Carl Neill: a Stingers odyssey

It’s not unusual for Carl Neill to spend plenty of time handling the puck—he’s the Stingers’ top defenceman.

Even for a defenceman, in the first period against the Nipissing Lakers, his teammates were making sure to feed him the puck as much as they could.

Finally, near the end of the period, the puck went from Neill’s stick to the back of the net. It was a powerplay goal, like many he’d scored before. But this time, the celebration by his teammates was something special.

“I’m really, really proud of him, we all are,” said Neill’s coach, Marc-André Élement.

Neill’s goal was his 84th point as a member of the Concordia Stingers. He had just moved into first place, as the highest scoring defenceman in Stingers history.

“It’s a great honour,” said Neill, who sits just one short of the team’s all-time assist record as well. When he learned he was approaching both records after just three seasons with the team, the stingers alternate captain was shocked.

Carl Neill reflects on his three years as a Concordia Stingers

“I know Concordia’s been around forever,” said Neill. “I imagined there’s some guys a couple hundred years back that must have got a few points so I never really thought of that.”

Maybe he was surprised, but anyone that’s watched him over the last three seasons shouldn’t be. He’s dominated the university game since day one. He’s been one of the country’s best blueliners and made his mark in the Stingers’ history books.

In his three years Neill has collected awards on and off the ice, all-star nominations, and a collection of impressive stats that any player would be proud of.

He has played overseas representing his country, gone to the national university hockey championships, and done it all with the flare to his game that’s allowed him to be one of the top players in the league.

Neill joined the Stingers with a shining resume in junior hockey. He was captain of the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL, where he set records just like he’s started to do with the Stingers.

His 178 points rank fourth all-time in Phoenix history while his 139 assists are second overall. Among defencemen though, he is the sole leader in both, along with goals (39).

Sherbrooke was also where he would end up meeting his best friend, future roommate and Stingers teammate Chase Harwell.

The two played three seasons together with the Phoenix and joined forces again a few years later at Concordia. Harwell’s face lights up with a big smile whenever the topic of his teammate and former captain comes up.

“He’s my best friend,” said Harwell. “We grew up together. He’s a great guy, I’m just so happy to see him have that success. He deserves it.”

Chase Harwell and Neill have played together as teammates for six seasons at the junior and university levels combined

His impressive junior career was enough to get him drafted into the NHL. In the fifth round of the NHL entry draft, the Vancouver Canucks chose Neill. He went on to play in several professional training camps before deciding to take the U Sports route and earn a degree before trying to head to the pro leagues when things didn’t work out in terms of the NHL.

Looking back, there’s no doubt in his mind that he made the right choice by going down the U Sports path.

“I made the right decision coming here,” said Neill. “Coming out of junior, not knowing much of what U Sports is Marc told me it was a good program here. I had faith in him and he had faith in me. It coupled well. I’m really happy about my decision. I’m happy I didn’t go to McGill [instead].”

While it’s been gaining traction and notoriety, U Sports isn’t a league that every player knows about coming out of junior. Neill was entering a completely new world and system of hockey. He’s become a major advocate for the league now, but three years ago, it was a leap of faith.

From the moment Neill walked into the Ed Meagher arena, the expectations were sky-high for him. He was the marquee rookie of a strong class of first years. His coach expected him to come in and become a number one defenceman early on.

“He’s going to be the guy who leads the power play, he’s going to be the quarterback,” said Élement just before Neill’s rookie season in 2017. “I’m pretty sure he’s going to be one of the top defencemen in the league.”

Despite any internal or external pressure to come in and be a top player in a new league, Neill played like a veteran from his very first game.

A cerebral player, he was a key contributor in what would be an explosive offense that season. He showed the vision and ability to rush the puck up ice that earned him NHL attention and became an instant player that opposing teams had to gameplan for.

“He certainly lived up to the expectations,” said former stingers captain Philippe Hudon. “He never second-guessed his decision to play U Sports hockey, and coupled with his desire to become a better hockey player, he was an immediate impact to our team and has done wonders since then.”

Neill would end up leading the entire country in scoring by a defenceman with 31 points in 28 games. His team was one of the top eight in the league, earning a trip to the national championship for the first time in over 30 years for Concordia.

Neill has been the back bone of the Stingers’ defensive group since he joined the team back in 2017

While Neill and the Stingers ended up losing, the defender was rewarded for his impressive rookie season. He was named to the OUA East first all-star team as well as the U Sports all-rookie team.

Off the ice, he was presented with the Guy Lafleur award for his combination of success in the game as well as in the classroom. All in all, a good start to his university career.

His second season, the team lost their top two scorers, including league MVP Anthony Beauregard. Instead of an offensive step back, or sophomore slump, Neill kicked it up a notch. Despite a less productive team, he upped his season totals to 33 points, good enough for second in the country among defencemen. He was named to the OUA East all-star team and earned OUA defenceman of the year honours.

On top of that, he was selected to the FISU games to represent Canada in Russia once his season ended. He was among the team of top university players that won bronze at the tournament.

