Stingers men’s basketball team ready for the second part of the season

The Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team is back from holiday break and looking forward to continuing a good start to the season.

The Stingers’s last Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) season game dates back to Nov. 30. However, the team remained active by playing a tournament in Halifax at the end of December. Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic said at this level, teams don’t have much time to rest during the season.

“We usually have a little break of about a week at the beginning of December for exams,” Popovic said. “We then practice and have a few days off before Christmas. We were back practicing again on the 26.” Popovic said the Stingers flew to Halifax on Dec. 27 for its tournament. The team then played three games from Dec. 28-30, registering two wins.

“It’s a very short break of about six school days off that players get before Christmas, but that’s about it,” Popovic said.

The Stingers won four of their first five games of the 2019-20 season, and are currently ranked second in the RSEQ behind McGill, with one game in hand. The team also had a 4-1 record after five games in the 2018-19 season.

“The McGill game was a close game all the way until the end,” Popovic said. “It’s a good start to the season, with two good wins against the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Citadins. Obviously, after losing Ricardo Monge last off-season, we kind of had to get used to playing without him.”

Monge was the point-guard, team captain, played his fifth and final season with the Stingers in 2018-19, was named the MVP in the RSEQ and received all-Canadian honours.

The transition period for the point-guard position was a bit tough at first for the Stingers. The team played exhibition games before the RSEQ season, but had to deal with injuries. Popovic said it was an adjustment for his team and the young players coming in. However, he said the team is satisfied with what came out of the first five games this season.

“We understand that our league is very competitive,” Popovic said. “There won’t be any easy game during the second semester. We have to get ready [for all of them]. Our next six games are against UQAM, McGill and the Bishop’s University Gaiters. Those will be six very competitive games. Those teams all played during Christmas time and got better.”

Popovic said that, since the start of the season, the coaching staff has been stressing a lot on making the right plays on offence, and sharing the ball.

“We don’t care who scores,” Popovic said. “We just want them to get the best shots as possible in every position. We want to eliminate turnovers. Early in the season, we turned it over too much. I’d say that right now, it’s a great overall team effort. Defensively, we’ve been pretty good, especially at understanding what we want to do against each team. However, there are still a lot of games left, so there are many things we want to get better at.”

Last season, forward Sami Ghandour missed the first two games of the season following a shoulder surgery. Ghandour is an important part of the team and is recognized for his energy on and off the court. This season, the forward was in uniform for the first five games of the season, having registered 58 points, and is tied for first in the RSEQ in rebounds, averaging 8.4 per game.

We call Sami — what we call in basketball terms — a glue guy,” Popovic said. “He’s not the one who will score 25 points per game. However, he does a lot of little things for us. He communicates and knows where to be on the court. Every team needs players like that to be successful. We’re looking forward to a big second semester for him.”

The Stingers only played five games but some players are already leaving great impressions on the court.

“Nathaniel Boisvert is playing a decent role for us,” Popovic said. “I also think Tariq Barki-Hamad has played well as a backup point-guard. We need these guys to come in and play well. We’re hoping we can get contribution from everyone, and that they can keep improving because it will make our team better. When you’re a young athlete coming in this league and playing minutes right away, you have a lot to learn. When players like Bryan Coriolan and Adrian Armstrong will graduate, we’ll need these guys to step in and play big minutes for us.”

With 11 games left in the season, the Stingers aren’t looking too far ahead. Popovic said the team simply wants to focus on itself.

“It’s going to be one game at a time, with one practice at a time by trying to get better,” Popovic said. “We already know our opponents, as we played them before.”



Feature image by Laurence B.D.


How shot location and volume has been key to the Stingers success

What’s that famous saying?

“You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky”

–  Michael Scott

Despite the obvious cliché, the best way to win hockey games is to get pucks on net. The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team is currently the top-ranked team in U Sports, and one of the biggest reasons has been the team’s ability to generate high-quality shots, without sacrificing any defensive intensity.

In nine games so far this season, the team is averaging 34 shots per game, and have scored 30 goals. On the defensive side of the ice, they’ve only allowed 26.56 shots per game. While some teams play above expectations due to ballooned shooting percentages, the Stingers have a team shooting percentage of 9.8 per cent, an extremely sustainable rate. Their 3.33 goals per game is tied for first in all of U Sports. It’s not surprising that they’ve only been outshot twice all season, against the University of Ottawa on Nov. 17 and on Nov. 24 against McGill. The Stingers won both of those games.

This season, I’ve been tracking shots (for and against) for seven out of the team’s first nine games of the season (only games I’ve missed have been the ones where the team travels to Ottawa to play Carleton and U of O). As this team keeps playing games, patterns start emerging.

The big one being that the Stingers love to shoot in close. From the team’s 309 shots, 26.5 per cent have come from within five feet of the net. The team succeeds when it’s able to control the puck around the net, crash the crease and generate rebounds. In the team’s first game against McGill, the shots were scattered with no real concentration. On Nov. 10, the Stingers played Montreal, one of the top teams in the country. They managed to control play around the net, and that led to 15 shots from the crease, and the Stingers shutout the Carabins 4-0. Their only loss of the season, a 3-2 shootout loss to Carleton, was largely due to defensive lapses and a hot opposing goalie that made 45 saves.

