Colour Commentary: Big four North American sports league suspend play due to COVID-19

Last Wednesday night, Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

What ensued next was absolute chaos. The NBA swiftly announced that it would be suspending play after that night’s games were finished.

Around 1 p.m. on March 12, after a meeting among team owners and commissioner Gary Bettman, the NHL also suspended play until further notice. Bettman has teased a summer restart, but nothing is confirmed as of publication.

Then the news of leagues and competitions really started to pour in. Here is a summary of what happened next:

  • NCAA’s March Madness, the single biggest sports gambling event in the United States announced the cancellation of the tournament.
  • Major League Soccer suspended its season for 30 days.
  • The Association of Tennis Professionals suspended play for six weeks.
  • The Canadian Football League combine was cancelled.
  • The International Ice Hockey Federation’s under-18 world championships got cancelled.
  • Women’s World Curling Championships got cancelled.
  • Hockey Canada suspended all activities including all Canadian Hockey League games, the U-Sports National Championships and all unsanctioned minor hockey leagues.
  • The American Hockey League suspended play until further notice.

This was all on Thursday.

Since then, many major competitions would follow suit, including the English Premier League. The EPL was one of few competitions that were supposed to continue until Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for COVID-19.

With sports being suspended/cancelled, many 24-hour sports radio and TV stations are scrambling. However, one channel that has to be given credit is TSN.

Their coverage of all things sports that day was incredible—they ran commercial-free from the time the NHL made it’s announcement around 1 p.m. until their flagship show, SportsCentre was scheduled at 6 p.m.

Thursday was a grim day, but some positive news came out of it. A team of three Canadian doctors had managed to isolate the COVID-19 virus to further research towards a vaccine.

Rick Westhead of TSN was the first reporter to interview one of the doctors on SportsCentre about the impact of what the team’s findings mean for research.

I tip my hat to TSN for continuing live coverage and reporting during a time where the world probably needs sports the most to distract them from what is going on.

At The Concordian, we are committed to you and will still be bringing you sports pieces every week.

Stay safe, stay calm, and stay clean. And for Pete’s sake, wash your hands.


Colour Commentary: The MLB missed the mark on the Astros cheating scandal

On Nov. 12, 2019, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich came out with a damning report that the Houston Astros illicitly stole signs during the 2017 and 2018 Major League Baseball seasons.

Mike Fiers, a former Astros pitcher, said that the Astros had an intricate system which involved a centre-field camera that gave a feed to someone behind the Astros’ dugout at their home stadium. Then, a member of the Astros organization would hit a garbage can to signal what pitch would be coming based on the sign the opposing catcher gave to the pitcher.

On Jan. 13, 2020, Rob Manfred, the commissioner of the MLB confirmed the allegations against the Astros. The trashcan method was only used during the 2017 season, the same season that the Astros claimed their first World Series Championship in the franchise’s history.

Manfred then threw the hammer down on the Astros, fining them $5 million USD, suspending their manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for the entirety of the 2020 season, and forcing them to forfeit their first and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. Moments after Manfred confirmed the allegations, the Astros’ owner Jim Crane fired both Hinch and Luhnow.

The punishment is undoubtedly harsh, but was it enough?

Well, the short answer is no.

The players were all given immunity by the MLB because of their cooperation with the investigation. Even if Manfred were to suspend some of the players, it is technically on the manager to make them aware of the rules. So the case of suspending them becomes one of legality, not morality. They knew what they were doing was wrong, however if an arbitrator were to get involved with the MLB Players Association, there would be enough of a case in favour of the Astros’ players to absolve them of all wrongdoing.

What about the championship though? That is an organizational feat, not just one by the players. This is where I feel like the MLB missed the mark.

The MLB had no problem cancelling the 1994 postseason, but for whatever reason they have a problem with stripping the Astros of a tainted title. Sign stealing has been around forever, and the counter argument to it is “create better signs,” but that becomes moot when a team is illegally videoing the opposition.

Baseball is a sport that polices itself. I’m sure some players will be hit by pitches, but at the end of the day they’ll still have their rings on their fingers and a banner hanging at Minute Maid Park.


Colour Commentary: Reminder to everyone that athletes aren’t superhuman

We always think of athletes as superhuman. Kobe Bryant’s death was a reminder that they are just as human as you and I.

