Martlets dominate Stingers 6-2 in game one of semi-final

Concordia discouraged after allowing early first goal

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team fell to the McGill Martlets in game one of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-final. The visiting Martlets beat the Stingers 6-2 at the Ed Meagher arena Thursday night.

“We saw a little bit of our youth as a team out there,” said Stingers head coach Julie Chu. “We got a little bit nervous and a little tight in that first period. Bottom line is that McGill just out-executed us today. They jumped on a lot of opportunities today that we gave them.”

Rosalie Bégin-Cyr received her rookie of the year award before the game. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

Prior to the game, five Stingers players were honoured as part of the RSEQ first, second, and rookie team all-stars for the 2018-19 season. Forwards Rosalie Bégin-Cyr and Audrey Belzile, along with defencemen Sandrine Lavictoire, Brigitte Laganière, and Claudia Fortin were those honoured. Bégin-Cyr received top honours as rookie of the year after being the highest-scoring rookie in the conference.

The Martlets got off to a flying start, scoring a mere minute into the game off a lucky bounce from a Christiana Colizza shot. Though momentum was in McGill’s favour, the Stingers caught a break with an unassisted goal by Lidia Fillion five minutes later. The tie game would be short lived, however, as the Martlets added two more goals in the period, including a shorthanded five-on-three goal.

The second period began much like the first, and the Stingers dug themselves into a deeper deficit following two early Martlets goals. By the time the score was 5-1 in favour of the Martlets, goaltender Katherine Purchase was replaced by Alice Philbert.

Each game between the two teams this season was won by the road team. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

Belzile scored shortly thereafter to give the Stingers new life and cut the Martlet’s lead. By the end of the second period, the Martlets outshot the Stingers 32-14.

“After the first goal, we got a little discouraged,” said Belzile following the game. “We were not focused on our details […], so we need to work on that that.”

Although the Stingers came out swinging in the third period, the Martlets were the only ones able to find the back of the net. Lauren Jardin scored a minute into the third to seal the deal for McGill.

The Martlets now head into game two of the best-of-three semi-final with a chance to eliminate the Stingers.

“It’s a three-game series for a reason,” Chu said. “They know there’s a reset and the season is not over. We’re going to assess what went on today and move on from there.”

The Stingers will aim to keep their season alive, and continue defending their RSEQ title on Saturday at 2 p.m. at McGill’s McConnell Arena.

Main photo by Gabe Chevalier.


New faces make both Stingers basketball teams competitive

Women heading into season ranked fourth in the country

The Concordia Stingers basketball team heads into the 2018-19 season with renewed confidence after going 9-1 in the preseason. U Sports also ranked them fourth in the top-10 ranking in the country on Oct. 30.

Playing against some serious competition from all conferences in Canada, the Stingers played well in the exhibition games and tournaments, winning the Concordia Classic tournament held Oct. 5 to 7.

Areej Burgonio is one of six new players on the women’s team. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

Coming off a 4-12 2017-18 season, and having a record below .500 for the fourth consecutive season, head coach Tenicha Gittens believes the only way is up. With the addition of new recruits and the return of some veterans, this is a combination Gittens is confident about.

“As tough as our conference is, I have a lot of faith and trust in our girls and our coaching staff,” Gittens said. “They have the right focus and mentality.”

This season, the Stingers will see a number of new recruits from across North America, with coach Gittens praising them all. Nelly Owusu of Dawson College, Areej Burgonio of Crestwood Preparatory College in Toronto, Natalie Rae Jeanson of Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ont., and Myriam Leclerc of Cégep Ste-Foy in Quebec City are the team’s new guards. Forwards Gretna-Olivia Inez of Champlain College and Ariel White Gill Bernards High School in New Jersey are also two new recruits.

“Bringing in the six new players, so far it’s worked out for us,” Gittens said. “It’s a testament of the work they put in during the offseason. They’ve been playing very well together, and they practice hard.”

Guard Caroline Task returns to the Stingers for her third year. She looks to build on her 15.2 points per game (PPG), which placed her at second in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) last season.

