Hoops Classic, February 5th.

After the Capital Hoops game L’Africain told reporters that their team motto is ‘FMB’ – For My Brothers – and their success doesn’t just come from lead players but a collective effort and sacrifice from the whole team.

Agada, who has helped bring his team to many victories, was back on the court this weekend, though Derouin says he was not one hundred percent yet and hopes to see him fully recovered in the next few weeks leading up to playoffs.

With only four games left in the regular season he says, “[Our] team needs to keep focusing on getting better and improve right to the end. Defence and rebounding are still the key for us moving forward.”

Over the weekend the Gee-Gees played away two games, losing 96-90 to McMaster but taking their game against Brock 89-82.

Derouin says, “We have shown signs of being great and also signs of being extremely vulnerable. This makes a coach very uneasy. We hope to have the best version of our team come March. If we can do that, [we’ve] got a shot.”

He notes that be believes there are six to eight teams who he thinks have a chance to win nationals this year and he counts his team among them. The CIS Final 8 championship tournament that will decide this year’s victor is being held at the University of British Colombia, March 17-20th.

If the Gee-Gees succeed in achieving their goals it would be the first ever time for the University of Ottawa men’s basketball team to bring home the national championship trophy.

How Future Doctors See Social Factors Shaping Their Medical Practice

February 22, 2016 9:33 am

Medical students learn how to manage and treat disease. But once they start meeting patients in clinics and hospitals, they are also confronted with the fact that social factors have a huge impact on health and that their medical interventions might sometimes be limited.

Two medical residents, Laura Stymiest and Lita Cameron, and medical student, Chris Harper, explain how they hope to shape their medical practice to include social determinants of health and how they will work with the community to offer the best care possible for their patients.

You can find their talk on Soundcloud or download the podcast here. You can also find it on YouTube by checking out the video below.


Lita Cameron is a Family Medicine resident at McMaster University. She completed her Masters in Global Health Science at Oxford University. She worked previously for the Public Health Agency of Canada and has been involved in aboriginal health research.

Laura Stymiest is a paediatrics resident at Dalhousie University. She previously completed training at the Coady International Institute and has been involved in research in the area of Social Paediatrics.

Chris Harper is a medical student at the University of Toronto and camp director in his hometown of Saint John, New Brunswick – two cities deeply affected by child poverty.

Interview by Mélanie Meloche-Holubowski, journalist intern at, and journalist with Radio-Canada.

Selecting the Right Combat Archery Parts Supplier

February 19, 2016 11:46 am

Playing with combat archery equipment can be a great way to both pass time and relieve some of the stress you have in your life. Just like any other hobby, eventually the tools you use in the combat archery matches will start to show signs of wear. When a bow, easily the most important archery tool, breaks, finding the right OEM Replacement Parts is the only way to get it going again. Finding the right supplier and Toronto archery range is the only way you will be able to get the right parts. The following are a few things to consider when trying to find the right supplier for your combat archery part needs.

How Well Do They Know Their Industry?

The first thing to think about when trying to find the right archery supplier is how well they know their own industry. You want to find a supplier who has been around for a while and is able to offer the help you need to find the right parts. Most newcomers to the world of combat archery parts do not know what they are looking for. There are a number of different parts out there and in order to get the right one you will need to know the exact make and model of the bow you have. The professionals will be able to help you get this type of information.

What Parts Do They Have In Stock?

Another thing to think about when trying to find the right supplier is what parts they have in stock. When a part for a combat bow is needed, the faster it can be gotten the better. Having to wait on a part to be ordered can lead to a lot of frustration and stress on the part of the owner. Calling around to the various suppliers in an area will allow the bow owner to figure out who has it and for how much.

Will They Install the Part?

When trying to find the right supplier for your combat bow parts, you will have to see if they can install it as well. Trying to handle the repair work on a combat bow without the right experience can lead to the creation of even more problems. A professional will be able to get the part installed the right way in no time.

The right archery supplier will have no problem helping a person get ready for their combat matches.

Article by Vivian R. Smith.

Catching Up with Travis Konecny During His Race to the Top

February 4, 2016 11:25 am

Photo by Valerie Wutti. 