Last Tuesday night, unfortunately we had another reminder.

In a game between the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues, defenceman Jay Bouwmeester collapsed on the bench from what is called a cardiac episode.

After an extended shift on the ice, Bouwmeester lost consciousness on the bench during a commercial break. Players from both teams were hollering at the training staff to tend to Bouwmeester.

The game was postponed to a later date and Bouwmeester was transported in a conscious and stable condition to hospital.

To make matters even more traumatic, Bouwmeester’s father was in attendance at the Honda Center as it was the Blues’ annual father/son road trip. Now, I’m not a parent but I can only imagine what was going through Bouwmeester’s father’s mind as his son laid motionless on the floor next to the bench.

However, if his father was back wherever he lived, there would most likely be a time difference and there can’t be anything scarier than waking up to a million phone calls from people saying “Oh my god, is your son ok? Did you see what happened?”

These horrifying events are brutal reminders that athletes are not superhuman. They have families and friends just like the rest of us.

I have to tip my cap to the training staff of the Blues and Ducks for how they handled the situation.

Bob McKenzie joined TSN 690’s Morning Show on Wednesday and said: “there was no better place for that, as unfortunate of an event as it is, than at an NHL rink.”

McKenzie is 100 per cent correct. The problem was identified right away and Bouwmeester had expert help by his side within 30 seconds of his collapse. Since the episode, Bouwmeester has undergone successful heart surgery to put an implant to help regulate his heart rhythm and is resting at home.

This is yet another reminder to us to hug your loved ones and tell them you love them.


Grading IWS: Praise the Violence

On a snowy, freezing Saturday night, wrestling fans came out of the woodwork to enjoy a night full of violence, swearing and trash-talking.

International Wrestling Syndicate (IWS) put on an incredible show last Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Club Unity.

This was my first time attending one of their events and hot damn was it worth it. It was an action-packed night filled with broken doors, chair shots, broken glass, ladders and a lot more gyrating than I would’ve thought to see at a wrestling promotion known for their hardcore matches.

Here’s a full rundown of the card:


Max Lemire def. Kevin Beru: World’s Largest Cruiserweight Challenge

Wrestlers with the build of Max Lemire’s body type are usually roped into the same category as beef heads that can’t do much. In addition, he was joined by his ring manager Professor H, and this is the typical heel (bad guy, for you non-wrestling fans) prototype.

Boy, did Lemire crush that theory.

The crowd was on Kevin Beru’s side and wouldn’t budge from that position. It’s hard to hate a guy who comes down to the ring by himself, trying to put a bully like Lemire in his place. This was a good back and forth match with both wrestlers taking some good bumps.

The sound of vicious chops was echoing through the room and I couldn’t help but feel for both guys.

While the referee was distracted by Lemire, Professor H gave Beru a shot to the throat with his cane which would lead to Beru’s demise.

Match rating: 6.5/10


Veda Scott def. Meave O’Farrell

Veda Scott holds Meave O’Farrell against the ropes

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from this match. But that’s the thing about expectations and IWS—they are often defied.

One thing was very clear from the time the bell rang; these women kick ass. Last night was the first time these two had ever wrestled together so naturally, you would expect some rust and a little bit of sloppiness.

If you saw this match, you’d think these two had been wrestling together for years.

The match had very few, if any, lulls. This was the type of match that if you blinked, you’d miss something. Both wrestlers showed off their arsenal of moves and it made for a highly entertaining match.

Match Rating: 7.8/10


SeXXXy Eddy def. Puf

This was… something.

Again, I didn’t know what to expect from this entire show. I was certainly not expecting what ensued in this… “match.”

I really just don’t know what to say. This segment had a lot of gyrating, spanking and references to SeXXXy Eddy’s semi erect penis. I’ve heard tales of SeXXXy Eddy’s naked moonsaults, but unfortunately (fortunately? I don’t know anymore) this match only featured him spanking Puf with his rainbow-coloured Croc.

PCP Crazy F’N Manny will take on Hardcore Channing Decker at Unfnsanctioned on March 21st in what is expected to be his final match

Somewhere in all this madness, there was an actual wrestling match. Regardless of all the add-ons and gimmicks mentioned, it was actually a very technical match. Puf even showed off some flexibility by pulling the “Matrix” move a couple of times after absorbing some left-hand punches.

