Alice Philbert: Born a winner

After six years playing hockey at Concordia, the goaltender looks ahead to a future in professional hockey

It was a rainy evening in March 2022 when Alice Philbert walked into the MacLauchlan Arena in P.E.I. with a championship game ahead of her. The goaltender and her teammates played their hearts out, and the Concordia Stingers exited the building that night as national champions.

In her 18 years playing hockey, six of which she’s spent with Concordia, this will be a moment that Philbert will remember for the rest of her life.

“It’s the nationals, it’s not something you live every day, or every year,” she said.

In her career at Concordia, the 26-year-old has won three RSEQ championships, as well as bronze, silver and gold medals at the national championship.

“She’s a winner,” said Olivier Gervais, her goaltender coach of the past two years. “There are a lot of good athletes, but not everyone is a winner. Alice learned to win [and] she showed it.”

Alice Philbert and Olivier Gervais hugging. Photo courtesy of Arianne Bergeron/ @arianneprendesfotos

But the 2022 national championship win means more to her than a trophy and a medal.

With a full year without hockey in 2020-21 because of COVID-19, and more shutdowns in the winter of the 2021-22 season, overcoming these challenges meant an even sweeter victory.

But in addition to COVID hardships, Philbert had lost her grandmother a few weeks before the playoffs last year. Alice and her sister Léonie — a defender for the Stingers — wanted to win it for their grandmother.

“The fact that she told us ‘go beat Montreal,’ and then after that ‘I know you can win the nationals,’ was extra motivation for us to do it for her.”

Philbert also remembers feeling her grandmother’s presence during the tournament.

“My grandmother was there to save us,” she said. “My three shutouts, I know my grandmother was with me. At some point, the puck hit the post and then I put my glove right on time to stop it, I think my grandmother was there to help me with that.”

Having their parents with them in P.E.I. during the championship was also unbelievable, Philbert said.

“It was a big moment for our family, I think it brought us closer together,” she added. “It reunited us with our cousins too, they were all watching us. We’re about thirty in our family, so it reunited the family, and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”

Playing with her sister was nothing new. Alice grew up playing with her sisters Léonie and Zoé at the midget level, and kept playing with Léonie at Dawson College and then at Concordia.

“For sure I’d rather have her on my team than playing against me,” Philbert joked. “I wouldn’t have liked having her scoring against me. It’s like, do our parents clap or not?”

She added, on a serious note, that she likes playing with her sister and knowing she has her back.

“It’s fun to know your sister is here for you, to support you, no matter if you get scored against or if you make a nice save,” Philbert said. “In all situations, I know Léonie is here for me and it’s fun to have someone to rely on.”

Philbert first started playing hockey as a forward at eight years old. She switched to defence in her second year when her team needed defenders. It wasn’t until another three years, when one of the goaltenders couldn’t make it to a playoff game, that she took it as an opportunity to try it out. She kept playing defence but would practice as a goaltender.

She had to compromise with her father to play goaltender, as long as she would pay for her own equipment.

“We were four kids, and at that age you grow quickly so it’s expensive, and at that age you don’t work,” she laughed. “So all my gifts for my birthday, for Christmas, even from my aunts, uncles, grandparents, it went to my parents to pay for the equipment.”

Philbert in her net pre-game. Maria Bouabdo/ The Concordian

It was ultimately at 13 years old that she really started goaltending, after wanting to do it for a little while.

“Every shot is a different challenge, you never know what can happen,” she said. “It was a challenge for me. We were four kids, four skaters, I was like ‘no, I want to have my own thing, be in my own world.’”

Gervais, who had first met her that year, still remembers what stood out about her at such a young age.

“It was her determination, she wanted to stop the puck and it was her will to get better, that was remarkable,” he said. “And when I started coaching her again [in the summer of 2021], that’s exactly what I saw again, her determination and will to be the best and stop everything. It’s one of her biggest qualities.”

This determination helped her overcome one of the greatest obstacles she faced growing up: being a girl in a boys’ team.

The Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville native had always played in boys’ teams since there weren’t many girls’ teams at the time and the closest was in Sainte-Hyacinthe.

After playing her first two years as a goaltender with a boys’ team at the bantam level, it was the following year that things started getting rocky.

“I get there on the first day of training camp and the guys knew me, we had played together the previous year, and they were like ‘oh it’s fun we’re going to play together this year too,’” Philbert said. “But then the coach comes to get me from the locker room and tells me not to get dressed there. He says ‘you’re not making the team, I don’t want girls on the team.’”

Philbert acknowledged sexist behaviour from that coach, but also pointed out that’s unfortunately how it was back then. It was that year that she started playing with an all-girls team.

Now, looking ahead, the plan for Philbert is to play professional hockey, either in the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) in North America, or in the Swedish Women’s Hockey League.