2015 was definitely the year of Travis Konecny. When it began, Konecny was halfway through his second season with the Ottawa 67s. Now, the former 67s captain is headed to the Sarnia Sting, he’s a draft pick for the Philadelphia Flyers and a World Juniors veteran.

“It’s been an amazing year,” he says, sitting with his back to the 67s’ home ice in the TD place arena. Konecny is dressed for afternoon practice, with a thick grey hoodie and gym shorts. He doesn’t flinch when Paul the goalie coach sends a puck right into the glass behind his head and the sound of it echoes through the empty stands.

I caught up with Konecny a couple weeks before he was traded to Sarnia and just days before he left for Team Canada’s world juniors training camp. At that point his role with the national team was still up in the air, but whatever nerves Konecny may have felt didn’t show.

“I’m really excited. It’s an opportunity of a life time,” he said. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about.”

Konecny grew up and started honing his lightning-fast stick handling and pinpoint shots in Clachan, Ontario, a town that didn’t even have its own rink. He admits that there wasn’t a lot of hockey around the town then, but Konecny made up for it by practising on ponds close to his house and watching whatever hockey he could.


Travis Konecny at the Flyers’ draft. Photo by Chris Crawford.

“I remember Christmas and holidays when you wake up at all hours of the night just to catch a (world juniors) game across seas, and you’re rooting for them (Canada).”

“And now that I have the opportunity to go I know that the whole country is behind me,” he added. “It’s pretty special.”

In an interview with Chris Crawford from while he was competing in Finland for Team Canada, Konecny said “the World Juniors have been something special to experience, seeing the crowds, the fans coming over to support us has been awesome.”

Konecny’s family played a huge role in getting him to where he is today. His dad knew what it would take to get to the professional leagues and pointed Travis in the right direction whenever he could. Konecny’s brother was always up to play goalie and his mother was the “bearer of bad news.”

“She was the tough one,” Konecny laughed. “If there’s a bad game she’s the one who speaks up.”

So far, all this work has paid off. After the 67s snatched him up, Konecny scored a combined 55 goals in his first two seasons with the team. In his first year with the OHL, Konecny led all rookies in goals and was subsequently made rookie of the year. Clearly, Ottawa has been holding onto a potential superstar.

Despite growing up in a small town, Konecny didn’t find moving to the Capital much of a shock.

“When I heard Ottawa I was thinking ‘big city’ but when I got here it felt like a small town,” he said. “The people were all welcoming, it’s just awesome. I love it here.”

Konecny doesn’t seem too nervous about the possibility of moving to Philadelphia, either. In fact, after a few minutes of speaking with him, I had a pretty solid sense that Konecny doesn’t get too nervous about many things at all. Even though he was in a pivotal point in his career with the World Juniors approaching fast, his main concern seemed to be making it onto the ice in time for practice. When I asked if he was feeling any pressure, he said that he’s “just really looking forward to it.”

“You know, you just live it in the moment and make the best of the opportunities.”

After that I moved onto the most important question of all: Which NHL team does Konecny and his family root for?

“Toronto. We’re big Toronto fans,” he said with a laugh. “Maybe moving along to Philadelphia now.”

Ottawa to Host Figure Skating Nationals in 2017

February 3, 2016 11:49 am

By: Meagan Simpson

Alaine Chartrand competing at 2015 Four Continents Figure Skating Championship in Seoul, South Korea

Alaine Chartrand competing at 2015 Four Continents Figure Skating Championship in Seoul, South Korea

Reigning national figure skating champion Alaine Chartrand will be defending her title on home ice next year.

Gathering outside the TD Place arena on Monday, Skate Canada announced that Ottawa will host the 2017 figure skating nationals. Chartrand stood among the skaters present at the announcement, where Dan Thompson, CEO of Skate Canada, said his organization is proud kick-off ‘Ottawa 2017’ and help the city celebrate its 150th birthday.

This will be the 15th time Ottawa has hosted the figure skating nationals.

19-year-old Chartrand took home her first-ever national title after winning gold in the senior women’s division at the nationals in Halifax last month.

The local figure skater trains out of Prescott and Nepean skating clubs. She was touted as a favourite to win after placing second last year, and with a strong season under her belt she was able to beat out reigning 2015 champion Gabby Daleman from Newmarket, Ontario.

