Hockey Sports

Stingers hockey takes the ice for Pride Weekend!

The teams take two out of a possible four points against Ottawa as playoffs draw closer.

The Ed Meagher Arena was home to the first annual Pride Weekend on Feb. 3 and 4. Organized iIn partnership with Queer Concordia, Pride Weekend is an event that is very important for the Stingers’ organization. 

“For our team, we always talk about creating an inclusive environment,” said Stingers women’s hockey head coach Julie Chu. “Whether it’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or your ethnicity, it is about coming to a place where everybody can figure out who they are in a safe and welcoming environment.” 

With the festivities underway, the Stingers’ men’s hockey team kicked off the busy weekend of action as they faced off against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.

The two teams played tight defense through the first thirty minutes of the game as the physicality kept scoring opportunities to a minimum. Mid-way through the second period, the Gee-Gees finally opened the scoring on a shot that beat goaltender Jordan Naylor. Despite the momentum shifting to the road team, the Stingers struck back seconds later. Stingers’ forward Mathieu Bizier beat Ottawa goaltender Franky Lapenna to cap a dominant shift in the Gee-Gees’ zone, tying the game 1-1.

As the third period began, the intensity between the two teams continued. A big collision along the boards resulted in a power play that Ottawa would take advantage of in a big way. Two goals in a matter of seconds put the Gee-Gees up 3-1 with 10 minutes remaining. Yet, the Stingers would respond again.

A power play opportunity for the Stingers saw forward Tyler Hylland find the back of the net with eight minutes remaining, shifting the momentum back on the home side.

However, a slew of shots and another power play opportunity were not enough for the Stingers to pull even, and Ottawa escaped with a 3-2 victory on the road.

“I found tonight was kind of a playoff game,” Stingers’ head coach Marc-André Elément shared post game. “It’s going to be those types of games in the playoffs and I think we just need to learn from games like [tonight] and get better.”

The Stingers men’s hockey team will wrap up their regular season on Feb. 8 against the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Stingers Defender Kyle Havlena sporting pride tape on his stick blade.
Photo Credit: Concordia Athletics

As Pride Weekend continued, it was time for the Stingers women’s hockey team to take to the ice for their game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees. It did not take long for the Stingers to get on the board first.

Defender Sandrine Veillette found a seam that beat the Ottawa goaltender six minutes into the game, giving the Stingers a 1-0 lead early. Four minutes later, defender Alexandra-Anne Boyer extended the Stingers’ lead on the power play making it a 2-0 game.

The Gee-Gees would get a goal back late in the first period, but forward Rosalie Bégin-Cyr would respond with a goal of her own to regain the two-goal cushion.

Chippy play and staunch goaltending was the story for the majority of the second and third periods. While the teams had a total of 10 power plays in the final 40 minutes of the game, the defenders stood their ground and kept each team off the scoreboard in key moments of the game.

As the clock ran down, Stingers goaltender Arianne Leblanc earned her ninth of the season while the team improved to a perfect 22-0-0 regular season record.

Coach Chu shared post game what the win means to the team. “For sure we have things coming out of each game that we want to work on and get better at in the next week. We will make sure that we keep focusing on one game at a time and make the most of every opportunity.”

It is another big win for the Stingers as it concludes a festive weekend of events.

The Stingers women’s hockey team will continue their sensational regular season campaign on Feb. 9 when they face off against the Bishop’s University Gaiters. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.


Are we doing Pride wrong?

Pride comes around each year as a way to recognize the LGBTQI+ community. It is celebrated in the month of June as a way to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising that took place in Manhattan, New York.

However, 2019 marks 50 years since members of the LGBTQI+ community fought back against police at the Stonewall Inn; and as a result, launching what is today known as the LGBTQ rights movement. Over the years, there has been a significant improvement in the legal and social protections that LGBTQ people have access to. This includes rights to same-sex marriage, employment security and the right to hold universal celebrations like Pride.

It’s important to note that Pride still remains pertinent well into the 21st century because there is still a lot of discrimination and injustice directed at LGBTQI+ people worldwide. On May 30, two women were the subject of a homophobic attack on a night bus in London. The pair was violently beaten by a group of teenagers, which goes to show that hate crimes still exist.