“For us, the best areas to be able to score goals is net-front, within the dots, up to the top of the circles,” said head coach Julie Chu after her team’s weekly Wednesday skills practice. “I think that’s a really big emphasis for ourselves. To not only be an exterior team moving the puck, but we have to get to the net. And with the goalies we play against, they’re talented, so if we only stay on the exterior and only take shots from there, they’re easy saves. We’re focusing a lot on getting to the net and trying to create traffic and winning net-front battles as much as we can.”

With all of the talent that Chu has managed to recruit to the Stingers since becoming the team’s head coach in the summer of 2016, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’ve emerged as the top team in the country, and were named the number one ranked team in U Sports for five weeks in a row at the time of publication. Players like Audrey Belzile, Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, Emmy Fecteau and Claudia Dubois have shown that they’re not only capable of generating high quality chances basically at will, but also spreading the offence to other players. Add high-end players like Olivia Atkinson, Marie-Pascale Bernier and Brigitte Lagnagniere, and you see why teams have struggled to slow down the Stingers.

Photo by Cecilia Piga

“What’s fun is that we have a lot of talented players with a lot of skill,” said Chu. “That increases our opportunities to be threats on the ice. When you only have one player that really has a tremendous shot, and the other [players] aren’t really threats, and you’re only trying to feed one person, it’s easy to eventually shut down attacks.”

With the most goals in the RSEQ so far this season, and peppering opposing goalies with endless high quality shots per game, they’re bound to tire any goalie out. It’s been their key to outlasting talented teams like McGill and Montreal. The Stingers are not only taking a lot of shots, but they’re managing to get the majority of those shots off in dangerous areas. Olympic pistol shooters and archers would be jealous of this kind of consistent placement.

On special teams, while the power-play struggled to start this season 一 only scoring four times on 37 power play chances 一 it’s improved as the season has gone on. Chu talked about how the team has been working on reading the play better and establishing that net-front presence that’s frustrated other RSEQ teams all year.

Graphic by Matthew Coyte

Looking at the scores, it would be easy to fixate on the Stingers offensive prowess, but they’ve been just as good on the defensive side of things. They’re the only team with a positive goal differential at +14. To see how good they are, just look at how they managed to shut out McGill and Montreal in back-to-back games. Goalie Alice Philbert has been a massive part of this success, but suppressing high-quality shots has become the Stinger M.O. lately. For Chu, all of that starts at the offensive end of the ice.

“When we have a good forecheck, the ability for the transition of the opposing team becomes less,” said Chu. “Or we might have extra numbers back, so they don’t have the ability to attack and get more 3-on-2’s. I think our forecheck has been really good, which is our first line of slowing down the offence of the opposing team. Secondly, in [our] zone, we work a lot on our defensive zone coverage, and we were just trying to find ways to smartly pressure.Being good with our sticks, being great with contact, those are going to help us hopefully keep our opponents to the exterior.”

Despite the team’s hot start to the season, Chu still says that there are “lots of different aspects” that she wants the team to focus on. Most of all, the team’s breakouts.

“The consistency of our breakout is always something that’s huge,” said Chu. “In the same way that we say our forecheck 200-feet away from our net is really important in the defensive side of our game, our breakout is huge in our ability to create offense. Our ability to shut down the opponent, be able to turn the puck, make the right reads and get momentum and energy up the ice with numbers is really important.”


Photos by Cecilia Piga, graphics by Matthew Coyte


Wide receiver Jeremy Murphy exceeds expectations in first season

When the Concordia Stingers football team recruited wide receiver Jeremy Murphy, they were confident they were getting something good. But, they couldn’t have guessed at the time how much of an impact Murphy would have in his first season.

“I thought Murphy was a very good receiver in college, and that he could bring that talent to the university level,” said head coach Brad Collinson. “He exceeded our expectations. To do what he did in his first year is rare. I knew he had it in him. I just didn’t know he would show it this year.”

Murphy comes from the Collège Champlain-St-Lambert Cavaliers where he played in the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) division 3. Murphy was named the rookie of the year in his first season there in 2016, as well as being named to the offensive all-star team. Last year, he was named the best offensive player and was once again on the offensive all-star team.

In his first season with the Stingers, the Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville native caught 34 passes for 491 yards. He also scored four touchdowns in eight games, which ranked him first of all RSEQ receivers. Murphy said his first season with the Stingers was a blast.

“It was a great experience, especially for a first-year player like myself,” Murphy said. “I learned many things, on and off the field, about being on time, my occupations, school and others. On the field, you learn just by the way you listen to your coach, and then apply the instructions.”

It was clear after their first game of the season against the Carabins de Montréal that Murphy would become a staple in the Stingers offence. People around the team knew that veteran James Tyrell would be the number one receiver, so it was up to the rest of the receiving corps to prove their worth – Murphy had an instant impact.

Collinson thought Murphy developed well in his first year with the Stingers, and showed he was one of the best freshmen in the league. He said Murphy is a competitor who trusts his abilities, which explains why he had success.

“I think he became a better route runner,” Collinson said. “He always had great chances as a receiver, which is key. Those are really things we enjoyed [from] him this year. Football’s very important to him. He enjoys the sport, and that passion transferred to how he played on the field.”

Murphy’s statistics allowed him to be named the RSEQ rookie of the year earlier this month. The wide receiver said he’s happy to receive such a reward.

“Obviously I wanted to win the RSEQ rookie of the year, but it wasn’t part of my expectations [entering the season],” Murphy said. “I was just trying to make my name known, and create a spot on the team for myself, nothing more than that.”