As well, Philbert will be walking on the Concordia stage this summer after having earned a graduate diploma in business administration. She also has a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation, which she could put to use eventually, perhaps working with elderly people and helping them stay healthy and active.

Alice Philbert playing at the CEPSUM arena. Maria Bouabdo/ The Concordian

But her top priority for the moment remains hockey.

“I’m not ready to stop playing hockey,” Philbert said. “And I’ll never know [what can come out of it] if I don’t try. I don’t want to regret anything.”

Navigating the world of professional women’s hockey is new for her, and for a lot of people, with the PHF’s $1.5 million USD salary cap and $30,000 USD minimum salary having been introduced recently.

For this reason, Philbert decided to get an agent to help her navigate this new business aspect of hockey and help her find the perfect fit.

As a Montrealer, there was no doubt Philbert was interested in playing for the Force, Montreal’s new PHF team that just finished playing its inaugural season.

“I’m Québécoise, I would love to represent my city,” she stated.

However, things didn’t go how she thought they would.

Gervais is confident that Philbert will find a team in no time though, whether in North America or Europe — and that her accomplishments and winner mindset will help her.

“She has all the capacity, not only to play, but mostly to perform, so I wouldn’t be surprised that she finds a number one spot,” he said. “I think the pros need to see [that she’s a winner]. You want to add someone on your team that can win you championships and get you far, and Alice is the right person for that.”

With everything Philbert has accomplished at the university level, the future doesn’t have limits for her. If there’s one thing she won’t stop doing it’s fighting and winning, no matter what she’s pursuing in life.


A never-ending pattern of racism in junior hockey in Quebec

CRARR is helping families in the fight against anti-Black racism in hockey

The fight against racism in junior hockey in Quebec advances this year, as more families are bringing civil rights complaints to the Quebec Human Rights Commission with the help of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), including a complaint against Hockey Quebec.

CRARR’s executive director Fo Niemi pointed out that although he gets many phone calls from parents, especially Black parents, not many go through the complaint process with the Human Rights Commission.

“I think there’s either reluctance, or a fear of retaliation, or there’s a concern that the process can take a long time,” he said.

But two complaints are being filed so far this year. The first was by Nadine Hart against the Lester B. Pearson School Board after her 13-year-old son, JC, was allegedly the victim of anti-Black racism through taunting, slurs, and assault while playing in the Pro Action Hockey program at John Rennie High School last fall.

Seeing a family file a complaint encouraged Laurie Philipps to do the same with a complaint against Hockey Quebec, stating that “the more people are doing it, it’s more likely they can’t ignore us all.”

Philipps and her 16-year-old son Aiden, who plays for the Île-Perrot Riverains, went through a similar situation after he was allegedly called a racist slur by another player during a game in December 2022 against the Valleyfield Braves. He also had to hear the word again twice during the other player’s hearing, who was appealing the length of the suspension he had received as a consequence. The suspension was downgraded from eight to five games following the hearing.

Philipps added that as a mother, seeing her son going through that from the sidelines was “heartbreaking” and that she felt helpless in the moment.

“But then even afterwards, […] I’m entrusting that the league and the association that is responsible for these kids and these games is there to protect all of the kids, all of their rights to be there and to play, and to play in a safe environment both physically and emotionally, and that they will take care of this, and they’re not,” she explained.

However, it was how the situation was handled by Hockey Quebec that pushed Philipps to follow through with the complaint.

“It was just the response that we were getting,” she said. “They just kept reiterating the point to us that they don’t get it. They’re not getting it and it doesn’t seem like they want to.”

According to Philipps, Hockey Quebec thinks that “it happened, it’s done, get over it, move on,” which doesn’t send the proper message and also doesn’t help anyone feel like the same issue won’t happen again.

In the complaint, CRARR and Philipps brought forward systemic remedies that they hope Hockey Quebec will implement. They include mandatory training for Hockey Quebec directors on racism and human rights, as well as having more diverse Discipline Committees.

“It’s about having a diverse panel who understands really what racism is and can acknowledge, not just these overt acts, but the little subtle things that happen and the microaggressions,” Philipps said. “And I’m speaking as a white person, we do not and we will never understand what those racist comments mean to somebody of colour.”

Racism can happen in many ways, and sometimes it can be less noticeable remarks, or microaggressions.

Jérémie Ndeffo, a hockey player who now attends the Ontario Hockey Academy in Cornwall, was a victim of daily racist microaggressions when he was in high school in Châteauguay.

“It was small things but very daily, affecting me,” Ndeffo said. “Every time I came into the locker room, there was going to be a remark. Or for example, we were doing a race and then I would lose, they would be like ‘why did you lose? You’re Black, you should run fast’ or some stuff like that.”