According to the BBC, attacks on the LGBTQ community have almost doubled since 2014 which means there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done regarding the safety of LGBTQI+ people.

As for the history of the LGBTQI+ rights movement, the Stonewall Uprising became a pivotal turning point for the Gay Liberation Movement that took place in the United States in ‘69. What initially started as a one-day celebration known as “Gay Pride Day,” which took place on the last Sunday in June, quickly developed into a month-long series of festivities.

Nowadays, Pride Month consists of parades, parties, concerts, you name it. Nevertheless, it is also a time to remember those who lost their lives to hate crimes or to HIV/AIDS. Overall, Pride Month leaves an impact on everyone, shining light on those who belong to the LGBTQI+ community and how they’ve influenced individuals on a historical, national, and international scale.

Despite the fact that Pride appeals to all audiences, it is important to remember that it was not born out of the desire to celebrate, but rather to demonstrate for the equality and inclusion of LGBTQI+ people. The movement stemmed from a demand for equal rights, which has evolved into a festival celebrated globally in the past 50 years.

People mustn’t forget that this battle for acceptance isn’t over. Individuals from the LGBTQI+ community face challenges when it comes to living openly in society – especially Transgender people. Their emotional, physical, and professional well-being is in a constant state of jeopardy. But with more and more LGBTQI+ people showing the courage to live as openly as they wish, we will soon see a true step forward in accepting who others are. Their bravery sets an example to all.

Not too long ago, there was controversy surrounding the fact that certain straight people questioned the need for Pride even wondering why there aren’t any “Straight Pride” parades/celebrations. This goes to demonstrate that some people may not fully comprehend the history surrounding Pride and that it didn’t start out as sunshine and rainbows.

Furthermore, when straight people question the need for Pride, it indicates a lack of recognition towards a minority group that continues to face a multitude of challenges. This was seen in the violent murders of transgender women, among other examples.

The bottom line is that the LGBTQI+ community has shown so much resilience and progress in spite of these hardships – which is something that needs to be celebrated. Pride is an incredible opportunity for everyone to come together in solidarity, and reflect on the history of the LGBTQI+ movement.


Graphic by Victoria Blair

Student Life

Montreal Pride in all its colours

This year’s Pride parade attracted nearly 300,000 people, according to festival organizers. An estimated 12,000 people took over René-Lévesque Boulevard last Sunday afternoon as they marched in the 36th edition of Fierté’s Montreal Pride parade. With over 250 activities and drawing more than 2.5 million visitors, Fierté Montreal is the most-attended Pride festival across Canada. 

This year’s Pride parade theme inspiration is the colour violet, the last colour of the rainbow flag. The colour violet is a symbol for dreams, gentleness and peace.

Pride 2019 marks the 50th anniversary since the Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations that paved the way for the gay rights movement. To commemorate the anniversary, in an effort to increase inclusion within the festival, Fierté organizers took various initiatives focusing, in part, on diversifying and indigenizing the festival.

A “Reconciliation Ceremony” kicked off festivities on the festival’s opening night. Additionally, land acknowledgement statements were made at the start of each show during the 11-day-long festival.

Another important initiative was the creation of the “Two-Spirit Space,” a safe space designed for Two-Spirit people, as well as non-Indigenous festival-goers seeking to find out about First Nations sexual and gender diversity.

The “Two-Spirit” space, seen here, was located in Parc des Faubourgs. It was designed for Two-Spirit people and non-Indigenous people seeking to find out about First Nations sexual and gender diversity.

Located in the Parc des Faubourgs, the space consisted of an outdoor seating area and a teepee designed by Innu artist Serge Ashini and MMIWG inquiry commissioner, Michele Audette. A knowledge keeper was available at the space to give advice and answer questions every day from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the festival. These resources are all part of Fierté Montreal’s plan to put diversity at the forefront, says Communications Coordinator for the festival, Mathieu Audette. “[Fierté Montreal’s] new mandate focuses on diversity, inclusion and working towards reconciliation,” explained Audette. “We plan to continue working with communities in order to ensure that Pride is as inclusive and safe a space as possible.”

Members of the leather-fetish community march in the Montreal Pride parade on Sunday, August 18, 2019.