At the start of the year though, another of Neill’s talents was recognized. He was named an assistant captain for the team and his leadership became a major part of his role on the team. The message constantly repeated by teammates is that Neill takes care of people.

As much as his sarcastic prodding and joking are a part of him, he is someone who truly cares for the wellbeing of his teammates.

He helped recruit former teammates like Harwell and Hugo Roy and made sure they and their fellow rookies were brought into the fold immediately and never had to feel like outsiders.

“Obviously he’s an amazing hockey player but on the other side he’s just a great dude,” said Harwell. “If a guy needs a ride, he picks them up. If a guy is having trouble at home or with his girlfriend, he’s there for you. He’s the guy you want on your team.”

Neill’s goal was always to make the guys comfortable, to show them the ropes and have his teammates enjoy an environment where they felt supported and relaxed.

“It’s important to have that on a team,” said Neill, listing past teammates like Hudon who helped him as a rookie. “I came here my first year, not really knowing what was going on. It’s good to pass the torch and help the boys along.”

He’s the kind of player that teammates light up when asked to talk about him. The respect for Neill in the Stingers locker room is evident.

While this past season may not have been as statistically dominant as the last two (20 points in 25 games), Neill had plenty to celebrate.

He played a preseason game as a member of a Quebec U Sports all-star team against the top prospects of the Montreal Canadiens and etched his name across the Stingers record books.

“All the credit goes to him and his work ethic,” said Élement.

Neill now sits 12th all-time in scoring in Stingers history in addition to sitting second all-time in assists and leading among defencemen.

And for the first time, his Stingers future is uncertain. Neill has turned down pro offers every season. He has focused on finishing his degree before turning to the professional world.

Where he’ll be next year, whether it’s at Concordia or on a new team in the pro sphere, is unclear.

If he is wearing a non-Concordia jersey next season, those around him think he’ll be just as successful in that league as he has been in U sports.

“I certainly think he can bring that same impact at the pro level,” said Hudon. “He has tremendous hockey sense. [He’s] capable of effectively fending off attackers as much as anchoring the blue line. Not to mention his high skill level and smooth skating abilities.”

If it’s Neill’s last run with the Stingers, there would be no better way to cap it off than another run to nationals. Despite an up and down year for the team that has been plagued by injuries, the Stingers are red hot heading into the postseason.

Neill called the mood in the room similar to the excitement of his first year where they made their run to nationals.

He definitely has his mind set on getting back there and his teammates can tell.

Neill amassed 84 points in 81 games as a member of the Concordia Stingers

“He wants it bad, he’s pushing even harder,” said Harwell. “It motivates the guys to go even harder as well.”

Looking back to the end of Neill’s first season, when asked if he felt like he was a number one defenceman as his coach had suggested, the rookie said not yet, but maybe next year.

Since then he’s become a franchise leader for defensive scoring, collected all-star nominations, academic awards, represented his country, and made his mark on the team.

When asked the same question at the end of this season, he had a similar answer.

“I don’t know, there’s a lot of number one defencemen in our league. I guess it depends on the night,” said Neill.

After all of this, it is probably safe to say that Neill can call himself not only a number one defenceman, but one of Concordia’s all-time greats.


Carl Neill is a leader in all aspects

Second-year Stinger uses past as a forward to help him as defenceman

When Carl Neill played hockey as a kid, his dad wanted to make sure Neill didn’t become a goalie, because he was one himself. “He encouraged me to not do that part of the sport, so I’m very grateful for that,” Neill said.

Neill’s dad probably made the right decision because his son used his talents as a defenceman to lead the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team in points this season, with 33. Neill joined the Stingers last year after the Vancouver Canucks, the NHL team that drafted him in the fifth round in 2015, didn’t sign him to a contract. He was named to the U SPORTS all-rookie team last season after earning 31 points, the most by a defenceman in the country.

Neill was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in 2015, but wasn’t signed to a contract. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

Neill added that throughout his hockey career, his dad was always his biggest influence. “I’m an only child, so I spent a lot of time with my dad growing up,” said Neill, who’s from Lachute, Que. “Just the way he is as a guy, with his judgement and character, he was a big role model.”

With nine goals and 55 assists in 56 regular-season games with the Stingers, Neill is the prototypical offensive defenceman. He tries to model his game after Washington Capitals defenceman John Carlson, who had 68 points and won the Stanley Cup last season. “He’s good all-around,” said Neill. “He picks up points, he’s good defensively, and he’s the type of player you need whether you’re up a goal or down a goal.”

Neill started playing hockey as a forward, and says that’s what helps make him so dangerous offensively. He switched positions in pee-wee, and developed his defensive game while playing for the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QJMHL). “Once I got older, I knew when to jump in the play and make the right decisions,” he said.

The defenceman spent four-and-a-half seasons with the Phoenix, first playing with them at 16 years old in 2012-13. He became team captain in 2015-16, and halfway through the following season, they traded him to the Charlottetown Islanders for two draft picks. Neill said it was emotional to leave Sherbrooke, but understands they had to make the trade to build the team for the future.