Something the 18-year-old would like to see is for more hockey organizations to raise awareness about racism, perhaps by holding conferences. An idea he suggested is having professional athletes who have experienced racism talk and share their stories with young hockey players.

Philipps had a similar point of view about how important raising awareness can be, in particular to teach people the meaning behind what they are saying if they don’t realize it.

“If they still choose to continue to use those words, then that goes to the next step: are we responding to that and are we giving out the punishments that are not only severe enough but impactful and in the right way to make the people understand that this is not accepted?” she added.

Aiden is still playing hockey and has no interest in stopping, but Philipps said that he did question if he wanted to continue after what happened in the hearing.

“But I think his drive, how much he loves the game, and I think all the support that he has from his teammates really helped to encourage him and kept him wanting to still play,” she said.

Philipps added that no one should have to lose out on the game because of other people’s ignorance and racism. But there are still many steps to take to eliminate racism from hockey.


Ezechiel Tieide is here and ready to play

After playing in the United States since 2016, the football player has come back home

Ezechiel Tieide and his family moved from the Ivory Coast to Montreal when he was five years old. It was in 2009 when his family moved from Cartierville to Lachine, that Tieide’s love for football blossomed into a lifelong passion. Now, after playing in the NCAA, the receiver will be playing with the Concordia Stingers this upcoming season.

Although he was only in grade four when his family moved in 2009, he already knew he wanted to play football. He was only able to start the following year, at 10 years old.

“I saw some kids play football [at the Dalbé-Viau High School],” he said. “I went and asked them if I could play.”

Growing up, Tieide also played soccer, basketball, and track. Despite soccer being his initial pastime, Tieide didn’t see himself pursuing that sport professionally. Keeping busy in multiple sports was integral to Tieide, making him adapt to an active lifestyle early on.

“Every season I was doing something, it was keeping me busy and away from trouble,” he added.

Stingers receiver Ezechiel Tieide in the Dome. Maria Bouabdo/ The Concordian

After completing his high school education in Montreal, Tieide decided to go to the United States, where he attended St. Paul’s School, a college-preparatory boarding school in New Hampshire.

Tieide then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management at Boston College, in Massachusetts. After that, he transferred to the University of Toledo in Ohio to study communications, but ultimately he decided to come back to Montreal after a year there.

Tieide is now taking independent studies at Concordia University, where he will be playing as a wide receiver for the Stingers.

The football player started as a receiver, and then moved to quarterback from grade eight up until university, where he moved to the other side of the ball and played as a cornerback for two years. He went back to playing as a receiver in his junior year at Boston College.

Tieide felt like there were more opportunities in Montreal, which is why he decided to come back home for his final year of eligibility playing university sports.

“I felt like I had more opportunities to showcase, or get on the football field, back at home,” he said. “Football is really [about] opportunities. Sometimes you can be really good and then it doesn’t go like you want.”

Stingers head coach Brad Collinson had coached Tieide when he played for Team Quebec in the 2015 Football Canada Cup.

“I feel like Coach Brad will give me the opportunities that I need for me to go play at the next level,” Tieide explained. “I’m not saying that in the U.S. it wasn’t possible, but I feel like here I could show it more.”

Collinson is also looking forward to having Tieide join the team, stating it’s fun to reunite with a player he’s previously coached.

“We know each other already,” he said. “There’s a relationship that’s been built over the years so it’s always fun to get guys like that on your team.”

Although Tieide was playing as a quarterback for Collinson’s Team Quebec, the coach still remembers what stood out about his young player.

“He was a good athlete, somebody that really liked the game of football and wanted to get better,” Collinson said. “He always had a good attitude. He’s a competitor, that’s something that stood out at a young age.”

Collinson is looking forward to seeing his new recruit in action.

“We have a very good receiver group so hopefully he can help us [and] make us better. […] He’s a very athletic kid who has a lot to offer,” he added.

Tieide is going to be seeing even more familiar faces on the team, including safety Dawson Pierre whom he played against in high school, and quarterback Xavier Tremblay, a transfer from the University of Laval.

Tieide practicing with quarterback Xavier Tremblay. Maria Bouabdo/ The Concordian

Tieide and Tremblay have known each other for about six years now, after participating in quarterback camps together. They both look forward to playing on the same team.

“I want to feed him up [pass to him], I’d like to throw him the ball as much as possible because I know he can be a playmaker on the team,” said Tremblay. “I know he wants to play professionally and it’s his last season [at this level]. And I think he can achieve it if we take advantage of him, his size, and he’s athletic, so he’s a nice asset for the team as a receiver.”

Indeed, with the plan to play professional football, Tieide’s expectation for his last year of university football is “to score a lot of touchdowns.”

