Antoine Marchand explains the initiative behind the Stingers multi-sport association
If you went to the Concordia Stingers football team’s home-opener on Sept. 10 at Concordia Stadium, you may have noticed some fully-clothed hockey players falling victim to the horrors of a dunk tank. No, it wasn’t part of some bet the team lost—it was the doing of the Swarm.
The Swarm is an organization created by Concordia students in 2011 which hopes to bring a community bond to Stingers games. They hold events during games to bring fans and Concordia athletes from different sports together to help create a sense of family and Stingers pride.
“If I were to describe the Swarm on paper, it would probably be about family over everything,” said Swarm president and men’s hockey goalie Antoine Marchand. “Over the past four years, I have been a part of this family and the Swarm has been able to support that family.”
Marchand inherited the position of president this season from former men’s hockey player Youssef Kabbaj. The Swarm is run by six people, including men’s rugby player Ryan Townes as head of Stingers relations and football player Yamil Slim as head of marketing.
To start the year off, the Swarm’s main event was the football home-opener at Concordia Stadium. The group set up a dunk tank and inflatable slides, where students could get together and have a good time. Since the football home-opener, the group has helped put together pre-game events for rugby doubleheaders and men’s hockey games.
“A fan can expect to come to one of our events and always have a smile on their face, while having a few drinks and getting a lot of free stuff from us,” Marchand said. “It sounds cheesy but when people are getting involved they generally have more fun.”
Marchand said, aside from organizing events, a major part of the Swarm is that athletes from other sports will come out to games in support of their Stingers family. While teams aren’t always available to do so, Marchand said it’s always a fun time when they come.
Last year, the men’s hockey team stopped by Queens on their way to a game against Western University to watch the women’s rugby team play at Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Nationals. For Marchand, gestures like that help create bonds throughout the athletics department and make the Swarm a success.
“One of my favourite moments as a Stinger was [watching] the women’s rugby Nationals,” Marchand said. “Our teams got to bond together in a time when a lot was on the line for the rugby team.”
A big part of Marchand’s approach to the Swarm is to treat all sports equally, and plan events for all of them so all teams get equal exposure.
“My goal this year is to essentially make events for every single sports team to make sure they all get the same attention because that’s the most fair,” Marchand said. “I believe that’s the most fun way to do things, and our events have gotten more attention since we’ve branched out.”
With the basketball regular season starting soon and other sports like soccer, rugby and football winding down, the Swarm’s attention will shift to basketball and hockey until the end of the athletic season in March.