Thank you The Concordian

Closing on a great chapter with The Concordian

I had always been told that getting experience in journalism was important before finishing university and trying to find a job. My time with The Concordian these last two-and-a-half years has been one of the best experiences I could hope for as an aspiring sports journalist.

During my first semester at Concordia University, I attended a conference in which The Concordian’s team at the time spoke to us about the paper. Nicholas Di Giovanni, sports editor at the time, talked about the sports section of the newspaper and how to get involved.

It didn’t take long for me to start covering Concordia Stingers games and writing articles for The Concordian. I saw an opportunity to share my passion for sports with everyone. I was lucky enough to quickly be offered the assistant sports editor position in my first semester on campus, and for that, I want to thank Di Giovanni.

His trust, but also his help and time during my first year with The Concordian, is something I can’t put into words. I don’t know what exactly he saw in me, but by giving me this role, he helped me start a great chapter with The Concordian.

To have the chance to cover Stingers games and interview athletes and coaches has been something really special. It was especially unique during that first year as assistant sports editor, since I wasn’t doing a lot of sports interviews on a regular basis.

It was no surprise I would apply for the sports editor position in my second year. I didn’t get the role, as I remained assistant, but it ended up being the best thing for me. This time, I was working with Matthew Ohayon.

To have two different editors in two years with the team was really helpful. It showed me different working methods and made me learn even more. I quickly realized that there are so many ways to approach things and work with stories.

I think it really helped me with who I am today, writing this last piece as sports editor of The Concordian. When I applied for the role again, in my third year, I was way more ready for this position than I was when I applied at the beginning of my second.

I’m not saying you should not apply for an editor position in your first two years. However, you should not be ashamed at all of being in an assistant role for consecutive years. After all, I would be lying if I told you that my goal, when starting out with The Concordian, wasn’t to end up leading the sports section one day.

I was looking forward to writing weekly Colour Commentary pieces, deciding pitches and learning even more things again this year. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing me to look at things a bit differently than I imagined them, it’s been a wonderful experience.

I’ve been blessed to have Liam Sharp as assistant sports editor. In his first year with The Concordian, Sharp has brought some of the most original stories I’ve seen for our sports section since I joined the staff. He’s behaved like he’s been on the team for a few years now. For that, I thank you my friend. Your dedication and professionalism have been remarkable all year long.

I can’t believe it’s already been two-and-a-half years since I joined the team. I also can’t believe those are the last words I’m writing for The Concordian. I wish there were more stories to write so I could ask more grammar and structure questions to my copy editor friend Abigail Candelora.

To be honest, I’ve probably been asking questions every week to the copy editing team. For that, I want to say thank you, but also sorry. I owe you all a coffee when we finally can meet in person.

To this year’s staff, you’ve been amazing. I’ve never seen such an amazing group of people, full of energy and willing to share ideas each week. It’s amazing to think we’ve never met, because it feels like that’s not the case. This has been a really special group. I’m not the one who always talks or gives his opinion, but I’ve always felt included in everything. I’ve always felt like everyone was part of the team and important.

To Lillian Roy, Chloë Lalonde and Jacob Carey, a huge thank you. Please, never change, because you truly are great people. You treated us all fairly and have always been there when there was a problem. As leaders of The Concordian for this academic year, I could not have asked for anyone better.

On that, it’s a wrap folks. Don’t forget the Montreal Canadiens play the Calgary Flames tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Bell Centre. For my part, I’m probably going to be on a tennis court as usual. See ya.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


A great week for Bianca Andreescu

Andreescu shows great signs despite injury

Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu played at this year’s Miami Open, her first Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) final since she won her major US Open title in 2019. Unfortunately for Andreescu, she was forced to retire at the end of the second set because of an ankle injury. She was trailing world number one Ashleigh Barty 6-3, 4-0.

Barty delivered an impressive performance, which gave Andreescu, who was already fighting ankle pain, absolutely no chance. It was the first time these two played each other.

Despite the loss, it’s been a great week and tournament for the Canadian. She won impressive matches against top players in order to reach the final. Andreescu didn’t play much in 2020, not only because of COVID-19, but also an injury. To see her perform the way she did in Miami will surely give hope to Canadian tennis fans.

