Strength Displayed at Central Michigan University

All over campus, there is strength displayed by students in more ways than one. Mental and physical strength are two traits demonstrated at the Student Activity Center.

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Reveal of Performance Development Center

Check out my interview with the Central Michigan Baseball coach, Steve Jaksa. Coach Jaksa has coached the team for well over twenty years and his dream of building an indoor facility has finally come true. He has led the team to more than ten Mid American Conference Championships and has hopes this facility will continue that tradition.

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Introductory Post

If you’re choosing to ready my blog, welcome! My name is Ashley VanOchten and I’m a senior at Central Michigan University. I made this blog for all of my journalism 340 needs. To get to know me a little more, there’s a few things for you to know. I’m very passionate about women in the media. I’m pursuing a career in sports broadcasting and I hope to continue to break the barrier for women in the area of sports. I currently am the sports videographer for Central Michigan Life and I love reporting about everything Central.

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Make Every Stroke Count

I’ve never written an article that has been something other than hockey or football or an article that has left such an effect on my heart.

Until I heard of a Regatta.

 1. a sporting event consisting of a series of boat or yacht races.
Then I met a girl named Emily Rose Brettell.
Emily was born in 1999 on April 7th. Her heart unexpectedly stopped August 12th of 2016. She was only seventeen years old. But this story isn’t about her heartbreaking passing. It’s about the beautiful and badass life she lived in those short seventeen years.
Emily starting rowing when she was in grade nine and did it until her last minutes here on Earth. In that amount of time she earned some of the highest rowing honors. She isn’t the best of the best. She is simple THE best. There is truly no other way to put it.
Below is her rowing honors if that gives you a glimpse of the athlete she is.
  • US Club Nationals 2016- Silver in Women’s Intermediate Lwt 4x
  • CSSRA 2016- Gold in Sr 63kg 2x -Gold in 53kg Sr 4+
  • Stotesbury 2016- Gold in Lwt Sr 4+
  • Ontario Erg Champs 2016- 2nd place in Lwt Jr 2000m erg
  • Head Of The Charles Regatta 2015- 10th place in Woman’s Youth Doubles
  • Canadian Henley 2015- Second place in U17 4+ – 5th place in U17 8+
  • ROWONTARIO Championships 2015- Gold in U17 4+ – Gold in U17 8+ – Silver in
  • U17 4x – Silver in U17 2x
  • CSSRA 2015- Silver in Open Jr 4x – 4th place in Open Jr 2x
  • Stotesbury 2015- Gold in Lwt Sr 4+
  • Ontario Erg Champs 2015- 1st place in Lwt Jr 2000m erg 
  • Canadian Erg Champs 2015- 4th place in Lwt Jr 2000m erg 
  • CSSRA 2014- Silver in Mwt Jr 4+, Bronze in Mwt Jr 8+

Not only are these a head turner but she was currently attending Row Ontario Junior National Development Camp.


People go throughout life without doing half of the things she did. She lived so many more than seventeen years worth of living. Her determination is admirable. She is the type of person to make others want to be better and work harder, which is how everyone should try to be.

She was getting recruited by schools all over the country. So many schools wanted her to join their rowing team because these coaches knew how special she is and how having an athlete like her join their team would be the biggest jump a team could ask for.

Emily refused to be average and I promise you, she was far from it.

I don’t think I will ever meet another person who goes to the gym twice a day, goes to practice AND portions out their peanut butter just right. Because with her hard workout ability came a healthy diet that gave her the lead. She is a lightweight rower and worked to be that way.

Each day that she was here, she was better than the day before.

Emily left a mark on people, that people can only dream of.

She left behind her mother, Kerry, her father, Dave, and her three siblings, Sarah, Michael and Katherine. Five strong family members who will continue to live like Emily and make the moments count.

Essentially because if they didn’t she would be ready to kick their ass. 🙂

You may have noticed that I always used the word Emily “is” instead of “was.” Because though she is not physically with us, she is still here and is incredible to all lengths of life.

My good friend Courtney told me a saying that has really stuck with me. “People die twice in their life. Once when their souls leave their body, and once when their name is last spoken.” This is true. Emily will truly never die.

No one will ever stop sharing her memories and saying “I want to row like Emily Brettell. I want to be the athlete she is.”

At the beginning of your day, I hope you think of Emily and live life just as she would. I hope at the very end of your life you can truly say with a full heart that you made every stroke count. Just as Emily.