Forward Coralie Dumont debuts her second year with the Stingers and is looking to play as a force to be reckoned with after her outstanding rookie season. She had 11.1 PPG with an average of seven rebounds per game, and a field-goal percentage of 39.8, 10th in the RSEQ.

Along with Task and Dumont, Elise Roy, Sabrina Linéus, Aurélie d’Anjou Drouin, and Ladonna Lamonth are back with the team from last year’s roster.

“I still believe our conference is the strongest in the country,” Gittens said. “We’ve got to bring it every game. They’ll be prepared to go out there and execute and give themselves an opportunity to get a [a win] to reach our bigger picture.”

The Stingers women’s team is looking to win the first RSEQ title at Concordia since 1999.

Men’s team

The Concordia Stingers basketball team is looking to keep the momentum from last year going in the 2018-19 season. The team seeks to make the RSEQ final for a second year in a row, and win it this time.

Guard Adrian Armstrong is back for his fourth year with the Stingers. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The preseason shed some light on some weaknesses for the men’s team, as they went 6-6 overall, but mainly against National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams and Canadian teams from coast to coast.

“We played a lot of games and a lot of guys stepped up while others struggled, but that’s the whole point of preseason,” said head coach Rastko Popovic. “[We had] a couple of decent wins, some losses we’d like to have back that were close, but the goal was to play good teams. These were the country’s top 10 teams.”

The Stingers ended last season with an 11-5 record en route to the playoffs, where they lost in the RSEQ final to the McGill Redmen. The men’s team have made the playoffs for eight years in a row, winning two RSEQ championships in 2011 and 2012.

There are six new players with the Stingers this season: Tariq Barki-Hamad of Central Tech High School in Toronto, Akim Olak from the London Basketball Academy, Maxime Bellony from Cégep de Thetford, Samuel Lessard from Collège Montmorency, Aleks Simeunovic from Impact Academy prep school, and Nathaniel Boisvert from Champlain College, Lennoxville.

Although last year’s top scorer, forward Ken Beaulieu, has graduated, guard Ricardo Monge enters his fifth and final year looking to carry momentum from last season. He averaged 11 PPG, with a 33.8 three-point percentage, and a league-leading 89.2 per cent from the free-throw line in the 2017-18 season.

Guard Garry Merisier is also entering his fifth and final year, while Adrian Armstrong and Cedrick Coriolan return for their fourth year on the team.

The new recruits and veterans are among the 16 on the initial roster for the season, which is likely set to change as the regular season progresses.

“Regular season is a different beast. Preseason is good to prepare and do stuff but now it’s real games that count,” Popovic said. “[We’re] looking forward to getting off to a good start.”

The season starts with a doubleheader on Nov. 8 at the Concordia gym. The women’s team plays at 6 p.m. and the men’s team at 8 p.m., both against the Université de Laval Rouge et Or.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


Women’s hockey team shows dominance in 5-1 win over Carleton

Stingers offence breaks out big for first time this season

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey dominated the struggling Carleton Ravens en route to a 5-1 victory Sunday afternoon at the Ed Meagher Arena.

Coming off a big win against the Université de Montréal Carabins Friday night, the Stingers kept the momentum going against the winless Ravens.

“It was really important for our girls to come out after a big win on Friday, to make sure they had a full effort,” said Stingers head coach Julie Chu. “We’re really happy with how they did and how they competed the entire time.”

It didn’t take long for the Stingers’s power play to be a factor in this game: Claudia Fortin scored on the first power play of the game, just over two minutes in. The first period was played primarily in the Ravens’s zone, until Carleton forward Jamie Wainman found the net for their only goal of the game.

Audrey Belzile scored both game-winning goals this weekend. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

Stingers forward Audrey Belzile made sure the game didn’t stay tied for long, as she scored her third goal of the season before the first intermission.

“Great team effort,” Fortin said following her one-goal, two-assist effort. “We came back strong from a tough weekend last weekend. It was important for us to bounce back and be amazing out there.”

The second period played much like the first, as the Stingers were on the constant attack in the Ravens’s zone. Two quick Carleton penalties set up a five-on-three situation and Marie-Pascale Bernier took advantage, scoring her first of the season. Shortly after, Stéphanie Lemelin added another goal to end the period with a 4-1 lead.