She defeated players like two-time Grand Slam champion Garbiñe Muguruza and top 20 player Maria Sakkari. In both of those matches, she had to elevate her game to win important points that ultimately decided the winner.

Luckily, Andreescu said her injury is nothing serious. It’s been a while since she had to play so many matches in such a short period of time for a tournament, so to see her body take a hit is no surprise.

If Andreescu’s week at the Miami Open is synonymous with her performances this season, she’s definitely going to be a player to watch, especially during Grand Slam tournaments.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


The Habs and the trade deadline

This is the year where the Montreal Canadiens should be buyers

It’s been a while since the Montreal Canadiens have had such an opportunity to go deep in the playoffs. With the realigned divisions for the 2020‒21 National Hockey League (NHL) season, the Habs are only playing fellow Canadian opponents in the regular season.

The best four of their seven-team division will qualify for the playoffs, and with those teams only playing each other until the Stanley Cup semi-finals, the chance to make it past the first two rounds is there for the Habs.

The Canadiens have started the season strong, but have had some trouble in the past month, even firing their head coach. Yet, they’re still in a playoff spot and seem confident on the ice against pretty much all their opponents. It would be fair to think that this season, for the first time in years, General Manager Marc Bergevin would try to improve his team by the NHL trade deadline, with hopes to shock the hockey world and win the Stanley Cup.

After adding key players Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson last offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bergevin add depth for his third and fourth lines. Bergevin doesn’t often make trades, but when he does, he rarely fails to improve his roster, either in the short-term or long-term.

An important player who could be traded is Phillip Danault. Despite being a great centreman and good defensively, Danault is in the last year of his contract, and hasn’t offered much offensively this season. Any team looking for depth at this position would give a lot for him, especially at the trade deadline, when teams often overpay.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Are the CFL and XFL merging up?

The CFL and XFL have discussed a potential partnership

The Canadian Football League (CFL) has been hit hard financially by COVID-19. After cancelling its last season due to the pandemic, forcing many of its players to find another job, we’re still waiting to know if there will be a season this year.

The news of having a partnership with the XFL came as a surprise to fans. The XFL, which is a football league, but uses a few different rules to entertain fans and add some fun, filed for bankruptcy last year because of the pandemic.

However, a consortium, led by famous actor and former wrestler Dwayne Johnson, purchased the XFL. Since then, the league has apparently been focusing on working with the CFL to develop a possible partnership and advance their sport.

Such a partnership would mean the end of the CFL as we’ve known it for years. This would mean Canadian and American teams would play in the same league. Many rules would change, as the CFL and XFL don’t have the same rulebook. Players and coaches would need to adapt to a new game, literally. However, this doesn’t mean all CFL teams are up for a partnership, but, financially speaking, it could help CFL teams a lot, as games would be televised in the United States.

There’s still a lot to be announced on these two leagues possibly merging together. What’s sure now is that there’s a possibility that the next time we see CFL teams like the Montreal Alouettes play, it won’t be in the same CFL we knew before the pandemic.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Tennis players still can’t play in red zones

Despite the resumption of many activities, tennis is still not allowed to take place in the Greater Montreal area

With vaccinations for COVID-19 accelerating and the spring season coming up, Quebec is allowing more and more activities to resume, depending on your location. However, despite having shopping malls, cinemas and museums open, many sports like tennis are still prohibited in the Greater Montreal area.

This has frustrated sports centres such as Tennis 13 in Laval, which keeps posting videos on Facebook about how safe and healthy tennis is for people. They also shared a photo that compares the number of people in some places currently open, versus the number of people that would be allowed in a sports centre like theirs.

Before the curfew was put into place, people could play tennis, badminton and some other indoor, individual sports in Montreal. We haven’t been given clear reasons as to why these activities have been prohibited since the curfew’s creation, which is frustrating since they could be taking place safely in the daytime.

Many people are currently worrying about childrens’ health; their favourite sport often represents everything to them. Some school-related sports recently restarted for those in orange zones, but for people in the Greater Montreal area, it might just be too late when we decide to reopen sports centres and allow back some activities.