Ottawa last hosted the event two years ago at the Canadian Tire Centre, where Chartrand placed fifth, losing the opportunity to skate for Canada at the Sochi Olympics.

But this time around she has a few years of international experience and boasts the title of Canada’s top female skater.

She told reporters at Landsdowne, where the championship will be held, that she is excited to have nationals back in the nation’s capital next year, and for her family and friends to be able to come out and support her.

While the Ottawa Senator’s home rink may have been too big a venue for the event two years ago, the TD Place arena is a smaller, more intimate setting for the skaters and fans who will be attending.

Fans from Ottawa and all over Canada will have the opportunity to watch over 250 skaters who will be compete in junior, novice and senior for men’s, women’s, pairs and ice dance categories.

The 2017 Canadian Tire Skating Championships will take place next January from the 16th to the 22nd.

According to Skate Canada’s website, tickets go on sale later this year. Fans are currently able to register for pre-sale tickets.

Eating Disorders and Men: a Silent Epidemic?

January 14, 2016 12:57 pm

By Brooke Peloquin.

For Troy Roness, body image was something he struggled with for his whole life. The divorce of his parents and the pressure of perfection had a dangerous effect on the reflection he saw in the mirror.

When Roness was just 18, he began restricting food and compulsively exercising as a way to transform his body into the one he thought he’d always wanted.

But in 2009 when his obsession over the perfect body resulted in a life threatening eating disorder, Roness’s parents stepped in and contacted the Dr. Phil show for help.

“To me…I wasn’t sick enough and I could do it on my own,” said Roness, now 28 and a North Dakota advocate for health and social issues. “I don’t think men are brought up to talk about feelings. I think most of us are given instructions when we’re really young to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, push your feelings under the rug, you’re fine.”

Roness is just one of the 10 million American men who fall victim to an eating disorder in their lifetimes, but unlike some, Roness was able to get the help he needed to recover and finally feel comfortable in his own skin.

According to the American National Eating Disorders Association, up to 43 per cent of men are dissatisfied with their bodies. These men make up a third of the total population of people suffering from an eating disorder. And so the question is, why are men with eating disorders overlooked in society when they are such a large portion of the population of sufferers and could fill over 500 NHL sized hockey rinks?

Despite not knowing he would be the star of the show, Roness said his appearance on Dr. Phil “kind of pushed me into the direction of treatment.”

But treatment didn’t come without hesitation. “I thought that if I went for treatment people would question my sexuality,” said Roness.

Dr. Shari Mayman, a clinical psychologist at Anchor Psychological Services in Ottawa, said the dismissal of men with eating disorders is due in part to the stigma that eating disorders are “female” diseases.

“The numbers over time have indicated that women struggle with this more than men,” explained Mayman. “I do think that there is a perception of it being a female disorder and so there’s a reluctance to present as a man with a ‘girly’ problem.”

At the 2013 International Conference on Eating Disorders in Montreal, Leigh Cohn, a featured guest speaker, said the number of men suffering from an eating disorder is actually much higher than estimated, as men are often too stigmatized to seek treatment for “women’s problems.”

This stigmatization is not only based on the 10-to-one ratio of females to males suffering from eating disorders that Mayman referenced, but also on deeply rooted societal ideals that men have to be muscular.

As the traditional family breadwinners, men with eating disorders go unnoticed because they have always been expected to be strong and masculine, said Danielle Kinsey, a history professor at Carleton University.

“I thought that if I went for treatment people would question my sexuality,” — Troy Roness

“Having men refusing food doesn’t make sense in terms of mainstream cultural points,” said Kinsey. “It seems like a very strange role for them, which is probably why you don’t see men owning the disorder as much.”

Studies have shown the muscularity of ideal male body images in media has increased over the past several decades. And despite eating disorders being coined “female” diseases, according to Cohn, the media objectifies and sexualizes men just as much as women.

Media has traditionally told women they have to be a size zero to be beautiful, but the male ideal is just as unobtainable, asserted Nick Hrynyk, a Carleton PhD student studying Toronto gay male culture.

“For men it is often seen that there is one standard of beauty, it’s always the muscled body,” explained Hrynyk. “Men are not seen as being victims of eating disorders primarily because for so long the narrative has been women have to achieve the size zero, men aren’t.”