The third period was mainly stagnate, and it wasn’t until five seconds left in the game that Melinda Prévost scored to put the game away. By the end, Stingers goalie Alice Philbert made 12 saves.

“We’re constantly learning and the more games we play, the more experience we’re getting,” Chu said. “Consistently playing simple and strong. They played really good hockey and had a consistent effort overall. That’s what we’re working towards as we build.”

The Stingers improve to a 3-2-0 record this season and sit in second place, tied in points with the Carabins. They head to Ottawa next Sunday to play the Gee-Gees, and return home Nov. 18 against the same team.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


Stingers win against Rams in penalty-filled game

Concordia beats Ryerson 6-4 for second win in a row

The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team beat the Ryerson Rams 6-4 in a penalty-ridden game at the Ed Meagher arena on Oct. 20. Both the Stingers and the Rams went into the game coming off overtime wins the night before.

“[Our team] played well,” said head coach Marc-André Élement. “We were really happy about the weekend we had, picking up a good four points.”

The Stingers scored 10 goals in two games this season. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

Much like the night before, the Stingers came out firing quickly and most of the play was in the Rams’s end. The Rams took three penalties in a row, and rookie forward Chase Harwell scored on the second power play. Forward Hugo Roy added another goal on a five-on-three to open a 2-0 lead for the Stingers, but the Rams came back within one when Hayden McCool scored a minute later. By the end of the period, with a 2-1 Stingers lead, there were a total of 16 penalty minutes.

“It was a matter of time,” said defenceman Carl Neill about the amount of scoring chances the Stingers got the past two games. “We’ve missed lot of chances this year and it took a little greasy game yesterday to get us going.”

The second period played exactly like the first, with six more minor penalties. Rams Matt Mistele and McCool added two more goals early on to momentarily take the lead. That was until forward Philippe Sanche and rookie Zachary Zorn scored two goals back-to-back midway through the period. Sanche’s goal was on the power play, while Zorn scored shorthanded.

The Stingers handed the Rams their first lost of the season. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

The Stingers were up 4-3 after two periods, but Mathew Santos scored early in the third for the Rams to tie it. The Stingers took back that lead with five minutes left in the third, as Roy scored again on the power play. As desperation set in for the Rams, Harwell scored his second goal on an empty-netter to seal the win for the Stingers.

“We were facing a lot of adversity, so we changed a bit of our game plan and the guys played well,” Élement said. “We had been practicing a lot of stuff like power play and it showed this weekend.”

By the end of the game, there were 19 minor penalties for 38 minutes, and only one goal was scored at even strength.

With the Stingers win, they improve to 3-2-0 on the season and hand the Rams their first loss of the season. The Stingers kick off a four-game road trip on Oct. 26, with their first game against the Western Mustangs.

Main photo by Gabe Chevalier. 


Sanche overtime goal seals win for Stingers

Hugo Roy’s two-goal effort helps in come-from-behind victory

The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team won in an overtime thriller Friday night against the York Lions at home, 5-4.

The Stingers took on the hard-charging York Lions at the Ed Meagher arena for the first time since the the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) bronze-medal game in March. Concordia took that game 3-2 on that occasion.

“It’s a huge win,” head coach Marc-André Élement said about Friday’s game. “I think we showed a lot of character. It’s a huge comeback for us. There’s a lot of relief among the guys that we can score some goals.”

The first period was a straight slugfest and included a rash of Stingers penalties. The first resulted in a Lions goal by Scott Feser. By the end of the period, despite the four penalties, the Stingers had a 15-10 advantage in shots.

Bradley Lalonde scored his first goal for the Stingers. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

The second period played much of the same as the first. But this time, the Stingers’s defence came up strong, allowing four shots against. Stingers defenceman Bradley Lalonde opened up the scoring with a top-shelf shot and tied the game five minutes into the period. Another slew of penalties fell onto the Stingers, which the Lions fully capitalized on. Josh Lafrance scored to put the Lions back up 2-1.