People who hoped to have their favourite winter sports back, like hockey, have probably already thrown in the towel due to the time of the year we find ourselves in. Fortunately, as spring is coming up, sports like tennis can be played outside shortly.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Will the Montreal Canadiens look for a new head coach this off-season?

Current interim head coach Dominique Ducharme may be the team’s next permanent man behind the bench

The Montreal Canadiens fired head coach Claude Julien on Feb. 24, after four years with the team. The Habs have missed the playoffs twice with Julien. Last season, the Canadiens were lucky enough to be the lowest-ranked club to qualify for the playoffs in a unique COVID-19 playoff format that saw 24 teams fight for the title.

Dominique Ducharme, who was already assistant coach, is taking the lead behind the bench for the rest of the season. However, it’s unsure if the Canadiens will look to bring in a new head coach for the upcoming seasons during the summer or if they will officially make Ducharme their new head coach.

This could depend on the team’s performances this season. After what looked like a solid start to this season, the team has been lacking consistency these past weeks, and losses have been more frequent than wins.

If Canadiens’ General Manager Marc Bergevin wants to sign a more experienced head coach this summer, there are some good candidates. However, we know that this Montreal market has always looked for bilingual coaches. In that category, options are very limited in terms of established coaches.

Gerard Gallant would be a familiar face to the Canadiens. He was an assistant coach with the team during the 2012‒13 season. He then coached the Florida Panthers and the Vegas Golden Knights. He has experience with veterans and rookies.

Another candidate could be former Dallas Stars head coach and current St. Louis Blues Assistant Head Coach Jim Montgomery. While not as experienced as Gallant, Montgomery has a 67-49-10 record in the National Hockey League (NHL), and an impressive 125-57-26 record with the Denver Pioneers in college hockey.

No matter Bergevin’s decision, it will need to be for the long term, as this Canadiens team is packed with young players and a promising future.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Stingers to watch next season

Concordia Stingers athletes to keep an eye on once varsity sports are back

While we haven’t been able to enjoy varsity sports in Quebec this year, we’re still hopeful for things to resume next fall. With that said, there are some Concordia Stingers athletes we should keep an eye on when sports are back.

Sami Jahan is probably the men’s basketball team’s most promising player. In his rookie season last year, he finished 10th in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec’s (RSEQ) points per game ranking with 13.4. Jahan showed that he can be a reliable player offensively every game, and fans should be excited to see him at work in his second campaign.

The women’s hockey team has everything they need to be a RSEQ championship team. Two players to watch for next year are second-season player Emmy Fecteau and third-season player Rosalie Bégin-Cyr.

Fecteau joined the team last year and immediately made an impact. She’s a talented offensive player who can score important goals late in a game. Fecteau finished eighth for points scored in her first season with the Stingers. For Bégin-Cyr, she concluded last season first for goals and points scored among all RSEQ players.

In football, Jeremy Murphy is someone you might want to look at when the next season starts. In his rookie season last year, Murphy scored four touchdowns in eight games, and finished fourth in receptions per game.

What’s sure is that all Stingers athletes will be ready to show us their best when things get back to some kind of normality.

Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


J.J. Watt is free

The NFL superstar will play with a team other than the Houston Texans for the first time

J.J. Watt is one of the most admired and talented superstars in the National Football League (NFL). As a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, two-time leader in sacks and even the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winner in 2017, Watt is a leader on and off the field.

It was a surprise for most fans when the 31-year-old veteran and the Houston Texans parted ways on Feb. 12. Watt has played all of his 10 seasons with the Texans so far, as he was drafted by the team in 2011.

Watt said he’ll take his time before deciding where he’ll play next, but we already know some teams have shown interest — or at least would be an ideal destination for him.

The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t have the best contract offer to land Watt, but his two brothers, T.J. and Derek Watt, are already with the team and should weigh heavily in his decision. Both J.J. and T.J. are among the best defensive players in the league, which could be amazing to see in Pittsburgh.

The Cleveland Browns, the Steelers’ rivals, are apparently hoping to land Watt. After years of misery, the Browns are finally heading in the right direction. One element missing from that equation is stability — something Watt could bring on defence.