SeXXXy Eddy ultimately put the match to bed with his signature (clothed) moonsault.

Match Rating: 6.9/10


Hardcore Channing Decker def. The Green Phantom

Before we get into it—there was a really cool moment before the match.

PCP Crazy F’N Manny, the founder of IWS, came out to talk to the crowd, full of longtime IWS fans. At 43 years old, the years are catching up to him and he felt like it was time to hang up his wrestling boots for good.

Hardcore Channing Decker, who considers Crazy FN Manny a mentor, came out and offered him one more match before retiring. Not just any match, a “Death Match” at IWS’s flagship event, “Unfnsanctioned,” on Mar. 21. And of course, staying true to the name Crazy F’N Manny, he accepted the challenge.

Alright, back to the action.

The Green Phantom was one of two performers that I was really excited to see. I had heard a lot about him, how crazy he is, and it was finally time to see if he lived up to the hype.

Spoiler alert: He did.

Decker fed him chop after chop across the chest to start the match and Phantom returned the favour.

Then things got wild. A famous saying in wrestling is “you never know what you’ll find under a wrestling ring.”

Well, in this case, it was a bunch of wooden doors, chairs and a skateboard with light tubes attached to it. Chaos quickly ensued.

Phantom and Decker went blow for blow in this one. Decker threw a chair at Phantom’s face. Phantom responded by power-slamming Decker through a door. Decker ultimately got the last laugh when he hit Phantom across the chest with the makeshift light-tube-skateboard weapon, shattering the glass all over the place. I even got a couple of glass shards to the face.

This was reminiscent of Mick Foley’s match with Edge in WWE’s (World Wrestling Entertainment) Wrestlemania 22.

Match Rating: 8.2/10


No contest between Kevin Blanchard (champion) and Benjamin Tuli for the IWS Canadian Championship

This was the first match back from the show’s intermission so they had to come back with a bang.

This one had the potential for being the match of the night. Top rope moves, power-slams, suplexes—it was as good as it gets.

But unfortunately, it’s not how you start, it’s how you end.

Due to interference by Matt Angel by way of a chair shot to the face of Tuli, the match ended without a winner.

Hats off to Blanchard and Tuli — this could’ve been one for the ages had it ended with a winner. Nonetheless, the crowd was on the edge of their seats from the match’s entirety.

Match Rating: 8.7/10


Tabarnak de Team (TDT) def. Kevin Blackwood and Daniel Garcia

Tag team matches usually aren’t my thing but how could I not get behind two good Quebecois boys in the team of

Daniel Garcia screams in pain as Mathieu St-Jacques of TDT delivers a shot to his arm

Mathieu St-Jacques and Thomas Dubois.

TDT did most of the beating up with Blackwood and Garcia refusing to go down easily.  But ultimately when you get body-slammed through a door, your odds of winning a match go significantly down. Both Blackwood and Garcia suffered that fate.

Match Rating: 7.3/10


Matt Angel def. “Speedball” Mike Bailey in a ladder match for the IWS World Championship

What. The. F***.

If I only had three words to describe this match, those would be them.

This match was easily the best one of the night, and that’s saying a lot considering the quality of matches that were performed throughout. Technically, both wrestlers were very sound. The crowd was on their feet the entire time chanting “holy sh*t” at what they were seeing.

There were a ton of death-defying spots in this match, mostly off the top of a ladder. Regardless of most of the fans being behind Speedball, Angel took the match in dramatic fashion, making for an excellent finale.

This entire show was a true reminder that there is hidden talents all over the place and that the best wrestlers aren’t only in the WWE or AEW (All Elite Wrestling). The independent wrestling circuit has an enormous amount of talent and it was capped off by Bailey and Angel’s match.

Match Grade: 11/10


Overall Show Grade: A-

IWS’s next live event is Unfnsanctioned on Mar. 21 at Club Soda.


Photos by Laurence Brisson Dubreuil


Fans need to learn to separate sports from real life

Soccer supporters are known for many things, but above all, being absolutely insane about their respective favourite clubs.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United at the end of the 2013 Premier League season, it hasn’t been easy being a fan. The club is throwing money at transfers that, for the most part, haven’t worked out. They have had four different managers and haven’t placed better than second (19 points behind Manchester City in 2018) in the Premier League since Ferguson’s retirement.