The third period opened quick on the scoring chart for both teams. Concordia’s Hugo Roy scored on the power play just over a minute in, which was quickly followed by a Lions goal by Morgan Messenger. Midway through the period, the pace settled down a bit. The Stingers struck again, as Roy scored his second of the night to tie the game at three.

“I think I played good hockey.” Roy said. “I had a good third and I think it’ll help me tomorrow and into the season.”

The craziness of the third period didn’t end there. Lions Alex Mowbray added a goal on a four-on-four situation to take the lead with less than five minutes left. A roughing penalty by the Stingers shortly after looked to end their chances at a win. But it was forward Charles-Éric Légaré who scored a short-handed goal to tie the game with under two minutes left. The Lions received an interference penalty with 10 seconds in the game, to send the Stingers to overtime with a power play.

The overtime started and finished within 15 seconds thanks to the Stingers’s power play. Forward Philippe Sanche took his shot and buried the rebound to win the game for the Stingers 5-4.

“[Hugo Roy] is a fast skater and he creates offence,” Élement said. “This is a huge two points for us. We’ve still got to work on some stuff though.”

The Stingers improve to 2-2-0 heading into the second game of the weekend against the Ryerson Rams on Saturday night.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen. 


Stingers coaches evaluate teams at Concordia Classic

Concordia hosts annual tournament ahead of season-opener on Nov. 8

The Concordia Stingers hosted the annual Concordia Classic Basketball Tournament this past weekend, from Oct. 5 to 7. Both the men’s and women’s Stingers teams played three games in preparation for the season-opener on Nov. 8.

In the men’s tournament, the University of Waterloo, Acadia University and the University of Regina played. There were also three teams, besides the Stingers on the women’s side: University of Prince Edward Island, Laurentian University and Memorial University.

Both the men’s and women’s Stingers teams won the round-robin tournament.

Rookies like Samuel Lessard (#13) will get a chance to prove themselves to coach Rastko Popovic. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The Concordian spoke with Rastko Popovic, head coach of the men’s team and Tenicha Gittens of the women’s team before the tournament. Both coaches used the games to evaluate their rosters for the season.

“There’s a lot of different factors to deal with,” said Popovic regarding the initial roster for the tournament. “It’s an exhibition and non-conference game, so we’ll see what we can learn.”

Popovic also said he wanted first-years to get some playing time to evaluate them.

“For those first-year guys, you just expect them to go out there and play hard,” Popovic added. “They’re going to make mistakes but it’s important to get experience and playing time.”

On the women’s side, Gittens has been focused on defence during training camp, and that didn’t change this weekend.

“Right at this point, it’s the same approach as the summertime,” Gittens said. “It’s not the time already to revamp anything or scrap our whole [game plan]. Nothing is final for our lineup and the players have to prove to me they deserve to be there.”

Gittens also wanted to make sure her players used this tournament to feel comfortable at home, and as a way of preparing to defend their home court come the regular season.

“This is our house,” she said. “We have to win those games we’re supposed to win. We always talk about it, we have to protect our house.”

For the men’s team, Popovic was not able to use his full roster due to injuries that are already plaguing the lineup.

“We’re not going to be at full strength until around Christmas,” Popovic said. “We’ll have a much better idea then and be able to play some different lineups. It’ll definitely help us see where we stand before the season starts.”

Main photo by Alex Hutchins.


Stingers get first win in home-opener

The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team beat the Carleton Ravens 4-2 on Oct. 6. in the home-opener at the Ed Meagher arena.

The Stingers lost their season-opening game 2-1 against the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Paladins on Oct. 4. Head coach Marc-André Élement said the win is a big confidence-booster for his team. “We just have to build on that now,” Élement said.

The Stingers got on the scoreboard under a minute into the game. Captain Philippe Hudon fed forward Philippe Sanche with a pass for his first goal of the season.

“[It was a] big win for us today, that’s what we needed,” Sanche said. “It was nice to have a lot of ice time out there tonight and find the net.”