The Green Bay Packers and the Buffalo Bills could also be great fits for Watt. The two are likely championship contenders and could be what the veteran wants; Watt is still looking for his first Super Bowl ring.

No matter where Watt signs, his new start will be interesting to see. It will be a huge defensive improvement for whichever team signs him.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Writing about sports in a year without them

I wasn’t expecting my first year as Sports Editor to look like this

My experience with The Concordian these last two and a half years has probably been the best thing that has happened to me since starting university.

As a huge sports fan, I‘m always looking to share my passion with people, and quickly got the chance to do so when I was offered the Assistant Sports Editor position in my first year on campus. I started covering Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) games, interviewing athletes and coaches, and had to look for a story to write about each week.

After two years in that position, I applied for the Sports Editor role. I was lucky enough to get it, and embrace this new challenge in front of me. I would be lying if I told you that my goal, when starting out with The Concordian, wasn’t to end up leading the sports section one day.

I was looking forward to learning all the duties of the Sports Editor position, and getting experience in that position for later. I was excited about the fact I would be the one deciding which Concordia Stingers games we would be covering each week as well.

However, this challenge came with a second one: I was going to write about sports in a year where there practically wasn’t any. COVID-19 forced most sports leagues to cancel or postpone their seasons and playoffs, and I was therefore stuck with an interesting problem at hand.

What was I going to write about? For me, there was no way I was only going to give COVID-19 updates for the different sports leagues and events. I was also wondering about my weekly Colour Commentary piece, where I would usually give thoughts on relevant or important things that happened recently in the world of sports.

Despite all that — and, of course, a bit of sadness at first — this has been one of the most enriching experiences of my time at Concordia. From ways to stay active from home to online competition stories, I quickly learned that you can find sports stories everywhere. The Concordian’s staff, especially our Creative Director Chloë Lalonde, have been doing a great job to help me find ideas. The challenge of writing for sports during the pandemic made me realize I sometimes had to get out of my comfort zone, which is actually what you need to do if you want to succeed.

My Assistant Sports Editor Liam Sharp has literally exceeded every expectation I had. In his first year with The Concordian, he’s brought some of the most original stories I’ve seen for our sports section since I joined the staff. That shows how much you can find stories even without the Stingers or major sports leagues filling out your section. Having learned all of this, if I ever had to restart my year as Sports Editor, but without the pandemic, I’d definitely  make sure to write more often articles that differ from what we’re used to reading. Try new things, and be open to ideas —  that’s probably what I’ll retain the most from these past months, and that’s something I’d suggest everyone to do.


Graphic by Lily Cowper


The future of the upcoming Olympic Games still unclear

Athletes and fans deserve more transparency from the organizers

Last summer was the first time ever that the Olympic Games have been postponed. However, it’s still unclear whether or not the event will take place in 2021.

Right now, it is said that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which are still commonly called by their original year, will start on July 23. The problem is that there are still many questions to be answered, including if the public will be allowed on site during competitions.

Also, there have been recent reports saying that the Olympic Games were cancelled. The Times of London said the event was going to be cancelled because of COVID-19.

However, these reports were denied by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and local Olympic Games organizers.

Despite Bach saying the goal was still to have the Olympic Games this summer, it brought confusion about whether or not it was possible to see the event totally cancelled, instead of postponed. The fact that more than 80 per cent of Japanese citizens surveyed in two recent polls think the Olympic Games should be postponed or cancelled, or think the Games won’t happen, also adds questions to the table.

We’re now five months away from Tokyo 2020, but it feels like we know as much about what’s going to happen as we did a few months ago. Of course, the pandemic is an unpredictable problem for the event’s organizers, which forces them to always consider last-minute changes. However, more transparency about the future of the 2020 Olympic Games would be great for athletes and fans.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Tennis is back on!

The ATP and WTA should offer great shows this year, especially at Grand Slam tournaments

After a short offseason of just over a month, tennis is back in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). Some small tournaments were played in January, but it’s with the just concluded ATP Cup, and the now underway Australian Open — the first Grand Slam of the season — that tennis fans can really feel like their favourite sport is back.

