The inaugural group or recruits comes in the form of a trio of forwards in Amanda Pereira, Lindsay Brazill and Emma Leger, as well as a pair of goalies in Sudbury’s own Emily Toffoli and Laura Deller.
Pereira, who will be enrolled in the Sport and Physical Education (Con. Ed.) program at Laurentian next September, is a playmaker who will look to help the women’s hockey team find success from the first puck drop, Laurentian said in the press release. She has guided her teams to both a gold and a silver medal at the provincial championships and was selected in consecutive years to a select team that completed a European tour and currently plays for the Oakville Hornets in the PWHL.
Pereira looks forward to continuing her hockey career as she aims to assert herself on a young Voyageurs roster.
“I have been skating since I was two and started playing hockey when I was five,” she said. “Now, when I am playing, it feels like nothing else matters when I am on the ice. I am really excited that I can play at the next level and the fact I am a part of the inaugural Laurentian team is exciting.”
“Amanda is a fantastic playmaker who makes those around her better,” said head coach Stacey Colarossi. “She sees the ice well and can anticipate the play and distribute the puck into difficult spots. Her touch around the net will be invaluable.”
Brazill is going to be studying Law and Justice at Laurentian and on the ice she will be using her 5-7 frame to keep defenders honest. After stepping on the ice for the first time at the age of five, Brazill continued to develop her game to a point where she was part of a team that competed against, and beat, the Chinese Olympic team in 2012. The Whitby Jr. Wolves product is looking forward to competing for the Voyageurs, but noted one key factor in her decision to attend Laurentian.
“I hear there is an amazing fan base and I can’t wait to witness the Pot Bangers in action,” she said. “Laurentian was definitely on the top of my list, especially with the opportunity to be a part of the first women’s hockey team. On top of that, I have heard nothing but great things about Coach Colarossi and I am really looking forward to playing for her.”
A star in multiple sports, Brazill says there is nothing like Canada’s game.
“When you step on the ice, nothing else matters. It’s just you and your teammates playing the sport we all love. I’m a little biased when I say it’s the best sport ever but I know there are a lot of people who agree with me.”
Colarossi is excited to incorporate Brazill’s style into the Voyageurs’ lineup.
“Lindsey comes from a top program in the PWHL and she is an excellent fore checker who brings decent size and athleticism to our team. She is responsible at both ends of the ice and willing to play in the difficult areas.”
Leger will be joining the Voyageurs out of the Kitchener-Waterloo Rangers organization and will be enrolled in the Sport and Physical Education program in the fall. The current captain of her team, Leger will bring a strong two-way game to the fold next season and knows that to be successful offensively, you need to take care of your own end first. She is also relishing the chance to get an experience away from home and is really excited by the atmosphere she experienced on campus during her visit.
When it comes to the game, it’s the little things that drive Leger.
“I love the adrenaline and feeling of winning a race to the puck or winning a battle in the corner, setting up a nice play or scoring a goal. When I play hockey I lose track of time and I get lost in the moment. Being part of the inaugural team at LU is going to be a lot of fun.”
Colarossi recognizes that complete game that Leger brings to the rink as well.
“Emma is the captain of her PWHL team and leads by example both on and off the ice. She is a gritty forward who is a great penalty killer and can play in all situations. Emma is defensively responsible and also has the ability to find the back of the net.”
Between the pipes, Colarossi landed a strong pair of girls who look to backstop the Voyageurs for years to come. Local product, Toffoli, has been a brick wall for her Sudbury Lady Wolves Midget AA team this season, posting a 21-5-2 record with 11 shutouts, a 1.22 GAA and a 0.937 save percentage.
On top of her success with her Lady Wolves team, Toffoli has two NOSSA championships under her belt along with the 2012 NOSSA MVP. Getting to play at the next level for her hometown Voyageurs has Toffoli brimming.
“I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to play hockey at the next level and representing Sudbury on the first-ever LU Women’s Hockey team is awesome.”
Colarossi sees a lot of promise in the local goalie.
“Emily plays very confident in her net, challenges shooters and is willing to come out of the net to start the offensive rush. She is very vocal back there which I believe will assist our team in transition.”
Toffoli’s batterymate next season, Deller, will also be enrolled in the Sport and Physical Education program in the fall. She currently has a solid 0.900 save percentage for the Kitchener-Waterloo Rangers of the PWHL.
Only a couple of years removed from a provincial silver medal, Deller was named an assistant captain of her Rangers team this season and will help to bring some leadership to a young Voyageur squad next season.
Following a familiar theme, the chance to be a part of the program in its first season was major factor in Deller’s commitment.
“I am really excited to be part of this new venture,” she said. “After seeing the atmosphere around campus and the camaraderie that all Voyageur athletes share, I can’t wait to get back to Sudbury in September.”
When it comes to the game, hockey is a major aspect of Deller’s life.
“I started playing when I was five. but when I switched to goalie at the age of eight, I developed a true passion for the game. It gives me a reference point for many of my life experiences. I am able to relate real life situations back to the ice which gives me a fresh perspective and many times enables me to come up with a positive solution to life conflicts. I relish the thrill I get every time I step on to the ice.”
Colarossi loves the competitive level that Deller brings to the ice.
“Laura is a smaller goalie who plays big and her willingness to not be outworked is evident in her play. Her will to compete, athleticism and quick reflexes give her an edge in the net over the opposition.”
On the whole, Colarossi is excited with where the team stands in preparation of next season’s puck drop.
“I am extremely pleased with my first core group of athletes that have committed to Laurentian University, our hockey program and the community. These five student athletes all come from excellent programs where they have all had their own team and individual success. I believe these athletes are well rounded academically, athletically and exude the character we want to represent the LU Voyageur name.”
The first wave of Voyageurs will meet up with their teammates as training camp opens up at the end of the summer. Tickets for next year’s men’s and women’s teams are on sale now at www.laurentian.ca/hockey2013. Be sure to follow www.luvoyageurs.com for up-to-date news on the hockey programs and all of your Voyageurs.