Concordia Stingers Defeat Bishop’s Gaiters 5-1 to Take 1-0 Series Lead

The Stingers’ women’s hockey team pulled out a victory in Game 1 of the RSEQ semi-finals on Thursday

The Ed Meagher Arena was rocking from the get-go for Game 1 of the Stingers’ best-of-three series. Many Concordia student-athletes were in attendance, setting the atmosphere in the building all night by chanting loudly and booing the Gaiters any chance they got.

“The crowd was the real MVP of this game,” said Stingers’ defender Alexandra-Anne Boyer, who scored the game-winning goal in the second period. “Getting into the other team’s head, encouraging us, getting us pumped. It was insane. I loved it.”

Stingers’ head coach Julie Chu agreed that the crowd was a big advantage for her team.

“It was special to see our student section really come out,” she said. “The different teams, the different people around the community that came out to support our players. I think that was a difference-maker for us as well.”

It was a very tight game from the start. The fourth-place Gaiters came to play, and they proved that the first-place Stingers will have to work hard to beat them.

The teams traded power-play goals in the first period. Concordia forward Rosalie Bégin-Cyr blew the roof off of the arena by opening the scoring off a feed from forward Emmy Fecteau. Less than a minute later, Gaiters’ defender Marie-Camille Théoret blasted a point-shot past Stingers’ goaltender Alice Philbert to tie the game at one.

“Scoring the first goal helped calm down the younger players,” Bégin-Cyr said. “We were getting shots. It was just a matter of putting the puck in the net,” she added. Bégin-Cyr finished the game with a goal and two assists.

Concordia took the lead for good in the second period, when Boyer took a shot from the boards. It found its way through traffic and beat Gaiters’ goaltender Aglaé René de Cotret, putting the Stingers on top 2-1.

“There was a little hole and I saw it,” Boyer said. “I heard someone say ‘shoot’. I had an incredible screen. I took the shot and, showtime!”

The Stingers did not slow down in the third period. Concordia forward Justine Yelle extended the lead to 3-1 as she skated around a Gaiters’ defender and tucked it home on the backhand. Second-year forward Jessymaude Drapeau added two power-play goals to punctuate the 5-1 victory.

“We’ll celebrate it tonight,” Bégin-Cyr said. “Tomorrow, we’ll re-focus for Saturday.”

Although it was a one-goal game until midway through the third period, Chu was not bothered since the Stingers were still getting scoring opportunities.

“Early on, we had some chances. We hit a couple of posts. We had a chance in the second that was a wide-open net that we found a way to miss,” Chu said. “I think it’s really easy… to think about what we missed versus focusing on what we can do on our next shift.”

Even after winning a national championship, the Stingers were excited to win Game 1 of the playoffs.

“The national championship [was] a long time ago,” Chu said. “We actually haven’t talked about last year’s team… Now, we’re just thinking about Game 1 and giving our best there and now they’ll enjoy this.”

She added that it’s no use to compare themselves to last year’s team. All they can do is compare themselves to this year’s team and focus on how they can improve.

The Stingers are now one win away from advancing to the RSEQ final. Game 2 of the semi-final will take place at Bishop’s University on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m.


Division 2 men’s hockey is expanding in the RSEQ

Teams in the D2 league will get to play 13 extra games against CEGEPs starting in 2023-24

Starting next season, teams in the division 2 men’s university hockey league in the RSEQ will get an extra 13 games added to their season, played against division 1 CEGEP teams.

The league currently consists of three teams: Concordia University, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), and Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC).

Instead of playing 12 games per season, which sometimes can go a couple of weeks without a game, each team will now get to play 25 games per season.

Stingers D2 forward Christopher Séguin is looking forward to seeing a busier schedule. He previously played for the Patriotes of CEGEP Saint-Laurent, and is now in his first year at Concordia studying economics but will be switching to business marketing.

“We’re happy to have more games,” Séguin said. “It’s going to give us a better pace between school and hockey, while now it felt more like school, with sometimes one game every two weeks… It can get long.”

He also hopes to see the league get bigger, with more universities joining.

“It would be more fun and I think it deserves to become a strong league,” Séguin said. “There are a lot of good players, if they don’t make it to major junior, and they play college hockey or AAA, and they don’t know what to do, this would allow them to continue their education and keep playing hockey in university.”

The Stingers’ D1 men’s hockey team coach Marc-André Elément started the D2 program in 2021-22 to give more athletes the chance to play hockey at the university level. Elément also assists with the D2 team and is the athletics department liaison.