In addition to the RSEQ rookie of the year, Murphy was named the most outstanding rookie in Canadian university football last week, a first for a Stingers player since Liam Mahoney in 2007.

Collinson said the team won’t change its coaching because of how Murphy performed in his first year. He explained that everyone will start over again next season and progress at their rhythm.

“It’s not going to put pressure on [Murphy],” Collinson said. “We just want him to have a good season, and continue to develop and trust the process we coach here at Concordia. If he does that, good things will happen.”

Pressure or not, Murphy will be a player to watch in 2020-21. Teams now know what he’s capable of, and will try to limit his production when they play against him and the Stingers.

With a new quarterback next season, as veteran Adam Vance completes his fifth and final season with the team in 2019-20, players might have an adjustment period entering the new season.

However, some of the team’s wide receivers were also playing their last season, which could put Murphy into a bigger role in 2020-21, and allow him to continue on where he left last year.

Murphy said the goal for him is just to continue developing his game and what he’s been working on since joining the team last season.

“For me, it’s just to improve on what I’ve already created,” Murphy said. “As a team, we just have to win more than we did this year, and push it to the second round of the playoffs.”

Feature photo by Kyran Thicke / Concordia Stingers


“I just want to play rugby and do my thing”

“Stan’s a thinker: he’s not overly loud, he’s quiet,” said men’s rugby head coach Craig Beemer about what he’s observed of fullback Stanislas Blazkowski his first year as a Stinger. “Obviously, he’s a really talented rugby player. He’s still young so even though he’s already got all these accolades, you can see that he still wants to learn and continue to improve.”

The 21-year-old started playing rugby for the Montreal Rugby Club when he was 11. Before that, Blazkowski played a variety of other sports: hockey, judo, boxing, and soccer among them.

After spending the first few years of his life in Melum, France, Blazkowski’s parents, who had visited Montreal when they were younger and always wanted to live here, finally made the move when Blazkowski was five years old.

“When I [became] a teenager, I didn’t know what culture I should refer to the most, between the French one and the Canadian one, especially while I lived in Montreal and all my family was in France,” said Blazkowski about how it felt living in both countries at various points in his life. “It was kind of tricky, but now I feel Canadian and French at the same time.”

In 2016, Blazkowski moved back to France and played for the Racing Club de Narbonne Méditerannée U22 team. It was a competitive environment and, even though Blazkowski enjoyed it, it unfortunately didn’t work out. This is in part – Blazkowski explained that it was a complicated situation – because the age group he was playing in was lowered by one year, and, despite still having one year of eligibility left, no one recruited him, opting instead for younger players.

Last summer, Blazkowski decided to come back to Montreal to play for the Stingers and attend JMSB as an international business student. “I love traveling, I speak three languages, I want to discover the world,” Blazkowski said. “If I can do this through my job, this would be perfect.”

Coming to Concordia wasn’t a hard decision. During his time in Montreal playing for Team Quebec over the summers while he was still living in France, Blazkowski met coach Beemer. He reached out to the head coach, knowing that Concordia was hosting the 2019 Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship (Nov. 20-24) and that the men’s rugby team had been successful in past seasons.

Blazkowski also previously played with many other players on the team from Team Quebec and from when he played for various other clubs, such as RC Montréal, Beaconsfield and Town of Mount Royal RFC.

“[Rugby] is the kind of sport where you go to war with people and, after a game, it’s all friends,” Blazkowski said about the sport’s culture, noting the chemistry and bonds he’s built over the years. “What you share on the field, you’ll share off the field too.”

And what they’ve shared on the field is a third consecutive all-win season, claiming the 2019-20 RSEQ Provincial Rugby Championship title on Nov. 9. With a successful year for the Stingers, Blazkowski also had an epic rookie year, and was named to the RSEQ first all-star team.

“He has really high standards. He wants to be improving all the time,” Beemer said of Blazkowski. “He already is a good player but in the two, three years he’s going to be here, he’s going to be a much better player just purely based on his own drive and his willingness to be really really good.”

Despite his obvious talent, for Blazkowski, it doesn’t matter. “I don’t really care about that kind of thing. I just want to play rugby and do my thing.”

Being a full time student isn’t an easy feat for anyone and requires a lot of time management. Playing as a varsity level athlete on top of student obligations doesn’t make things easier. On top of studying international business, rugby training and practice can take up to four hours a day, four days a week, with games on weekends. All this leaves little time for much else, but Blazkowski still manages to enjoy some leisure activities such as reading, watching sports and “hanging out with the boys.”

At the end of the day, regardless of the time and work it takes, or the honours received, Blazkowski just wants to play rugby and wants to try to make it to the highest level he can.


Photos by Laurence B.D.


From terrifying to just inaccurate: A look at RSEQ mascots

Ah, mascots, the unspoken heroes of sporting events.

Nothing completes a sporting event quite like a giant anthropomorphic monstrosity making their way up the nosebleeds while beating a drum. It’s dangerous work! One wrong step and you can go flailing down the stairs, or you can catch the ire of coaches and players. Let us never forget Harvey the Hound having his tongue ripped out by Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. Gritty has been a bad (good?) hallucination for the better part of a year. In honour of these brave men and women, we took a look at all of the mascots from each Quebec university.

