Injuries challenged rookies in men’s hockey

The Stingers finished the regular season with a 15-11-2 record.

Head coach Marc-André Élement looks to learn for next season

It was a season of adversity for the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team. The team went to the U Sports nationals last year after winning the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) bronze-medal game. They then lost many of their best scorers before this season and started the year with 12 rookies. The Stingers were eliminated in the first round of the OUA playoffs.

Simon Bourque joined the Stingers midway through this season. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

Including goaltenders, 32 players played at least one game for the Stingers this season. Head coach Marc-André Élément said the team has been dealing with injuries all year, and had to make tough lineup decisions on a consistent basis.

“It was unreal,” Élément said. “[Philippe] Charbonneau even played a part of the season as a forward [as opposed to defence] before Christmas because we had too many injuries up front. However, it’s part of the game. I think we’ll be better [in the future] with the adversity we faced—even us, the coaching staff.”

First-year defenceman Charlie Roy saw a positive aspect of this season. He said the team is young and will benefit from what they experienced these past months.

“I think in the second half of the season, we brought our game to another level with the acquisitions that were made during the holidays,” Roy said. “It looks good for the seasons ahead.”

The Stingers’s best scorer in 2018-19 was second-year defenceman Carl Neill, who finished the campaign with 33 points in 28 games. Élément said Neill has proven he can produce offensively since joining the Stingers.

Carl Neill (#32) led the team in points and will be playing in his third season next year. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

“Neill is really an offensive defenceman,” Élément said. “You need offence from [defence] if you’re having less of it from up front. He did a good job this year.”

Three of the Stingers’s 10 best scorers this season were first-year players. Rookie centre Hugo Roy finished the year with 19 goals and 26 points in 28 games, which ranked him fifth in the league in goals, and first of all rookies. However, Roy won’t be back with the Stingers next season, as he signed a professional contract with the Milwaukee Admirals in the American Hockey League.

Every year, Concordia’s hockey team attracts more talented athletes and helps develop players for professional leagues. In the past, Élement has brought players to the next level, and that helps Concordia’s visibility.

“It seems like most of the young players who came to Concordia have always had success,” Élément said. “Those are guys that give exposure to your program. It puts our program on the map.”

After defenceman Simon Bourque and goaltender Anthony Dumont-Bouchard joined the team in January, the Stingers will add two other experienced players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) in 2019-20, as Tyler Hylland and Alex Katerinakis will join the team for the beginning of the season.

“I’m excited for next season,” said Charlie Roy, who played with Hylland and Katerinakis. “Players coming in, like Katerinakis and Hylland, are good friends. We still have to see who will be back and who will not, but I’m looking at next season with a good eye.”

Main photo by Hannah Ewen.

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