“Our league has become so good that we only recruit from major junior [CHL],” Elément said about the OUA, the league the Stingers’ D1 team is a part of. “So most [players from] CEGEP don’t really play D1. Some can, but not a lot. There are a lot of teams at that level in CEGEP but not in university. So that’s why we started this program, it gives the opportunity to 25 more players to play hockey and practice almost every day.”

Elément looks forward to seeing more universities join the D2 league and to seeing it grow over the next couple of years, with the possibility of some D2 teams moving up to the D1 league.


Stingers men’s soccer come up short 2-4 against Montreal in crucial game for playoff spot

The Stingers men’s soccer team’s season has come to a close, unable to emerge victorious in their clash against the University of Montreal Carabins

The team was well aware of the high stakes coming into this final regular-season game. The Laval Rouge et Or were playing at the same time, and both teams were eager for a win to cement themselves into the top 4 and clinch a playoff berth. 

While the Rouge et Or finally grasped a 2-0 win against the UQAM Citadins, the Stingers’ loss wiped out any chances of the team going further, as they needed at least a tie to secure their placement.

“I think it’s a microcosm of our season,” said Stingers’ head coach Greg Sutton after the game. “We let a lot of games slip this season that we should have been able to take care of early on and not even put ourselves in this predicament.” 

Visibly upset with the turn of events, Sutton was still there to comfort the heartbroken and lamenting players on the sideline after the final whistle.

The matchup was of major difficulty for the Stingers, with the Carabins already being the reigning champions and sitting atop the division boasting an 8-1-2 record. Both their defence and offence are regarded as the best in the RSEQ, scoring 33 goals and conceding only 10. They also beat the Stingers earlier this season with a score of 4-0, and even knocked them out of the playoffs in the first round last year.

The Montreal Carabins put on a stellar performance the whole game, able to count on midfielder Lucas Frutier who had his best game of the season, scoring all four of the Carabins’ goals and being named team MVP. They were also able to rely on their rock-solid defence, which didn’t allow a single goal in the first half and was overall very efficient in keeping the Stingers at bay.

However, nothing can be taken away from the Stingers’ perseverance and unwillingness to give up. Trailing by three goals going into halftime, they entered the second half ready to leave it all on the field and fight for their right to play for the championship. They came back looking determined after the break, with early back-to-back goal opportunities. In the 65th minute, Stingers’ midfielder Benoit Litty Mpako was finally able to kick the ball into the net, giving the team its first goal of the game.

The unfortunate reality remained that the opposing defence was by far the best in the league and was not ready to give up much of an edge. The Stingers’ laboured performance was, however, shown by the fact that this game was only the third time this season that the Carabins’ fortress-like defence allowed more than one goal. Stingers’ goalkeeper Jordy Kerlegrand also turned in a solid performance with eight spectacular saves, bringing his grand total this season to 53, the third most in the RSEQ this season.

When asked about how he kept his players in the running with such a deficit, Sutton explained: “We had to believe, we had to stay motivated. The guys were able to give themselves a bit of a lifeline when they scored but when we took the fourth goal, it was hard.”

The Stingers’ defence was indeed doing a much better job after halftime, but all seemed grim when Frutier was ultimately able to find the back of the net for the fourth time in the game. Concordia’s final point came 85 minutes in, when confusion led the Carabins to score an own goal, but unfortunately for the Stingers, it was too late to orchestrate a proper comeback.

With this game being the last of the regular season, senior players were called forward before kick-off and congratulated for their tenure with the soccer team. Stingers’ midfielder John Cevik left with the team MVP award for his last game as a Stinger.

“We’ve got to keep fighting; the program is going in the right direction and now we just need to get rid of these hurdles in the way. Hopefully, we build a culture in which we can keep doing that,” concluded Sutton, who is widely optimistic for the future of the men’s soccer team.

The first playoff games will take place on Oct. 28, with Laval facing Montreal and UQAM facing UQTR to determine who will face off in the finals for the championship.


The RSEQ backs up Hockey Québec’s measures against Hockey Canada

“Ethics are at the heart of the RSEQ’s values,” says Deputy General Director Stéphane Boudreau

On Oct. 6, the Réseau du Sports Étudiants du Québec (RSEQ) announced its support of Hockey Québec’s decision to withhold funds from Hockey Canada.

Hockey Québec had announced two days earlier that they would cut financial ties with Hockey Canada. It was the first provincial organization to do so, and received the support of several federations in their protest against the multiple sexual abuse allegations the organization has faced this summer.

The decision from Hockey Québec came from a lack of trust in Hockey Canada “to take the necessary steps to change the culture of hockey.”