“Playing junior hockey at 16 was really special, and it was my first time away from home, so the city really took me in with open arms,” Neill said about his time in Sherbrooke. “A lot of teams in junior are run like a business, but [it] felt like a family. A lot of the staff, coaches, and players I’m still in contact with today.”

Two of Neill’s former teammates in Sherbrooke during the 2014-15 season, Raphaël Lafontaine and Charles-Éric Légaré, helped influence him to join the Stingers in 2017. In turn, Neill influenced forward Hugo Roy to join the team this season. Roy played three seasons with the Phoenix, and was team captain after Neill left.

“Recruiting comes a lot from players who know each other,” Neill said. “Especially schools around [Montreal]. They pretty much have all the same things to offer, especially hockey-wise […]. Knowing Legaré and Lafontaine, I got a good sense of what the program was like.”

As was the case with Sherbrooke, Neill quickly established himself as a leader for the Stingers. In just his second season, he was chosen as assistant captain, alongside forward Philippe Sanche and defenceman Alexandre Gosselin. As a leader, Neill said he wants to be held accountable.

“I’m not going to start yelling at guys about plays I didn’t do myself,” Neill said. “I try to stay pretty calm and lead by example on the ice.”

The Stingers had a star-studded rookie class last year that included Neill and forward Massimo Carozza. Both were named to the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) all-rookie team last year. Most of those players left to pursue other opportunities, such as Carozza, who went to play professional hockey in Italy.

Neill and forward Jean-Philippe Beaulieu were the only two rookies from last season to stay with the team this year. Neill, who studies human relations, wants to graduate from university before thinking about a professional career.  

“With Vancouver not working out, I had a few pro options [in the minor leagues], but they were all a one-year deal,” Neill said. “I felt more comfortable going to school and getting a degree first […]. For me, it was tough; you see guys whose careers don’t pan out and they have nothing left.”

Neill said he chose to study human relations because it suits his personality. He applies things he’s learned in the classroom to the locker room, such as conflict resolution and working with different types of people, which has helped him be a better leader. Once he graduates from Concordia, he plans to continue pursuing his dream of playing professional hockey.

“I need to round off my game,” Neill said about what he needs to improve. “Offence has always been a key part of my game, but a better understanding defensively would get me to the next level.”

The Stingers season ended in the first round of the playoffs against the Queen’s Gaels last week.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen.


Stingers season comes to end in double overtime loss

Queen’s Gaels battled back from 3-0 deficit to sweep playoff series

The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team fell short in a 5-4 double overtime thriller to the Queen’s Gaels. This put an end to the season for the Stingers as the Gaels win the best-of-three series 2-0.

Just over six minutes into the game, captain Philippe Hudon scored to give the Stingers an early lead. The momentum carried on throughout the period, where the Stingers outshot the Gaels 12-3 in the first period.

This was the third year in a row the Stingers and Gaels met in the playoffs. Concordia won in game three overtime last year. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

The beginning of the second period started similarly, as the Stingers got another early goal from Hudon, who tipped a Philippe Sanche shot in on the powerplay to make it 2-0. Only 30 seconds later, Charles-Éric Légaré beat the Gaels goalie by putting a perfect pass by Brendan Hamelin into the net.

However, just under a minute later, the Gaels got onto the board to cut the lead to 3-1. This didn’t stop the Stingers from controlling the game, as midway through the second period, the momentum changed.

The Stingers failed to convert on a 5-on-3 that lasted nearly two minutes. The momentum changed from that point, and the Gaels got a powerplay goal to cut the lead to 3-2 before the second period ended.

“Not scoring on the five-on-three gave them momentum. Had we scored, it would have been different,” said head coach Marc-André Élément. “They did a very good job and gained momentum.”  

“[The Gaels] played it really well but it isn’t really acceptable in the playoffs to not score on a 1:30 5-on-3,” said defenceman Carl Neill.

Opening the third, the Gaels left off where they finished the second, scoring only 19 seconds in to tie the game. They then proceeded to grab the lead less than two minutes into the third period with another quick goal.

The pressure on the Stingers’s backs was intense but they managed to remain calm. Sanche tied the game with eight minutes to go in regulation to send the game into overtime.

Despite a strong overtime period by the Stingers, they were unable to score. The game went to the second overtime, where the Gaels scored a minute into the period to put the Stingers’s season to bed.

This was Philippe Hudon’s final game as a Stinger. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

After the game, the team and fans cheered and thanked captain Hudon for his five years with the team. He was the first captain to take the Stingers to nationals last season. In his final game, Hudon went out with two goals and an assist. “He carried the team tonight and even last game,” said Neill on Hudon’s final performance. “Playoffs are really his thing.”

“He has been one of the best captains to wear the C on his jersey; he is up there with Olivier Hinse,” said Élément on his captain. “It is because of those guys that we were able to change the identity and culture of the program. I just told him he left a big, big footprint and I’m very proud of what he accomplished.”