“I’m going to earn everything that is given to me. I work, I work a lot, so I want to show people what I can do,” he said.

However, Tieide’s also had to overcome a lot in his football career. He said that his biggest challenge so far was remaining patient.

“When something doesn’t go like you want, you got to stick by the book, stick with the program until the season is done,” Tieide said. “But during the season, when something doesn’t go like you want, it’s hard.”

Dedicating a lot of time to something while not getting the results he wanted was difficult, especially when he was working on it every day from 6 a.m. to noon.

“Sometimes it’s stuff that you can’t control, it’s a higher power than you, so it’s like ‘alright, just one day at a time,’” he continued. “But I’m glad, I got better every day. There’s the good, and there’s the bad, but I got better every day.”

On top of being a student and an athlete, the 23-year-old also coaches basketball at his old high school, where his brother Elom now plays football as well.

“I’m just trying to get involved, I’m trying to help the kids because they’re the future,” Tieide said. “Dalbé-Viau high school is a hotbed for talent. There’s a lot of kids over there, a lot of immigrants, they’re not really from here, but they have insane athletic abilities. […] All they need is to see someone that did it. You don’t have to be a bum, you don’t have to be a gangster, you don’t have to do nothing crazy. Just stick to the books, play sports, you’re going to have a good life.”

If he could give any advice to children or teenagers who are trying to make it in football, here’s what Tieide would tell them:

“Don’t overthink too much, don’t put too much on your shoulders,” he said. “Just play football, and the coach is going to like you for that. They’re going to like you for being yourself and the type of player that you are. You don’t have to put up a front, just be yourself. And then if things don’t happen like you want, there’s a better plan. Nothing happens for no reason. I feel like God has a plan for all of us.”

No matter what level you play at, Tieide said to just play the best season of your life, whether it’s in high school, CEGEP, or U Sports.

“If you’re good they’re going to find you. It doesn’t matter against who you do it. It’s the fact that you can do it. So just ball out.”


Grown men should stop being afraid of rainbows

NHL players refusing to wear Pride Night jerseys is absurd

After what seemed like good steps towards inclusivity in the NHL in the past few years, things are going backwards after some teams cancelled their Pride Night celebrations because players refused to wear Pride jerseys during warm-ups.

Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers was the first NHL player to refuse to wear a Pride Night jersey and to not participate in warm-ups for that reason, despite playing in the game later on.

Many others, including Eric and Marc Staal of the Florida Panthers, followed suit. In both cases, the teams still held their Pride Night celebrations. Other teams — the New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, and St. Louis Blues — completely discarded their Pride Night warm-ups.

Pride Nights are held to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and make everyone feel welcome in hockey. The special jerseys worn during warm-ups are designed by someone from the LGBTQ+ community, and are later auctioned off to a charity of that community.

While the rest of the team is wearing these beautiful jerseys to celebrate inclusivity, why is opting out even an option?

Well, the reasons stated for refusing to wear them have either been religious beliefs or safety concerns, the latter referring to Russian players who have families in Russia, where same-sex marriage has been constitutionally banned since 2020.

However, the act of wearing these jerseys on its own doesn’t mean support for the LGBTQ+ community. Support comes from much more than just wearing a jersey. But it is a good first step to help fans feel welcome, and it’s also for a good cause.

Now, I can maybe understand the safety concerns for Russian family members, although I still don’t understand how wearing a jersey means anything.

But more importantly, what about the safety of all the marginalized and mistreated LGBTQ+ people in Canada, the United States, and especially in a country like Russia?

If a player is that afraid of the consequences of wearing a rainbow jersey, then perhaps they could also show some concern for the LGTBQ+ community in their home country — and maybe make a donation (of whatever the jersey would’ve been auctioned off for) to an LGTBTQ+ organization, either in the country they play in or back home.

However, the absurdity really comes in when people claim they can’t wear a rainbow jersey because of their “religious beliefs.”

First of all, I wasn’t aware that any religion forbids wearing rainbow jerseys (because once again, wearing these jerseys doesn’t mean supporting anything).

Second of all, if someone is that religious, why do they get to pick and choose what aspect of religion they want to follow? If their religion is against supporting LGBTQ+ people, chances are it also is against working on a Sunday, lying, or sleeping with a partner before marriage. But these players are obviously choosing what they want to “believe in.”

Let’s take the example of the Staal brothers. They both stated religion as the reason for not wearing Pride Night jerseys. However, when Eric was playing for the Montreal Canadiens, he (and the entire team) wore Pride-themed jerseys for Pride Night warm-ups.

His reaction when a reporter brought it up? “I haven’t worn a Pride jersey before.”