For the RSEQ, the safety of their members was at the heart of their decision.

“The support comes in regards to the security of all,” said Stéphane Boudreau, Deputy General Director of the RSEQ. “Since the last two years the RSEQ has been working on equity, diversity and inclusion and that includes having a safe environment. Hockey Québec is a big partner of the RSEQ. It was important for us to show our support to them in continuation with our values.”

The RSEQ has two main programs in place to ensure ethics are at the center of student sports in Quebec. The program “3R” aims to foster responsibility and respect in sports. More concretely, the government program “I file a complaint” featured on their website is a tool to report abuse, harassment, negligence or violence within the context of student sports.

Boudreau also said that he trusts how Hockey Québec has been dealing with the situation so far and will continue to follow their footsteps.

A week after Hockey Québec severed financial ties with its federal counterpart, the CEO of Hockey Canada Scott Smith and the entire board of directors officially stepped down from their positions.

Initially, interim board chair Andrea Skinner assured no changes to management were foreseeable. But as crucial sponsors, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and provincial hockey organizations pressured Hockey Canada, their board decided to step down.

Hockey Canada has yet to announce a new board of directors.


Season recaps: Stingers basketball teams battle to the bitter end

In a COVID-shortened year, both Stingers basketball teams handled the uncertainty like professionals.

Men’s basketball

*Concordia lost in the RSEQ Final vs. McGill on Saturday. The final score was 48-46.

The Stingers men’s team finished second in the regular season with a 6-6 record. Concordia showed glimpses of a team that could run away with the RSEQ championship at times, but struggled to put everything together for extended stretches, particularly on offense. Defensively, the Stingers were suffocating by staying active on ball handlers, poking balls loose and forcing turnovers. They led the RSEQ in scoring defence, holding their opposition to 63 points-per-game on 38 per cent shooting. 

Concordia guard/forward Oge Nwoko (14) prepares to inbound the ball during the RSEQ semi-final match between Bishop’s and Concordia on Wednesday, March 23, 2022. REUBAN POLANSKY SHAPIRO/The Concordian

Rastko Popovic, the Stingers’ head coach, always emphasized the importance of defence. In basketball, he explained how offense can occasionally be hard to come by, even if a team is producing open looks at the basket. Players can only optimize their chances of making a basket. Conversely, defence essentially boils down to effort and basketball IQ, elements of the sport that are much easier to control. Concordia instilled their coach’s philosophy on most nights, but struggled with mental lapses that would cost them down the stretch in important games. 

In a year filled with uncertainty, Olivier Simon was Concordia’s most consistent player once again. The fifth-year veteran earned first all-star team honours, finishing second in the RSEQ scoring race and tallying a little over 16 points-per-game. In his 11 games played, he showed his versatility beyond scoring, averaging 7.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per contest. 

In his sophomore season with the Stingers, Sami Jahan built on his 2020 all-rookie campaign by making the second all-star team. Though he struggled with poor shot selection and questionable decision making at times, the Ontario native was never afraid of the moment. Jahan trailed only Simon in scoring for the team, and was Concordia’s primary ball handler when the Stingers offence stalled and was in desperate need for production. 

Steve Mbida Abomo, a rookie forward from Cameroon, instantly made an impact for the Stingers on his way to making the RSEQ all-rookie team. He earned Popovic’s trust early in the season, starting in eight of 10 games and averaging the second most minutes on the team. Though Alec Phaneuf didn’t earn any individual honours in his rookie season, his unselfishness on offence mixed with his defensive awareness made the difference in a few competitive games. Alongside Jahan’s scoring instincts, the future is bright for the Stingers backcourt.

Concordia guard Caroline Task (7) led the Stingers in scoring with 17 total points in the RSEQ semifinals on March 23, 2022. KYRAN THICKE/Concordia Stingers

Women’s basketball

*Concordia lost in the RSEQ semifinals vs. UQAM last Wednesday. The final score was 75-68

The Stingers women’s team finished first in the conference with a 9-3 record, winning the regular season title for the first time since 1998-99. Concordia won seven of their last eight, including a 100-44 beatdown of McGill in their final showing. Anything can happen in a best-of-one playoff format however, as the Stingers ran into a well-prepared UQAM team that managed to pull off the upset. 

Whereas Popovic distributed the men’s team’s minutes throughout the regular season, women’s head coach Tenicha Gittens stuck to her most reliable weapons for larger stretches of games. Myriam Leclerc, Coralie Dumont, and Caroline Task played over 30 minutes a game for the women’s team, a significant load compared to Simon’s team-leading 27 minutes for the men. Gittens stuck to her veterans through thick and thin, regardless of their play. On the other hand, Popovic constantly shifted the starting lineups and adjusted the minute load depending on the state of the game and who played well. 