Manchester City has since won three league titles, Liverpool has won the UEFA Champions League and are currently on the verge of winning the Premier League for the first time in over 30 years in historically good fashion.

To put this in perspective for non-football sports fans, imagine two of your favourite team’s greatest rivals playing at the top of their league, year after year, while yours struggles to make any impact.

It’s not fun.

Manchester United supporters have stuck by the club through it all. However, the fans protest against the team’s owners, the Glazer family, at matches by wearing green and gold scarves.

The symbol of protest against the Glazers became the green and yellow scarf, the club’s colours when United were initially formed Newton Heath back in 1878.

They’ve called for the Glazer’s to sell the team and fire Ed Woodward, the chief executive overseeing the club’s operations, or in other words, the man responsible for the current state of the club.

On Jan. 28, some fans took things way too far. Some 20-odd fans attacked Woodward’s home with flares. Thankfully, neither Woodward nor any members of his family were home at the time.

As a fan, I too am incredibly frustrated with the club’s executives who have been borderline incompetent over the past seven seasons, but there needs to be a line. Fans of any team, under any circumstances, should not be tracking down a player, coach, executive and hell, even the waterboy’s house. In response to the attack, the club put out a statement condemning the attack.

“Manchester United Football Club have tonight been made aware of the incident outside the home of one of our employees. Anybody found guilty of a criminal offence, or found to be trespassing on this property, will be banned for life by the club and may face prosecution. Fans expressing opinion is one thing, criminal damage and intent to endanger life is another. There is simply no excuse for this.”

The last part is bang on.

“There is simply no excuse for this.”

If it hasn’t been made clear yet, I love sports to my core. They are a part of who I am, as is Manchester United.

When the news broke out about what had happened to the Woodward home, I was not only ashamed of being a United fan—but a sports fan as a whole. I thought to myself there’s no way Montreal Canadiens fans would do anything like this. Impossible.

Well, not so much. It hasn’t happened in recent years, mostly because they haven’t had much playoff success, but Canadiens fans aren’t exactly the most gracious of winners either. Who can forget the riots after their series wins against Washington and Pittsburgh in 2010? What about the riot downtown after beating the Bruins in the 2008 playoffs?

Fans who took part in either events mentioned would argue that they are just showing their passion. Well, passion is one thing, hooliganism is another.

Nobody wants to be associated with the latter—it is shameful behaviour that makes the club/team bad, and more importantly the individuals. It says a lot more about you, who was a part of the chaos, rather than “the team who made you do it.”

There are many ways to deal with frustration caused by clubs. Maybe time for a new hobby?


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Kobe Bryant’s legacy will live on

On Jan. 26, the world lost a legend. Kobe Bryant was not just one of the best basketball players of all time. He was an icon, an Oscar winner, a mentor to many, but above all he was a husband and father.

I’ve never met Kobe, nor have I ever seen him play live. To be honest, I’m not much of a basketball guy. But growing up watching SportsCentre before school every morning, there was always something about Kobe Bryant. I, alongside countless others, grew up watching Kobe do his thing.

Kobe’s death shook the entire basketball community around the world. I asked some members of the Stingers basketball community what Kobe Bryant meant to them.


Tenicha Gittens: “Kobe Bryant to me is the definition of that competitive spirit, that intestinal fortitude that people say you’re supposed to have. He was borderline obsessed with the game of basketball and just wanted to be the best. He encompasses everything that it means to be a true athlete. And it wasn’t just about him. He wanted to make his teammates better and just be the ultimate fighter, competitor, warrior, whatever you wanna call it. Mamba mentality. It’s a real thing. Just saying it feels like it gives you power, like you can be Mamba. Basketball-wise—he was just the ultimate competitor. He made it okay to not care about what was said on the court. He would pull your heart out and be the first one to check up on you after. Off the court he was the ultimate advocate as well for women’s sports and basketball. You know, 41 years old—he didn’t have to coach his daughter and be an advocate but he wanted to continue to grow the game on all sides. His legacy is going to be his legacy on the court, but we got cut short of everything he was doing off the court. He was just scratching the surface. He was constantly watching women’s basketball—his daughter Gianna was the reason he started watching basketball again. It’s so easy for a male professional athlete to detach themselves from the women’s game for whatever reason, but it takes a vision to say ‘we need to be a part of this too. We need to be able to help support them and supply them with resources to grow their game.’ He means a whole lot. I have literally never cried like that for someone I have never met.”