Well, there’s a video that proves otherwise, Eric. And I thought lying was a sin in Christianity…

This just proves that if these players weren’t given the option to opt out of warm-ups during Pride Night, they would’ve worn the jerseys — just like Eric did when he was with the Canadiens.

Moreover, the Flyers allowing Provorov to refuse really started an unnecessary wave of players feeling empowered to follow suit.

There is still a lot to be done for hockey to be an inclusive sport, but right now it only seems to be getting worse.

A lot of players have been speaking out about how much it means to them and the fans to hold these events, and even if that’s just a glimmer of hope for inclusivity, it’s better than nothing.

I would also much rather see which players are refusing to wear these jerseys than have Pride Nights cancelled because of a minority who don’t want to participate.

This doesn’t change the fact that grown men being afraid of rainbows is absurd, and no matter what their reason is, if they weren’t allowed to opt out, they wouldn’t be doing it.

After all, no player has opted out of wearing a military-themed jersey for Military Appreciation Night, have they?

So why should it be any different for Pride Night?


Stingers win silver at National Championship

The women’s hockey team’s incredible season ends on a heartbreaking note

Quarterfinals: The Stingers beat the Nipissing Lakers 5-1.

The Stingers celebrating defender Alexandra-Anne Boyer’s powerplay goal in the second period.

Stingers forward Megan Bureau-Gagnon battling with a Lakers player in front of the Nipissing net.

The Stingers saluting their fans after a victory at the CEPSUM arena.

Semifinals: The Stingers win against the UBC Thunderbirds with a score of 3-1.

Stingers head coach Julie Chu high-fiving forward Chloé Gendreau as the team heads out on the ice at the beginning of the game.

Stingers goaltender Alice Philbert making a save with a scrum developing in the crease.

Stingers forward Jessymaude Drapeau celebrating her goal as Thunderbirds captain Rylind MacKinnon looks up at the ceiling.

Members of the Stingers’ football team cheering on the women’s hockey team at the CEPSUM arena.

Defender Léonie Philbert looking to steal the puck from a UBC player in the Concordia zone.

She was named the Stingers’ player of the game for the final on the following day.

Final: The underdogs, Mount Royal Cougars, defeat the Stingers 4-3 in overtime.

Philbert making a blocker save on a point shot.

Bureau-Gagnon celebrating her third-period goal with defenders Boyer and Sandrine Veillette.

A big Concordia crowd — including family, friends, and other student-athletes — cheering on the Stingers and making the final feel like a home game.

Forward Rosalie Bégin-Cyr skating in the Concordia zone.

After scoring three goals in three games at nationals, she was named to the U Sports Championship All-Star Team. She was also named one of the two Stingers’ Athletes of the Week.

Chu comforting captain Olivia Hale after the heartbreaking overtime loss.

“We came a long way. And yeah, we’re proud of them,” Chu said about her players after the game.

Forwards Emmy Fecteau and Émilie Lavoie consoling each other after the game.


Stingers’ men’s and women’s hockey teams are going to nationals

After winning RSEQ gold and OUA bronze respectively, the women’s and men’s hockey teams will play for the national title

Stingers men’s hockey will face UNB in quarterfinals

With the Stingers’ Ontario University Athletics (OUA) bronze-medal win also came a spot at the U Sports National Championship and a chance to compete for the University Cup.

The Stingers were seeded sixth and will face the third-seeded Reds of the University of New Brunswick in the quarterfinals.

The game will take place on Thursday, March 16 at 6 p.m. Montreal time, or 7 p.m. local time. The championship will be held from March 16-19 at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown, PEI, hosted by the University of Prince Edward Island.

The winner of this quarterfinal game will face off against the Patriotes of the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières who beat the Saint Mary’s Huskies 4-1 in their quarterfinal game Thursday afternoon.

The Stingers finished the regular season with a record of 19-7, and were 4-2 in the playoffs.

The Reds, who compete in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) division, had a regular-season record of 24-4-2, and a playoff record of 5-2.

You can keep an eye on the U Sports website for schedule updates and game results.

The Stingers’ women’s hockey team after winning RSEQ gold. Evan Buhler/ Concordia Athletics

Stingers women’s hockey will play Nipissing in quarterfinals

The Stingers were seeded third in the U Sports National Championship.

After being crowned RSEQ champions for a second consecutive year, the Stingers will also have a chance to defend their national title and compete for the Golden Path Trophy.

They will face the sixth-seeded Nipissing Lakers in the quarterfinals on Friday, March 17 at 7 p.m. The University of Montreal is hosting the championship so all games will be played at the CEPSUM arena from March 16-19.

The winner of this game will face the winner of the game between the St-Francis Xavier X-Women and the UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m.

The Stingers had a regular-season record of 20-5 and a playoff record of 4-1, while the Lakers (who compete in the AUS) finished the regular season with a 19-7 record and also went 4-1 in the playoffs.