Despite a slow start to the season by her standards, Leclerc was Concordia’s number one option on offence. Coming off a torn ACL in the 2019-20 season, once her confidence returned it was tough to ignore how crucial she was to Concordia’s success. The third-year guard earned first all-star team honours and was also nominated for the U Sports Tracy MacLeod Award, which recognizes perseverance and courage in the sport. For the season, Leclerc averaged 16 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 2.6 steals in nearly 36 minutes per game. She also led the nation in free-throw percentage at 95.9 per cent on 49 attempts. Gittens won Coach of the Year for the team’s strong regular season showing, and Stingers fifth-year guard Task joined Leclerc on the first all-star team. She was the team’s best three-point shooter by a wide margin when you factor in her high volume. Task shot 41.9 per cent on 74 attempts. 

Dumont earned second all-star team honours in her third year with the Stingers, imposing her will on offensive boards and drawing fouls at an elite rate. Nelly Owusu was nominated for the U Sports Sylvia Sweeney Award, which is presented to the player who best exemplifies leadership and social commitment in women’s basketball. Finally, centre Serena Tchida made the conference’s all-rookie team after a long-term knee injury kept her sidelined in the 2019-20 season.


Photographs by Matt Garies, Reuben Polansky-Shapiro, Kyran Thicke 


Concordia defends their home court in basketball double-header vs. Laval

The Stingers men’s and women’s basketball teams handled business over the weekend, and have yet to drop a game since the return to play.

Women’s Basketball: Concordia 68-65 Laval

Coming off a 66-60 victory over Laval on Thursday, the Stingers were looking to sweep the Rouge et Or in the week in their Saturday afternoon rematch. Despite a late rally by Laval in the fourth quarter, Concordia was able to secure the win, tying for the top seed in the RSEQ regular season standings in the process. Stingers head coach Tenicha Gittens described Concordia’s back-to-back wins over Laval as important character builders. 

“We’re digging deep and making the extra plays,” Gittens said. “Basketball is not a perfect game, we strive to execute perfectly on both ends of the floor but it’s extremely rare to see a team play a flawless game. The whole point is to make sure that you’re the team that does a little bit more.”

The Stingers defence held Laval to six points in the opening quarter, but went into the halftime up only two points because of poor shooting woes and Laval opting to increase the pace of the game and push the ball in transition off Concordia’s misses. 

“In the second quarter, I thought we were bailing Laval out and putting them at the free-throw line too often. So the message at the half was about making sure we stayed disciplined and limiting their transition chances,” Gittens said. 

In the second half, Myriam Leclerc put on a show on offence as the primary ball-handler without Areej Burgonio in the lineup. The third-year Stingers guard tallied 29 points, and shot a perfect 15-15 from the free-throw line in a closely contested game. Leclerc proved she can handle the pressure, collecting eight rebounds and a pair of steals and assists to cap off her dominant showing.

Last week, Gittens outlined some expectations ahead of the second half of the regular season. Concordia’s head coach was adamant in predicting that Leclerc would step up in a big way for the team as she gradually worked her way back into playing shape following an injury to her knee. 

Over the last two games, the Stingers’ third-year guard is averaging 24.5 total points on 16 shot attempts per game, quickly cementing herself as an opposing defence’s nightmare. 

“I feel like I’m at 100 per cent,” Leclerc said. “Having the trust of my coaches and teammates helped a lot during my rehab. Right now, I’m confident that I’m back.” 

Myriam Leclerc led the Concordia Stingers on offence with 29 total points against the Laval Rouge et Or, Feb. 19. Kyran Thicke / Concordia Stingers

Men’s Basketball: Concordia 75-69 Laval

In their second meeting of the week, Concordia erased a first half deficit to defeat Laval at home. The Stingers bench provided a game-altering spark in the third quarter, which carried into the fourth quarter where Concordia held Laval scoreless through five minutes. 

Though the Rouge et Or made a valiant attempt at a comeback by scoring at will in the dying minutes of the game, Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic was pleased with the resilience the Stingers showed after slow starts in both their matchups versus Laval. 

“We played a bit timid down the stretch hoping for the time to expire and we simply can’t do that,” Popovic said. “But overall our players did a great job of adjusting and following the game plan in the second half.”  

