How Anthony Beauregard overcame adversity and pursued his dreams

Anthony Beauregard reflects back on a hockey journey that’s taken him across the globe

At three years old, Anthony Beauregard put on a pair of skates for the first time.

Throughout childhood, he was obsessed with hockey. He still remembers his mother buying him little cars, and him playing hockey with them instead. He spent his childhood around arenas, either playing, or watching his father’s games.

Fast-forward 23 years to June of 2021, where Anthony Beauregard was the top scorer for the Wichita Thunder, and was named the East Coast Hockey League’s (ECHL) Most Valuable Player for 2020-2021. He was second in the league in scoring with 22 goals and 71 points in 62 games playing in Wichita, Kansas.

Beauregard said that although he had an incredible season playing centre at Concordia in 2017-18 – in which he amassed 19 goals and 60 points in 28 games – to accomplish something as big at a professional level in Wichita was even more significant.

Bruce Ramsay, the Thunder’s head coach, said that Beauregard was a key factor in the team’s success in making it to the 2020-21 playoffs.

“He was a great motivator, he played with his heart on his sleeve, he wanted to win as much as anybody, and he was actually a physical player for his size. He played a hard physical game,” Ramsay said, referring to his 5-foot-7, 165-pound star. “He brought a lot of great attributes to our organization and was a huge reason for our success last year.”

Beauregard expressed that he wasn’t thinking about any awards during the season, but being named ECHL MVP was like a pat on the back.

“It was big for me because there aren’t a lot of Quebecers who accomplish this,” he said.

Another big achievement that Beauregard will always remember was playing for the Montreal Canadiens’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Laval Rocket, in 2017-18, after the Stingers’ season had ended.

“It was really fun. The experience of playing in the AHL, especially near home, it’s an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life. In my first game, there were about 60 or 70 people who went to see me there. I’ll never forget it.”

However, it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows for the Quebecer.

The following year, Beauregard signed a contract with the Brampton Beast, which was the Ottawa Senators’ ECHL affiliate, with the hopes of being called up to the AHL. After having an excellent season with Concordia, winning the Most Outstanding Player award in U Sports, and playing in the AHL, he was expecting a big role in Brampton, but that didn’t happen.

“I didn’t play a lot in Brampton, the coach didn’t really trust me. It was hard, it was a difficult year for me, personally,” Beauregard said. “It was a disappointing year, but the fact that I went to Dundee after, had a good season and loved it there, it made me want to play hockey again and be an important part of a team.”

He spent the 2019-20 season in Scotland with the Dundee Stars of the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL). Beauregard had re-signed another year with the team, but with the risk of the season getting cancelled because of COVID-19 and being stuck in Europe, Beauregard decided to go play in Wichita, which was only a two-and-a-half-hour flight away from his parents’ and childhood home in Saint-Damase, Quebec.

“It was a decision based on COVID, but if you look at what happened, it was a good thing,” he said.

Beauregard is now a winger for Sierre-Anniviers in the Swiss League. He is one of the team’s two imports (who both happen to be Quebecers), with the other one being Eric Castonguay.

“There’s a bit more pressure on us because the fans expect us to deliver and help win games,” he explained. “So, we have some pressure, but it’s a fun kind of pressure to handle because you know the fans are behind you, so for the moment I’m loving it, I’m very happy here.”

Beauregard said he feels good about his season so far. He’s racked up six goals and 25 points in 32 games played.

Anthony Beauregard, HC Sierre, 2021. Justine Eyer/Propulsion

Although this isn’t the first time he’s played in Europe, it’s the first time he’s played in such an offensive-oriented environment.

“The style of play in the U.K. is really close to the style in North America. There were a lot of hits, there were fights, it was a physical game, so I wasn’t disoriented with respect to that,” Beauregard recounted. “Here [in Switzerland] it’s a less physical game, there can’t be fights, and it’s a more offensive game, so my style of play is adapted to the style here.”

Ramsay expected Beauregard to adjust well to the offensive style of play in Switzerland.

“He’s an elite player,” Ramsay said. “I think no matter what country or what situation he’s put in, if he’s put on a sheet of ice, he’s going to play his heart out and have success.”

Beauregard has always wanted to play hockey in Switzerland.

“It’s an amazing country, and I know a lot of people who played in Switzerland and who’ve told me positive things,” he said. “The lifestyle is different than in North America. You play fewer games, so your body has time to recover, and on the monetary side, it’s better in Europe than in the East Coast (ECHL). I loved the time I spent in Dundee, so from there, I told myself ‘let’s give it a go in Europe.’”

