A recap of Homecoming 2020

With no fall sports, this year’s Homecoming looked a little different than previous years. The Wilfrid Laurier University department of athletics and recreation presented the weekend virtually offering multiple events that brought the spirit of Laurier to life.

This year’s homecoming was a great success given the many adjustments made due to the pandemic. Normally this time of year is bustling with season openers for hockey and basketball and Golden Hawk alumni flooding the streets of Waterloo to attend what is always an electric football game. 

This year, however, all events were moved online, including the Golden Hawk Hall of Fame, while other events were added to replace traditional homecoming activities, such as the annual football game.

The weekend kicked off with the Golden Hawk Hall of Fame. The event was founded in 1986 as a way to honour former athletes and teams that made outstanding contributions to the varsity program at Laurier. 

The induction ceremony was presented through the WLU Athletics social media via Zoom beginning on Sept. 23 and ending on Sept. 25 with the inductee ceremony. Following the induction a select few of the new hall of famers participated in a Zoom question and answer session hosted by athletics communication coordinator Jamie Howieson.

This year five former Golden Hawks were inducted in the individual category, Max Allin, Laura Brooker, Emily Brown, Dillon Campbell and Kelsey Tikka. Peter Campbell is also being honoured in the builder category and the 1995 women’s soccer team was honoured in the team category.

The varsity coaches also held two “ask me anything” sessions onSept.25 and Sept. 26, where current students and alumni were able to ask head coaches about game day preparation, recruitment and get an insider perspective of legendary Laurier teams. 

In replacement of the annual Homecoming football game, the athletic department hosted a viewing of the 2005 Vanier Cup against the Saskatchewan Huskies on Sept.26. Arguably one of the most iconic Laurier football games of all time, it was a fitting game to take the spot of the biggest football event of the year. 

The broadcast appeared on the “Laurier Golden Hawks Facebook” where viewers were able to relive that cold December night and see the vibrant purple and gold spirit come to life. 

In addition to these events, Laurier also launched their eSports Live competitions over Homecoming weekend with a Fortnite tournament broadcasted through Twitch. The event invited current students and alumni to compete against each other throughout the day on Saturday.

The stakes were high with a one-thousand dollar cash prize given to the lone survivor and a total prize pool totalling two thousand dollars, making for an exciting event for participants and observers alike. 

Some of the events were run by Laurier students and alumni. Current student Taylor Chalupka hosted the Homecoming Dance Mixx Class Saturday  on Zoom, where participants learned various dance moves.  Alumni Lisa Clarke also hosted yoga classes via Zoom on Sunday, winding down the exciting weekend.   

The shift to a virtual environment has altered all aspects of sports at Laurier, as student-athlete orientation was also held virtually this year. The mandatory orientation focused on teaching incoming athletes what it means to be a Golden Hawk on and off the field, with a sharp focus on how to succeed in online school.   

With no sports for the fall semester, student-athletes are facing challenging times. The   WLU department of athletics and recreation has worked hard to deliver an orientation that sets up a support system with athletic therapists as well as the teaching and learning departments to provide valuable tools to help these student-athletes thrive in the long-term.

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