An emotional Hudon came out to talk about his time as a Stinger after his final game. “It is certainly the end of an unbelievable chapter,” said Hudon. “It’s not about the sheer number of years I’ve been here; it’s about what developed over the years.”

Hudon will be missed as the team looks to the future but he hopes that his leadership on the ice sticks with the young leaders of the team. He is currently waiting to see if he will have a future in hockey over the next few months.  

“If there is one thing I want my teammates to take from me, it’s certainly not the vocals, as I’m not a vocal guy. However, it would be to work hard to the very last second,” said Hudon.

Another player who likely played his last game in a Stingers uniform is forward Légaré, who is hoping to forego his final year of OUA eligibility to play pro in Europe.  

On his time at Concordia, Légaré said, “I really enjoyed it. It has been the best four years of my life so far and it passed by so fast.”

The Stingers will come back next year with a young group led by many second and third year players.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen.


Stingers drop final home game to Patriotes 4-2

Concordia couldn’t continue momentum from Corey Cup win

The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team lost 4-2 to the Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) Patriotes Friday night. This was the team’s first game since their emotional overtime win last Saturday against McGill.

Only two minutes into the game, the Patriotes got onto the board. They scored another in the period to go up 2-0 after the first.  The Stingers led the period in shots 12-8, but didn’t have any real scoring chances.

The second period was much the same for the Stingers, as they were not able to get anything going. The Patriotes scored a shorthanded goal late in the second to make it 3-0.

Captain Philippe Hudon (#7) will play in his final playoffs with the Stingers. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

“The first two periods were kind of flat, but sometimes that happens when you just played against a team like McGill,” said defenceman Carl Neill. “The rink was packed and we got a big win last week. It’s not really an excuse, especially going into the playoffs.”

“In the locker room, we told each other that we have one period to come out strong, and we did but we came up short,” said captain Philippe Hudon.

The third period started off very well; just 36 seconds in, Hugo Roy scored to put the Stingers on the board. Not even two minutes later, Philippe Pelletier-Leblanc scored to bring the Stingers within a goal.  

“We were not playing very well on the power play, so the goal was huge for our confidence,” said Roy regarding his goal.

Despite the two quick goals, it was too little too late as the Stingers weren’t able to get another one. The Patriotes iced the game with an empty netter with 15 seconds left.

“We won against McGill in a high emotion game, and sometimes these things happen but we need to get our focus back and get ready for the playoffs,” said head coach Marc-André Élement.

The Stingers lost to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks, 5-3 on Saturday night. They finished in sixth place, and will play the Queen’s Gaels in the first round. The dates of the games will be released on Monday.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen.


Stingers winning streak snapped by Voyageurs

Laurentian came into game on 10-game losing streak

In a spirited affair, the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team’s four-game winning streak came to an end. They lost 4-2 to the Laurentian Voyageurs Saturday night at the Ed Meagher Arena.

Entering the game on a 10-game losing streak, the Voyageurs were determined not to lose. Voyageurs goaltender Mackenzie Savard stopped 42 of 44 shots, and came up big with a dazzling, sprawling save late in the game to conserve the victory.

“Their goalie played really well. We have to give them credit; they played a really tight game,” said Stingers head coach Marc-André Élement. “We will do a lot of videos, but we have to work harder over sixty minutes if you want to win.”

Indeed, the Stingers seemed to be in control of this game, dominating the Voyageurs at both ends of the ice. Yet their powerplay went cold, unable to score on any of their four opportunities. Savard went on to make key saves, especially in the first period.

“I think it got away from us in the first, and when they scored we played well from behind,” said Concordia forward Dylan McCrory. “Their goalie made some pretty big saves. You put 40 shots on a guy and they win. That’s pretty good regardless. Either we need to learn how to score better, or he played really well. Probably a bit of both.”

Down 1-0 early in the second period, the Stingers tied the game after a top-shelf from the left circle by Hugo Roy. With the tempo shifting and the young home crowd chanting, Concordia pressed with their fast and gritty style of play to end the second period.

The Stingers entered the third period laughing and laid back. But five minutes in, Voyageurs defenceman Marc-Antoine Gagnon’s wrist shot from the point beat traffic in front of the net, and eventually went past goaltender Marc-Antoine Turcotte. This ended up being the turning point of the game, as the Voyageurs wound up getting the last laugh.

“We couldn’t score, obviously,” said defenceman Carl Neill. “It’s kind of frustrating. We had a good sequence going the past couple of games, and I think we got a little too confident.  Doing the things we should—we weren’t doing it necessarily. I think it’s a bit of a wakeup call for us, and shows if we play a simple game, we got a chance to win.”

The Stingers did manage to make it exciting for the young fans in attendance, as the night commemorated minor hockey in the region. Stingers defenceman Bradley Lalonde scored with just under 30 seconds remaining to make it 3-2. The Voyageurs would add an empty-net goal with six seconds left in the game, for a final score of 4-2.

The Stingers face a tough test next week traveling to play against Carleton and Queen’s University.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen.