Two early penalties plagued the Stingers following Sanche’s opening goal. Carleton capitalized on their undisciplined play with a power-play goal. Alexandre Boivin scored the Ravens’s first goal of the game, midway through first. Two minutes later, Sanche added his second of the game and helped the Stingers retake the lead.

Carleton’s Jacob Smith tied the game back up just over a minute into the second period. The period went by quickly, without many whistles, as both teams kept a high tempo. That was until first-year Stingers forward Chase Harwell scored his first goal of the season, bringing the Stingers up to 3-2.

“Feels great to get the win on opening night at home,” Harwell said. “It had been tough for me to find the net this year so far. We needed to bounce back, and we did.”

The hard-charging and physical Ravens could not score any goals in the third period; penalties were not a factor either. Midway through the period, however, Stingers defenceman Philippe Charbonneau received a game misconduct for a hit to the head on a Ravens player. Later, Charles-Éric Légaré scored an empty-net goal to seal the win for Concordia.

“If you want them to have confidence in their ability, we need them to play,” said Élement about his young team and new players getting ice time. “These kinds of games are games that get us ready for the playoffs.”

The Stingers men’s hockey team improved their record to 1-1-0 on the season and will play their next game at home on Saturday, Oct. 13, against the Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes.

Main photo by Kirubel Mehari


Stingers put smiles on kids faces at Shriners

Shrine Bowl to hit $1-million mark

Preparations for the 32nd annual Shrine Bowl, benefiting the Shriners Hospital for Children, are underway. A few players of the Concordia Stingers football team made the yearly visit to the hospital on Sept. 26. With this year’s donations, the total amount of  money raised from the Shrine Bowl will hit the $1 million mark.

Head coach Brad Collinson, cornerback Khadeem Pierre, linebacker Jersey Henry, defensive tackle Brandon Pacheco, centre Marc-Antoine Sevigny, and defensive linemen Maurice Simba and Michael Sanelli all participated in the hospital visit.

Maurice Simba (foreground) said he enjoys putting smiles on kids’ faces. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The players visit to patients throughout the hospital was accompanied by this year’s Shrine Bowl King and Queen, Saoud, 16, and Victoria,14, who are also patients at the Shriners. All of the players involved in this year’s walk around the hospital expressed how much they enjoy the experience and being able to interact with the patients.

“It’s been an honour to participate in this event every year,” Sanelli said. “I realize how blessed we are to play the sport. You put a smile on the kid’s face and brighten up their day and it’s an honour.”

Simba also said it’s great to make the kids happy and to see a smile on their faces. “I think it’s good that we do this as a program and on a personal level too,” he said.

“Seeing kids and making them happy is a big deal,” Pierre added. “It’s nice to give back.”

David Merrett, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Governors, expressed his feelings on being able to reach that one-million-dollar mark.

“The people who started this way back never would have imagined raising this amount because it just seemed unreachable,” Merrett said. “But as the years went on, and the dollar changed, it seemed reachable.”

Michael Sanelli, Marc-Antoine Sevigny and Brandon Pacheco all made the trip to the hospital. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The Honorary Chairman of the event this year is former Stingers head coach Gerry McGrath. He coached the team from 2000 to 2013, and played in the CFL for the Montreal Alouettes, Montreal Concordes and Saskatchewan Roughriders for six years.

“I’ve been involved with the Shriners and this game for many years,” McGrath said. “It’s always special to see what they’ve done and see it get to the one million mark.”

The Stingers play in the Shrine Bowl at home on Sept. 30 against the Université de Laval Rouge et Or. Canadian singer Sara Diamond will perform the Canadian national anthem, and deliver a special halftime performance. Kick-off is at 2 p.m., with money raised from ticket sales donated to the Shriners Hospital for Children.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


Maurice Simba is a giant football prospect

Fourth-year trying to stay humble with scouts watching

On Aug. 30, the Canadian Football League (CFL) announced the top-20 prospects for the 2019 CFL draft. Maurice Simba, offensive lineman on the Concordia Stingers, was ranked 18th on the list of top Canadian prospects from U Sports and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

“It was special for me and I had tears on my face,” Simba said. “My goal now is to work harder to be number one and the best at my position.”

