Laval athletes in good company at NL Winter Games

Nicholas Mercer
Published on March 2, 2014
Laval Cavaliers player Grace Follett (right) wrestles for position with Heather Janes of Western under the basket. Follett and her teammates have received a steady stream of support from other Laval athletes at the 2014 NL Winter Games.
Photo by Nicholas Mercer/The Compass

If the 2014 NL Winter Games counts for anything, the student body at Laval High in Placentia is a tight-knit group.


There are over two dozen students participating in Clarenville in male and female basketball, female hockey and figure skating this week.

Depending on what team is playing, it has not been a stretch to find members of the other teams cheering on their classmates.

Whether it is members of the female basketball team chanting a rather loud “defence” as their male counterparts battle a very tough Mount Pearl/South squad or members of both teams cheering on Abby Gambin (Dunville) and Tyra Lannon (Placentia), who are a part of the female hockey club.

Even principal Gord Pike has been in the stands cheering on his students.

The principal made plans to attend Sunday’s (March 2) games once he knew what the schedule was going to be.

“It’s nice. I just wanted to be a part of it,” he said.

The 27 Laval students attending the Games are undoubtedly one of the larger concentrations of students from a single school at this sporting extravaganza.

It makes Pike proud to know his students are gaining experience and memories that will last them a lifetime.

It’s a bonus these students are viewed as some of the top athletes in their respective disciplines as a result.

“The whole experience of coming to the Winter Games is fantastic,” he noted.

The Games is a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved and it’s not only about competition.

There are friendships to be made, time spent in the Athlete’s Village and playing video games in one of the common rooms. Athletes were scheduled to participate in a game of laser tag tonight.

“They’ll have all kinds of stories to tell, all kinds of lies to tell and all that kind of stuff when they come back,” said Pike.

Students view

Cody Power of Dunville sat on the stage in the gymnasium at Clarenville Middle School. Between checking his phone and chatting with a teammate, he was keeping a keen eye on how the female team was doing.

The Lady Cavaliers were in a tight battle with Western and trailing by only a couple of points. At certain points, Power shouts instructions.

Was he heard?

Who knows, but his heart is in the right place.

Power would later make the short walk to the Clarenville Event Centre to cheer on Gambin, Lannon and the rest of his Avalon teammates on the ice.

“We’re all involved in the school community and there’s lots of opportunities to choose from,” he said of having so many Laval students at the Games.

When asked what he thought of having his principal at the Games, he was short and to the point.

“There’s a little stress,” he said with a smile.