Concordia went 8-1-1 in 2019 after a rocky start to the regular season
It was a learning season for the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team, which saw many ups and downs. They were eliminated in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-final in February.
The Stingers started the season with 11 rookies, and finished the regular season in second place with a 13-4-3 record. Head coach Julie Chu said that if there’s one thing to take away from this season, it’s growth.
“[Every season], we start at a different point,” Chu said. “This year, we [did so] because we were young and had a lot of new players.”
After winning five of the first 10 games, Chu asked her players for patience.
“We had a young team in a lot of ways,” Chu said. “Even if they’re talented players who have been successful, it still takes time to develop and play a complete team game for a full 60 minutes. I think that’s what we saw in the first half of the season. We didn’t have the consistency and execution that we needed in order to win games.”
Five Stingers earned individual RSEQ awards, including forwards Audrey Belzile and Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, the Stingers’s best scorer and the RSEQ’s highest-scoring rookie, respectively. Chu said the working environment her players built help them to succeed.
“They want to get better and learn,” Chu said. “They push themselves, and they do it in a competitive and awesome environment where they find a way to support each other. I don’t think it’s surprising that we had individuals from the team who were honoured for successful seasons.”
Veterans Katherine Purchase, Devon Thompson, Melinda Prévost, and Sophie Gagnon won’t be back with the Stingers next season. Chu said these graduating players helped develop Concordia’s hockey program into what it is.
“They are huge part of why we have the foundation we have [today],” Chu said. “When young players arrive in our program, they know what to expect. They know what they’re building off [of], and I think that’s a really special part of the culture and tradition we want to have here at Concordia.”
Despite Purchase’s departure, the Stingers will still be able to count on goaltender Alice Philbert for the upcoming season. Chu said that having Philbert with the team for the seasons ahead is huge.
“Alice has been a great part of our team the last two years,” Chu said. “She always works hard, she wants to get better. She asks questions and because of that, she’s been able to develop and become a really great goaltender.”
The Stingers announced in December that forward Scout Watkins Southward of the Kingston Junior Ice Wolves will join the team for the beginning of next season. Chu thinks Watkins Southward will bring a lot to the team.
“She has the work ethic, the personality, and the character we want to include in our program,” Chu said. “I think that she will arrive and have a really big impact right off the start. We’re really excited for everything that she will be able to bring.”
Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.