A note from Athletic Director, Dr. David Paitson
 
I enter my third year as the Director of Athletics with a great deal of optimism. In the last two years,  we've made progress on the field of play (best hockey season in 23 years, first NCAA cross country  qualifier since 1993, a 2018 NCAA Tournament men's basketball appearance, and competitive
improvement with virtually every team), in the classroom with a 3.115 student-athlete GPA in 2019-20, and in the community (United Way of the EUP Community Partner of the Year).

In part, we accomplished this by reinvesting in coaches Steve Hettinga and Damon Whitten and by creating stability in our other sports by offering multi-year contracts to our head coaches for the first time. Our objective is to continue to move the program forward and perhaps even add new teams in
the not too distant future.

However, while there has been modest success, we cannot thrive to the level we would all like without your involvement.

Our Letterwinners are the backbone of our program. Our former student-athletes paved the way for current Lakers in setting a standard for excellence and have a role to play in our future success. We recognize the importance of instilling a sense of community in our athletes that will last far beyond their
college years. Restoring pride and building camaraderie is an essential part of that plan.

As Michigan's smallest public institution and one of the smallest universities in the country with a Division I hockey program we have big challenges. As a Letterwinner how can you help? Help us identify how we can get in touch with some of your teammates. Follow LSSU athletics and your specific team on our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Attend our athletic and alumni events. Become part of our student-athlete mentoring program. Donate your time, money, and positive voice. It comes down to people, plan and positivity. If everyone makes the step to do just one of these things, our program will continue to move forward. I thank you in advance for your efforts!

You can read more about our department's recent progress as well as our plans for the future in a recent Q&A that appeared on LSSULakers.com.
Mentoring Program:

Last year we brought a new idea that we felt would have the dual benefit of supporting our student-athletes as well as re-engage many of our Letterwinners via a mentoring program. We successfully piloted the program with inbound freshmen from the women's basketball team. I refer to it as our version of a Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. The idea is to create a one-to-one match between current and past athletes within the same sport with similar academic disciplines. The engagements between mentor and mentee would occur on a month basis. That might be in person, via phone, or could be as
simple as a text. Initially the discussions might be about the transition to college, the adjustments to Division I or II competition, or just living away from home. Eventually, the discussions could move in the direction of mentors advising students in how to prepare for their professional life after college, lending their years of experience, and perhaps opening a door or two for the student. If you are a Letterwinner and are interested in learning more about our mentoring program, please drop me an email at dpaitson@lssu.edu and we will arrange a time for a phone call.


Laker Hockey to Air Nationally on NBCSN & NHL Network:

One of the major responsibilities of an athletic department is to promote the positive aspects of the university it represents. On occasion, we will have that opportunity on a national stage, this time on back-to-back nights. Our hockey game at Notre Dame on Friday, October 25 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network. On Saturday, October 26, the game against the Irish will air on the NHL Network @ 6 p.m. Of course, we have an intriguing story line as ex-Laker bench boss Jeff Jackson who guided LSSU to two NCAA Division I national titles (1992,1994) coaches the Irish. We hope you will tune in or attend the game, and our alumni pregame event, in person.


Lakers to Play Regular Season Game in Ontario:

Expanding our footprint is an important objective. In late September, we announced that we would play a regular season hockey game at the GFL Memorial Gardens in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. From an athletic standpoint, we are hoping to engage hockey consumers across the St. Mary's River to take a
closer look at our hockey product and as a result, ultimately cross the bridge and buy a ticket to one of our games from time to time. However, this is more than a hockey game. We will engage the entire university. We will promote our academic programs by inviting principals and academic advisors as well
as their students and families from our sister city to get a first-hand look at what our university has to offer. We will invite our approximately 2,000 alumni from the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario area to attend the game as well as a special pregame event. We will also create a unique and fun experience for our
student body and the university community. We invite you to be part of this special event.

Click here to see the complete release 
Women's Walk:

Women's Walk occurred on Saturday, October 12 over Great Lake State Weekend. The event celebrates women's participation in intercollegiate athletics. We effectively modified the event to be more ceremonial in nature. The participants start at the Cisler Center and wind throughout campus to the Laker Alumni Tailgate outside of the Norris Center two hours prior to Lake State annual hockey homecoming game. Women's Walk celebrates our women student-athletes and is meant to be a fun, not taxing, event! This year we were fortunate to have LSSU Professor of 50-years Dr. Madan Saluja as our featured speaker and Grand Marshal! Women's Walk collectively is our biggest fundraiser of the year raising nearly $400,000 over the last 10 years.
Upcoming Events:

Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 @ 4:00 p.m.: Alumni Event at Legends of Notre Dame, Register Today!

Men's Basketball Reverse Raffle, Saturday, November 2 @ 6 p.m., Cisler Center

Lake State Golf Classic, Friday, June 12, 2020 @ Wild Bluff Country Club, Brimley, MI

Bud Cooper Golf Classic, Sunday August 2, 2020 @ Sault Ste. Marie Country Club
Sincerely,


Dr. David Paitson
LSSU Athletic Director


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