For the second game in a row, Marc-André Fortin led the way for Laval on offence, finishing the game with 23 points on 11 made field goals. Though the Rouge et Or centre caused problems for the Stingers, Concordia’s defence was able to contain Laval on the boards, and forced their opponents to commit 20 turnovers. 

On Thursday, the Stingers were led by Concordia’s veteran starters Olivier Simon (22 total points, eight rebounds) and Sami Jahan (15 total points, five assists). The script was flipped on Saturday, where the team’s production came largely from their second unit in the second half. 

Stingers rookie guard Alec Phaneuf orchestrated the team’s efficient offence and registered nine points and eight assists without committing a single turnover. Additionally, forwards Félix-Antoine Guertin and Aleksa Popadic connected on three and four three-pointers respectively that deflated Laval’s defence. 

Once Popovic found a lineup that was proving to be successful both offensively and defensively, he kept them on the floor instead of substituting the starters back in the game without a second thought. This coaching concept is only possible with a deep team, one which has a variety of weapons at its disposal. Phaneuf went scoreless in six minutes played on Thursday, but knew he needed to stay ready for when his number got called.

“Every game this year is going to be different because we have a lot of depth,” said Phaneuf. “At the end of the day, everyone knows what’s important is the win, so whoever is feeling it is going to get more time on the floor.”

This Thursday, the Stingers basketball teams will host Bishop’s at Concordia Stadium. In-person attendance is prohibited, but watch the Concordia Stingers live or on-demand here.

Photos by Kyran Thicke


A long-awaited return to competition for Concordia’s basketball program

The extended pause to the RSEQ regular season was a burdensome time for the Stingers, but has given the teams additional time to fix issues in their game

On Monday, the RSEQ announced the resumption of university games as of Feb. 14, following Premier Legault’s press conference last Tuesday. Before the return of the regular season, here’s what you need to know about the Stingers basketball teams. 

Women’s Basketball

Concordia finished their November slate of games with an underwhelming 2-2 record after a promising start to the season, which saw the Stingers beat McGill and Bishop’s in commanding fashion. Head coach of the women’s team Tenicha Gittens knows her players have the ability and talent to win on any given night, but has preached consistency above all else over the extended break. 

“The first four games were like a rollercoaster ride for us,” Gittens said. “It’s one thing to be good, […] but we’ve been working on finding the competitive fire and sense of urgency from the jump. The RSEQ is well balanced, so we really need to bring our A game every single night.”

“Right now, we have this bitter taste in our mouth from the way things ended [in November], so it’s about keeping that level of urgency throughout.” 

In some ways, the long layoff from competition was a blessing in disguise for the Stingers. For the players with high-usage rates like Caroline Task, Coralie Dumont, and Nelly Owusu, the break allowed their bodies to recover for a looming playoff push.

Several players were coming off injuries to begin the season, and used the time to properly adjust to the in-game intensity. Johannie Lamoureux is a first-year guard who has been out of the lineup this season due to concussion protocols, but should now be getting significant minutes according to Gittens. Serena Tchida is another freshman who will need time to bounce back from her past knee setbacks.

Gittens praised the entire team for the dedication they’ve shown during the hiatus, but emphasized two players in particular.

“Myriam [Leclerc] is just a naturally gifted player. She can average 14 points [per game] and people think she’s okay, but really she can average about 22 [points per game]. We’re starting to see glimpses of that and that’s really exciting,” Gittens said.

“Areej Burgonio gets the whole team going,” Gittens added. “She’s exciting, she’s our heart, our energy.”

Men’s Basketball

Much like the women’s squad, the Stingers men are looking to improve on their 2-2 record. In discussing the first four games of the year, men’s basketball head coach Rastko Popovic was proud of the way the team defended down the stretch.

“Our game against Bishop’s [on Nov. 18], we kept them under 50 points, which isn’t something you see often in our league when you see some scores in the 80s and 90s,” Popovic explained. “In practice, we spend a lot of time working on our defence, because we can’t really control our offence, but what we can control is how hard we move our feet and rebound.”

At the end of the day, defence can only take a team so far, and the team’s offence, particularly their three-point shooting, will eventually need to follow suit. Through four games, the Stingers have gone 23-106 on their attempts from beyond-the-arc, which come out to a little under 22 per cent. Popovic was quick to point out that many of the looks were wide-open, and said it’s simply on the players to knock them down. 

“Olivier Simon has been very dominant for us, but we need to do a better job of supporting him outside the paint by knocking down our threes,” Popovic said. “If we can do that, the entire offence will open up for us.”