Gaiter – Bishop’s University

Photo courtesy of Bishop’s University

Barney the Dino – I mean, Gaiter, is the giant purple alligator of Bishop’s University. The team name isn’t even named after the animal, but *checks notes* boot coverings? I’m all for taking creative liberties with the mascot, so I guess a purple alligator beats a pair of Timbs hyping the crowd up at games.

No mascot – Université de Montreal

UDEM doesn’t have a mascot, but if they did, it would probably be the personification of the shin splints I get walking up all the stairs on their campus.

Marty the Martlet – McGill University

Photo courtesy of the McGill Athletic Departmen

McGill went the route of basing their mascot off of the bird that graces their university flag instead of the uhhhh… Other name their athletic teams used to go by. The massive red bird wears a vest with the McGill logo on it, which I assume is mandatory for all McGill students and staff. Marty also rocks a fanny pack – unclear yet whether it’s Gucci or Supreme. Instead of pants, Marty goes for a kilt, much to the dismay of anyone looking up. Despite rocking some bold fashion choices, for some reason it’s canon that the mascot’s favourite poutine topping is duck, which I’m still trying to wrap my head around in deciding if that’s badass or terrifying.

Sherlo – Sherbrooke University

I can’t be the only one that only sees Squanch from Rick and Morty right?

Victor – Université de Laval

Laval has been an absolute athletic juggernaut the past 20 years, especially in football, claiming national title after national title. So it makes sense that they’re a little cocky. Victor, the bald eagle mascot of the university, personifies that cockiness to a tee. If I listen carefully, I can hear it telling me “on es les best suce ma bite”.

Buzz – Concordia University

Concordia’s first official mascot, “The Stinger”. Archive photo by Jonas Papaurelis.

Who could forget Buzz. The bug, the myth, the legend. Buzz has been a part of Concordia culture forever. Evolving from nightmare-inducing, to only slightly terrifying, Buzz is a constant at every Stingers game and is pretty reminiscent of that one fever dream you had when you were 7. He’s also the only mascot to not wear anything covering their lower-body like the insect-version of Porky Pig.

I also found this phenomenal Concordia promo video from 2008. And let me tell you, it’s just *chef’s kiss*. Where to even start? The horror-movie-killer-esque first person? The suit and tie? The fact that he’s (still) not wearing any pants? Wherever you tune in, it’s incredible and there are some wholesome moments mixed in there that almost make Buzz not the scariest thing in the world.


Feature photo by Hannah Ewen


Concordia 4, Montreal 3 (2OT): Stingers prove their top-ranked status in win

Sometimes, you can just feel something in the air.

And as the extreme Montreal winds were busy blowing away delayed trick-or-treaters, the U Sports gods were setting the stage for the next chapter of what’s become one of the best rivalries in U Sports women’s hockey. The two top teams in the country clashed as the #1 ranked Concordia Stingers battled the #2 ranked Université de Montreal Carabins women’s hockey teams.

Both teams came into this game undefeated at 3-0. Both teams have fielded some of the strongest lineups in the country over the past couple of years. It was only two seasons ago that the Stingers raised the RSEQ championship on UDEM’s turf.

“We’re a really well matched team against each other and it’s been really fun,” said head coach Julie Chu. “Two years ago we had eight games against them playoffs included, and six went to shootout or overtime. It’s pretty crazy. That’s what we’re expecting for the rest of the season.”

The Carabins were the first to strike. Working the power-play, UDEM beat Stingers goalie Alice Philbert off a deflection blast from the slot courtesy of Marie-Pier Dubé with just over 11 minutes left in the first period.

What followed was a back-and-forth battle fought in the neutral zone, both teams struggling to gain momentum. The Stingers finally responded off of a dangle from captain Claudia Dubois, who fought off two Carabins defenders before quickly ripping the puck over the shoulder of Carabins goalie Aube Racine. Racine finished the game with 30 saves on 34 shots.

In the second period, the Stingers cost themselves a pair of goals. The first started off a bad turnover as the Stingers were leaving their zone. The Carabins’ Joannie Garand ripped a shot past Philbert and sent her water bottle flying in the process. The second came on the powerplay, where a miscommunication in the offensive zone left a Carabins penalty-killer all alone for a breakaway that beat Philbert high. Philbert finished the game with 29 saves on 32 shots.

For us, we always talk about never quitting,” said Chu. “The greatest that any of us can have is resilience. We’re going to go through a lot in a season, we’re going to be down goals, we’re going to be up goals, we have to be resilient enough to bend a little but not break, and that’s what this team is showing.”

However, the Stingers responded both times. Thirty seconds after Garand’s goal, Olivia Atkinson scored her first of the year on a tap-in play to tie the game up. As the Stingers went down the second time, it was Marie-Pascale Bernier who answered, firing a bullet from the slot, top shelf.

With a game this close, of course it would go to overtime. Sorry, I meant to say double overtime.
This is the second time in four games the Stingers have played 65 or more minutes.

As the second overtime period began, it was clear that both teams were taking chances. But it was the rookie Emmy Fecteau for the Stingers that managed to put the game away on a great pass cross-crease from Rosalie Begin-Cyr. This was Fecteau’s first goal of the season. Chu talked about how she is happy with how the rookie has been playing so far this season.

The top two teams in the country didn’t disappoint in this thriller. The shots leaned more towards the Stingers, who managed more high-danger shots on net, but costly turnovers and bad breaks evened things out for the Carabins.

Stingers outshot the Carabins 34-32. Graphic by Matthew Coyte.