Below is Emily’s recruiting video she created herself. It’s more than just a recruiting video actually, it’s a glimpse into her life.



Rest in heaven Emily Rose. ❤


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For The Love Of Hockey

ice hock·ey
noun: ice hockey; modifier noun: ice-hockey
  1. a fast contact sport played on an ice rink between two teams of six skaters, who attempt to drive a small rubber disk (the puck) into the opposing goal with hooked or angled sticks. It developed in Canada in the 19th century.

For every one of you, hockey has in some way or another affected your life. It has brought you through a roller coaster of emotions whether you’re yelling at your TV or yelling in the stands. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes leaving you reeling and wondering why you put yourself through it each and every season. At some point in your life, you fell in love with the sport. For most of us, this occurred sometime in our youth while for some of us, we did not discover our love for this sport till much later. Whether you have been a life-long fan, or you are just starting your journey, we all have that moment, or moments even where hockey grabbed us, held on tight, and refused to let go. Our world would never be the same.

Hockey is different. It’s steeped in history and tradition, something many of today’s most popular sports lack. Hockey players play for their team, their fan base, but most importantly for each other. The game is in their blood, and their blood is in the game. It’s their passion. It’s what drives them. And that driving passion isn’t just limited to the players-it applies to every kid who has laced up his skates before playing some puck on the frozen pond out back, every parent that has given everything of themselves to make sure their kids have the opportunity to play, every coach that has taken the time to mentor and teach the game to the kids under their wing and the everyday fan that can’t play but lights up like a Christmas tree when opening up a $3 pack of hockey cards.

Hockey has so many perks. One minute you’re watching a star like Alex Ovechkin rush past a defender and somehow get the puck into the back of the net as he falls to the ice. In the same game, you could theoretically catch the artistry of Pavel Datsyuk when he dangles the puck before abruptly changing his direction much to the surprise of the defender.

It’s the love the players have for each other, it’s the way the fans become die hards for their teams and its the way a parents face lights up when they watch their kid on the ice (except for the crazy hockey moms, we can pass on them).

I can’t remember a time without hockey. I’m almost positive my dad had me watching hockey the day I was born and growing up, nothing seemed to change. I would beg my dad to play hockey with me in the kitchen and being the sassy girl I was, I would always fall down and fake hurt and act like my favorite Red Wings players. It’s simple moments like that that stay so memorable and show how much of an impact hockey makes in the lives of fans and players.

It’s a sport that forms a hockey community into a hockey family. It’s more than hockey.

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Detroit’s Young Dynasty: Dylan Larkin

Source: Detroit’s Young Dynasty: Dylan Larkin

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Detroit’s Young Dynasty: Dylan Larkin

He’s 19. He is a key player for Detroit. He is one of the top three best rookies in the NHL. He is Dylan Larkin.

If you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan, there is a big chance you put a Larkin jersey on your Christmas list this year.

At only 19 years old and playing his first year in the NHL, Larkin is climbing the charts and proving how lucky Detroit is to have him every game.

Larkin was drafted 15h overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2014 NHL Draft and the rest is in the books. This kid is unstoppable. Larkin excelled playing for the University of Michigan and fans knew they were watching a star in the making.

On May 21st, 2015 he signed a three-year entry level contract with the Red Wings. On May 25th, 2015 Larkin wasted no time and scored his first professional goal playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins in his second game with them. In his NHL debut on October 9th, 2015 he recorded his first NHL assist and then his first NHL goal. He then became the first Red Wings teenager to score in his first NHL games since 1983 who was none other than Steve Yzerman. On November 21st, Larkin scored a goal for the fourth consecutive game since Yzerman in 1983 as well. To be following in the footsteps of a man like Yzerman, says a lot about Larkin. (Let me mention again that he is only 19!!!)

Larkin quickly became on the radar for all Detroit fans. To be only 19 and putting up so many points in the NHL, he quickly made his way into fan’s hearts, as well as teenage girls. He became a role model for young hockey players everywhere as he showed the NHL world all he had to offer.

In November of 2015 he was named NHL Rookie of the Month and led all rookies with seven goals in thirteen games in November. He now ranks third with eighteen points and 64 shots in 24 games this season.

As the season continues, Larkin continues to improve and be a key player for the Detroit Red Wings. He can only improve as the season continues and his career extends. Keep an eye out for 71 on the ice, Detroit’s young dynasty.

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