He is currently on a one-year contract, but said he would like to stay in Switzerland for another year or two, if given the opportunity.

His goal remains to play at the highest level possible, so he hasn’t forgotten about the possibility of playing in the AHL or National Hockey League (NHL). However, he said he has to be realistic. At 26 years old, Beauregard realizes he’s a bit old to switch over to the NHL. So, his main focus is to take things one year at a time, to finish this season and see what happens from there.

As he reflected on his journey, Beauregard emphasized that one of the most important things is to never give up.

“I’m not a big player, so during my childhood, I kept hearing that I was too small, that I couldn’t play with men,” he said. “I always wanted to prove people who didn’t believe in me wrong.”

He added that he always tries to change negative comments into positivity.

“So for young players who are told the same thing, take those negative comments and use them as motivation,” he said.

“Never give up, no matter the situation. You’re never going to have an easy road, except if you’re an exceptional player. You’ll always have a year where you get cut, and you ask yourself if you should continue or stop.”

However, the lesson that we can take from Beauregard’s career is that when it comes to our biggest dreams, stopping is never the solution.


Photograph by Brianna Thicke


A long road to recovery for Serena Tchida

Concordia Stingers basketball forward Serena Tchida battled adversity to get to where she is today

In 2019, Serena Tchida’s collegiate basketball career was taking off. Playing for Cégep Édouard-Montpetit, her knack for rebounding and finishing around the rim was able to draw the attention of Concordia Stingers head coach Tenicha Gittens in January.

Tchida had excelled in basketball since she first picked up the sport at 15 years old. Now, in the midst of recruitment, all the six-foot forward needed was to showcase her abilities one more time. 

She had no idea that would be the last five-on-five game she would play. 

“In the first quarter, I partially tore my ACL,” Tchida said. “I had never been injured before besides some ankle issues, so during the game I wanted to go back on the court and play through it. I knew coach [Gittens] was recruiting me but my coach at the time told me to slow down and sit for the game because it’s my knee.” 

Tchida took some time to rest in the days following the game and managed to reduce the swelling in her right knee. Upon returning to practice with her team, despite the precautions she would fully tear her ACL.

“There were times when I wanted to quit [basketball], but coach [Gittens] helped steer me back in the right direction. She was there through it all,” Tchida said. 

The road to recovery in sports is impossible to accurately document. For every moment of glory in an athlete’s career, there is potential suffering around the corner. All the hard work and repetitions put in the gym behind the scenes can come crashing down with a single misstep, and prompt years of devotion towards simply being you again. 

Unfortunately for many student athletes, sustaining a major injury will beat them to the ground. Tchida said it tested her mentality more than anything. “Honestly, I feel like I’m stronger now,” Tchida said. “Now I think my injured [right] knee is stronger than my left. The MRI, rehab, and surgery was all taken care of by Concordia and coach [Gittens] because I was still being recruited, so recovering properly definitely helped.” 

Tchida works on her free throws ahead of the 2021-22 basketball season

“What made it so tough was that I was still studying at Édouard-Montpetit, but I was getting treatment on my knee at

 Concordia. So I was travelling between two schools and home every day.” she added. 

Tchida’s battles with injuries wouldn’t end there. While rehabbing from her ACL injury, she pulled her hamstring which kept her out of action for the entire 2019-20 basketball season. 

She described her experience as a rookie, and not being able to play and contribute to her team, as strenuous. 

“As a first-year, I felt a little bit out of place with the change in school,” Tchida said. “Under normal circumstances, I could play and connect with my teammates on the court but I was still rehabbing from my injuries. Again, coach [Gittens] was amazing to me and helped me find my place and feel comfortable.”

Once March 2020 rolled around and in-person activities were cancelled in response to the global pandemic, the women’s basketball team met online three times a week and continued to train with weights from home. In the summer of that year, government regulations permitted groups to train outside as long as physical distancing rules were respected as much as possible. Tchida said the team was split into groups for guards and forwards and would meet at 6 a.m. to train. In the fall, things shut down once more. 

“During that time, I connected with my teammates a lot and now we are like sisters. So it was really difficult when we had to go back to meeting online. I honestly don’t remember what we did after that, everything passed by like a blur,” Tchida said. 

To help the team cope with ongoing stress, Gittens set up weekly online meetings during the semester that were focused solely on talking amongst each other. 

“We would talk about things that were not related to basketball, just connecting with each other and letting out our emotions. It was an amazing idea by coach [Gittens] and another reason for why she’s so great.” 

