Concordia Stingers Men’s Hockey in Italy ahead of 2023 Season

The Stingers face off against two professional European teams during training camp.

For the second year in a row, the Concordia Stingers Men’s hockey program took the trip across the Atlantic Ocean en route to Italy, where they faced off against two professional ice hockey teams.

Upon their arrival in Cortina, Italy, during the final week of August, the Stingers hit the ice at Stadio Olimpico del Ghiaccio for their practice sessions.

After a multi-day training camp, the Stingers traveled south to Stadio Odegar di Asiago for their matchup against Asiago HC, an Italian ice hockey club that is part of the International Central European (ICE) Hockey League.

Known as one of the higher-skilled hockey leagues in Europe, the ICE Hockey League consists of teams from Austria, Italy, Hungary, and Slovenia. Several former National Hockey League (NHL) players are currently in the league, including Asiago HC head coach Tom Barrasso, who is a two-time Stanley Cup champion.

The tough game resulted in an 8-5 loss against Asiago HC, though the Stingers continued on with their training camp. Their next and final opponent would be against Klagenfurt AC, an Austrian ICE Hockey League club.

Klagenfurt AC finished fifth out of the 13 teams in the ICE Hockey League standings in 2023, meaning it would be another tall task for the Stingers.

Some members of the Stingers taking in the view of the Alps in Italy. Photo courtesy of Stingers Men’s Hockey.

Despite losing 7-1 at Klagenfurt, the Stingers and Concordia as a whole should be proud knowing the competition they played against. For a university team, it is an amazing experience to have traveled across the ocean to go up against teams that have professional players on their rosters.

The Stingers should also come out of their Italian training camp feeling optimistic for the upcoming regular season. With many of their key players returning, combined with a trip to last season’s U Sports national championship quarterfinals, the Stingers men’s hockey program has the veteran leadership on their roster to make a run back into the national championship tournament during the 2023-2024 season.

The Stingers will come home to begin the official preseason on September 15. They will play host to three non-conference games against Saint Mary’s University and Saint Francis University. Once they wrap up the preseason at McGill, the Stingers will begin their regular season on October 5.

Did you hear? It’s Zeppole season, baby!

Let’s celebrate San Giuseppe, the unofficial patron saint of pastries

It’s March, and you know what that means? Zeppole season has finally arrived in Montreal. Now, the Italian community might disagree on where to get the best zeppole. However, I would like to go back a little bit and explain why the Italian community enjoys this treat at this time of year.

As a third-generation Italian myself, I’ve indulged in this pastry quite a bit. But, I have always been curious about the history behind this dessert.

Zeppole (or zeppola in the singular) are pastries made from a choux pastry base. They are either shaped in a doughnut shape or the more traditional fritter, which are in a rounded shape. The Fine Dining Lovers explain them as such: “It looks more like those trendy cronuts, puffy and torqued, like a braided churro, with deep-fried choux pastry providing a nest of your choice of topping: old school butter and honey, ricotta and chocolate chips, cream, jam, zabaglione — you name it.”

From the day after Valentine’s Day until March 19, St. Joseph’s day, you can enjoy this delightful pastry. According to the New England Historical Society, “St. Joseph, or San Giuseppe, is the foster father of Jesus and the patron saint of Sicily. The story goes that a severe drought struck Sicily in the Middle Ages. The people promised St. Joseph they’d cook a big feast for him if he brought rain. He did, and the tradition was born.”

As outlined in the article, Pope Gregory XV first declared March 19 as the feast of Saint Joseph in 1621.

The zeppole wasn’t always central to the feast. Instead, it was the fava bean that was initially served at St. Joseph’s Day feasts; the fava bean saved the Sicilians from starvation after St. Joseph brought rain to the region. Eventually, the Sicilians transitioned from the fava bean to the zeppole.

According to Fine Dining Lovers, “Some cite the convent of Santa Patrizia in Naples as having first made zeppole (a baked version, rather than deep-fried), back in the 16th century.” However, a baker in the region of Naples, by the name of Pasquale Pintauro, started popularizing the dessert by selling it every March 19.

I went around and visited three local bakeries in the Montreal area and purchased the classic flavors from each place.

My first stop was at Patisserie San Marco, located at 1581 Jean Talon St E. I ordered three ricotta-filled zeppole and three custard-filled ones. When I looked inside the box, the zeppole looked like rounded dough balls, which I wasn’t used to seeing.

Afterward, I made my way to San Pietro Bakery, located at 1950 Jean Talon St E. I was able to talk to Connie Calderone, one of the owners of this family-owned bakery, about the week of Saint Joseph and what it means for her bakery.