The remainder of the schedule, as well as game results, will be updated on the U Sports website as the championship advances.


RSEQ women’s hockey championship series in photos

The Stingers will also have a chance to defend their national title next week

After beating the Montreal Carabins in the RSEQ final, the Concordia Stingers were crowned RSEQ champions for a second consecutive year.

Game 1: The Stingers won Game 1 at home with a score of 2-1

Stingers forwards Emmy Fecteau, Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, and Jessymaude Drapeau fist-bumping goaltender Alice Philbert before the game.

Forward Émilie Lavoie battling a Carabins player trying to take her down.

Stingers forward Zoé Thibault facing off in the Carabins’ zone against forward Marie Terriault.

The Stingers celebrating Bégin-Cyr’s second and game-winning goal. She was named one of the Stingers’ athletes of the week.

The Stingers’ mascot Buzz hitting a drum and hyping up the crowd at the Ed Meagher Arena.

Stingers head coach Julie Chu talking to her team after the Carabins asked for a timeout before the end of the game.

The team celebrating the win at the end of Game 1.

The Stingers lined up in the middle of the ice, saluting the crowd after their victory.

Game 2: The Carabins won with a score of 4-1 at the CEPSUM arena

Drapeau skating in the Montreal zone, near the net.

Stingers’ Fecteau and Carabins forward Joannie Garand battling at faceoff in the Montreal zone.

Six-foot-one Stingers forward Megan Bureau-Gagnon screening Carabins goaltender Aube Racine.

The Stingers celebrating defender Alexandra-Anne Boyer’s goal.

Game 3: The Stingers won the big game 4-1 at home

Stingers forward Caroline Moquin-Joubert scoring the game-winning goal on a shorthanded breakaway.

Moquin-Joubert celebrating her goal with her teammates.

Moquin-Joubert scoring her second goal of the game on an empty net.

Moquin-Joubert pointing at the arena’s student section and celebrating her goal.

Gloves and sticks flying all over the ice as the Stingers celebrate their RSEQ championship win.

Players hugging each other as they take in the moment.

Stingers forward Justine Yelle smiling after receiving her gold medal.

Captain Olivia Hale lifting the Dr. Ed Enos Trophy and celebrating with the rest of the team.

The entire team hugging and holding the trophy together.


Concordia’s men’s hockey team to battle for OUA bronze and a spot in the National Championship

The Stingers will be facing off against the Lakehead Thunderwolves

The Concordia Stingers’ men’s hockey team will be competing for the bronze medal against the Lakehead Thunderwolves on March 11 at Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay, ON. The winner of this game will also be headed to the U Sports National Championship to compete for the University Cup.

In what was a close OUA semifinal battle, it took three games and an extra period of hockey for the UQTR Patriotes to beat the Stingers. Concordia won Game 1 in Trois-Rivières with a score of 5-1, while UQTR took a 5-3 win in Game 2 at Concordia, and ultimately won the series at home after a 5-4 overtime win in Game 3.

On the other side of the semifinals, the Thunderwolves and Windsor Lancers were battling. Windsor shut out Lakehead 4-0 in Game 1, but Lakehead got a 2-1 overtime win in Game 2. Windsor then won the series after a 4-2 win in the third game.

The top three teams in the OUA get a chance to compete at nationals. Both the Patriotes and Lancers are guaranteed berths there, as they’re about to compete for the Queen’s Cup on March 11.

The Stingers and Thunderwolves will be facing off on Saturday at 7 p.m. for the final OUA spot at nationals. The Championship will be hosted by the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, PEI. It will take place from March 16-19 at the Eastlink Centre, an NHL-sized rink, and the home of the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL.


The Stingers are back-to-back RSEQ champions

The Stingers’ women’s hockey team is headed back to the U Sports National Championship

After a 4-1 victory against the Montreal Carabins in Game 3, the Concordia Stingers were crowned 2022-23 RSEQ champions on home ice for the second consecutive year. The defending national champs will also have a chance to two-peat at the U Sports National Championship.

This was an overall close series: the Stingers won Game 1 with a score of 2-1 at home while the Carabins took the 4-1 home win in Game 2, and Sunday’s victory earned the Stingers the Dr. Ed Enos Trophy.

Stingers forward Alexandra Boulanger opened the scoring around the midway mark of the first period. Forward Caroline Moquin-Joubert doubled their lead with five minutes remaining in the first period with a beautiful shorthanded breakaway goal.

The Stingers had to kill off two five-on-threes early on in the second period, which they did successfully, going seven for seven on the penalty kill in total.

“I think anytime you can have a penalty kill, and we block shots and we give that warrior mentality, it can be a momentum builder,” said Stingers head coach Julie Chu.