When Montreal became a COVID-19 green zone, the team took their outdoor training back to the gymnasium, where they would practice three times a week. With the resumption of school and basketball season around the corner, the team upped their practice regiment to five times a week on top of weight training sessions.

Tchida has been on a long and strenuous road to recovery since early 2019, the last time she participated in a high-level basketball game. There were bumps and bruises along the way, but the Stingers forward going into her third year at Concordia University is finally ready to make her presence on the court known. 

“It’s been so long since I’ve played five-on-five, so I’m honestly a bit nervous,” Tchida said. “But I’m trying to take it one day at a time and focus on the things I can control.”

“I’m confident in the work I put in during practice and my recovery, so I’m hoping to show people I came out of this long break as a more complete basketball player.” 


Photographs by Catherine Reynolds


Injuries won’t stop Nelly Owusu from playing basketball

Recruiting is essential for university sports teams, as in most cases, student-athletes play about four or five years with their team before graduating.

The Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team recruited great talents from college in the past years––Nelly Owusu being one of them.

Owusu played basketball for Dawson College in division 1 of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) before playing for the Stingers. She was one of the best players in her league, especially in terms of defence, where she finished the 2017-18 season first in steals.

Head coach Tenicha Gittens said that when she recruited Owusu, she saw a player who had explosiveness, speed and an ability to take hold off defenders.

“It was amazing,” Gittens said. “She has one of the best attitudes. She’s definitely someone you want in your locker room, and as part of your program. We just saw her being able to be very disruptive on the defensive end of the floor.”

Owusu said she decided to join the Stingers because of the team’s coaching staff. She had offers from other places, such as McGill University and Bishop’s University, but Owusu said the coaches made her choice easier.

“I think it’s important to have a great coaching staff who believes in you and has your back,” Owusu said. “It’s important to know that your coaches not only care about you in terms of basketball, but also for your future. They’ll be around for the four-to-five years that you’re here.”

Owusu admitted she thought that the university basketball experience would be similar to when she played in college, but she quickly realized the difference in speed, strategies and talent level.

“At Dawson, we would [practice] an hour and a half, but it’s like two and a half hours here,” said Owusu. “It’s being able to remember everything, and apply it in the games. I thought I would be playing against all those same players that I played against in college, just like I played the same players in college that I played before in CEGEP.”

Gittens said the coaching staff was looking for that kind of defensive support when Owusu started with the Stingers. Owusu’s defensive game, as well as the little things she was bringing on the court, pushes her teammates to be better.

“When she first came here, it first took her like two games to kind of get the hang of it,” Gittens said. “Her ability to single handle defensively was what we were looking at. She was our leader defensively.”

Owusu has faced some challenging moments since her university debut. Unfortunately, two injuries slowed down her development, including an ACL tear. The point-guard said it was a frustrating moment, as it was her second ACL injury.

“I came in every day, and came at practice every day even if I couldn’t do much,” said Owusu. “I came back again for preseasons, but dislocated my shoulder. I really love basketball, and have played it for a long time. It was really demoralizing [to get hurt again], and be cheering from the bench once again. My experience [so far] includes a lot of determination, pushing and mental strength especially.”

Gittens said it’s hard to describe Owusu’s development so far because of her injuries. However, she thinks her defence has been an important part of the Stingers’s game since her arrival.

“When she’s really locked in, it opens up for more offensively. Nelly is more than just what you see on the scoresheet,” Gittens said. “On paper you’ll see steals, but you won’t see deflections. You won’t see that she created the steal. She was on her way to challenge Myriam [Leclerc] for rookie of the year, just based on what she was doing defensively. It was really exciting, and allowed us to play and do our thing.”

Owusu is obviously aware of her defensive talents, saying that she really likes the satisfaction of when she stops opponents, and does all those little things you won’t necessarily see on the scoresheet, but are as important as the baskets scored by the offence.

“When you get to lock down some specific players, for example the best players of the other teams, you feel that strength in you,” Owusu said. “I know that defence is important, even if a lot of people mostly just think about the amount of points and things like that. I feel like that low-key part is my best asset.”

With five games left to the team’s regular season, Owusu wants to improve her decision-making. She likes to attack the basket and shoot the ball, but is aware she sometimes needs to analyze the play better.

“Most of the time, all I see is the basket instead of looking around me and being aware of where the [opponent’s] defence is, or where my teammates are,” Owusu said. “If I’m not patient and not making the right decision, I can [make us lose possession]. If I do my job on defence, that’s fine, but if I can’t do it on the other end, than it won’t help the team.”


Photos by Cecilia Piga

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