This year there will be no fearless predictions or preconceived notions about the upcoming season for the Concordia Stinger men’s hockey team.
This year the team has finally managed to strike an even balance between veterans and newcomers. This is irrefutably the best mix of athletes that has made up this team since Head Coach Kevin Figsby took it over in early 2000.
According to Figsby, this year’s squad will provide an on-ice product that will give Stinger fans a reason to support them. “We’re going to be very exciting and a lot faster than the previous few years,” he claims.
A quick look at a revamped roster gives reason for optimism. “I was very selective about bringing in players that would have an immediate impact,” Figsby says.
Amongst those selections are two new goaltenders. They are Kyle Stanton, who played for the Prince George Cougars of the Western League and Trevor Cunning. They will join fourth-year backstop Philippe Ozga, who will need to prove himself throughout the season to keep his first-string position, to form what looks like the best ensemble this team has seen in awhile.
Figsby has also brought in three new defencemen, including Benoit Beauchemain from the Quebec Remparts and former Nepean Raider captain Trevor Hawkings.
The offensive success of the Maroon and Gold will rest primarily in the hands of a few seasoned veterans and second-year players. The addition of another Rempart, winger Frederic Faucher, should prove to be one of the off-season’s most profitable recruits.
Last year’s team relied heavily on a select few, including departed 25-goal man Chris Page, for offensive production. This season there’s hope things will be spread out more evenly. “This year we’re going to see a solid group of 12-15 goal scorers. Every shift we’re going to have an offensive threat on the ice,” Figsby says.
There will also be a couple of players with something to prove as fourth-year centre David Comeau assumes the role of captain in place of departed Patrice Roy.
Luc Messier, another fourth-year and the team’s best power forward, started off the 2002 season on a scary note when a car accident kept him sidelined several games with a concussion. However, look for a healthy Messier to be one of the team’s go-to guys.
Major moves have also been made behind the bench. Assistant coach Peter Bender is back and will be joined by Jon Armbruster from the Alberta Junior League along with goalie coach Dominic Rousseau.
So, after taking only five days off from recruiting this summer, it looks as though this is the team that Figsby has been building for the last three years. “It’s at the point where I want it to be. We’ve survived the growing pains.”
The Stingers will be proving themselves against the McGill Redmen at Ed Meagher Arena this Friday at 7:30 p.m.