Stingers avenge loss with 4-3 shootout win against Redmen

Hugo Roy, Carl Neill help Concordia snap three-game skid

Despite allowing a game-tying goal with 10 seconds left, the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team beat the McGill Redmen 4-3 in a shootout win Friday night at the Ed Meagher Arena. This comes a week after the Stingers lost to the Redmen 6-3 at the McConnell Arena, in a game that had 75 penalty minutes.

“Last week was the first game against each other. [The players] don’t like playing them, but we did some video and we were more focused [tonight],” said head coach Marc-André Élement on what changed in terms of discipline, as there were 14 penalty minutes this game. “The guys played well and I’m really happy about that.”

Despite only 14 penalty minutes, the game was still physical, as is expected between Concordia and McGill. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

One difference between last week’s game and this one was that Marc-Antoine Turcotte was available to play in the Stingers’s net, making 33 saves, including five in overtime. He was hurt early in last Friday’s game, and missed Saturday’s game versus the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks.

“He played a huge game,” Élement said. “He kept us in the game and, in the shootout, he stopped the guys.”

The Stingers opened the scoring late in the first period when defenceman Carl Neill stepped out of the penalty box, grabbed the loose puck, and scored on the breakaway.

“To be honest, I was kind of lost, I had my stick halfway out my hand,” Neill said. “I looked back and saw I was on a breakaway, closed my eyes and [the puck] trickled in.”

The Stingers controlled most play in the second period, getting the majority of scoring chances, but came out on the losing end. Redmen forward Nicolas Poulin took advantage of two lucky bounces in the final three minutes of the second to go into intermission with a 2-1 lead.

“Both teams were waiting for opportunities, and we made mistakes on back-to-back shifts and it cost us,” Neill said.

Stingers forward Chase Harwell tied the game three minutes into the third, which Élement said was bound to happen.

“The first 15 minutes [of the second period] was our best of the season,” Élement said. “I just told the guys [at intermission], if we keep playing like this, we’ll have our chances, and the guys responded well in the third.”

After Stingers captain Philippe Hudon scored his second of the season to give his team the lead halfway through the third, Poulin scored his hat-trick goal to tie it. The Stingers didn’t let the late goal affect them as both teams swapped chances in overtime, with neither scoring.

Before Turcotte made the shootout-winning save on Guillaume Gauthier, forward Hugo Roy beat goalie Louis-Philip Guindon with a five-hole shot. “I knew what I was doing right off the bat, so it was either a goal or a shot in the chest,” Roy said.

The Ed Meagher Arena was full of energy – as you would expect for a Concordia-McGill game – and was loud up until the end.

“It was fun to see the rink that full, and of course it’s never a disappointing game with Concordia and McGill,” Neill said. “Tonight was real fun to see, and we came out on top, so I’m sure the fans are happy with that as well.”

With the shootout win, the Stingers break their three-game losing streak and improve to 5-5-1 on the season. They play the undefeated Ottawa Gee-Gees Saturday night on the road.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen.


Stingers own worst enemy in 5-1 loss to Ridgebacks

Men’s hockey team have now lost three in a row, and four of last five

Unable to generate any offence, the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team lost 5-1 against the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks Saturday night at the Ed Meagher Arena.

Entering the game with two consecutive losses, the Stingers couldn’t generate enough shots on net and scoring chances to get the win—leading to a frustrated group of players.

“Guys are gripping their stick a little tighter,” said defenceman Carl Neill. “The past few games, we haven’t been able to put the puck in the net. Guys start to think back and worry—we’re putting too much stress on our shoulders.”

“It’s not an excuse—they played well,” said head coach Marc-André Élement about the Ridgebacks. “Their team were in the shooting lanes and played a really good game.”

The Stingers are now 4-5-1 on the season, but still sit in a playoff spot. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

Down 3-0 early in the second, Neill scored a beautiful goal on a tic-tac-toe play which seemed to energize the crowd. With the momentum shifting midway through the second, the Stingers killed off an important penalty while also hitting the goal-post on a scoring chance.

Yet, with under two minutes left to play in the period, the Ridgebacks’s aggressive counter-attack led to another big penalty. On the power play, Tyler Mayea scored on a hard one-timer from the top of the right circle, a turning point in the game and a demoralizing backbreaker for the Stingers.  

Adding salt to the wound, while leaving the ice during the second intermission, Stingers’s goaltender Olivier Tremblay took an uncharacteristic roughing penalty showcasing his frustration.

“Indiscipline,” said Neill about what went wrong. “Our penalty kill isn’t doing the job and, when that’s the case, you can’t take too many penalties.”

Taking full advantage of the Stingers’s frustration and an uneventful third period, Ridgebacks defenceman Kyle Locke agitated Concordia players for the remainder of the game.

“It’s always like that in hockey, we have to keep our self-control,” said Élement. “I told the guys to relax. We’ll get back at work on Monday, do a lot of video work, and be ready for McGill next Friday.  We had a tough weekend, it happens, we just need to focus on the positives, let go of the negative and build on that.”

