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Nipissing Lakers Nordic Skiing launches Northern Ontario Divisional Team


​9​ Lives Design
The Nipissing Lakers family is proud to announce the creation of a new junior cross-country ski team, intended to support elite level junior ski racing while retaining athletes from junior to senior competition and growing the sport.  

The new team has been recognized by the Division Board of Directors as the Northern Ontario Division Lakers Nordic Team, drawing in the fastest juniors from Northern Ontario to train and race alongside of our varsity student-athletes.

The team will start up with athletes from divisional clubs well represented, with juniors from the North Bay Nordic Ski Club, Temiskaming Nordic, Porcupine Ski Runners (Timmins), and the Soo Finnish Ski Club (Sault St. Marie) given guidance by Lakers coaching staff. The juniors have already been making the trip to North Bay and Nipissing University to join in regular dry land training camps.  

Many attended the team’s early November on-snow camp with Lakers Assistant Coach Dave Nighbor in northern Québec.

“I believe that together, our athletes will be stronger and taking advantage of stored snow is a great way to get a jump on the season,” said Nighbor when asked about the new team and camp.

The new team will make its competition debut at the World Junior/U23 Championship Trials races at Lappe Nordic in Thunder Bay in mid-January, aiming to put the Lakers juniors on the map of Canadian cross country ski racing.

Lakers Head Coach and Northern Ontario Division (NOD) Coaching Coordinator Dr. Toivo Koivukoski acknowledges that the bar for junior cross country ski racing in Canada has been raised in recent years, with a growing necessity of professionalizing coaching and full wax support teams at races in order for junior athletes to perform competitively.

"Our aim is to assist volunteer clubs in the Division with these capacities, helping to mentor club coaches who work day-to-day with our athletes, while creating competitive training camp situations where the juniors can test themselves against the best kids in their categories and senior varsity student-athletes,” said Koivukoski.  “One of the bonuses of our individual sport is that different ages can train together quite easily, supported by a healthy team environment to stay in the sport and excel.”

The Lakers Nordic coaching staff will gain capacity from the addition of the varsity men’s Team Captain Jordan Cascagnette as Lakers Junior Coach. 

“As the Lakers Junior Coach of the NOD Lakers Team, I am extremely excited to work with such a young and promising group of athletes from across northern Ontario. This team will provide these athletes with an excellent option to continue pursuing skiing at the varsity level upon their high school graduation, and will be an amazing recruitment tool for Nipissing University,” said Cascagnette.  “As a new coach with years of racing experience behind me, I look forward to contributing to the development of NOD's top young skiers while becoming the best coach that I can be.”

Team athletes will continue to represent their home clubs at Ontario Cups and Canadian National Championships, while proudly wearing the Nipissing Lakers and NOD insignia and colours. The cross country ski community is strong in the North, which has produced National Ski Team athletes in the past, and can do it again, with the people, facilities, and team spirit of the Nipissing Lakers helping to realize that potential.

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