“Our league is so tight,” said Chu. “We’re gonna have to go into overtime, shootouts or different scenarios.It’s going to be like this all season long, and what we keep telling our players is to stay in the moment and to work hard and take our opportunities where they come.”

The Stingers next game is against the McGill Martlets on Nov. 8 at the Ed Meagher Arena


  • CEPSUM is a pretty sick rink with incredible acoustics and a really cool football-stadium-esque feel and white tiled roof. I wish more arenas would have the really distinct features, makes “home rink advantage” feel like it matters.
  • UDEM’s power-play song is the Imperial March from Star Wars, and honestly, it fits.
  • This was my first game using this new shot tracking tool by Robyn Scholz. It’ll get tweaked as the year goes on, but it’s working great so far.


Photo by Matthew Coyte.


Stingers women’s hockey team welcomes new recruits

As the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team prepares to kick off their 2019-20 season against their crosstown rivals the McGill Martlets, there’s a sense that there’s some unfinished business after the Stingers were knocked out of the playoffs last year by McGill.

Veterans like Claudia Dubois, Audrey Belzile, Alexandra Nikolidakis, Marie-Pascale Bernier and Stéphanie Lalancette among others are all primed to build on last season where the team lost in the RSEQ division semi-finals.

“Over the summer, all of our returning players wanted to make a commitment at getting better, and making sure that by the start of this season, they were in a much better position [than last year],” head coach Julie Chu said back in mid-September. “Because of that, we’re in a much different spot and we’re able to compete at a higher level [since the beginning of our exhibition games].”

Joining the veterans are a handful of notable recruits and new players. We asked Chu to give us a bit of insight into what we can expect from the five newest members of this Stingers roster.

Léonie Philbert
Last Team: Dawson College
Position: Forward
2018-19 Stats: 24GP-10G-11A-21Pts

Philbert played on Team Quebec in 2015 and 2016, winning silver at the U18 national championship in 2016. Last season with the Dawson Blues, she was named team MVP.

Chu: “I think Léonie’s one of the most versatile players in the game right now at the university level. We’ve been able to use her in the pre-season as a forward and as a defenceman. It’s not easy to make that shift, especially as a first year player. The speed of the game, the decision-making and everything that comes into it, there’s often an adjustment period coming out of CEGEP or high school, but Léonie’s been able to do that really well, and I think a big part of that is that she works hard everyday and is a really smart player. Her ability to process the game quickly allows her to execute at a high level.”

Julianna Classen
Last Team: John Abbott College
Position: Forward
2018-19 Stats: 24GP-8G-10A-18Pts

Chu: “Julianna is a great person. She’s a great student-athlete, she’s in the exercise science program. She has a lot of potential to come in at this level and have a great season. I think that for her, she’s a smart player, especially from the tops of the circles down, that’s where she’s the most threatening. We’ll be able to see her use her size to her advantage, take pucks to the net, and kinda play that ‘dirty game’ net front. As she gets used to the speed of this level, that 200 foot game will develop as well.”

Emmy Fecteau
Last Team: Cégep Limoilou
Position: Forward
2018-19 Stats: 24GP-13G – 25A – 38Pts

One of the more high-profile recruits, Emmy Fecteau has already started to make a name for herself nationally. The 20-year-old won the RSEQ collegiate title three years straight with Cégep Limoilou in 2017, 2018 and 2019 before making the jump to university. Last season she finished third in the scoring race at the CEGEP level with 38 points in 24 games. Oh, she was also named to Canada’s National Women’s Development Team for a three-game series against the United States this summer.

Chu: “She’s been incredible from day one. We’ve seen her growth, I’ve known her since she was 16-years-old, maybe younger, going to Caroline Ouellete’s camps before we were even coaching at university. We’ve seen her growth and development throughout the years, from her first year at Limoilou and coming onto a really talented team and learning how to develop into that position. She’s been tremendous since day one. Similar to Léonie, she just wants to get better and wants to push and wants to work. That’s the type of student-athlete you want to work with, not one you have to motivate, but wants to go out there and find ways to get better.”

Caroline Gosling
Last Team: Edge Prep, Calgary
Position: Goalie
2018-19 Stats: 14GP-2.29 GAA-.911 SVP

Gosling played on Team Alberta during the 2019 Canada Winter Games, where she helped the team win gold. She was also named to the 2016 Mac’s Midget Tournament All-Star team. Chu discovered Gosling during the goalie’s time on Team Alberta at the Canada Winter Games.

Chu: “What I’ve really enjoyed about Caroline is that she just goes out and battles for every puck. She’s not a big goalie, that’s the reality, but she has a way of playing aggressive that allows her to be bigger in goal and be able to make great saves. I think that’s going to be a huge asset for her and for the team. In practice, every time our players want to score a goal, they need to know that they’re going to have to battle hard because she’s not just going to allow the rebound to be tapped in.”

Olivia Atkinson
Last Team: McGill Martlets
Position: Forward
2017-18 Stats: 20GP – 8G – 8A – 16Pts

Atkinson isn’t a rookie, but she will be playing her first game for the Stingers on the Saturday season opener – against her old team. The fourth year forward last played on the McGill Martlets in 2017-18 before switching to the Stingers last season. While not eligible to play U Sports, Atkinson played with the CWHL’s Canadiennes de Montreal, registering 3 points in 17 games with the pro team. While on the Martlets, Atkinson was one of the team’s most effective players, registering 16 points in 20 games, tied for the team lead. Due to U Sports eligibility rules, she had to sit out last year. Now, she’s ready to join the team.