On a positive note, Élement showcased his leadership abilities by calling an unexpected time-out with just under 10 minutes to play. He could be seen encouraging and motivating his players with vigor, even though the game was out of reach.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen. 


Concordia-McGill rivalry crosses the line in physical affair

75 penalty minutes as Stingers take 6-3 loss to Redmen

The McGill Redmen men’s hockey team beat the Concordia Stingers 6-3 in their first meeting since the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East final last March. But the biggest story from Friday night’s game at McGill’s McConnell Arena wasn’t the nine goals scored, it was what happened at the start and end of the game.

Olivier Tremblay had to come in to replace Marc-Antoine Turcotte in nets. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

Less than two minutes into the game, a Redmen player fell into Stingers goalie Marc-Antoine Turcotte, who left the game with an injury. Stingers rookie goalie Olivier Tremblay, who started two games this season, came in to replace him, and allowed five goals on 39 shots.

“I have to look at the clips and see what happened there,” said head coach Marc-André Élement. “But Tremblay did a good job.”

In the final minute of the game, with the score 6-3 for the Redmen, Concordia’s Zachary Zorn laid a heavy hit on a Redmen who was trying to get to his bench. In reply, McGill’s Jordan Fournier went after Philippe Sanche, who was wearing a full face mask for the game. He broke Sanche’s face mask, which injured him, and both players were given two-minute minor penalties for roughing.

“When you know that there’s a player on the other side wearing a [full face mask] because he’s injured, and he goes at him […] They took advantage of that, and for me, that’s unacceptable,” Élement added.

After the scrum, the Redmen ended up on the power play for the dying seconds of the game, which confused Stingers defenceman Carl Neill.

“It’s disgusting,” Neill said. “Stuff like that doesn’t have a place in the game, especially for a guy like Sanche, who doesn’t do anything […] You have to know where to draw the line and, when he’s spitting blood after, it’s never a good sign.”

The two physical incidents were indicative of the game in between. The Stingers had 40 penalty minutes on 16 infractions, while the Redmen had 35 on 12 penalties, including a five-minute major and a 10-minute game misconduct on Nikolas Brouillard for a check-to-the-head. Concordia’s Charles-Eric Légare also received a ten-minute misconduct for a hit-from-behind.

“It’s part of the game,” Neill said. “We have to regroup and come back tomorrow, nothing we can do about it now.”

Stingers rookie forward Chase Harwell played in his first game against McGill, and said it didn’t fail to live up to its hype. “I knew it was going to be crazy, all the guys told me about it,” Harwell said. “But that’s my kind of game, so I loved it.”

Special teams were the difference in this game. After Brouillard’s major penalty midway through the second period, the Stingers had a 3-2 lead and a seven-minute power play. Instead of capitalizing to put the game away, they allowed a short-handed goal and took a penalty themselves.

“Sometimes, when you don’t score on the power play, you lose the momentum and they get it,” Élement said. “Our special [teams] have to be way better, we gave up too many goals on the penalty kill and power play.”

The Redmen went 3/10 on the power play, scoring the game-winning goal on the man advantage. The Stingers went 1/7 with the extra player.

The Stingers will be able to avenge this loss next Friday, Nov. 16, when they host the Redmen at the Ed Meagher Arena. But first, they host the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks Saturday night.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


Stingers win against Rams in penalty-filled game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main photo by Gabe Chevalier. 


Stingers men’s hockey team wants to improve on bronze medal

Head coach Marc-André Élement excited by some rookies at training camp

The puck drops on the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey season on Oct. 4. Head coach Marc-André Élement might be facing some challenges with all the changes from last year’s team.

Anthony Beauregard, U Sports leading scorer and MVP from last season, signed a professional contract with the Brampton Beast in the ECHL. Massimo Carozza, whose 35 points were second on the team to Beauregard’s 60, is playing hockey in Italy now.

This will be Philippe Hudon’s second season as captain, and last with the team. Archive photo by Alex Hutchins.

Élement appeared on CJLO Sports on Sept. 17 and spoke about how his team will need to adjust without his offensive stars. He said the team defencemen will need to join in on the attack.

“We need more offence from everyone,” Élement sad. “We’re changing stuff in our game to have the defencemen join the rush a little bit more. It’s going to be something we’re going to be working on.”

A few other veterans from the team also graduated at the end of last season. Forwards Raphaël Lafontaine, Scott Oke, Antoine Masson, Dominic Beauchemin and goalie Antoine Dagenais aren’t on this year’s team. Élement always spoke highly of Lafontaine, who was an assistant captain last season.

“Lafontaine was giving his 110 per cent every game; you know he was there every game” Élement said. “That’s what you want from every other player, so Lafontaine’s intensity and work ethic will be missed for sure.”

Defenceman Carl Neill will be an assistant captain in his second season with the Stingers. Archive photo by Alex Hutchins.