Simon has led the Stingers in scoring and total rebounds in three out of four games played so far, demonstrating his importance to Concordia’s system as their go-to guy. Popovic was also impressed with his rookie guards Alec Phaneuf and Olivier Koumassou Bernier, who earned their spot in the rotation. Sami Jahan had a slow start in his sophomore year considering his standout rookie status in the 2019-20 season, but the Stingers coach expects the point guard to bounce back from his shooting slump in the second half of the season. 

Popovic would have liked his team to have had more time to practice together, but said he’s happy to see his players get a chance to do what they love again.

“With only eight games when things start back up, it’s going to be like a mini season where every game will become even more crucial for standings in the playoffs,” Popovic remarked. “It’s exciting and if we can improve our offence, I think we’ll be a very fun team to watch.”


Photograph by Catherine Reynolds


Stingers athletes growing restless from extended layoff

Concordia student athletes reflect on how the COVID-19 pause has affected their plans

In response to growing concerns around the COVID-19 Omicron variant over the winter break, the Concordia Stingers’ hockey and basketball seasons were once again put on hold. Only recently have things started to return to normalcy as teams were allowed to start practicing again in small groups on Jan. 17, with full team practices permitted as of Jan. 31.

Teams are expected to start playing games again in February, but there has yet been an official announcement about whether or not the missed games will be played at a later date. Tyler Hylland, an alternate captain on the Stingers men’s hockey team, said that having this season paused after not playing for a full year in 2020-21 was disappointing.

“For a lot of us that’s our biggest passion and to get it taken away, and not even be able to fully practice and participate was tough,” Hylland said. “And then, just when we think we have it back to get it ripped away again, is really kind of devastating, to be honest.”

Areej Burgonio, a player on the women’s basketball team, had similar thoughts on the situation.

“Honestly, it’s just annoying. A lot of my friends play in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) in the States where they actually had a season, even last year,” she said. “ I would hate to be on the sidelines again.”

Hylland added that U Sports, the governing body of university sport in Canada, was put at a disadvantage compared to other leagues.

“I felt like a lot of other leagues were given designations where they could play, and they didn’t seem to consider our league when we’re equally as elite as them or as dedicated as them. And we deserve every opportunity that other leagues were given.”

Phélix Martineau, the captain of the men’s hockey team, added that missing a month worth of practice and games within a season is hard to recover from.

“But at the same time, it’s going to be like that for everyone. So we’re going to have to make the most of it,” he said. “And hopefully, it won’t affect us too much in the end, but […] we’re not sure if we’re even going to have playoffs or nationals so it’s tough to say what our goals are going to be like.”

Due to the uncertainty of the season, the men’s hockey team lost some players who decided to sign professional deals during the holiday break, which meant the team had to bump up their roster.

Both the hockey and basketball teams are not sure whether they will be playing more games in the same amount of time as planned, or will just be playing fewer games this season.

Burgonio said her team was supposed to have 12 games remaining, but they’ve already missed six since the break. If these games aren’t rescheduled, they would only have half of the initial games remaining to work towards making it to the nationals.

“Every game would literally be do or die,” Burgonio said.

But the most frustrating part of the shutdowns and pauses is the long-term effect on these athletes’ futures, according to Hylland. A lot of them, himself included, are still trying to play professional sports after graduation.

“It’s tough to get noticed by pro teams, and it’s tough to make a case for yourself to have a contract after you’re done with school,” Hylland said. “So I think it’s definitely put us behind the eight ball when it comes to our future.”

At the end of the day, all these athletes are hoping for is to be able to play soon and that the league won’t shut down again.


Photograph by Kaitlynn Rodney


Update on the basketball/hockey winter season schedule

Ongoing and evolving COVID-19 developments have made the eventual return of university sports a complicated process

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Concordia Stingers basketball and hockey seasons will be postponed until further notice. 

The latest public update from the RSEQ was shared on Dec. 22, where they announced the suspension of all sports activities until Jan. 9 to comply with the Quebec government. Since then, a realistic timeline hasn’t been established as the RSEQ awaits the government to lift restrictions. Both of Concordia’s basketball teams, in addition to the women’s hockey team, compete in the RSEQ.

“We [RSEQ] are following guidelines specific to recreation and sports […] where indoor sports are suspended unless they involve one person, two people —in pairs — or the occupants of the same private residence,” said Benoit Doloreux, the RSEQ’s university director.

The men’s hockey team play in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) association, which originally announced on Dec. 17 it was pausing their original schedule until at least Jan. 24. Catherine Grace, the Stingers communications and media officer, said she has yet to hear anything definitive about the upcoming hockey and basketball seasons.

