Playing The Game

Below is an excerpt from author Orland French’s book, PIONEERING: A History of Loyalist College (1992). While some references are no longer current, the publication provides a rich report on Loyalist’s history, which helps to contextualize its milestones. To read more from Mr. French’s book, please click here

They changed the rules in Ontario college volleyball after Regyna Armonas played for Loyalist.

Armonas, a female student who had played for the Canadian women’s volleyball team in the 1976 Olympics, wanted to play volleyball at Loyalist, too. Since there was no women’s team at Loyalist in 1981, she wanted to play on the men’s team.

“We asked around, and the other teams laughed and said, “Sure, you can put a woman on your team if you want to’,” recalled Director of Athletics Greg Gavin.

After Armonas’ outstanding performance that year, the colleges changed the rules: no more mixed teams.

At other times, the team was mixed in a different way: it contained a number of players from foreign countries such as Nigeria and Venezuela.

Gavin said that while international students were sometimes smaller, they were quick and high-spirited and “added a new flavour to Loyalist sports”.

Loyalist has had a variety of teams that have come and gone: rugby, ping pong, archery and hockey. Tennis, scuba diving, rock climbing and golf have also been featured, but many teams have faded into oblivion because of changing tastes in sports or because of a lack of adequate financing.

Volleyball and basketball continue to be popular team sports. The men’s and women’s volleyball teams, as well as the men’s basketball team, have all excelled under the Loyalist Lancers’ banner in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association.

Outdoor activities which rely on individual participation, such as hiking and canoeing, always interest students. The annual trek to the top of Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York State, has produced a small army of hikers.

Perhaps it is because there are no Olympic rules forbidding the mixing of hikers.

To return to the History Timeline, click here.