NHL coach from Brasher awarding $40,000 in scholarships annually at St. Lawrence Central 

Posted 3/1/24

Austin Mason, Kalissa Young, Ella Bellinger

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NHL coach from Brasher awarding $40,000 in scholarships annually at St. Lawrence Central 


BRASHER — National Hockey League (NHL) coach and Brasher native Derek Lalonde and his family have launched an athletic scholarship program for local students.

The Lalonde Family Initiative has announced the launch of a new program, the Lalonde Family Athletic Scholarships, beginning with the 2023-24 academic and athletic school year. Two $10,000 scholarships and one $20,000 scholarship will be awarded annually.  

The Lalonde Family Initiative announced the award recipients for the inaugural Lalonde Family Athletic Scholarships are St. Lawrence Central senior athletes Austin Mason, Kalissa Young and Ella Bellinger.

Lalonde is the current Detroit Red Wings head coach and was a coach on the Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021. Lalonde played college hockey for Cortland State as a goaltender from 1991 to 1994.

The scholarships will be given annually by the Lalonde Family Initiative to outstanding local athletes in the North Country. A goal of the initiative is to encourage participation in scholastic athletics, which provides an opportunity for high school students to enhance their discipline, perseverance, teamwork and leadership skills.

“The Lalonde children were seen as leaders in scholastic athletics at St. Lawrence Central, and future generations of the Lalonde family have continued this tradition of athletic engagement and leadership,” said Derek Lalonde.

The Lalonde family consists of 12 siblings and children of Canadian immigrants Omer and Yvonne, 10 of whom attended St. Lawrence Central beginning in the mid-20th century.

“The Lalonde Family believes sports create a connection between individuals, education and the community,” Lalonde said. “For students at St. Lawrence Central, there exists a unique connection between teacher, coach, student athlete and the community. This network of support for the student athlete creates a model for forming well-rounded adults that feel confident remaining engaged in community and service.”

  • Mason, a two-sport varsity athlete in basketball and soccer, will finish his senior year as a Second Team All-Northern selection, two-year captain of the basketball team and the leading goal-scorer of St. Lawrence Central’s soccer team. Mason also earned Athlete of Distinction honors, which recognizes senior students who have maintained an academic average of 90 throughout their entire career.
  • Young is an all-around athlete at St. Lawrence Central, starting varsity all four years in soccer and basketball and three years in softball. She has received back-to-back Second Team All-Northern selections in softball and basketball, and First Team All-Northern honors in soccer her senior year. Additionally, Young has been recognized as an Athlete of Distinction for her academic achievements.
  • Bellinger has been a four-year member of St. Lawrence Central’s swim team, where she has served as team captain and received several honors including the Lisa Lane Award, Swimming Sportsmanship Award and Athlete of Distinction recognition. She has qualified for the New York State Championship in swimming since her sophomore year. She also earned six First Team All-Northern selections and seven Second Team All-Northern selections across a variety of events, including the 400-freestyle relay, where she broke the school record her junior year.

“The Lalonde Family Initiative would like to congratulate each recipient on their athletic and academic achievements, which exemplify the values of the Initiative and the spirit of the mission,” Lalonde said.

About the Lalonde Family Initiative: The Lalonde Family Initiative was founded as a vehicle to foster the tradition of scholastic athletics and service to community within the region of northern New York, known by the local community as “The North Country.”

With this goal in mind, the Lalonde Family Initiative has focused on enhancing access for St. Lawrence Central students to athletic equipment, opportunities, and funding college scholarships for student athletes who are outstanding citizens in the community and embody the values of this program. The Lalonde Family Initiative strongly believes that scholastic athletics fosters a tight and positive bond between North Country citizens and that participation in scholastic athletics provides an opportunity for high school students to enhance their discipline, perseverance, teamwork and leadership skills that will last long into a happy and successful adulthood.