It was as exciting as could be in March of 1990, as crowds of Concordia basketball fans across Montreal counted down the final seconds of the men’s CIAU (now CIS) championship match between the Concordia Stingers and the Guelph Gryphons.
The Stingers won it all in 1990 and did it when all the cards were stacked against them, when all the 4,000 plus fans attending the tournament-save for the 15 Stinger faithful who took the drive to Halifax- were shamelessly booing them whenever they scored.
But Concordia made history that year by becoming the first Quebec team to win the championship in the 28-year history of the CIAU, by defeating the Gryphons 80-62.
TSN cameras were in Halifax and fans in Montreal were cheering at the Peel Pub and watching the game on the big screen at Loyola’s Oasis Bar.
John Dore, in his first year as head coach, was being quoted as saying his team, his Rodney Dangerfield team, finally earned a lot of well-deserved respect.
Even those razing the unknown Stingers in the first round were pulling for the team in the final.
The all-Atlantic Conference crowd was set on running the Stingers out of town.
“I remember people asking what does CU stand for or where the heck is Concordia University,” Concordia Alumni Jessica Wall said.
Wall, who attended the nationals, remembers some people referring to the Maroon and Gold as ‘the team there just to lose.’
The National title seemed like a long-awaited feat. Journalism students and local media wrote that for many students and the general Concordia population, it was a dream come true, a title of national proportions that put the university on the map.
Concordia could stand up now and be accounted for. It left its mark on the CIAU.
It was unquestionably the biggest sports achievement in Concordia history. The 1989-1990 Stingers were fine athletes: a mix of young and old, green and experienced, and teamwork triumphs over individualism.
These elements are always the hallmark of all championship teams.
The Stingers were a team’s team. The duo of Nick Arvantis and Michael Cohee, the Captain and the catalyst, was unstoppable. the Vanier connection (circa 1987) of Dino Perin, Ernie Rosa (present-day Stinger assistant coach) and Robert Ferguson, together demonstrating that history can repeat itself.
Three years before, those same players helped Vanier College win a National title at the C