Mark your calendar! The Stingers men’s hockey team takes to the ice Oct. 19 for their home opener versus the McGill Redmen at 8pm at Ed Meagher arena.
The veteran laden Stingers are coming off a strong season, and they have made some critical moves in the off-season to bolster their lineup. The biggest changes come to the defensive side of the game. There was a substantial loss of two veterans with the departures of Andrew Davis — who has gone on to play professional hockey in the Central Hockey League for the Memphis Riverkings – and Pat Theriault – who has elected to concentrate on his studies. Top recruit on the blue-line is former Rouyn-Noranda Huskies offensive defenseman, Philippe Seguin. He won’t be playing for another couple weeks, as he’s out with a knee injury, but grinder Trevor Hawkins who has recovered will be back in action in time for the home opener. Also returning this year are sophomore Ron Smith – whom head coach Kevin Figsby is expecting big things for this season — David Coughlin, Maxime Isabel, Justin Ciampini, and Vincent Duriau. New faces on the blue-line include former PEI Rocket, and Montreal native, JF Boucher, and Bruno D’Amico, brother of returning captain, Joey D’Amico. Up front, the Stingers are equally as deep. The checking line was dismantled with the loss of the Newfoundland tandem, Matt Chafe, who is currently pursuing a musical career, and Mike Halitzki, who is taking a year off to gain work experience. The Stingers also lost physical presence in Colin Scotland. Additions to the lineup should prove to be more than adequate with rough and tumble winger Trevor Blanchard, Marc-Andre Rizk, Karl Gagne, and Simon Pierre Sauve. After a one-year hiatus to concentrate on school, fourth year centre, Derek Legault is back in action. Other returnees include: Philippe Lacasse, Tyler Doherty, Corey Rhunke, Chad Lacasse, Yannick Noiseux, Jonathan Gauthier, Bruno Champagne, Frederic Faucher, Captain Joey D’Amico, and Sebastien Corbeil.
Brand new backstopper, Jonathan Cayer, the former QMJHL starter is still battling with returning starter Pat Lepage for the starting position, and RJ James is slated as the third-stringer. Fourth year centre, Gauthier said he’d like the team to “dominate and win not only the division, but the league as well. We have the resources to do it. We just have to make it happen.” He pegged the team’s depth as one of their greatest assets, “we have good recruits this year, and a lot of great vets returning. If we can just do our thing, this will come about.”
From behind the bench, coach Figsby is also anticipating a “successful season. How far we make it depends on the team. They need to have great spirit, creativity and desire. Those three things in the same recipe will ensure success.” The offense is in great shape and Figsby hopes it will take care of itself “we had the most goals for in the CIS last year,” he noted. “And I think we’re even more explosive than last year.” Fans should be excited to see “all 20 guys. The scrimmages were so good this year, we could’ve charged people to see them. We have what could easily be the top goaltending tandem in the country, and a lot of veteran guys coming back.”
Backup tender, RJ James said the team needs to “build on last year’s success. Our goal is to be at the nationals in April.”