Part of having so many players leave is new players coming in. According to Canadian University Sports Network (CUSN), the Stingers recruited 12 new players, which includes eight forwards, three defencemen and a goalie. One of the first recruits the Stingers announced in April, centre Hugo Roy, is the player Élement is most excited about. Roy is one of four recruits from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QJMHL). He played for the Sherbrooke Phoenix and scored 107 points in 132 games in the past two seasons.

“He’s a guy that will play both ways and he will be our number-one centre,” Élement said. “He’s going to bring a lot of offence, and defensively, he plays really well. He’s a complete player.”

Élement was also surprised by another Roy during training camp. He said rookie defenceman Charlie Roy is doing all the right things in the team’s exhibition games.

“He’s a low-profile defenceman,” Élement added. “He plays well defensively; he’s hard to beat one-on-one. He’s a low-key guy that you’re not going to notice in practice or games but he’s doing well.”

After a season with injuries, forward Philippe Sanche is back as an assistant captain. Archive photo by Alex Hutchins.

The Stingers started training camp earlier this year because Élement wanted all his players, new and old, to bond with each other. They had a beach volleyball tournament and other team-bonding activities during training camp. The head coach said he likes what he’s seen from his leadership group, composed of captain Philippe Hudon and assistant captains Carl Neill, Philippe Sanche and Alexandre Gosselin.

“They’re doing an amazing job in the locker room,” Élement added. “I think all those guys are well-respected and it’s going really well.”

Last season, the Stingers won the bronze medal in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference and finished in eighth place at nationals. It was the first time Concordia’s men’s hockey team played at nationals in 34 years, but Élement wants to make it two years in a row.

Expect defenceman Alexandre Gosselin to play be a key player for this team. Archive photo by Alex Hutchins.

“Our expectations are always the same, we always want to go all the way,” Élement said. “With the young group we have, we see that they’re really intense so we want to have that in our game […] We want to put on a good show and have our guys compete every night.”

The Stingers visit the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Paladins for the season-opener on Oct. 4, but have their home-opener on Oct. 6 against the Carleton Ravens.

Main photo by Alex Hutchins.


Stingers survive scare with 6-4 win

Beauregard, Neill with four assists each against Nipissing

The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team improved to a 11-2-2 record on the season with a 6-4 win against the Nipissing University Lakers on Dec. 1 at the Ed Meagher Arena. Despite the Lakers scoring four power-play goals, Stingers forwards Philippe Sanche and Massimo Carozza each scored twice to help propel Concordia to the win.

Stingers forward Anthony Beauregard continued producing points on the top line with Carozza and Sanche. He had four assists in the win, extending his U Sports-leading point total on the season to 34 points. Head coach Marc-André Élement had high praise for the trio of Sanche, Beauregard and Carozza.

“They’re really good,” Élement said with a laugh. “They’re performing, they’re battling and they’re working hard. This is how we’re going to have success, when they’re doing all the little details to have success.”

Carozza opened the scoring just 36 seconds into the game, scoring in the slot off a pass from Beauregard. Sanche doubled the Stingers lead on the power play seven minutes later, when his attempted pass from the corner took a bounce off a Lakers defenceman and went past goalie Domenic Graham. Sanche, who started the season injured, was playing in his 10th game this season, and scored his sixth and seventh goals of the year.

Stingers defenceman Alexandre Gosselin skates by a Lakers forward during their game on Dec. 1. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

“It’s huge,” Élement said about having Sanche back in the lineup. “He’s one of the top players in the country […] He’s the smallest player in the league, but he plays the hardest. He blocks shots, and he’s just a great leader.”

The Lakers scored a power-play goal late in the first period to cut the Stingers’ lead down to 2-1 after the opening frame. Sanche added his second of the game early in the second period to restore the two-goal lead. The Lakers capitalized on some undisciplined Concordia play in the second period to score two power-play goals and tie the game at 3-3 heading into the third period.

In total, the Stingers had 12 penalties resulting in 40 minutes, including 10-minute misconduct penalties on defenceman Philippe Charbonneau in the first period, and forward Alexis Pépin in the second period. The Stingers had to kill off 10 penalties, and all four of the Lakers goals were scored on the power play.

“Sometimes we put ourselves in situations where we’re prone to getting penalties, so we have to learn to kind of avoid those situations so we don’t put ourselves in a tough spot,” said captain Philippe Hudon. “It sucks, but we have to learn from it.”

In a two-minute span in the middle of the third period, the Stingers scored three goals to put the game out of reach for Nipissing. Carozza scored off a pass from Beauregard, before forward Antoine Masson took advantage of a bad line change by the Lakers to score on a breakaway. Forward Charles-Eric Legare capped off the sequence by capitalizing on a rebound off a shot from forward Jean-Philippe Beaulieu.

“It was a big sequence for us,” said defenceman Carl Neill, who also finished the game with four assists, two of which came from the first two of the three quick goals. “After the second, it was 3-3 and they were still in the game. We wanted to turn things our way, and we were lucky we got a few lucky bounces so things turned out the right way.”

The Stingers’ next game is on Dec. 2 against the Laurentian Voyageurs. It will be their last game before the winter break.


