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Student Athletes: Frontenac Players Back in Virtual School

September 24, 2020 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - Kingston Frontenacs News Release

The Ontario Hockey League's training camps may not be starting until November 15, but for most of the Kingston Frontenacs players, fall has already started. While hockey is a focus for all, school is also a critical part of their lives, and there are Fronts all the way from the middle of high school to university.

With COVID-19 continuing to be society's focus, all of the students have been online, something few had experienced before March, and most are still adjusting today.

Nick Wong and Lucas Peric are furthest along in their educational pursuits, studying at the local Queen's University, where they began last fall, and even though instruction is not in the classroom, the start to the year online has not been too difficult.

"Last year I got a taste of it [online school] at the end of the year, so there was nothing new to me, it's pretty straight forward," said Peric, who is taking two courses in sociology and psychology, however, the Georgetown, Ontario native is happy he has had some teammates alongside him.

"Last year there were three of us in the class, me, Nick Wong and Jakob Brahaney who is now going to Queen's full-time, so that kind of helped. We had a crew going to Queen's, so we could study together and stuff. While in-person classes were nice, the switch online has not been a shock to Peric.

Wong has taken advantage of the postponed start to the season and has picked up more courses than last year, getting a head start on his degree if that is something he chooses to pursue at some point.

"It definitely helps without the season right now, we have a bit more free time, and Mike Hamilton allowed us to take a few more courses this year, and that's been great," said Wong, who is taking Intro to Politics and Government, Great Works of Philosophy and Canadian Tax Policy, all online.

Mike Hamilton, the hockey club's Post Secondary Education Advisor oversees setting up all the players outside of high school, and his help is lauded by many.

As Peric and Wong begin their second year at Queen's, teammate Jake Murray is entering his first, and he is grateful to be alongside a few teammates who have already gone through it. "It's a bit of safety knowing a few of my teammates have done some stuff at Queen's and I know Nick [Wong] and Lucas [Peric] did the same class I'm taking right now, so if I have any questions I can go to them."

Murray also spoke about how it is weird to start school online, and knowing it will continue online, after being in the classroom for all of high school.

Another player in post-secondary in Kingston is goaltender Ryan Dugas, who is taking a course at St. Lawrence College, one that could translate to on-ice growth. The first-year student's course has a focus on mental and physical health, something that he is very interested in. "I thought it might be helpful because you have so many ups and downs throughout the game, if you let in a bad goal you have to rebound and I thought this class could help me with that."

Although it is online, something Dugas is not used to, the once-a-week sessions have not been too exhausting, "I have to adjust my workout time once a week and my coaches obviously understand that, it's not too difficult and it is going well so far."

While those four and others chip away at their post-secondary studies, incoming first-year player Nathan Poole is in Grade 11, where he is not only adjusting to online classes but also a new school. "It's been fairly easy so far," said Poole. "Kim [Hutton], our academic advisor, has made a plan for us and made the transition easier. Braden [Haché], Shane [Wright] and Francesco [Arcuri] have helped as well."

Frontenac players may be at different stages in their education, but being a student athlete remains a top priory for the Kingston Frontenacs organization. Each player sees a silver lining to the postponed season, as they get to adjust to a different type of school in an abnormal year before dropping the puck on their 2020-21 OHL campaign.

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