Diversity was also at the forefront last Sunday when Asian LGBTQ+ communities were positioned at the head of the parade, a group Montreal Pride’s Board of Directors says is often invisible. Also marching in the parade were organizations advocating for the further advancement of the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, of trans persons, of migrant trans persons, of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, of sex workers, of intersex persons and of LGBTQ+ seniors.

High in colour and emotion, violet, the last colour on the rainbow flag, was highlighted as the colour theme for this year’s festival. People marching in the parade as well as attendees of the final day of festivities were spotted wearing purple and proudly waving rainbow flags.

Photos by Laurence Brisson Dubreuil

A parade participant strikes a pose as they march in the 2019 Montreal Pride parade.

Student Life

Carving out inclusivity at Concordia University

Florence Gagnon is creating the LGBTQ+ community she never had

Florence Gagnon has spent the last 10 years working to ‘spread the word’ and increase visibility for lesbians within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community. Her message? “We exist, and these are our experiences.”

Gagnon is the guest speaker at the second annual Queer Homecoming, an event that carves out a unique space for the queer community amidst Concordia’s orientation activities.

This year, she is set to share her success as an entrepreneur, founder and president of a non-profit LGBTQ+ organization and co-creator of a successful web series, to name a few accomplishments. Before she began her prolific career, Gagnon was a first-year student at Concordia, surrounded by hundreds of others at her own homecoming.

It was her love for art, coupled with the search for something outside of the small, suburban world that didn’t entirely accept her sexuality, that led Gagnon to move to the big city to study photography at Concordia. She said the experience changed her life before she even stepped foot in a classroom. “I felt like I was in the right place, that people were different and I was fitting in,” she recalled. “I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I guess it was the right context because I got to try so many things. I partied a lot, and I just met so many interesting people.”

One of those people was filmmaker Chloé Robichaud, who was studying in Concordia’s film production program at the time. “We talked a lot about our coming out, and the context we lived in in Quebec,” said Gagnon. “I come from the suburbs, so my coming out wasn’t the best experience ever, so at the time I felt like I was missing role models and information about what it is to be a lesbian.”

Their conversations turned into brainstorming sessions, and in 2012, they launched Lez Spread the Word (LSTW), an online platform that describes itself as seeking to “gather, inform, and shed more light on the lesbian community in Quebec and elsewhere. As well as offering informative and entertaining content, the site is a resource for women who do not have many references with regard to the lesbian community.”

Lez Spread The Word (LSTW) magazine. Photo courtesy of LSTW.

Only two years later, Robichaud and Gagnon crossed the second item off their project list: a web series by and for lesbians. Féminin/Féminin follows a group of lesbians as their lives intertwine and their stories unfold against the familiar backdrop of Montreal.

“We wanted to create something that we didn’t have at the time [of coming out], and thought we could help people, and also just for us to meet other girls,” said Gagnon. Following its premiere in 2014, Féminin/Féminin received much acclaim, winning the Best Fiction Web Series award at the Gémeaux Awards, and was renewed for a second season.

Keeping up with the momentum of her success, Gagnon spearheaded the launch of the LSTW magazine in 2016. LSTW is now distributed in 17 cities worldwide, with a third issue launching Oct. 23.

Still, with a reach greater than she ever imagined, Gagnon says visibility remains a significant obstacle. “Even now within the LGBTQ movement, it’s difficult to have a place. People think that within this movement [that] we’re all equal, but as women, it’s more difficult than it is for men,” she said, adding that even the use of the word ‘lesbian’ is contested within the community.

“People ask us why we use that word and not queer. At first it was really personal; I was identifying as a lesbian because I didn’t know anything else at the time. But at the same time, I’m happy to honour the past fights of women in the 80s. I think the word is loaded, but for us, we are pretty proud.”

Despite some pushback, Gagnon is optimistic for the future. “Things have changed over the past years. More visibility for the community and just being ‘different’ is celebrated more than it was before.”

Whether English or French speaking, there is visibility and power in numbers. Gagnon hopes people will come out to events like Queer Homecoming and get involved with projects in the community.

“I would love for the francophone and anglophone scene to mix more,” she said. “I think it’s really important—we need more communication. We still have so much to do.”