Chu: “Liv always gives a full effort. That’s something on our team we don’t have to coach. I think for us is that we’re really excited to have a great player back in the lineup. She had three tremendous years at McGill when she was playing. She can put the puck away, utilize her speed and create offensive opportunities. We’re looking for her to use her speed, take pucks to the net and use that incredible release that she had. She’s a talented player and it’s nice to have her back in our lineup.”

This year’s crop of rookie’s join a strong class of sophomores that include RSEQ All-Star Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, who netted 15 points in 20 games as a rookie.

The Stingers women’s hockey season kicks off at McGill on Saturday, Oct. 19. The team’s home opener will be on Sunday, Oct. 20 at the Ed Meagher Arena.

The team’s full schedule can be found here.


Photo by Mackenzie Lad


Concordia 74 McGill 0: Motivation not an issue as Stingers dominate Martlets

The Concordia Stingers women’s rugby team defeated McGill University 74-0 Sunday afternoon for the 15th annual Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup at Concordia Stadium, successfully defending their title from last year.

There were 11 Stingers who finished the game on the scoresheet, with 10 players scoring at least one try. Head coach Jocelyn Barrieau said it was great to see everyone contribute to the victory.

“It means they are playing for each other,” Barrieau said. They’re not selfish, as they love to move the ball. They don’t care who scores the try. They just want to score as a team, and I think they showed it really well today.”

As the Stingers looked to leave Concordia Stadium still undefeated in this 2019-2020 Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) season, Barrieau said the Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup game was the easiest game of the season for players to get extra motivation.

“We don’t have to search really far ahead of us [to be motivated for that match]. We have Kelly-Anne’s mother, Doreen, who’s there. It’s something really important to all of us.”

The Stingers established their game quickly, scoring their first try of the game in the 12th minute of the first half. The team went on to score four more tries in the first half, before adding seven more in the second.

In what might first look like an almost perfect game despite few missed two-point conversions, Barrieau said this game had nothing close to being a perfect performance.

“We played well, but it was far from being a perfect match,” Barrieau said. “We have a lot of details to work on. We always look to improve when we can do so, and we still have many things that we need to get better at.”

Stingers fifth-year player Lia Hoyte was named the MVP of the game, scoring one try. Hoyte now has two tries in four games played this season.

With one game left to the Stingers’s campaign, the team shows a perfect 5-0 record. Barrieau said if things are worked that well for the Stingers so far, it’s because of the players’ dedication to their team and sport.

“Players are so committed [to what they do],” Barrieau said. “It’s all about their overall implication, as they’ve worked so hard during the off-season last winter.”

The Stingers will play McGill once again for their last regular season game on Oct. 6 at the Percival Molson Stadium.


Photo by Laurence B. D.


Stingers women’s hockey building off of last season

The 2018-19 Réseau du Sport Etudiant du Québec (RSEQ) season didn’t finish the way the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team had hoped. After winning the RSEQ championship in 2018, the Stingers were eliminated in the semifinals by McGill last playoffs in what was a learning season for them.

This year’s Stingers roster will present a more mature group than last season, when 11 players were rookies. Stingers head coach Julie Chu said the team experienced a lot of growth over the past months, which is a big factor in approaching the new season.

“It’s the commitment it takes to play at this level,” Chu said. “It’s the patience to know that with so many first-year players, it takes time to get to the level we need to be in regards to fitness, conditioning, overall execution on a consistent basis, and just understanding the system at the next level.”

The ending of the Stingers’s last season pushed the players to work even harder this summer. Chu said it’s incredible to see the effort and commitment players made over the summer, and how it helped them improve their game.

“Over the summer, all of our returning players wanted to make a commitment at getting better, and making sure that by the start of this season, they were in a much better position [than last year],” Chu said. “Because of that, we’re in a much different spot and we’re able to compete at a higher level [since the beginning of our exhibition games].”

Stingers forward Claudia Dubois will be one of the team’s veterans in 2019-20, as this season will be her fifth. Having been part of both 2018 RESQ’s championship team and last year’s team that lost in the semi-finals, Dubois said she’s gained enough experience to be a leader this season.

“It’s for sure a big role in the team,” Dubois said. “I just want to lead by example the best I can with the rookies, and guide them in the best direction as possible for the upcoming years at university.”

Dubois said players took a step back at the conclusion of last season. Even if the Stingers were hoping for a better result, Dubois thought this was a needed lesson, as it’s been a couple of good years for the Concordia women’s hockey program.

“I think to have experienced that as a team was a reset for this season,” Dubois said. “We know we’ll have to work hard for everything. It was hard at the beginning of the off-season, but as we were moving forward this summer, it became a motivation for all of us in discussions and practices. We’re looking forward to play McGill, but any team in the league will be sort of a revenge and opportunity to prove it was a mistake [last season’s results].”

Chu said the current Stingers roster is not only a great one, but also the ideal kind of group for players and coaches. She explained that compared to last year with all the rookies, this year’s team presents a better mix of players from all years.

“We can’t have a team of only rookies because that’s a lot of energy,” Chu said. “Yet, we also can’t have a team of only returners. Now that we’re introducing five new players to our program, it’s just adding to the veterans that we have here, which makes it better. What we have here is a really good balance of different qualities and skills that players bring to our team, lineup, and practices every day.”