Stingers grow a mo for a bro

Concordia hockey players talk about the moustaches they grew this month for Movember

Every November, men around the world grow moustaches to raise awareness for men’s health. Last year, over 300,000 people worldwide raised $80 million—including $15.5 million in Canada—for men’s health programs ranging from suicide prevention to early detection of prostate and testicular cancer, according to the Movember Foundation.
This year, a few players on the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team grew moustaches in support of the cause, commonly referred to as Movember. The Concordian spoke with forwards Raphaël Lafontaine and Dominic Beauchemin, defencemen Carl Neill and Alexandre Gosselin, and assistant coach Jim Corsi about their moustaches.

Stingers defenceman Carl Neill. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

Carl Neill

Neill is a rookie with the team this season. He said even though the team didn’t raise any money for Movember this year, he still grew his moustache to support the cause.

“Usually, in the past, my teams raised money with a thing called MoBro [a part of the Movember Foundation],” Neill said. “It’s fun to contribute any way you can. It’s not the same platform as famous celebrities, but if you could do it locally and people catch on, then it might spread awareness.”

Neill has the second-most points on the team this season, with four goals and 12 assists in 14 games. Both he and his defence partner, Gosselin, grew moustaches, making them look like a 70s police duo when they patrol the blue line. However, Neill said his ‘stache doesn’t compare to Gosselin’s. “I’ve had mine for a month, so I think he wins in that department,” Neill said.

All-time favourite moustache: Former Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Lanny McDonald or Ron Burgundy, played by Will Ferrell in Anchorman.

Stingers defenceman Alexandre Gosselin. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

Alexandre Gosselin

Gosselin also grew a partial goatee under his chin, so his moustache doesn’t stand out the way Neill’s does. However, when asked about a moustache-growing competition with his defence partner, Gosselin did not hold back.

“I’m sure I’m winning on that part. He’s a good hockey player, but I have a better moustache,” he said.

Like his other teammates, Gosselin said he was not raising money on his own time, but rather “doing it for the fun.”

All-time favourite moustache: Gosselin said he doesn’t know who his favourite all-time moustache is, but added that Raphaël Lafontaine has the best one on the team.

Stingers forward Dominic Beauchemin. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

Dominic Beauchemin

Standing at six-foot-two and weighing 215 pounds, Beauchemin is an intimidating forward who has been growing a beard since training camp in August. He shaved the beard and kept the moustache for Movember, starting off the month with a handlebar moustache. However, he later traded that in for a standard ‘stache.

“I just got tired of [the handlebars], so I shaved it,” Beauchemin said, adding that it made him look like an ex-convict.

Beauchemin said it would be a great idea for the men’s hockey team to collectively raise money next November. Like Gosselin, he was honest in his assessment of who has the best moustache on the team.

“I would say, after me, I don’t know, Lafontaine has a good one too if he shaved [the rest of his beard],” Beauchemin said.

All-time favourite moustache: Concordia Stingers assistant coach Jim Corsi.

Stingers forward Raphaël Lafontaine. Photo by Brianna Thicke.

Raphaël Lafontaine

Lafontaine normally has a full beard, which suits his playing style. He plays a rugged, blue-collar game by constantly winning key face-offs, blocking shots and working hard in the defensive zone. He shaved his beard for Movember, but by the end of the month, the rest of his facial hair caught up to his moustache, so it doesn’t stand out as much as those of his teammates.

In an interview with CJLO Sports on Nov. 20, Lafontaine was humbled when the host told him that both Beauchemin and Gosselin said he had the best moustache on the team.

“Mine is not that bad,” Lafontaine said, adding that his pick on the team would be Beauchemin’s. Lafontaine said that, while he didn’t have time to raise money this year, he would like to do so next year.

All-time favourite moustache: One of the referees during the Stingers’ game against Laurentian University on Nov. 11. “I don’t know who he is, but his [moustache] was so special,” Lafontaine said. “It had a twist in it. It was very nice.”

Men’s hockey assistant coach Jim Corsi. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

Jim Corsi

The assistant coach didn’t grow his moustache just for Movember—he has it all the time. Corsi even has a moustache in his professional hockey pictures from the 80s.

Corsi was the goalie coach of the Buffalo Sabres in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1999 to 2014. During that time, he invented a statistic to measure how many shots are directed at the goalie during a game. In an interview with The Concordian on Nov. 16, Corsi said his moustache helped name the modern Corsi statistic, which measures how many shots a player takes.

When former Sabres general manager Darcy Regier started talking about Corsi’s statistic on the radio, “some guy in Edmonton, [Vic Ferrari], heard about it and said, ‘Wow that’s phenomenal. I wonder if I could apply it to players,’” Corsi explained. “The Corsi number that has gone out there as a stat is an evolution of what my numbers were.”

According to Corsi, when it came time to name the stat, Ferrari, who devised the modern Corsi number, “flipped through the Buffalo Sabres media guide, saw my picture and said, ‘I love that moustache. Corsi stat—it has a great ring.’”

Main photo by Alex Hutchins.

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