But she emphasized that their discipline has to be better to avoid overplaying players too early in the game.

Goaltender Alice Philbert also praised her teammates for their effort on the two five-on-threes.

“The girls on five-on-three were incredible in front of me, they blocked so many shots,” she said. “I think [during those two five-on-threes] I faced one shot.”

The lone goal in the second period came from Carabins forward Joannie Garand later in the period, cutting their deficit in half.

However, Stingers forward Rosalie Bégin-Cyr put the team up 3-1 about 10 minutes into the final frame. Moquin-Joubert later scored her second goal of the game on the empty net, securing the Stingers’ win and title as RSEQ champs.

“This [win] means a lot,” Chu said. “We’re a really talented team, but we also had to be really patient with ourselves throughout this entire series to make sure that we were developing to get to this point.”

She added that although the team was coming off a championship win last year for both the RSEQ and nationals, they had a lot of youth on the team after many players graduated last spring.

“So, in the fall, when it would’ve been easy to be maybe distracted with the fact that we weren’t perfect in our D-zone, our breakouts were more difficult, our players stuck with it and they trusted the process, and I think they’re getting rewarded for that process right now,” she concluded.

Philbert, who’s playing her last season at Concordia, said that winning the RSEQ championship for a second year in a row is an incredible feeling and that the team hopes to win the National Championship again, too.

“Obviously, I don’t want to finish with a loss, so I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen and we’ll do our best, we’re going to work hard,” she said.

The University of Montreal is hosting the National Championship, so it will be taking place at the CEPSUM arena from March 16-19. The schedule will be announced on March 12.

“We need to be confident,” said Philbert. “I think we have the team to win again this year, and if we’re confident and we play our game and we work hard, I think nothing can stop us.”


Concordia’s men’s and women’s hockey teams advance in the playoffs

Both Stingers hockey teams sweep their opponents in their best-of-three series

Stingers men’s hockey will play UQTR in OUA semifinals

The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team sweeps McGill in a best-of-three series in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarterfinals. The Stingers will be facing off against the Patriotes of the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières (UQTR) in the OUA semifinals.

Game 1 will be taking place in Trois-Rivières next Wednesday, March 1, with Game 2 at Concordia on March 3, and Game 3 back at UQTR on March 5 if necessary.

The Stingers finished the regular season ranked second in the OUA East division, right between UQTR and McGill, with both the Stingers and the Patriotes earning themselves a first-round bye and sweeping their opponents in the quarterfinals.

In what was an intense and physical battle, the Stingers came out on top, beating the McGill Redbirds 6-3 in Game 1 and 4-0 in Game 2.

Although the Stingers had a 1-3 record against the Patriotes this regular season, they have shown, night in and night out, that you can’t count them out. They always come out to play, especially in the third period, and this could be a game-changer for them in this series.

Concordia Stingers women’s hockey vs. Bishop’s Gaiters in RSEQ semifinals, 2023. Kyran Thicke/ Concordia Athletics

Stingers women’s hockey will face Montreal in RSEQ final

For the second year in a row, the Stingers’ women’s hockey team is headed to the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) final. This year, it was following a sweep of the Bishop’s University Gaiters in a best-of-three series.

The Stingers have also clinched a spot in the U Sports National Championship, starting on March 16.

The defending provincial and national champs will be facing the University of Montreal Carabins in the RSEQ final.

Game 1 vs. Montreal will be taking place on Thursday, March 2 at the Ed Meagher Arena, Game 2 on March 4 at the CEPSUM arena, and Game 3 back at Concordia on March 5 if necessary.

The Stingers finished the regular season first in the RSEQ, with the University of Montreal in second place, giving Concordia home-ice advantage.

The Stingers dominated the series against the Gaiters, winning both games with a score of 5-1. The Montreal vs. Ottawa series needed overtime in the third game to determine the winner.

Concordia had a 3-2 record against Montreal in the regular season. As it’s been the case all season long, Stingers hockey never disappoints, so this will make for an entertaining RSEQ final.


Division 2 men’s hockey is expanding in the RSEQ

Teams in the D2 league will get to play 13 extra games against CEGEPs starting in 2023-24

Starting next season, teams in the division 2 men’s university hockey league in the RSEQ will get an extra 13 games added to their season, played against division 1 CEGEP teams.

The league currently consists of three teams: Concordia University, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), and Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC).

Instead of playing 12 games per season, which sometimes can go a couple of weeks without a game, each team will now get to play 25 games per season.

Stingers D2 forward Christopher Séguin is looking forward to seeing a busier schedule. He previously played for the Patriotes of CEGEP Saint-Laurent, and is now in his first year at Concordia studying economics but will be switching to business marketing.