Except for the travel involved, tennis is one of few sports with limited contact, which helped the ATP and WTA run almost as normal these past few months. In order to avoid the spread of COVID-19, adaptations for this season include things such as quarantines for players when arriving in the country of a tournament, and possible limitation rules on the number of staff ― coaches and fitness trainers, for example ― they can bring with them on site.

Compared to last year, the ATP Cup and Australian Open were pushed by two weeks, asking players to quarantine themselves for 14 days prior to the ATP Cup and the Grand Slam. Most tournaments are currently planned to be played this year, but we might see dates vary depending on the circumstances.


All eyes will be on the Big Three for the 2021 season. World number one Novak Djokovic will look to pursue his domination at the ATP. Djokovic has been leading the ATP rankings since 2019, and has been accumulating wins and titles at an impressive speed these past years. He’ll be a threat at the Australian Open, where he’s won eight of his 17 Grand Slam titles.

Rafael Nadal, who leads the men’s list with Roger Federer for most Grand Slam victories with 20, could perhaps rewrite history at the 2021 edition of Roland-Garros. Nadal has won 13 Roland-Garros titles, winning 100 of his 102 matches there.

Federer, who will turn 40 this season, announced to a Swiss radio broadcast that he will return to action in March, at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. Federer has undergone two right knee surgeries since February 2020 and hasn’t played since late January of that year.

This could be his last season. Federer will definitely look at Wimbledon as his last chance to add a 21st Grand Slam to his collection, if that’s the case, as he’s won eight times there.

This season should be a promising one for rising star Jannik Sinner. Currently ranked 32nd in the world, Sinner won his first ATP title last year. He began 2019 ranked 553rd, and was already 78th in January 2020. At age 19, Sinner already has wins against top 10 players like Stéfanos Tsitsipás and Alexander Zverev.


Canadian star Bianca Andreescu is set to make her return to action at the Australian Open. Andreescu hasn’t participated in any tournament since October 2019. Having dominated the summer of 2019 with three titles, including the Rogers Cup in Toronto and the U.S. Open — her first Grand Slam and the first Canadian player to win one — Andreescu is now considered one of the best in the WTA.

Compared to ATP tournaments, things are much more unpredictable for women. Both Grand Slam and smaller tournaments offer surprises and impressive results all the time. In the three Grand Slam tournaments played last year, there were two first-time winners, including 19-year-old Iga Świątek, winning her first WTA title ever with a triumph at Roland-Garros.

Sofia Kenin is the other player who won her first major title last year. Ranked 4th in the world already, Kenin could be the next superstar on the women’s side. She not only has talent, but also character on and off the court, which is what the WTA might need with legend and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams near retirement.


Graphic by Lily Cowper


The Blue Jays make key additions to their roster

The team adds George Springer to its roster

Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins has been mostly quiet for the first two months of the Major League Baseball (MLB) offseason. However, he stepped up big time in the past few weeks, signing outfielder George Springer from the free agency market.

Springer signed for six years and US$150 million, which represents a franchise record contract for the Blue Jays. The team’s newest acquisition is a three-time all-star player and the 2017 World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP). The 31-year-old played all his previous seasons with the Houston Astros.

Springer hit 39 home runs in 122 games in 2019, followed by 14 in a shortened 51-game season last year. He hit four home runs in each of his last three postseasons.

In addition to Springer, Atkins added closer Kirby Yates and pitcher Tyler Chatwood to the team. Both should add good depth to a young lineup in need of more experience.

Yates played for four teams before signing a one-year contract with the Blue Jays. He had a career-high 12 home runs in 2017. Chatwood has even more experience, having started in 2011. Despite being a pitcher, he has three seasons with 14 home runs or more, and a career-high of 20, also in 2017.

Such additions to a group that already has rising players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette should please fans. The team might not be a World Series contender for 2021, but the future’s getting brighter for the franchise.

The Blue Jays are playing a tough division that includes World Series finalists Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees. The Blue Jays finished with a 32-28 record last year, and were eliminated by the Rays in the first round of the postseason. It will be interesting to see how they do with the new acquisitions this season.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion

Exit mobile version