With most players having already played their first year at university level, Chu said everyone seems more settled in than at the same point of the year last off-season.

“We don’t have as many players going through their first moments of figuring out everything like last year, where half of our team was new,” Chu said. “A lot more energy was spent on things as simple as understanding how to register for classes, or even moving to Montreal. It’s really fun to see our team coming together, and be in a good position in order to continue moving forward and getting better in this early part of the season.”

Stingers forward Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, RSEQ’s highest-scoring rookie and one of the Stingers’ 11 first-year players last year, said most of the team will now have made a little step forward with that first season completed.

“We now know how the league works, as well as the team’s system and everything that’s around it. We certainly have a really talented group right now with quality players in all positions.”

Dubois said players know they have what it takes to win. However, she explained the team is focusing on one step at a time, and doesn’t want to look too far ahead.

“We’re focusing on the first half of the season [that goes] until Christmas,” Dubois said. “We started playing better in the second half of the season last year. It wasn’t too late, but it didn’t help us at the end with the standings and the playoffs. We want to win and we know we have the team to do it, so we’ll proceed one step at a time and it all starts now.”


Feature photo by Laurence BD


New Chapter for the Stingers men’s hockey program

Last year’s season did not end the way the Concordia Stingers had thought it would. The Queen’s Gaels swept the Stingers in the first round of the OUA playoffs after a hard-fought regular season.

On top of the early playoff exit, former captain Philippe Hudon played his last game with the team after five seasons.

Enter Philippe Sanche, who was chosen by head coach Marc-André Element to be the captain of his team for the 2019-20 season.

“It’s a big honour for me,” said Sanche. “Being the captain after [Philippe] Hudon, [Olivier] Hinse, it’s huge.”

Marc-André Element said he took some time over the summer to come to the decision to slap the C on Sanche’s jersey. However, Element feels that the Stingers’ leadership group is one of their main strong points heading into the new campaign, with Carl Neill and Alexandre Gosselin serving as assistant captains.

“We have an amazing leadership group, chemistry and players,” said Element. “There’s going to be an adjustment [for some], but they’ll figure it out pretty fast that we can’t take any nights off in this league.”

While Sanche adjusts to the role of captain, new recruits will have to adjust to a new team, league and even city; four of the new wave of players from the Stingers are from out of province. However, Sanche believes they are already being integrated into the team nicely.

Neill, who led the team in points last year and is now entering his third year, also expressed how his off-ice role has changed into more of a mentor-like figure for the new and young team.

“There’s a lot of young guys coming in and I’m just trying to get them adjusted to the atmosphere,” said Neill. “The quicker the team meshes together, the more success we’ll have so it’s about showing them the ins and outs [on and off the ice.]”

The Stingers have a good mindset heading into this season. They know where their strengths lie, what needs to be improved on, and what they can build off of. One of the areas of improvement that needed to be addressed was size.

The OUA is a very physical conference. Last season, the average height and weight of a Stingers player was 5’11 and 187lbs, which ranked 18th and 15th, respectively, among the 20 teams in the conference. To address that, the average height and weight of the nine new recruits listed on, is 6’1 and 198 lbs.

“We’re more [well rounded] this year,” said Sanche. “Last year we played really fast but struggled against bigger teams. This year we will be more physical and be able to better protect ourselves.”

Along with Philippe Hudon, other notable departures on the offensive side of the squad are left-winger Charles-Éric Légaré and center Hugo Roy. Those are some big shoes to fill as they accounted for over 30 per cent of the team’s scoring.

Sanche will be a big part of filling in these big shoes. Sanche has always been one of the team’s main goal scorers, lighting the lamp 38 times in his three seasons as a Stinger.

While the team did recruit Jeff de Wit and Alexander Katerinakis, among others, who have shown their ability to add scoring, they know that they will need a greater contribution from their defence; from players like Carl Neill, Bradley Lalonde, and newcomer Gabriel Bilodeau.

“We have a lot of offensive defensemen, so we need to feed our offence from the D-squad,” said Element.

The team knows what they are getting from Carl Neill in terms of scoring; in his two seasons as a Stinger he’s averaged 32 points. There are two players of interest, however, when it comes to getting offence from the back end.

Bradley Lalonde had an excellent rookie season, scoring five goals and 16 assists. He showed off his cannon of a shot, which will play a big role should the Stingers want to repeat having the fourth-best power play in the OUA.

Gabriel Bilodeau is a name that is very intriguing as he’s shown scoring prowess at the junior level; now he must translate that to the more mature U Sports game.

“[The new guys] need to figure out what type of player they are,” said Neill. “It’s a big step from junior – adjusting to the speed and pace. The quicker they do that is how fast we’ll find success this season.”

The Stingers men’s hockey team will see their first preseason game action on Sept. 18 on the road against the Université de Québec à Trois Rivières Patriotes. 


Feature Photo by Hannah Ewen


Rookie Julian Petrilli impressing between the pipes

The Concordia Stingers men’s soccer team has 14 new players for this 2019-2020 Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) season. One of them is rookie goalkeeper Julian Petrilli, who started the first four games of his team’s campaign.

Petrilli joins the Stingers after developing his game with Les Étoiles de l’Est in Laval at the AAA level. The goalkeeper said he’s enjoying his experience with the Stingers so far and wants to gain experience during his first year of university soccer.

“It’s important to go all the way by making the playoffs and going to nationals,” Petrilli said. “However, I just want to get the taste of how does university soccer feel. I played at [an] elite level since I was a child. I just want to gain experience and have fun with the team.”