Meanwhile, for male sufferers who choose to seek treatment despite the preconception that eating disorders are a female disease, they are faced with a lack of resources dedicated specifically to men with eating disorders.

Lucyna Neville is all too familiar with the struggles men face when it comes to the gap in the medical system and how eating disorders are treated.

As co-founder and now board member of Hopewell, Ontario’s only eating disorder support centre, Neville worked front-of-the-line for years, giving support to people suffering from the disease.

When men walked through Hopewell’s doors or called the helpline, their questions always revolved around what male specific resources were available, said Neville.

But in a society where the face of eating disorders is a young female, Neville found that the resources for men just weren’t there during her time at Hopewell. “Personally, we had nothing to offer them,” she said.

A 2011 study on binge eating from the University of Wesleyan concluded both the number of studies that include men is far fewer and the number of men who receive treatment is well below the number of women who get treated.

Robin Green, of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre in Canada, said these numbers exist because there are fewer programs in place focused solely on men and medical practitioners still need help understanding the nature of the disease from a man’s standpoint.

As a result, men are often too intimidated to seek treatment and get help.

“I think there are two pieces,” said Green. “The stigma that’s preventing them from asking for help, then there’s the system that maybe isn’t fully equipped to support them.”

Luckily for Roness, he was able to find the help he needed despite a system that has often overlooked other men. After his appearance on Dr. Phil, Roness sought residential treatment at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, Wis., in an eating disorder program dedicated solely to men.

Now fully recovered, Roness devotes his time to raising awareness about eating disorders. He said that if society is going to start recognizing men as victims of the disease, discussions on the issue have to start.

“It’s very easy to say the longer a person struggles with an eating disorder without getting any treatment, the longer the recovery’s going to be,” explained Roness. “It’s the same thing when we don’t talk about it, the longer it’s going to be on the recovery road back as well.”

IMG_2202Brooke Peloquin is third year student at Carleton University pursuing a degree in journalism with a minor in art history. Originally from a small rural town, Ottawa has become Brooke’s new home and source for inspiration and news.

Healthy Food Choices This Holiday Season

December 21, 2015 1:03 pm
healthyfood_holidayseason_image2 (1)

The holiday season is upon us. Special gatherings with family, friends, and plenty of food are in order. But if you are trying to watch your waistline, or simply want to make healthier choices this holiday season, here are 6 tips to make sure you have a great time without needing to keep track of the calorie count!

  1. If faced with a buffet, limit yourself to one plateful.
    • Choose your options wisely, because one plateful is plenty of food for anyone. Don’t forget that you need to leave room for some Christmas baking treats (in moderation!).
  2. Focus half your intake on delicious nutritious veggies.
    • Grab a handful of veggies with a little bit of dip instead of the crackers, breads or deep fried goodies. Faced with a very long buffet of scrumptious options? Half your plate should be filled with greens and vegetables and leave the rest of your plate to indulge on other tasty offerings of your choosing.
  3. Do your best to avoid the deep fried or creamy options
    • Not only do deep fried or creamy dishes have more calories, they are heavy foods and lead to that “Goodness, I ate way too much!” feeling. But, if you’d like to have a taste of those indulgent dishes, take a little mini portion and savor it instead of pilling it on your plate.
  4. Only one slice of bread or a roll at the dinner table
    • Breads and rolls can increase your salt and carbohydrate intake. Only choose one and leave the rest for the other friends and family members to enjoy.
  5. Bring a healthy dish to share.
    • If you are attending a potluck-style dinner party or gathering, bring a healthy dish to share like a vegetable platter with hummus or bean dip, guacamole, or a seasonal salad filled with veggies. That way, you’ll know there is something you can fill up on without the guilt.
  6. Enjoy a glass or two of wine as it has far fewer calories and much less sugar than beer or mixed drinks.
    • White or red wine averages 60-70 calories per glass, whereas a 12-ounce bottled beer and be upwards of 200 calories per serving, and mixed drinks can be even higher. Also, red wine in moderation can help decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease! (Moderation equals 1 glass for women or 2 glasses for men a day).

One night of indulgence will likely not pack on the pounds, though multiple parties and festive evenings can catch up to you. Eat lightly the next day and you’ll be back on track. And most of all, happy holidays and enjoy the time with your loved ones.