Simba stands at a commanding six feet eight inches, weighing almost 320 pounds. The Stingers’s offensive lineman is a pure powerhouse, and as described by fellow lineman Matt Halbgewachs, a true leader.

“I think of him as like our spark plug, once Maurice gets going, we all get going,” Halbgewachs said.

Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Simba lived there with his grandparents until he was 18 years old. After that, he moved to Montreal to reunite with his parents. He had never played football and had a different idea of what his life and career in Canada would be like when he arrived.

“My first thought when I came here was that I was going to be a plumber,” Simba said. “I guess God had a different plan for me. My uncle was friends with a coach in Cégep at Montmorency. They set up a meeting and said I was going to play football. So, then my mind changed to ‘now I’m going to be a football player.’”

Simba began his path in football in 2013 with the Montmorency Nomades before joining the Stingers in 2015. Under the watchful eyes of Stingers offensive line coach Ted Karabatsos, Simba learned and excelled at the game.

Despite the guidance and proper coaching, Simba didn’t play much in his first year as a Stinger. This was in part due to his lack of experience, and because he started out with a gentle demeanor. Simba sat down with Karabatsos about why he wasn’t playing as much, and the coach said it was because he was soft, but offered up a great motivator.

“The most disrespectful thing a coach could say is you’re soft,” Simba said. “He told me one thing though: ‘If I walk into your house, you’re there and your mom is there, and I slap your mom. You’re just going to let me go?’ I said no. He said ‘every single play from now, imagine that guy in front of you [that you’re] supposed to block, imagine that guy walks into your house and tries to beat your mom.’”

Simba said that’s why he plays like he’s mad every play, because if someone were to touch his mom, he would make them pay twice.

This past May, both Simba and Halbgewachs were selected to take part in the annual East-West Bowl. The Bowl is a seven-day camp for CFL prospects that includes rigorous training exercises and a game. The camp is also heavily watched by scouts in the CFL and National Football League (NFL).

“It was really fun,” Simba said. “I feel very fortunate to [have been] selected for it. There were a lot of guys eligible on the team and I feel bad for them, because I felt that at least ten guys from Concordia should have gone. I thank God for that, and my coaches.”

Although a future in football looks bright for Simba, he still aims to complete his schooling. He is currently enrolled in the leisure science program, having transferred from religion last year, and he has some extra incentive to finish his schooling.

“Your football career could end in one second, so I realized being in university with the full scholarship, I’ve got to get my degree,” Simba said.

He added that, even if he ends up playing professionally, he wants to return to school every winter to complete his degree, because he promised his mom. “When I make a promise to her, it’s something I’m going to do.”

Even though Simba will be heavily watched by football scouts this season, he doesn’t believe he needs to prove himself to anyone else.

“It’s not fair to say that I’m proving myself to anyone but me,” Simba said. “We all work together and it’s not fair to say I work harder than anyone else. My goal every day when I step into that complex is I want to be better than the guy I was yesterday. Doesn’t matter how good practice was yesterday, I want to do better the next day.”

With an opportunity in the CFL and the potential for a shot in the NFL on the horizon, Simba’s focus remains on the season at hand at Concordia. From his humble beginnings in the Congo, to now being one of the top-20 prospects in Canada, his story of perseverance and heart is one to be admired.

“I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, keep learning, stay humble and take it all day-by-day.”

Main photo by Gabe Chevalier. 


Stingers win in emotional Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup

The Concordia Stingers women’s rugby team outplayed the McGill Martlets in the 14th annual Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup on Sept. 16 at the Concordia Stadium. The Stingers won with a final score of 51-24.

“It has always been the most important game for me, whether I was involved or not,” an emotional Barrieau said following the game. “I really care about this rugby community and I hope we all stand by each other and support each other.”

Kelly-Anne Drummond played for the Stingers from 1999 to 2001 and was a highly-valued member of the team and respected by all. She was killed by her boyfriend in 2004–the Cup has been named in her honour. Ticket sales and donations from Sunday’s game will be sent to Women Aware, a non-profit organization against domestic violence. This year, Concordia tried to raise funds to start a Kelly-Anne Drummond scholarship.

