Being on a Stingers team at Concordia is a huge commitment. Games, practices, and workouts along with classes is a pretty hefty workload.
But something that people don’t necessarily think about is, in the case of the women’s hockey team, the two-hour trip to Ottawa to face off against both the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees.
“Things are definitely different from when I started,” said Les Lawton, head coach of the Stingers women’s hockey team.
“There weren’t DVD players and TV screens on the busses, there were no iPods and no cell phones or text messaging,” Lawton said about his beginnings at Concordia 24 years ago.
He admits, however, that with the new technologies, the players are more independent, and by that measure, the bus rides quieter.
“I find players stay to themselves a lot more than back then,” Lawton said adding that he felt bus rides used to force the team to be more cohesive but “I may just be older,” he said.
“Road trips are amazing,” said Stingers assistant captain Angela Di Stasi.
“I can’t imagine life without sport, and being on the bus is part of that. “It’s a little thing, but it adds to the experience.”
The road trip is hard when it comes to performance on the ice.
The team travels to Ottawa the day of the game, and Di Stasi admits that “it’s difficult sitting on a bus for two hours,” she said.
But, the most important thing, according to Di Stasi is getting to know her teammates. “You learn more about each other and about everyone’s mental preparation for the game,” she said.
“Everyone has the things they want to do. Some people sleep, some chat, watch movies, do some work or study,” she said.
“Personally, on longer trips, I like to sit and talk to different people. It gives you time to chat with someone you play with and learn a lot more about them.”
That’s something Lawton agrees with. “As a coach, I like sitting down and talking to the players. You can learn a lot of interesting things from someone just by sitting down and talking to them,” he said.
Of course, probably the best part of the road trips, for the veterans at least, is that they have several advantages. They get first pick on seats, and the rookies fill in the rest of the seats, and then the rookies are also responsible for taking things on and off the bus. However, Di Stasi, a fourth-year veteran says that the vets are quick to jump in and help.
Probably the most entertaining part of the team’s first road trip is the rookie’s initiation.
First year players have to walk up and down the bus with headphones on, singing a song.
For Di Stasi, the road trip is a way to get closer as a team.
“It’s like a dorm,” she said. “You’re together with your teammates and friends. It takes time away from school, but it’s an important time of the university experience.”
The Stingers finished off their regular season on Saturday losing 5-2 against the Ottawa Gee-Gees in Ottawa.
The Stingers “came out flat,” according to Di Stasi and Ottawa opened the scoring 2:09 into the game on a goal by Kim Kerr.
Concordia answered back with two power play goals under three minutes apart. Angela Di Stasi won two face-offs in Ottawa territory to spark both goals. The first goal was tipped in by Mary-Jane O’Shea in front of Ottawa’s Julie Lalonde. The second was scored by Donna Ringrose who parked herself at the side of the Ottawa net and jammed a shot by Lalonde.
Ottawa then scored four straight goals to pull ahead and win the game.
…and against McGill?
The Concordia Stingers almost became the second Canadian team to defeat the McGill Martlets this season, but fell 26 seconds short.
The Stingers opened up a 2-0 lead after goals from Di Stasi and Ringrose, but allowed a goal with just over four minutes remaining for the Martlets to pull within one, and Catherine Ward tied the game with 26 seconds remaining in the third period.
In the shootout, Valerie Paquette beat Concordia’s Meggy Hatin-L