Thunderwolves Visit Sandy Lake FN

Lakehead University

SANDY LAKE FIRST NATION – Lakehead University Athletics’ Reach Up! program was active throughout the spring season, the most recent trip being to Sandy Lake First Nation from May 10-12.

Four Thunderwolves had a chance to play, coach, and interact with Sandy Lake FN youth in a fun-filled three-day series of sports and education. Nordic Skiing’s Haggarty sisters, Moira and Daphne, along with runner Chris Brown and wrestler Scott Christian made the trip to Sandy Lake FN, with plenty of great feedback from Sandy Lake and Thunderwolves alike.

Upon arriving at Sandy Lake, the four Thunderwolves were brought to the radio station where they greeted the community over the airwaves and invited all the youth in the community (aged 8-18) to join them at the  high school.

Says nordic skiing star Daphne Haggarty, “It must have worked because almost 70 kids showed up to see what Reach Up! was all about!”

Scott Christian, a 3rd year wrestler, was impressed with the approach of the Sandy Lake students to his sport. “The kids got into it right away, they love the hands-on activity, and you don’t need any special gear, just respect for the rules, which they did.”

“It was a new experience for them – being in the middle of the room, having people cheering for them. They were genuinely interested and wanted to learn all about wrestling. Anytime you have eager students, teaching them the basics is effortless and rewarding,” Christian mentioned.

Wayne Kaepetum, the Band Director for Sandy Lake  says, “The community and kids enjoyed the Reach Up! games and activities in the gym and had a great time interacting with the Thunderwolves.”

Moira Haggarty, a sophomore skier, offered positive feedback on her experience. “All of us who attended enjoyed ourselves and I look forward being a part of the growingReach Up! program in the future.”

Haggarty adds, “My  favorite part of the trip was leading the ‘East meets West’  yoga.  We took the students through a series of balance, strength, stretching and relaxation poses all named after figures from the Ojibwe language, rather than the traditional Hindu names. We shared some laughs as we toppled over during Makwa (Bear Pose) and tested our flexibility in Ciiman (Boat Pose)”.

Amanda Nesbitt, Reach Up! Program Coordinator says, “We’re enjoying lots of success with our host communities and look forward to ‘Reaching Up’ to many more in our region.” Nesbitt, who attended in Sandy Lake adds, “We’re grateful to the people of Sandy Lake for their hospitality, and the generosity of Wasaya Airways in helping us reduce the travel costs involved in facilitating the Reach Up!program.”

 (L-R; Scott Christian, Chris Brown, Daphne Haggarty, Moira Haggarty)


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Hugh Mullally is the Sports Information Director at Lakehead University. Hugh shares, "In the field of athletics, I aspire to continue developing my public profile as a source for sports information with my current employer, with a little bit of entertainment mixed in with my live game commentary and my weekly radio show that features athletes and coaches from Lakehead University".