As the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team prepares to kick off their 2019-20 season against their crosstown rivals the McGill Martlets, there’s a sense that there’s some unfinished business after the Stingers were knocked out of the playoffs last year by McGill.
Veterans like Claudia Dubois, Audrey Belzile, Alexandra Nikolidakis, Marie-Pascale Bernier and Stéphanie Lalancette among others are all primed to build on last season where the team lost in the RSEQ division semi-finals.
“Over the summer, all of our returning players wanted to make a commitment at getting better, and making sure that by the start of this season, they were in a much better position [than last year],” head coach Julie Chu said back in mid-September. “Because of that, we’re in a much different spot and we’re able to compete at a higher level [since the beginning of our exhibition games].”
Joining the veterans are a handful of notable recruits and new players. We asked Chu to give us a bit of insight into what we can expect from the five newest members of this Stingers roster.
Last Team: Dawson College
2018-19 Stats: 24GP-10G-11A-21Pts
Philbert played on Team Quebec in 2015 and 2016, winning silver at the U18 national championship in 2016. Last season with the Dawson Blues, she was named team MVP.
Chu: “I think Léonie’s one of the most versatile players in the game right now at the university level. We’ve been able to use her in the pre-season as a forward and as a defenceman. It’s not easy to make that shift, especially as a first year player. The speed of the game, the decision-making and everything that comes into it, there’s often an adjustment period coming out of CEGEP or high school, but Léonie’s been able to do that really well, and I think a big part of that is that she works hard everyday and is a really smart player. Her ability to process the game quickly allows her to execute at a high level.”
Last Team: John Abbott College
2018-19 Stats: 24GP-8G-10A-18Pts
Chu: “Julianna is a great person. She’s a great student-athlete, she’s in the exercise science program. She has a lot of potential to come in at this level and have a great season. I think that for her, she’s a smart player, especially from the tops of the circles down, that’s where she’s the most threatening. We’ll be able to see her use her size to her advantage, take pucks to the net, and kinda play that ‘dirty game’ net front. As she gets used to the speed of this level, that 200 foot game will develop as well.”
Last Team: Cégep Limoilou
2018-19 Stats: 24GP-13G – 25A – 38Pts
One of the more high-profile recruits, Emmy Fecteau has already started to make a name for herself nationally. The 20-year-old won the RSEQ collegiate title three years straight with Cégep Limoilou in 2017, 2018 and 2019 before making the jump to university. Last season she finished third in the scoring race at the CEGEP level with 38 points in 24 games. Oh, she was also named to Canada’s National Women’s Development Team for a three-game series against the United States this summer.
Chu: “She’s been incredible from day one. We’ve seen her growth, I’ve known her since she was 16-years-old, maybe younger, going to Caroline Ouellete’s camps before we were even coaching at university. We’ve seen her growth and development throughout the years, from her first year at Limoilou and coming onto a really talented team and learning how to develop into that position. She’s been tremendous since day one. Similar to Léonie, she just wants to get better and wants to push and wants to work. That’s the type of student-athlete you want to work with, not one you have to motivate, but wants to go out there and find ways to get better.”
Last Team: Edge Prep, Calgary
2018-19 Stats: 14GP-2.29 GAA-.911 SVP
Gosling played on Team Alberta during the 2019 Canada Winter Games, where she helped the team win gold. She was also named to the 2016 Mac’s Midget Tournament All-Star team. Chu discovered Gosling during the goalie’s time on Team Alberta at the Canada Winter Games.
Chu: “What I’ve really enjoyed about Caroline is that she just goes out and battles for every puck. She’s not a big goalie, that’s the reality, but she has a way of playing aggressive that allows her to be bigger in goal and be able to make great saves. I think that’s going to be a huge asset for her and for the team. In practice, every time our players want to score a goal, they need to know that they’re going to have to battle hard because she’s not just going to allow the rebound to be tapped in.”
Last Team: McGill Martlets
2017-18 Stats: 20GP – 8G – 8A – 16Pts
Atkinson isn’t a rookie, but she will be playing her first game for the Stingers on the Saturday season opener – against her old team. The fourth year forward last played on the McGill Martlets in 2017-18 before switching to the Stingers last season. While not eligible to play U Sports, Atkinson played with the CWHL’s Canadiennes de Montreal, registering 3 points in 17 games with the pro team. While on the Martlets, Atkinson was one of the team’s most effective players, registering 16 points in 20 games, tied for the team lead. Due to U Sports eligibility rules, she had to sit out last year. Now, she’s ready to join the team.
Chu: “Liv always gives a full effort. That’s something on our team we don’t have to coach. I think for us is that we’re really excited to have a great player back in the lineup. She had three tremendous years at McGill when she was playing. She can put the puck away, utilize her speed and create offensive opportunities. We’re looking for her to use her speed, take pucks to the net and use that incredible release that she had. She’s a talented player and it’s nice to have her back in our lineup.”
This year’s crop of rookie’s join a strong class of sophomores that include RSEQ All-Star Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, who netted 15 points in 20 games as a rookie.
The Stingers women’s hockey season kicks off at McGill on Saturday, Oct. 19. The team’s home opener will be on Sunday, Oct. 20 at the Ed Meagher Arena.
The team’s full schedule can be found here.
Photo by Mackenzie Lad