“I have been informed the teams require two weeks of practice before resuming games. They are not currently practicing. With that in mind, the earliest they can hold games is the week of Jan. 25. Until we hear more from the RSEQ and OUA, there’s no way to tell if that will happen,” Grace shared in an email to The Concordian earlier this week. 

Once the student-athletes are permitted to train as a team in athletic facilities, the winter seasons will resume following the two-week training window. The OUA is pushing for government restrictions to be lifted sooner so teams can practice immediately and the league can forgo delaying the schedule further, although there has been no response from the province. 


Photograph by Kaitlynn Rodney


Audrey Belzile’s last dance

The captain of the Stingers female hockey team looks back on her university career and what to expect in her final season

As her custom Concordia maroon and yellow painted skates touch the ice, Stingers captain Audrey Belzile is dialled in. From warmups to the start of the national anthem, no one can deter her from playing her game. A mix of physicality and finesse, aggressive forechecking and backchecking, Belzile is a leader that demonstrates on a nightly basis to the rest of the team how to be an all-around contributor.

Growing up in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Belzile’s affinity for hockey was passed down by her mother. With hockey clearly in the family lineage, Belzile received her first pair of skates from her mom at five years old. Every opportunity she had to hop on the ice blossomed her love for skating. 

“Every time we went outside during the winter, I always wanted to continue skating. I liked it so much she registered me for hockey.”

Belzile eventually grew into an effective player all throughout the amateur level.  Her consistency secured a position playing for the Cégep St-Laurent Patriotes, where she broke out as a player, tallying 59 points in 39 games. Her two seasons playing there garnered the attention of high-level American colleges, providing the next step in Belzile’s career.

Teams from Yale, Clarkson, and Maine were all interested in Belzile, but language was the ultimate deterrent from attaining her goal. Choosing Boston University as her preferred team, the university recommended that Belzile undergo an English exam to be granted a scholarship. The minimum grade to be accepted was 80 per cent — Belzile scored 76 per cent. Boston University recommended that Belzile return to CEGEP to practice her English and retake the test the year after in order to be eligible. 

“If you don’t succeed in class, for them it’s a loss of money,” Belzile said. “Admissions didn’t feel comfortable in giving a full scholarship.”

The increased level of competition in female hockey in Quebec influenced Belzile to return and play at a university level in the province. Many players from Quebec decide to play for domestic universities, upping the level of hockey comparable to the NCAA. 

“The teams are super good now because lots of girls decided to stay in Quebec,” Belzile said. 

Visiting both McGill and Concordia, she ultimately chose the Stingers. “I chose Concordia not only for the coaching staff, but because when I came on the team, the girls made it feel like I was already a part of the team.”

In Belzile’s five seasons, the Stingers have had great success, usually finishing as a top team in the regular season. She can’t credit the coaching staff enough, for not only her growth as a hockey player, but also for the invaluable knowledge of the game that they passed onto her . This season, Belzile and the team are trying to relive what they experienced in 2017–18, winning the RSEQ Championship and bronze in the U SPORTS Championship.

The COVID-19 pandemic not only robbed Belzile of her final year with the Stingers but also her chance at captaincy, and another shot at the championship.

“I was just not ready to close the chapter of my life in hockey when I didn’t know it was the end. I didn’t know that I played my last game, I didn’t know that it was my last year.” 

She missed the daily morning practices with teammates and the whole routine of it all. The sudden unexpectedness of not being able to play made Belzile want to get on the ice that much more.

Luckily for Belzile, one year of eligibility was granted by the RSEQ, allowing fifth-year players the chance of returning for their final season. 

“I was supposed to be done in the COVID year, but because we could come back, I added another minor this year in political science.” 

Many of her other fifth-year teammates decided to also play through their extra year of eligibility. Belzile described her five years with the team as one big family and was not yet prepared to move on. Hesitant at first, they all decided to return for their last season playing altogether.

“When we all said to each other that we all wanted to come back, it just clarified things and made us say okay let’s go for one last ride and try to win it.”

In the past, Belzile claimed that a major obstacle for the team’s success was envisioning the goal instead of concentrating on the present. She highlighted that the key to success this season is taking things one game at a time and avoiding looking too much into the future. Belzile can’t stress enough that this is a very talented team, and they have a great opportunity of going far this year.  

Though Belzile once dreamt of playing hockey professionally, she’d rather concentrate on pursuing a career in management than juggling a schedule of games and practices.

A graduate of international business with a minor in entrepreneurship, Belzile hopes to apply some of what she has learned as a captain in her future job hoping to work with an international company in management. Transitioning from sports to business, she’s adamant on putting the same level of determination that she has had in hockey for so long, in pursuing a successful career beyond it.


