Head coach Marc-André Élement excited by some rookies at training camp
The puck drops on the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey season on Oct. 4. Head coach Marc-André Élement might be facing some challenges with all the changes from last year’s team.
Anthony Beauregard, U Sports leading scorer and MVP from last season, signed a professional contract with the Brampton Beast in the ECHL. Massimo Carozza, whose 35 points were second on the team to Beauregard’s 60, is playing hockey in Italy now.
Élement appeared on CJLO Sports on Sept. 17 and spoke about how his team will need to adjust without his offensive stars. He said the team defencemen will need to join in on the attack.
“We need more offence from everyone,” Élement sad. “We’re changing stuff in our game to have the defencemen join the rush a little bit more. It’s going to be something we’re going to be working on.”
A few other veterans from the team also graduated at the end of last season. Forwards Raphaël Lafontaine, Scott Oke, Antoine Masson, Dominic Beauchemin and goalie Antoine Dagenais aren’t on this year’s team. Élement always spoke highly of Lafontaine, who was an assistant captain last season.
“Lafontaine was giving his 110 per cent every game; you know he was there every game” Élement said. “That’s what you want from every other player, so Lafontaine’s intensity and work ethic will be missed for sure.”
Part of having so many players leave is new players coming in. According to Canadian University Sports Network (CUSN), the Stingers recruited 12 new players, which includes eight forwards, three defencemen and a goalie. One of the first recruits the Stingers announced in April, centre Hugo Roy, is the player Élement is most excited about. Roy is one of four recruits from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QJMHL). He played for the Sherbrooke Phoenix and scored 107 points in 132 games in the past two seasons.
“He’s a guy that will play both ways and he will be our number-one centre,” Élement said. “He’s going to bring a lot of offence, and defensively, he plays really well. He’s a complete player.”
Élement was also surprised by another Roy during training camp. He said rookie defenceman Charlie Roy is doing all the right things in the team’s exhibition games.
“He’s a low-profile defenceman,” Élement added. “He plays well defensively; he’s hard to beat one-on-one. He’s a low-key guy that you’re not going to notice in practice or games but he’s doing well.”
The Stingers started training camp earlier this year because Élement wanted all his players, new and old, to bond with each other. They had a beach volleyball tournament and other team-bonding activities during training camp. The head coach said he likes what he’s seen from his leadership group, composed of captain Philippe Hudon and assistant captains Carl Neill, Philippe Sanche and Alexandre Gosselin.
“They’re doing an amazing job in the locker room,” Élement added. “I think all those guys are well-respected and it’s going really well.”
Last season, the Stingers won the bronze medal in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference and finished in eighth place at nationals. It was the first time Concordia’s men’s hockey team played at nationals in 34 years, but Élement wants to make it two years in a row.
“Our expectations are always the same, we always want to go all the way,” Élement said. “With the young group we have, we see that they’re really intense so we want to have that in our game […] We want to put on a good show and have our guys compete every night.”
The Stingers visit the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Paladins for the season-opener on Oct. 4, but have their home-opener on Oct. 6 against the Carleton Ravens.
Main photo by Alex Hutchins.