The women’s rugby team believes the Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup is the most important game of the season. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup has been a symbol of rugby supremacy in Montreal, with Concordia always playing McGill or Université de Montréal. It means so much more to the rugby community at Concordia than just a game.

“For us this cup, it is really important,” said coach Jocelyn Barrieau following the game. “It matters for Concordia and all of us to honor Kelly-Anne. We’ve had Kelly-Anne’s parents here to speak to the girls and did a lot with our alumni this week to show the girls what it means to play in this game.”

It didn’t take long for the Stingers to set the tone of the game. Back Jasmine Baxter found her way through traffic to get a try only 59 seconds into the game. From then, a scoring slugfest between both the Martlets and Stingers continued. Although Concordia did manage to put up points first, McGill always stayed within range of the lead.

The flow of the game then shifted to quick responses by the Stingers. Both times the Martlets scored in the first half, it took only five minutes for a Stingers response. By the end of the first half, five different Stingers had been able to put points on the board and the team held a fifteen-point lead.

“This game is the most important game of the season,” said second-year player Shawna Brayton. “Not just for me but for everyone else. It’s just a memorable game and we had to win this game. It’s a must for the season.”

The Stingers beat the Martlets 51-24 and improve their record to 2-1. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The Martlets came out swinging in the second half and scored on their first drive, two minutes in. That would, however, be the closest McGill would come to the lead, as Stingers forward Samantha Molnar responded with her second try of the game to start a blistering scoring run.

“We came out and played really well as a team today,” Molnar said. “Playing together with my sisters is one of the best feelings we can have, especially to bring back the cup, which we lost last year.”

The remainder of the second half proved to be too much for the Martlets, who failed to score for the remaining 30 minutes of play. On the contrary, Concordia racked up another three tries to seal the deal.

By the end of the game, seven different Stingers had contributed to the scoring, with only Brayton and Molner finding the try zone on two occasions.

The win brings the women’s rugby team to a 2-1 record heading into the halfway point of the season.

The Stingers women’s rugby team will take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees at Concordia on Sept. 22.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


Brad Collinson’s journey from Stingers captain to head coach

St-Bruno native’s football career has come full circle since he played for Concordia

Brad Collinson, 39, was named the new Concordia Stingers football head coach in June 2018. However, the coach’s return to Concordia is just another chapter in his long football career.

“It was always a personal goal of mine to be the coach at Concordia,” Collinson said.

A St-Bruno native, Collinson, began his football career as a kid, under the guidance of his father who played football as well. Collinson described his younger self as a big kid who played many sports before settling on football.

The first big step in his football career was becoming a member of the Vanier Cheetahs football team in 1996. During his time at Vanier, he was scouted by National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) teams in the United States, and by Canadian universities. He accepted a scholarship for the University of Tennessee at Martin after graduating with a diploma in communications in 1998, but that didn’t last long.

“I got my DEC from CEGEP and was hoping to get my first year credited [at Tennessee Martin], which usually happens,” Collinson said. “After the tour they said, ‘No we don’t do that.’ So, I made an academic decision to come home shortly thereafter.”

Once he returned to Quebec in 2000, he joined the Concordia Stingers football team. Playing as a centre and long snapper, Collinson was named captain early on during his time with the team, and established himself as a leader both on and off the field. That hasn’t changed since, according to some of his current players, who describe him as strong and tough, but fair.  

Collinson was then signed as a free agent by the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and started every game during the 2003 season. The Alouettes won the East Division and made it to the Grey Cup, ultimately losing to the Edmonton Eskimos that year.

“That was a childhood dream,” Collinson said about playing in the CFL. “I’m a Montreal kid, born and raised, so when you get the opportunity to play for your hometown, it’s always special.”

That stellar season would end up being his first and last as a CFL player. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t my choice to step away when I got released after training camp in 2004,” Collinson said about leaving the Alouettes.

He went back to Concordia to finish his degree and became a part-time staff member for the football team, as he would be unable to rejoin the Stingers as a player due to his year in the CFL. Collinson received his degree in leisure science in 2005.