“During the Saint Joseph time, we make about 1,500 dozens of zeppole. We also have many restaurants and stores that just buy the empty zeppole shells from us,” Calderone explained, referring to the pastries themselves before they are filled.

I was also permitted access to the back of the bakery where I watched one of the bakers pipe out a whole tray of zeppole.

“Our popular flavors are definitely the ricotta, custard, and pistachio-filled zeppole. However, the pistachio isn’t a traditional filling,” said Calderone. “It means everything to this bakery to keep traditions like selling the zeppole, it’s priority number one. It’s an old-school bakery here, it’s what works and we aren’t going to go backward.”

Finally, I ended my journey at La Conca D’Oro, located at 2550 Jean Talon St E. I purchased two ricotta-filled zeppole, each garnished with a strawberry.

I strongly encourage everyone to support these local bakeries during this time. Remember you don’t have to be Italian to enjoy these delectable treats.


Photos by Dalia Nardolillo

Student Life

An exchange student begins her first business: Roma Experiences

Concordia alumna, TingLi Lorigiano shares her travel exchange journey

Travelling across Europe, going on student exchange, learning a new language and starting a business all sound like goals many students have on their bucket list. One student not only managed to accomplish all these thing, but she did it in just one year.

Concordia alumna TingLi Lorigiano embarked on a year-long student exchange to Italy, during which time she also visited 30 cities in 10 countries. During her stay in Italy, Lorigiano founded Roma Experiences, the first Chinese tour operator service in Rome.

Mountains in the northern part of Italy at Bolzano-Trentino Alto Adige. Photo by TingLi Lorigiano

“I was at the Colosseum in Rome, and I realised that there weren’t any Chinese tour groups,” she said. “So, I inquired what the situation was like, and I decided that I would just start my own.”

Lorigiano is of Italian and Chinese descent and grew up immersed in both cultures. “I grew up with serious Chinese traditions and very traditional Italian traditions. I always had to explain Italian traditions to my Chinese friends and vice versa,” she said. “I felt that it’s important for Chinese visitors to learn about Italian traditions, so I wanted to help them learn about Italian culture.”

According to Lorigiano, no one working in the piazza of the Colosseum spoke Chinese—most were European. “There was a language barrier,” she said. “I connected the two worlds.” Lorigiano speaks fluent Mandarin and was learning to speak Italian at that time. She is now fluent in Italian.

Pasta at Osteria Da Fortunata in Rome, Italy. Photo by TingLi Lorigiano

She started by organizing tours where she would bring Chinese tourists to various restaurants and to visit historical sites such as the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.

With a major in genetic engineering and experience in the tech industry, Lorigiano had no problem setting up her own website and logistics for her business. After creating all the social media accounts, she hired 10 people to be part of her team. “I raised a team from one to 10 in my first three months in a country that I’ve never worked in before, and I didn’t yet speak fluent Italian. I hired tour guides and team promoters. We delivered wonderful historical experiences to Chinese tourists at least three times a day,” she said. “I had to be very meticulous with logistics. I had to buy tickets ahead of time, I had to know how the Colosseum ticketing system worked.”

According to Lorigiano, Roma Experiences has been running for the last eight months and has generated $40,000 CAD in sales revenue. “I was able to sustain myself for the last seven months in Italy. I used the money to travel, pay my rent, live in Rome,” she said.

The business is still running now that Lorigiano is home. The company’s vice-president took over the company. “It’s pretty cool to know that, before this year, in Rome, there were no Chinese tours available. And now they are,” Lorigiano said.

Creating Roma Experiences was an enriching leadership experience for Lorigiano. “It taught me a lot about business, and it showed me that my passions are not in tourism. My passion is in tech. I was way more interested in the website, e-commerce and the retail technology part of it.”

Camels in the Marrakech Morocco desert. Photo by TingLi Lorigiano

In November, Lorigiano is moving to London to work for a tech startup. “I knew that I wanted to work somewhere where the tech scene was more apparent, more vivid and vibrant, so London was the best choice for me,” she said.

Based on her experience, Lorigiano insisted that studying abroad can be life-changing. “You never know what is going to happen,” she said. “That’s why it’s important to go on exchange […] People grow up in Montreal, they work in Montreal, but there are so many other opportunities. Being Canadian, you have great visa opportunities as well.”

Lorigiano said she would advise students to check out all the job, volunteer and internship opportunities offered at Concordia to see what might interest them. “Make a list of things that you think are really important, and just highlight what you want to go visit or inquire about,” she said. “You need to think about what you are losing and what you are gaining.”