Rastko Popovic: “I was on my couch in my living room resting Sunday morning when I found out about the helicopter crash, on Twitter and just saw the TMZ tweet. I had to look twice. My phone started buzzing so I get messages from people and it’s just, it’s unreal. And to be honest, you know, it’s not really if you’re a Kobe Bryant fan at this point. If you know basketball you understand how good he was and how much of a great competitor he was. You just appreciate what he did for the game of basketball and some guys obviously grew up idolizing him and for as long as you know basketball, you respect the champion, the competitive [player] that he was. It really puts things in perspective—I was involved in a big car accident two weeks ago. I missed the game against UQAM, and was pretty badly injured to start. You know, I just appreciated life to that sense where I was just saying I was just happy to be alive. I won’t lie to you, I kissed my two daughters at night and I had some tears. You never know what life’s gonna throw at you certain days and, you think some people are indestructible then something like this happens.”

Olivier Simon: “Mamba mentality—it’s a big thing. It defines Kobe—it’s work ethic in its purest form. And I think we play, we practice every day and it’s huge in our life, not just basketball. It’s the moment until you can put it to work, with your family, and basketball. It’s a way to live your everyday life. So I just try to have fun, and just do the best I can with whatever I’m doing. That’s what Mamba mentality is for me. I was talking to my coaches, like, everyone who knows when we heard about the story. Everyone is talking about his death as if we were personally affected, like as if we knew who he was. It was just hard because, you know, we’ve watched Kobe for a long time. The whole day was just really weird because I just imagined him, his family and his daughters. It was a hard day.”

Dwight Walton: “It’s not what he meant to me. It’s what he was about. His commitment to excellence, his commitment to skill development, his commitment to the process of what it took to win. And whether you were a fan of his or not, you respected that about him because, listen, he—throughout his career, you heard stuff. I won’t pretend to have been around the Lakers when he played. But you heard his teammates, he would alienate himself from his teammates a lot. But it’s because he wanted to win so, so badly, so whether you thought he was a selfish player, or whatever word you wanted to use for him; his commitment to wanting to win so much is what stands out for me. When you mimic, to who I consider the best player of all time, Michael Jordan, that’s the biggest compliment you could give to somebody; he wants to be what Michael Jordan was. The same traits, that commitment to excellence, that commitment to his body, his skill development, all of that stuff. That’s what resonated with me. I’m not gonna sit here and say that I was a huge Kobe Bryant fan, but I respected the process he went through to make sure that he was the best player that he could be. You see all the outpouring of love and affection that he’s been getting since the news broke on Sunday. Everybody knows the great basketball player he was but I think the reason why everybody is so emotional is because of the transition he made to being a great father, a great husband. And a great mentor to not only his kids but to the youth, especially the women, the little girls that wanted to play basketball. He was a major advocate for women’s basketball. His daughter Gianna, by all accounts was on her way to doing big, big and better things basketball-wise. And if you noticed, when Kobe Bryant first retired, he wasn’t a fixture at Laker games. He wasn’t going to a lot of games. But I think his daughter’s love for the game reinvigorated, reenergized him and his love for the game of basketball. He put the same relentless work ethic into becoming a great producer in the media world, a best-selling author, he won an Academy Award for his short film. Some people are saying that he lived a full life in his 41 years, but I think his life was just getting started.”


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Colour Commentary: Christine Sinclair is Canada’s most underappreciated athlete

When you think of great Canadian athletes, nowadays the first names that come to mind are usually Sidney Crosby, Conor McDavid, Bianca Andreescu and Denis Shapovalov.

The last three haven’t been in the conversation for long. However there’s one name missing from that list—Christine Sinclair.

Sinclair burst on to the international soccer scene back in 2000. Since then, she has had an incredible list of accolades, including the 2012 Lou Marsh Award, a 14-time Canadian Player of the Year winner, and has been nominated seven times for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

Most recently, she scored yet another record breaking goal; undoubtedly her biggest achievement—which is saying a lot considering her resume.