Feature photo by Saad Al-Hakkak.


We’ve got spirit, yes we do! School spirit matters

Support your school; be a part of your community

Pep rallies, cheerleaders and marching bands aren’t for everyone. Not everyone will paint their faces in team colours and hold a barbeque in a parking lot. Simply put, “team spirit” isn’t a Kool-Aid that most people will swallow.

Still, most people tend to have some pride—either for their school, or at least, their school’s team. If I had to point fingers, I’d say that Concordia is the exception to prove the rule.

Why does our school lack “team spirit”? Stingers games go unattended, even when we play big names like Harvard (and I’m willing to bet some of you just learnt we played Harvard reading this sentence). Every once in a while, big games (like last week’s Corey Cup game against McGill) can draw out a substantial crowd, but more often than not there are scarcely any students to cheer on the home team.

ConU merchandise sits unsold in the bookstore. How many McGill hoodies have you seen on the streets? What about t-shirts? Even student media publications—often the only way for students to know about the issues concerning their institution and student government—sit forgotten in distribution bins.

Is it because we reside in a large city, rife with other distractions? Because we have two campuses that evenly divide the student population? Because we have no centralized student living space? Or is it simply a side-effect of a time where your identity is no longer shaped by where you work or where you go to school?

Who can really say if a lack of school identity is for better or for worse? On one hand, we have a diverse student population. On the other, student organizations suffer.

Sports teams, interest groups, student government, and student media struggle when there is no community to advocate for, support, and be supported by in turn. Fledgling athletes have no one to play for, new artists can’t find an audience, activities designed to get people together can barely scrape together double-digits.

As the community, we have to decide if the community is worth it. We have to decide that things are worth standing up for—otherwise, there won’t be a “we” left.


Concordia wrestler Olympic-bound

After qualifying for the Olympics last week at a tournament in Orlando, 24-year-old David Tremblay from the Concordia Stingers wrestling team is getting ready to head to London and represent his country. The first-time Olympian has lofty expectations for himself this summer. He sat down with The Concordian for an interview.

David Tremblay won an Olympic qualifying tournament in Orlando and will now head to the 2012 Olympics. Photo by Rita Davidson

What are you most excited about heading to the Olympics?
I’m not sure. I think it’s just going to be an overall great experience. I’m looking forward to the opening and closing ceremonies. I talked to some past Olympians and they said the ceremonies were a great part of going to the games. And just the fact I’m going to a tournament that only comes once every four years where you have to qualify against the best of the best is great.

When in your life did you really believe and think one day you could be in the Olympics?
When I was really young, around 15, I wanted to go without knowing how to really get there. You win your first national title at a young age, people are asking you if you want to go to the Olympics and you say “yeah, of course I do,” without knowing how hard it is to make it there. Then when you get older you realize it’s not as easy as you think. You hope you can make it, but it’s still a long way away. I moved to Montreal after high school thinking I could make it to the 2008 Olympics before even realizing how far I was from that. I had to re-analyze my goals and focus on 2012.

How do you expect to do in London?
Obviously everyone wants to go for the gold, that’s the best outcome. I just want to go out there and perform my best. Last summer I beat some of the top guys in the world so, if I can perform well, I know I can [compete for a medal]. A medal [in London] would be great and I’m a real competitor so I’m not planning on going to the games and losing.

Are you nervous about the games?
I’m not nervous. I’m just excited. I want to get back to training and preparing and just get ready for London.

Who has been the most help in your career?
I’d have to say definitely my dad. My dad’s the one who brought me into the sport and he was pretty strict on me in high school in order to achieve my goals, but he did a really good job of being a coach and also a father. He wasn’t too much of one or the other.

How did you get started in the sport?
It was my dad — he was a high school wrestling coach in Ontario. I was into all the sports in grade school and he asked me if I wanted to try wrestling and I said “I don’t know, I don’t really know anything about wrestling.” So he took me into the living room and showed me a couple techniques. Then he put me in a high school tournament which I won and I just started liking it from there.

Will your family be coming to London to watch?
I think some of them are going to come, but the games aren’t cheap. I think it’s $500 just to watch me wrestle one day. We’re going to do some fundraising to hopefully help with the cost, but my immediate family will probably be coming.

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