Stingers head coach Greg Sutton said Petrilli shows a lot of confidence for a first-year player. He added that Petrilli adapted quickly to university soccer since joining the team.

“We will go through some learning curves, but I think he’s done some very good things so far,” Sutton said. “His attitude has been good. He’s already come up big for us in huge moments during these first [few] games of the season. For a goalkeeper, he has the overall tools, which are needed at this level.”

Photo by Cecilia Piga

Sutton said the decision to start Petrilli the first four games of the season was an easy one, as the rookie’s attitude makes the coaching staff confident with him in goal.

“As a goalkeeper, you have to be humble, but also very confident,” Sutton said. “I think he shares both those qualities. For a first-year goalkeeper, he hasn’t really played like one. He’s been able to prepare himself for training camp, come in, and make a statement early. That’s the reason why he’s in there now, and I’m sure that’s the reason why he’ll probably stay there for the remainder of this season, and hopefully beyond.”

Petrilli said it’s great to see his hard work pay off. He added that it gives him a boost of confidence to be starting in goal.

“I’ve been really determined and committed with this team right from the start,” Petrilli said. “I’ve had a great work ethic, and I’ve always been comfortable. I had the urge and desire to win, and [Coach Sutton] gave me the opportunity to play.”

Sutton, a former professional goalkeeper who played a part of his career with the Montreal Impact in Major Soccer League (MLS), won many awards in his career and said his experience as a goalkeeper will help his relationship with Petrilli.

“It’s not really the technique that I’m going to teach him because at this stage, I think it’s very difficult to change anybody’s technique,” Sutton said. “I think it’s going to be more about the mental aspect of it, the position aspect of it, and the decision making. I think those things are going to be elements I definitely will be able to help him with.”

Sutton also explained that the game becomes faster from level to level, which asks goalkeepers to make faster decisions as well. The Stingers head coach said Petrilli will learn many things during his rookie season of university soccer.

“I think it’s the decisions he’ll have to make,” Sutton said. “He’ll need to become quicker, and continue to become more and more of a communicator. He’ll need the personality to handle adversity and not dwell on things in order to be able to move on.”

Sutton explained that the key for good goalkeepers is consistency and that this is an aspect Petrilli will need to work on at this level of the game.

“If you let things get in your head in difficult moments, it will only get worse for you,” Sutton said. “Petrilli’s not struggling with those things, but he needs to be prepared and focused mentally for those moments of adversity. As he continues to climb levels, the level of focus needs to be better and better. If [he does] that, [he’ll] have the luxury of being a real significant impact player.”

For Petrilli, it’s special to have a former professional goalkeeper as head coach. He said it makes his relationship with Sutton unique.

“It’s always an honour to play for someone who played for the Impact,” Petrilli said. “I’m of course really happy to have him as a head coach.”

In four games and 360 minutes played, Petrilli made 22 saves on 29 shots and has a 1-1-2 record.

The Stingers will play the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Citadins on Sept. 20 at 8:15 p.m. at Stade Saputo.


Feature photo by Kyran Thicke


Stingers to Host Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship

The Concordia Stingers men’s rugby team have reached the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship for the last two years with back-to-back undefeated seasons in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) conference. This year will mark a third appearance in as many years for them at the Championship, as the Concordia University department of recreation and athletics has been selected to host the tournament this year.

The 2019 Championship will be played at Concordia Stadium, from Nov. 20-24. It will be the third edition of the tournament, with the University of Guelph and the University of Victoria hosting the first two, respectively.

With this year’s tournament played at Concordia, the Stingers are guaranteed a berth as hosts of the event. However, Stingers players like Stephen Martinez think this secured spot won’t affect their approach this season.

“The boys still want to earn their spot in the tournament, which means finishing in first place again, even if we’re guaranteed a spot as hosts,” Martinez said. “Second place isn’t in our vocabulary. We need to work to prove that we belong there, regardless if we’re hosting or not.”

Martinez adds that having the tournament at Concordia is a great opportunity to develop Quebec’s interest in the sport.

“Having this tournament here will hopefully show some higher level teams that Quebec teams can compete and that there are a lot of talented players here,” Martinez said. “With more interest, it might spark the start of a Major League Rugby team in Montreal.”

Stingers veteran Lucas Hotton says the difference of having the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship at Concordia might be more emotional than about the game itself, as players will play in front of family and friends.

“I think that’s a huge advantage because [rugby’s] not just a physical sport, but also a very mental one,” Hotton said. “Each little play makes a big difference, and that will be the difference as you’ll see more heart and more emotion on the field.”

Martinez also sees the home crowd as a factor in such a big tournament. The Stingers are undefeated at home since 2016 and he says the plan is to keep it that way this year, including at the Championship.

“Playing in front of a home crowd can encourage us a bit more to perform once we are there. A lot of us will have family and friends there. Our club teams will be there to support us, so it will be a really good environment.”

While hosting the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship won’t change their season approach, Hotton says it can be harder for a team to focus on its season first, knowing what’s coming for them in November.

“I know a lot of the players are really excited to host the Championship, but it’s important to make sure they keep their feet on the ground and focus on one game at a time,” Hotton said. “I think that will be the approach this season, just like it’s been the last one. One game at a time, and just make sure everyone works each week as we progress through the season.”


Feature photo by Hannah Ewen

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