On Jan. 29, playing against Saint Kitts and Nevis in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, Sinclair netted two goals, vaulting her ahead of Abby Wambach for the most international soccer goals scored by a man or woman.

The most goals. Of all time. A Canadian. In soccer.

Let that sink in.

Think of all the incredible players in the world—Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Pelé, Abby Wambach… I could go on forever. At the top of the list for international goals, sits the Canadian from Burnaby, British Columbia.

So the question remains: why hasn’t this been made as big a deal as it should be, especially in Canadian media?

Perhaps the timing of Sinclair’s achievement has been overshadowed by the death of Kobe Bryant, the Super Bowl and Canadian prodigy Alphonso Davies playing some of his best football at Bayern Munich, but I don’t think that it’s an excuse for the lack of coverage of this absolutely remarkable feat.

Soccer’s popularity is growing steadily in Canada due in part to the injection of highly touted male, youth players such as Davies, Balou Tabla and Liam Millar. However, the fact still remains that Canada’s male side is ranked 73rd in the world according to FIFA rankings, meanwhile the women’s team is ranked 8th in the world. Christine Sinclair has been must-see-TV for a long time. Let’s hope either TSN or Sportsnet realize this before she retires.


“The best part of hockey,” 3ICE seeks to deliver an entertainment-fueled product

Picture this — you’re at a hockey game featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers with players like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The third period is winding down, the game is tied, and you whisper to the person next to you “I hope we’re gonna get to see some overtime.”

What’s not to love about overtime? 3-on-3 play is arguably the best thing in hockey right now — any game that has the extra frame is pretty much must-see-TV for fans. The teams’ coaches throw out their best players on the ice and the excitement commences. When a game heads to overtime, you are bound to see some highlight reel plays.

3ICE is a brand new summer hockey league that will kick off in the summer of 2021. It is strictly 3-on-3 play that CEO E.J. Johnston describes it as the most exciting way to play hockey.

“We’ve got all the best parts of hockey,” said Johnston. “It’s all the speed, dangles, creativity that fans want. It makes the rink that canvas that lets these players that are artists really show their stuff.”

Johnston partnered up with Hockey Hall of Famer, Craig Patrick, to create the new professional league which is totally independent from the NHL.

“[When it comes to creating the league] the wheels started turning legitimately about two and a half to three years ago,” said Johnston. “Going to the three-on-three camps of the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils, and watching the NHL overtime format. At first I felt that three-on-three was a gimmick but it did not take me long to be on board after watching a couple of games.”

In its first season, 3ICE will have eight teams, consisting of six skaters and one goalie with substitutes travelling with the teams in case of injury. The league will play mini tournaments in eight different cities over the summer. Games will be two eight-minute halves of running time, with a four minute intermission to clean the ice. Johnston says the thing that sets them most apart from traditional 3-on-3 hockey is that there will be no penalties — if a player commits an infraction, it will directly result in a penalty shot.

“Our product is going to be very snackable,” Johnston said. “We’re going to pack about seven games in a three and a half hour broadcast. It’s a great way to spend an evening out.”

3ICE has already confirmed that they have television broadcast deals with CBS Sports in the US, while in Canada their games will be broadcasted on TSN and RDS.

What hasn’t been confirmed is who will be playing in this league, as 3ICE has not secured any players yet. However, Johnston says that they do have some names in mind as comparables for the type of players they are aiming to attract as they have been talking to multiple agencies.

“He is an ex-NHLer, that no longer has a contract,” Johnston said. “I like to point to a guy like Conor Sheary. He’s a third liner playing 13-14 minutes a night but is the first guy over the boards when the game goes to overtime. [Our ideal player] has also played for three or five years in the NHL.”

Johnston also said that players nearing the end of their careers in the NHL but would still like to play once out of a contract like Jason Spezza and Corey Perry would also be great fits for 3ICE.

In terms of which eight cities will host the inaugural season of 3ICE, Johnston said that it will be up to the fans. Fan engagement will be a big part of the league, including voting on which cities will host, helping to design jerseys, and will even be able to weigh in on video reviews.

We genuinely want the fans to be a part of the process,” said Johnston. “We want them on the business side and the on-ice side. We’re trying to create what we call ‘the biggest locker-room in the world.’”

