Another year has come and gone at Concordia, and it seems that this one has gone faster than in years past. This will probably be my last column as Sports Editor at The Concordian.
With many people I know graduating, I wish them all the best. They have made my stay at Concordia better, knowingly or not.
On to other things, however, like my views on the year that was in Concordia athletics.
It was by far the most up and down year I have seen over the last three years, with almost every team having tremendous highs followed by disappointing and heart-breaking lows.
It seems that attendance at Stinger games was at its best this year when it comes to students. The crowds were loud, the students proud and that was very nice to see.
However, back to the ups and downs. A lot of Stinger teams had difficulty over their seasons, some even failing to make the playoffs. But, there was always a glimmer of hope for all of these teams. Whether it was the women’s hockey team finishing in second at the Theresa Humes tournament, the men’s hockey team’s dramatic comeback in game two of their series against McGill, the women’s soccer team getting a key win, or the women’s basketball team making a late playoff push. All of these were ultimately followed with disappointment. Both soccer teams at Concordia failed to make the playoffs, the women’s basketball team fell for the second year in a row, both men’s and women’s hockey teams fell after tremendous efforts. Even the men’s basketball team followed their Quebec conference championship with a loss in its opening game of the National Championships as the No. 1 seed.
That’s not even mentioning the men’s rugby team who made it to the provincial final one year after winning the championship, the women’s rugby team making improvement over last year in a playoff game against McGill or the wrestling team where the names change, but the results remain outstanding.
Tragically, the year ended with an ultimate low for the Athletics department. Two young student athletes, Ryan Francis of the men’s rugby team and David Vaillancourt of the ski team passed away early in 2007. For me, it was a sad reality check that there is so much more to life. Increasingly sad is that they were so young, and enjoyed what they were doing so much and had such bright futures ahead of them. I never met either of them, but it is still with sadness that I learned of the news. When I mentioned their names to anyone who knew them, it was proof that they definitely left marks on those who knew them. Both men also passed while performing in their sport. Francis collapsed in a rugby match, while Vaillancourt passed after injuries suffered in a skiing accident.
My thoughts are with the families, friends, and anyone else who was touched by them.
What to watch for in the summer
I said this last year, but Montreal is an incredible place to be in the summer. With all the festivals in the city, it is sad that there aren’t more sporting events in the city. The Rogers Cup will again be at Uniprix stadium with the men hitting Montreal this year. The Formula One race will be held, as always at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in June, but Jacques will not be appearing for the second time in three years. The race track on Ile Notre-Dame will for the first time welcome the boys of NASCAR as the Busch series will be holding their first event in Canada, and tickets are already going quickly. For you golf fans, the President’s Cup will be held at Royal Montreal Golf Club with the top players from the United States facing off against the best International (non-European) players in a Ryder Cup-style competition. It is still up in the air whether Mike Weir, who had a huge part in bringing the tournament to Canada, will actually take part in the event. You can probably count on Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Masters champion Zach Johnson to be representing the U.S.
If team sports are more your thing, you’ll have to wait until June for the Montreal Alouettes to start training camp and their exhibition season, and if Major League Baseball is more your thing, enjoy your trip to Toronto, New York, Boston, Baltimore or Washington. And if you enjoy watching the up-and-comers of the game, this year is your last chance to watch the Ottawa Lynx before they shut down operations at the end of this season.
Of course, there is still that hockey team called the Canadiens, whose fans will not do anything but follow Bob Gainey’s every move, and will complain until they sign somebody. Just be careful what you wish for, otherwise we might end up with Sergei Samsonov again.
The fun begins on July 1.
Enjoy your summer, and I’ll see you back in this very spot next September.