The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team has a lot to live up to this season.
Last year, they were arguably Concordia’s most successful varsity team, posting a 12-3-1 regular season record and amassing 75 goals and 25 points.
They clinched the QSSF division title, placed number one in Quebec after beating rivals McGill Martlets in the playoffs, and moved on to the Nationals, where they ended their run as fifth in the country.
And let’s not forget the individual awards.
Defender Lauren Houghton won the TSN Award for Achievement in Ice Hockey, Academics and Community Involvement. Marie-Claude Allard and Susan Kaye were both named to the CIS All-Canadian Women’s Hockey Team.
Goaltender Jessica Anderson, Lisa-Marie Breton, Roxanne Dupuis and Dominique Rancour were named to the CIS second team.
Allard was also named the Most Valuable Player of the QSSF Division, with Rancour by her side as QSSF Rookie of the Year.
To cap it off, Head Coach Les Lawton was named QSSF Coach of the Year.
With all that said, this season will not sell the Concordia hockey fan short.
Many of the names that made headlines from last year are still with the team, and the new additions to the team have been proving their worth.
“We’ve got some new recruits that are going to come in and challenge some of our veteran players,” Lawton said. ” We have a number of players that we recruited which are going to take a little time to develop, but by the end of the season, they will be big contributors to the team.”
Clara Gaudet, a forward from Souris, P.E.I., is one of the newcomers that has shown an offensive spark by scoring the game winner in the Stingers 5-0 exhibition game over the St. Mary’s Huskies.
She was lucky enough to fill the hole left by last year’s captain Breton on the Allard-Rancour line which was the most offensively successful combo of the team last season.
Breton, who was in her final year at Concordia last season, has left her on-ice role as captain, but has taken a new off-ice role as assistant coach.
Another first year player to watch out for is forward Genevieve Dupuis, the sister of Roxanne Dupuis, who was the leading scorer of the John Abbott College.
Lady Islander’s team last year and notched a goal and an assist against the Huskies.
“Although she is small in size she is remarkably tough,” Houghton said of her new teammate. “She’s aggressive and can put the puck in the net.”
The blue line hasn’t changed much from last year, there although new players that will challenge the Stingers’ veterans. A rookie blue liner to pay attention to this year is Sophie Beaudry from Masham, Quebec.
Between the pipes, Jessica Anderson has stepped up to her role as starting goaltender for the Lady Bees, posting a shut out in her first game this year against the Huskies.
There may be some competition for her with newcomer goaltender Chris Gautier, whose stature alone at over six feet will be intimidating to the opposition.
“We’re looking for big things from her, she’s a top recruit out of prep-schools in the U.S. and was highly recruited by a number of U.S. colleges,” Lawton said of the newcomer. “I think that she has a chance to be our number one goalie by seasons end.”
All the elements that make up a good hockey team are there: experience, scorinIg ability, strength in nets, veteran defence and camaraderie.
What remains to be seen is if they will equal the success of last year’s team, or even surpass it.
Only time will tell, but if the first game of their season is a preview of what’s to come, they sure will be fun to watch while doing it.