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

healthyfood_holidayseason_image3Josée is a Naturopathic Doctor at Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre. Her clinical focus the study of interactions between the psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. She focuses on anxiety, stress, insomnia, hormone health and depression which can cause fatigue, digestive complaints, a weak immune system and pain.

You Are What You Eat : Processed food Additives Linked to Obesity, Gut Inflammation and Food Addictions

December 3, 2015 12:13 pm
You are what you eat Image 1

Processed food can remain longer on shop shelves, but what does that spell for our digestion? In a new research paper published in the journal Nature, scientists from Georgia State University examined how food additive emulsifiers affect the digestive health of mice.

Emulsifiers are added to most processed foods to prolong shelf life and enhance texture. The research team fed mice two of the most common emulsifiers on the market — polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose. They observed that the emulsifiers altered the mice’s gut microbiota or friendly bacteria found in the intestinal tract. Not only did this increase the risk of developing obesity, but also inflammatory bowel disease. It’s no coincidence both these conditions have been increasing since the 1950s.

You are what you eat Image 3“The dramatic increase in these diseases has occurred despite consistent human genetics, suggesting a pivotal role for an environmental factor,” the study’s co-author Benoit Chassaing, a researcher from GSU’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences, said in a press release. “Food interacts intimately with the microbiota, so we considered what modern additions to the food supply might make gut bacteria more pro-inflammatory.”

Emulsifiers help to hold food together. Mayonnaise without emulsifiers, for example, will separate from an oily top layer to a thicker white layer that rests on the bottom of the jar. Once the emulsifiers were ingested by the mice, their blood-glucose levels went awry, inflamed their intestinal mucus layer, which left them with weight gain, specifically in the abdomen. The bacterial change triggered chronic colitis and metabolic syndrome, which includes obesity, hyperglycaemia, and insulin resistance.

You are what you eat

Ultimately, you are what you eat. If your diet is smeared with margarine, mayonnaise, creamy sauces, candy, ice cream, and most other packaged and processed baked goods, you and your gut may be at risk.

“We do not disagree with the commonly held theory that over-eating is a primary cause of obesity and metabolic syndrome,” the study’s coauthor Andrew T. Gewirtz, a researcher from GSU’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences, said in press release. “Rather, our findings strengthen the concept intimated by earlier work that low-grade inflammation produced from a modified microbiota can be an underlying cause of excess eating.”

Food addiction and overeating

What’s worse are the new results from research out of the University of Michigan, which found processed foods are the most likely to trigger a food addiction and overeating. The brain responds to processed food much like it reacts to street drugs. The very dense high-calorie processed foods do contribute an abundant amount of energy, which is why the body craves them. However, there’s a point when it becomes too much, and now it even changes the way the gut responds to food.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

The YMCA’s Still Got It

December 2, 2015 12:11 pm
Kathy Godding in her fabulous costume at the 2014 Cliffhanger event.

A shot from the YMCA-YWCA’s annual cliffhanger event. Photo by John Enaje.

The Capital’s YMCA-YWCA has a lot to offer locals.

Founded in 1867, the Y works to advance the health and well being of children, youth and families. The Y provides services that tackle issues such as children’s health, unemployment, homelessness, social isolation and inequality. The Y’s goal is to make a positive impact on those who need these services the most.

Healthy living is a cause that the Y has always championed by providing gym facilities and fitness programs to the public.  What sets the Y apart from other gyms, however, is its dedication to providing a welcoming atmosphere that is encouraging, supportive and inspiring.

Ali Riel is the General Manager of two Ottawa YMCA-YWCA facilities. As we spoke it was quickly clear that Riel is proud of the Y’s dedication to inclusivity.

Cliffhanger_Ines BR3

The YMCA-YWCA’s annual cliffhanger event. Photo by John Enaje.

“We don’t turn anyone away,” says Riel. “It doesn’t matter what your financial means are, or what your religion or race is. We provide subsides for anyone that needs one. (People) can get a membership, they can participate in swimming lessons (and) we can send them to camp. Everybody has the opportunity to come through our doors to get fit and get healthy.”

In 2014, over 37,500 people participated in the Y’s health and fitness programs, and 5,058 of those members received financial assistance through subsidized memberships.