“We’re happy to have more games,” Séguin said. “It’s going to give us a better pace between school and hockey, while now it felt more like school, with sometimes one game every two weeks… It can get long.”

He also hopes to see the league get bigger, with more universities joining.

“It would be more fun and I think it deserves to become a strong league,” Séguin said. “There are a lot of good players, if they don’t make it to major junior, and they play college hockey or AAA, and they don’t know what to do, this would allow them to continue their education and keep playing hockey in university.”

The Stingers’ D1 men’s hockey team coach Marc-André Elément started the D2 program in 2021-22 to give more athletes the chance to play hockey at the university level. Elément also assists with the D2 team and is the athletics department liaison.

“Our league has become so good that we only recruit from major junior [CHL],” Elément said about the OUA, the league the Stingers’ D1 team is a part of. “So most [players from] CEGEP don’t really play D1. Some can, but not a lot. There are a lot of teams at that level in CEGEP but not in university. So that’s why we started this program, it gives the opportunity to 25 more players to play hockey and practice almost every day.”

Elément looks forward to seeing more universities join the D2 league and to seeing it grow over the next couple of years, with the possibility of some D2 teams moving up to the D1 league.


The “B.C. Boys:” Jack Vandenberg and Griffyn Bibbings

The rookies brought their positive vibes from Vancouver to Montreal

On July 27, 2022, Jack Vandenberg flew out from Vancouver to Montreal. The following day, Griffyn Bibbings followed, and the two were probably the only students at Concordia’s campus residence for the next few weeks.

The two British Columbians — Vandenberg, point guard from Central Vancouver, and Bibbings, forward from West Vancouver — bonded and started a friendship that earned them the nickname “B.C. Boys” from their teammates.

“When we got here, he was probably the first person I met,” Bibbings said about Vandenberg. “It was the morning after I landed, and because we’re both from B.C., we’re both on res [residence] as well. So we kind of do everything together. Our teammates just call us ‘B.C. Boys,’ and they just mean me and Jack.”

“Coaches have mentioned a few times, they don’t really see us without each other,” Vandenberg added. “Because we have a similar schedule apart from classes. It’s just practice, and then we go eat, and then we go back to the res [residence].”

Although the two rookies were both only 18 years old at the time, they didn’t feel that moving to a new city on their own was intimidating or particularly difficult to navigate.

“At no point was I just in my room not knowing a single person or not knowing what to do,” said Bibbings. “The morning after I got here, I met him [Vandenberg]. I probably met like 20 people on the first day. So it wasn’t really that hard.”

Vandenberg and Bibbings had the chance to meet the rest of the team at practice before playing exhibition games against NCAA teams in August.

They acknowledged that being part of a team can definitely make moving across the country a lot easier.

The “B.C. Boys” during the national anthem before a game. Kyran Thicke/ Concordia Athletics

“I feel like in our situation, it might be a little different than most,” Vandenberg explained. “Because when we came here we had the support of the coaches, teammates, like we already kind of had a friend group going into it with our teammates.”

Although the pair only met here last summer, they had played against each other in B.C. at some point, so they knew of each other.

Bibbings played high-school basketball at Rockridge Secondary and club basketball with 3D Basketball Academy during the spring and summer time, while Vandenberg played at St. George’s School and DRIVE Basketball.

Like all student-athletes, the two basketball players missed some time due to COVID-19 shutdowns. But according to them, this time off really helped separate the players who had been practicing during the shutdowns from those who hadn’t. They both stayed active with their respective clubs, which held outdoor sessions.

“Before COVID… I wasn’t that recognized [or] that good,” Vandenberg said. “Then I started getting more recognition because I put in more work whenever, I guess, a lot of people were chilling out.”

Stingers’ head coach Rastko Popovic also appreciates how hard his rookie point guard has been working.

“At the point guard position it’s tougher,” Popovic said. “Because we do have two really good point guards on our team, but what I like about Jack a lot is he’s a competitor, he competes, he’s not afraid, and he works really hard.”

Popovic has also been impressed by his two players’ maturity and ability to adapt from a high school setting to university, while juggling basketball and school.

Bibbings is currently enrolled in sociology, while Vandenberg is studying psychology, but they’re both keeping their options open, as they’re not sure if they want to stick to those programs yet.

Another thing that has impressed Popovic is the duo’s work ethic.

“They want to get better everyday, they’re very coachable, they listen, they’re both going to keep improving and hopefully by next year they’ll be able to make bigger contributions to our team,” Popovic said.

But that’s not the only thing that matters. Popovic also looks at the kind of people he’s recruiting and what they’re like off the court, and it was all positive when it came to Bibbings and Vandenberg. 

“They’re very very good kids in general, they’re good people, and that’s important to us when we recruit players.”

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