On Saturday night the Friends of Concordia Hockey gathered at the Molson Brewery for the first annual “Wall of Fame” ceremony.
The ceremony was part of Concordia’s Hockey Alumni weekend, in which three alumni were honoured.
The honoree’s were Dr. Rob Brodrick (Loyola), the late Ron Lapointe (Sir George), and Gilles Hebert (Concordia). The ceremony is the first of many that will bring together the rich hockey traditions of three schools.
The festivities began with a cocktail hour at which plenty of Molson beer products flowed like, well, beer. The atmosphere was that of a family reunion as alumni, friends, and members of Concordia’s men’s hockey team traded stories.
It was a chance for the alumni to catch up on old times, as well as for today’s players to meet their predecessors.
The group then moved into the main hall for the crux of the evening’s events, the inductions.
The first player to be inducted was Ron “the Crow” Lapointe. Lapointe played for Sir George Williams University in the late sixties, and according to his friends and team mates, he “cannot be mentioned without bringing a smile to peoples faces.”
One story was told in which Lapointe, suffering from a broken nose, sneaked out of the hospital to play in a game. Lapointe was lauded as a “strong and positive individual”, and it was obvious that he is missed greatly by his friends and family.
The night’s second inductee was Dr. Rob Brodrick, who started his career at Loyola High School in 1935, before playing for Loyola College from 1939-43.
Among “the Doc’s” impressive credentials were the Loyola Rector’s Medal, and the authorship of a book entitled Ice Hockey. Dr. Brodrick was also the medical director for the Expos’ baseball club for over thirty years.
Rounding out the first class of Wall of Fame inductees was Gilles Hebert, who played for Concordia from 1979-84.
Hebert’s achievements included 106 goals in five seasons and a Concordia record of 220 total games played.
Hebert also was the recipient of the Most Inspirational Player Award for the 1983-84 season.
One of Hebert’s former teammates said that Gilles “had the biggest heart of any player. He was a leader by his actions on and off the ice.”
The ceremony represented the culmination of the efforts to build a strong and thriving alumni organization by Concordia alumnus Alex McGibbon and Stingers’ men’s hockey Head Coach Kevin Figsby. Those efforts resulted in the Friends of Concordia Hockey organization. In the past five years, the group has “risen from the ashes”, according to McGibbon, having suffered from lack of support through the late 80’s and 90’s.
McGibbon says that he hopes that with the help of the alumni, Concordia can become the number one hockey program in Canada.
Concordia men’s Head Coach Kevin Figsby has also figured heavily in the resurgence of the Friends of Concordia Hockey.
“Before, the alumni never knew they would be welcome to come back. As long as I’m here, they will always be welcome,” Figsby said.
He also went on to say that it has been easy and fun for him to develop a rapport with the alumni over the past three years.
Many alumni, like Roy Halpin, who played for the Stingers in the ’79-’80 season, feel that a group such as the Friends of Concordia is necessary so that a bond can form between the former and current players.
“There was no structure before,” Halpin said, “no sense of belonging. For the first time, I see a structure.”
Hopefully, that structure will continue to grow and solidify. Judging from the atmosphere at the Wall of Fame ceremony, the Friends of Concordia Hockey will go on for many years to come.