The Y’s breadth of accessible programs is impressive, to say the least. They aim to offer programs for every member of a family, from pre-school children to adults over 50. Family Inclusive memberships are also a great and affordable option for families who are looking to get healthy together. A Family membership at the Y offers children’s swim lessons, children’s programming like dance and sports, as well as adult fitness classes, all at one cost.

Building a foundation for a child’s healthy future is a cause that the Y is dedicated to, as well as one that they’ve been expanding upon for the New Year.

“How do we teach young children to be active?” Riel says. “We need to teach them the right skills. We are incorporating that teaching into our (children’s) programming,”

“The Y is a place that will introduce them to a multitude of sports and activities. We want to give (kids) a grassroots experience that they can then figure out what sport they like to pursue. We want to introduce them to all of the possibilities that are out there.”

Riel recognizes that not every child is interested in sports.  “We want to develop the whole being, and mind, and body. Not just the athlete. Kids can learn about arts, crafts, drama and music, too.”

Related: Adrenaline Junkies Rejoice: YMCA’s Cliffhanger is Back.

The Y also offers kids a chance to learn aquatic skills with a national swim program that is delivered in all Ys across the country. The program introduces swim skills that are transferrable to the Red Cross and Life Saving Society swim programs. Riel explains that the Y aims to teach kids at a comfortable pace and level style.

“There isn’t a deadline for a child to receive a (swim) badge. It doesn’t matter if it takes a child one or two sessions. It’s our job that they walk away with sound skills and water safety.”

The Y is also launching an exciting new Youth Night. Every Friday, youth are encouraged to take part in different sports and activities, such as basketball, group fitness classes, a youth open swim, hip-hop dance classes and more.

Also arriving this winter is a new adult group fitness class. Group Power combines music with traditional strength exercises and a motivating atmosphere to push adults to their person best.

With so many programs to choose from, you are bound to find something your whole family will enjoy at the Y.  You can learn more information about the National-Capital Region YMCA-YWCA by visiting their website.

Staying Active Over the Holidays

November 30, 2015 2:19 pm

As the holiday season arrives, schedules can fill up with parties, dinners, shopping, and vacations. Although this is an exciting time of year, it can be stressful. When our calendars get overwhelming, in order to meet holiday demands, one of the first things people often reduce is exercise. Also, as the weather turns cooler, people spend less time outdoors. Since physical activity helps reduce stress and up our energy, slashing a workout routine can make things worse.

WinterWorkout3Exercise induces stress reducing hormones called endorphins that help you feel great. If November and December bring more stress into your life, consider exercise as a way to balance it out. It could be your outlet for tension relief and ultimately give you enough energy to happily and calmly power through the holidays.

If you do not regularly practice yoga, consider trying it this winter. Not only does it improve heart health, flexibility and body strength, it can help clear your mind from holiday craziness that sometimes piles up. Meditative practices help to calm the mind to help you become more physically and emotionally aware. Furthermore, hot yoga studios are growing in popularity and a great way to stay cozy as the temperature drops. You can find them all over the city.

For many, the holiday season means family feasts, parties, and festive drinks. This is another reason why being physically active should take priority. Since many people travel near and far it may seem difficult to continue with your workout routine. However, staying fit does not have to mean regular gym visits or joining a sports team. There are many ways to incorporate exercise into a holiday schedule. Think of your daily routine…can you take the stairs more? Can you park farther from work and walk to the office? Consider becoming a mall walker!

When holiday shopping, arrive before the stores open to take a power stroll before your power shop. As the WinterWorkout2snow falls, consider shoveling as exercise. You can also embrace the cool weather by snowshoeing, outdoor/indoor skating or by cross-country or downhill skiing. Also, if you are a runner, do not be afraid to run outside. If you are properly prepared and dressed, it is perfectly safe. Another great idea is to get a pedometer to track your steps. You should be aiming to take at least 10,000 steps a day. If you are traveling or staying in a hotel, pack a resistance band for strengthening and a jump rope for cardio. This requires little room in your luggage and can be done in small spaces.

Staying fit this holiday is easier than you think. With some preparation and creativity, you can easily stay energized throughout it all. However you choose to be active, remember to have fun with it!

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