When it comes to which cities will be hosting these mini tournaments, Johnston mentioned four Canadian cities as potential candidates — those being Montreal, Toronto, Halifax and Quebec City. However, he said it will come down to wherever they garner the most interest from official votes that they will release to the fans sometime within the next two months.

Johnston said that the league has a lot of potential for expansion depending on how successful their first season goes.

“In our plans are things like expansion into Asia, Europe, the women’s game,” said Johnston. “We’d like to see our version of the Little League World Series where we’d have [intercontinental play].”

Graphic by @sundaeghost


Colour Commentary: The allure of college sports

The NCAA College Football Playoff National Championship was last Monday and it was not exactly a game that will be remembered as one of the best matchups.

As a Bengals fan it was incredibly exciting to watch Joe Burrow tear up yet another top defence in the Clemson Tigers, throwing for 463 yards and five touchdowns.

But I digress.

Forgetting about the evil organization that is the NCAA, the players themselves are so amazing to watch; the sheer emotion and passion being evoked by them.

For most of the players in the final, it was their last chance to play in a primetime sports game with millions upon millions watching them. It’s why the wins are that much sweeter and the losses are that much harder to swallow.

According to the NCAA’s statistics, only two per cent of division one football players get drafted to the NFL. That number does not include actually getting a contract or playing time. The odds of making it as a pro are very slim.

Personally, watching college sports is a reminder of the dedication that so many put into the sports they love. For many players, it is a culmination of the early morning practices, long road trips and heavy enrollment costs to play amateur sports.

Forget the NCAA—the same holds true for university sports across Canada as well. I’ll never forget when the Concordia Stingers were eliminated by the Queen’s Gaels in the 2018-19 OUA East Division playoffs. It was captain Philippe Hudon’s last game as a Stinger.

When the Gaels scored their overtime series clinching goal, Hudon’s tears immediately started to flow. I could only imagine what was going through his head at that moment.

The amount of sacrifice that goes into a student athlete playing for their school is quite astonishing. After the University of Connecticut Huskies won the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, Shabazz Napier, the team’s point guard, said in an interview with Fox Sports that he had had a lot of hungry nights.

This is why so many people love college sports. Yes, the NCAA is a disgusting organization; it cannot be said enough. The players’ stories resonate with so many and show us how much they sacrifice to play a game they love.

Watch some highlights of either college football or basketball national championship finals, and take a look at the players’ faces. That’s how much sports mean to them.


Stingers 7, Lakers 2: “Leaders lead the way”

The Stingers headed into their Saturday night clash with the Nipissing Lakers having lost four games in a row — all to top ranked opponents in McGill, Carleton and twice to UQTR.

This turned into an important game as the Stingers were only two points ahead of the Lakers going into this game.

“The guys know that every game is an important one, especially in our league,” said head coach Marc-André Élement. “They were two points behind us, we needed that win and we got it.”

It was apparent early on that this game would be a barn burner as both teams combined for five goals in the first period, with Concordia coming out on top — leading 3-2 after the first frame.

“The team is really happy [with the way they played],” said Élement. “I just didn’t like the first period to be honest. We had a three goal lead and took some stupid penalties [so it got away from us].”

Philippe Sanche recorded a hattrick in the game and Carl Neill added three assists to his season point totals as well. Élement said that he needed his veterans to step up in this game, considering the gravity of its significance with regards to the playoff picture.

Our message before the game was ‘leaders lead the way,’” said Élement. “They really needed to step up and that’s [exactly] what they did.”

Sanche credits his performance from last night to his linemates. He, along with Alexander Katerinakis and Tyler Hylland, dominated the game whenever they were on the ice. The three players combined for four goals and two assists.

“You wanna score every game,” said Sanche. “Our overall work in the offensive zone was great. It was a great game offensively for us.”

The Stingers are back in action tonight. They’ll take on the Queen’s University Gaels who beat them back on Oct. 11 by a score of 5-0.


Feature photo by Cecilia Piga


Ravens 4, Stingers 3 OT: Stingers battle back but fall short in OT for second game in a row

Last week the Stingers beat the Ottawa Gee Gees 8-7 in overtime.

The Stingers looked to have turned a corner but in the three games following that win, they have gone winless, with a 0-1-2 record in that stretch.