“You grow the most when you are put in the most uncomfortable situations such as travelling and being part of things that you are not comfortable with,” Lorigiano said. “It’s just a really great experience.”  

Photos courtesy of TingLi Lorigiano


The city of bridges beckons

Photo Collection Musée de la musique, photo Jean-Marc Anglès

Are you in need of some enchanting Italian music? Some splendid Italian architecture? How about some good old Italian theatre? Then the Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts has something in store for you.

The Concert. 1741. Oil on canvas, 60 x 48 cm.

Splendore a Venezia: Art and Music from the Renaissance to the Baroque in the Serenissima explores the interdisciplinary relationship between Venetian music and the fine arts.

Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Venice resembled the United States as it is today—a global power feasting off its assets. Quick historical insert—Venice was at its prime as a parading, independent republic before Napoleon set things askew.

The exhibit has been enjoying strong reviews, according to press officer Thomas Bastien. “People love this exhibit, and I would say we have had over 30,000 visitors so far,” said Bastien. “We were lucky to be able to have over 61 establishments loan us articles and artifacts for the exhibition, which explains why it took so long for us to set up this project…in all, it took us five years.”

The exhibit’s attention is on three themes: art and music in the public sphere (think gondolas and street musicians), art and music in the private realm (think private salons), and finally art, music and mythology (think Apollo).

Stroll through the first room and you get a crash course in Ven

Photo Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY

etian history between 1488 and 1797. One of the most important dates to keep in mind is 1501—when Venice was honoured as the center of music publishing, thanks to the standardization of modern musical notation—everyone agreed on one way to depict music on sheets, with a five line staff, read from left to right.

The beauty of the exhibit undoubtedly lies in the artifacts. You are immediately bathed in everything opulent. For instance, the first room explores Venetian history by showcasing beautiful Procurators’ red velvet robes. Continue your ambling as you listen to excerpts from Giovanni Picchi and Antonio Vivaldi, or just a continuous loop of Vivaldi’s Gloria RV 589, peering at the richly decorated hymn books.

Also on display are the oil paintings by the likes of Titian and Tintoretto.

Courtesy of Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Museo Correr

They depict typical Venetian scenes, where citizens convene at the San Marco square, bargain for pears and go out to eat gelato. With the winter weather creeping upon us, Venice looks like quite an attractive destination indeed.

As you walk through the exhibit you get an overwhelming sense of pompousness and pride —seemingly what Venice must have been like back then. It appears to have been a virtual hotbed of culture, bathing in a golden light.

The museum placed a gondola in one of the rooms, where visitors can gaze at the lacquered black painted taxi boat, a tradition that still lives on in Venice today.

Yet another feature are the instruments. The museum went out of its way to find extraordinary instruments you would be hard-placed to name. For instance, have you ever heard of a cornett? What about a zil, the 16th century trombone or a naqqara? These long-forgotten instruments are given a second life, so to speak. Also on display is the Milanese mandolin made in 1762 and decorated with ebony and ivory.

As Francesco Sansovino once said, “music has its own cult in this city.” He must have been right, judging from the amount of music played in the Italian città.

Photo Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice / Matteo De Fina

As the exhibit elaborates, there were two main establishments which took music seriously: the ospedali and the scuola (school). In the simplest of terms, the ospedali (loosely translated to hospital) was an operation offering food, lodging and clothing to orphans.

Founded by a Franciscan brother, the ospedali also encouraged music. Orphans were taught music by none other than the string instructor Antonio Vivaldi. As for the scuole, they were spiritual associations which promoted music. By the end of the 16th century, there were six scuole (schools) in Venice.

Photo Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice / Matteo De Fina

In the mythology-themed room of the exhibit you see displays ranging from hilarious caricatures of operatic figures penned by Antonio Zanetti, to festive scenes of nude bodies reclining in nature munching on peaches in Jacob Comin’s “Concert of the Muses for the Gods.”

Finally, we come to the opera. Did you know that the Teatro San Cassiano was the first theatre in the world to present opera to the general public and be financed solely through ticket sales? Visitors get a glimpse at rosy-cheeked opera divas and highly prolific composers such as Tomaso Albinoni who scripted more than 80 operas.

In its prime, Venice was flooded with culture and refinement, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has achieved a rare means of marrying the eye to the ear.

As Montreal Director and Chief Curator, Nathalie Bondil, stated, “At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, it is now equally impossible to see without listening, to listen without seeing.”

Splendore a Venezia: Art and Music from the Renaissance to the Baroque in the Serenissima exhibit runs until Jan. 19, 2014 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

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