“You always want to find something that you love to do,” Collinson said. “As a leisure science student, it all related to coaching and working with individuals to help them achieve their goal. It was just a natural thing for me to come do coaching.”

The Stingers went 3-4 last season and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Archive photo by Alex Hutchins.

In 2010, Collinson stepped away from Concordia and moved onto head-coaching jobs for U18 Team Canada and Team Quebec. He was also an assistant coach with the Université de Laval Rouge et Or, and during his time, they played in six Vanier Cups and won four.

“We’re building that winning culture here,” said Collinson about bringing his winning pedigree to Concordia. “I am trying to instill that work ethic. It’s not going to happen overnight; it’s a process that I think the kids are adapting to well.”

Most football coaches at the professional and collegiate level have played the sport at some point. Collinson made that transition long ago with success as an assistant coach and expects his past will help in excelling the program.

“I think it helps having the experience on both sides,” Collinson added. “I’ve grabbed things from each person along the way and developed my own style. I also want the guys to understand the history here and make them aware that this school is special.”

Collinson has no aspirations to coach in the CFL, so his aim and focus remain strictly on the job and what he is doing at Concordia.

“This is the age I want to work with. It’s the age where we can help them the most and get them to achieve their goals with the biggest rewards,” said Collinson. “There’s no amount of money that would make me leave here for the CFL.”

The head coach added that the Stingers are giving the players resources to develop on and off the field. He said his main focus will be making sure his players graduate.

Collinson brings a lot of experience and knowledge to the Concordia Stingers football team that could help them this coming season. With his background as a player and an assistant coach, he understands what it would take to turn this young Stingers team into a winning one. The Stingers will be seeking their first Vanier Cup appearance since 1998, and the team’s first victory in its history.

“We always have the goal to win the Vanier Cup, and if we don’t believe that, it’ll never happen,” Collinson added.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad. 


Stingers dominate to take game one in convincing fashion

Audrey Belzile scores three goals as Gee-Gees only get 14 shots

With another hat-trick from forward Audrey Belzile, the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team won game one of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-final, 5-0, against the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Feb. 22.
If there was such thing as a perfect game one, this was it for the Stingers. Right from the opening face-off, they asserted dominance and consistency, setting aside what had been a trend of struggling first periods all season. The Stingers allowed a mere 14 shots from the Gee-Gees all game.
“We came ready to play and capitalized early on, and that’s really important,” said head coach Julie Chu. “It’s always huge to get game one.”
The Stingers wasted no time from the face-off as forward Sophie Gagnon found herself on a breakaway just 11 seconds in. She was tripped and earned a penalty shot, beating Gee-Gees goalie Maude Lévesque-Ryan to her blocker side.
“We had the penalty shot right off the bat. It’s a huge momentum boost for us when you get to capitalize on your first chance,” Chu said.
Forward Vyckie Gélinas scored another goal a few minutes later. Belzile added a goal in the final minute of the third period, again beating Lévesque-Ryan on her blocker side. The Stingers led 3-0 after the first period.

Audrey Belzile scored her second hat-trick of the season. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

“When we come closer, she goes down which opens the [blocker] side, so we shoot there,” Belzile said about Lévesque-Ryan’s weakness.
In the second period on a five-on-three powerplay, Belzile picked up a loose puck in front of the net and scored her second goal of the night. A tame and focused Stingers team continued the pressure and took their only penalty of the game in the second period on a delay-of-game call. The Gee-Gees, however, were becoming more frustrated and took many roughing penalties throughout the game.
In the third period, Belzile completed her hat-trick on another powerplay. The Stingers’s fifth goal midway through the third period forced the Gee-Gees to do a goalie change.

“We’re confident, because the first game is very important. It sets the tone,” said Belzile, looking ahead to the rest of the series. “They are afraid, so now we have the control of the playoffs. We want to finish this in two games at their home.”
The best-of-three series goes back to Ottawa on Feb. 24 in a do-or-die game for the Gee-Gees. If the Stingers win, Concordia will advance to the RSEQ final and qualify for the national championship in London, Ont., in March.

Main photo by Alex Hutchins.

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