“It’s two big points. It’s not an easy weekend,” said head coach Marc-André Élément. “It’s not an easy weekend, we gotta work on some things but overall I’m happy about the way we played this weekend.”

Whenever Concordia faces Carleton, things get chippy — fast. Last night’s game was no exception to that rule.

Everyone knows about the rivalry with McGill which comes naturally as they are the Stingers’ crosstown rival. Those games always make for high intensity, fast paced hockey.

The one with Carleton is just different. These games always contain some form of controversy. In this edition, the controversy came in the third period when Chase Harwell made a seemingly clean hit but was given a five minute penalty and an ejection for a slew-foot.

On the ensuing powerplay, Carleton took full advantage and notched a goal off the stick of Alexandre Boivin. Exactly six seconds after the penalty was over, Boivin scored again

About two minutes after that, the Ravens’ Cody Caron took a double minor for high sticking. Right off the faceoff win by Félix Lauzon, Bradley Lalonde one timed a puck past Mark Grametbauer, the netminder for the Ravens. A minute and 50 seconds later, Liam Murphy streaked down the right wing side and fired home the tying goal.

Before their match with Carleton, the Stingers’ hadn’t scored a powerplay goal since they played RMC on Nov. 23. They scored all three of their goals last night with the man advantage. Captain Philippe Sanche scored the first goal of the game — his first goal since Oct. 12.

“I think that was my hardest shot ever,” Sanche laughed. “I was so angry at myself for not scoring goals on so many chances in the last few games. It was a great play from all five guys on the ice.”  The players were in a light mood after, not dwelling on their losing streak. But the fact remains that they will need to start winning games if they want to be taken seriously in the playoff conversation.

“We gotta score more goals. When we have the chance we have to put it in,” said Élément. “We have to be hungrier around the net.”

The Stingers will resume play on Jan. 18 when they take on the Nippissing Lakers, a team they have yet to face this season, at home. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Ed Meagher Arena.


Feature photo by Cecilia Piga


McGill 3, Stingers 2 OT: McGill comes out on top on carnival night

There are very few times where teams are happy after a loss. For the Concordia Stingers, this was one of them.

It was a hostile environment at McConnell Arena as many McGill students were in attendance as part of their carnival week. Kyle Jessiman made his debut as a Stinger and despite the loss, the 20-year-old made quite the impression on his new team.

“For his first game, in front of all those people it could be a little intimidating,” said defenceman Carl Neill. “But he did a heck of a job, we’re very happy for him.”

Head coach Marc-André Élément showed great confidence in the rookie, starting him in front of the crowd. They jeered him the entire night but that did not faze the youngster making his first start.

“He played really well. I’m very proud of him,” said Élément. “It’s not easy coming in playing in full [arena], against McGill — it’s not easy. It just showed how mentally [tough] he is.”

The full crowd was given quite the show, as right from the opening faceoff, the game was fast-paced and physical. The game was reminiscent of the OUA conference final playoff series between the two teams back in the 2017-18 season.

The physicality of the game played to the strength of many Stingers players, including Chase Harwell who scored the team’s second goal of the game just under a minute after McGill took a 2-1 lead in the third period.

I love that type of game, the atmosphere was crazy and emotions are high,” said Harwell. “I think we played really well. We deserved those two points but that’s the way overtime goes — one bounce and it’s all over.”

This was without a doubt the Stingers’ best losing performance of the season, which on the surface isn’t saying much as they did not get the full two points. However the team felt that they deserved a better fate.

“I think we dominated the third period with a lot of scoring chances,” said Élément. “I’m really proud of the guys. It’s not easy to play in front of a full crowd like that.”

The Stingers hit a bunch of posts in the third period and overtime, and ultimately didn’t get the last bounce they needed to get the victory.

McGill’s goaltender Louis-Philippe Guindon had another stellar performance as well, making 56 saves on 58 shots. This was by far the Stingers’ highest output of shots on goal in a game this season.

This was one of the most entertaining games of the U-Sports season and Élément couldn’t help but take in all in and salute both teams, and the crowd.

“I think university should always [have a full crowd],” said Élément. “It was a great game. For 10 bucks they had a great show — it’s great for hockey.”

Élément wouldn’t confirm who would start in goal for the Stingers tonight against the #6 ranked Carleton Ravens. Puck drop for the game is set for 7:30.

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