Photograph by Kaitlynn Rodney


Three members of the Stingers awarded RSEQ football individual honours

Stingers quarterback Olivier Roy, slotblack Jaylan Greaves, and defensive end Malick Sylvain are recipients of 2021 RSEQ individual awards

Last week, I listed my Stingers’ nominees for RSEQ individual awards ahead of the official football conference on Friday in Montreal. In the end, Stingers sensations Olivier Roy, Jaylan Greaves, and Malick Sylvain stood among the brightest stars in the conference. 

Roy was awarded the Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy as the RSEQ’s most outstanding player of the year. Roy’s statistical case for the award speaks for itself, but what bolstered it to the moon was his ability to make his teammates better and win games when they were seemingly out of reach. 

“He’s still progressing, he’s young, and he’s exceeded every expectation,” said Stingers head coach Brad Collinson. “The beauty of it is that we have him for another three years, so we’re very fortunate and the future is bright for him.”

In his first year as a starter, the Stingers quarterback didn’t shy away from his role on the team as a leader. When I asked which individual performance stood out to him most in a season with many to choose from, Roy’s answer spoke volumes about his selfless approach to the game.

“I would have to go with our win against Montreal,” Roy said. “That’s when I realized that our group was special and we could do great things as a team.” 

Sylvain won the RSEQ Leadership and Community Engagement Award in his fourth year with the Stingers for his efforts both on and off the football field. The honour is given to the player who excels in balancing academics, football, and citizenship. 

The Stingers defensive end hasn’t let the workload of a student-athlete separate him from his community. Instead, he splits his time between non-profit organizations like the Jamaican Association of Montreal and The Shoebox Project for Women, helping them raise funds for their causes. He also designs and sells T-shirts and hoodies with a friend that raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, and donates proceeds to non-profit initiatives. 

Greaves was deemed the Rookie of the Year for his exceptional individual play at the slotback position. When Concordia needed a big catch, Greaves had a knack for finding space and taking advantage of the opportunities that came his way. Jeremy Murphy, Stingers slotback and 2019 RSEQ and U Sports Rookie of the Year, only played three regular season games while nursing an injury, but Greaves’ development and rise to stardom ensured Concordia’s offence would remain elite. 

“Everything he accomplished was a product of his hard work behind the scenes. Jaylan carved out his role on the team with his work ethic,” Collinson said. 

Concordia’s 2021 season was cut short in the semifinal of the playoffs, but the Stingers can hold their heads up knowing they’ve built a solid foundation for future seasons.


RSEQ University Football Individual Awards – 2021: 


Most Valuable Player (Jeff Russel Trophy) – Olivier Roy, Concordia University

Defensive Player of the Year – Alec Poirier, Université Laval

Lineman of the Year – Philippe Lemieux-Cardinal, Université de Montréal

Rookie of the Year – Jaylan Greaves, Concordia University

Coach of the Year – Marco Iadeluca, Université de Montréal

Leadership and Community Engagement Award – Malick Sylvain, Concordia University

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Darius Simmons, McGill University

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Harold Miessan, Université de Montréal

Special Teams Player of the Year – Jacob Camiré, Université de Sherbrooke

Assistant Coach of the Year – Luc Sylvain, Université de Sherbrooke


Photograph by Andrew Maggio


McGill 77, Concordia 62: Stingers rookies impress in disappointing start to season

The Stingers lose their season opener against last season’s top-seeded Redbirds

The Stingers began the 2021⁠–22 RSEQ regular season with a disappointing loss to their rival Redbirds on Thursday night. In the 77⁠–62 loss, Concordia’s rookies played major minutes and kept the team in the game, while the team’s senior players struggled with consistency.

“It’s encouraging to see our first-year guys play well,” said Rastko Popovic, head coach of the Stingers men’s basketball team. “But I thought our seniors just did not do the job tonight. We can’t expect our first-year guys to lead us to wins, especially when McGill’s two best players, especially Jamal Mayali, were outstanding tonight.” 

As a team, McGill’s offence was firing on all cylinders, especially from the perimeter where the Redbirds went 12⁠/31 on three-point field goal attempts. Conversely, Concordia’s offence struggled with their shot from behind the arc (4⁠/24 from three) and at the free-throw line (18/28). Despite McGill’s exceptional play on both ends of the floor, Stingers guard Sami Jahan said Concordia was their own worst enemy. 

“They [McGill] didn’t do anything that surprised us. We knew they moved the ball and could hit open shots, but we just didn’t execute on our game plan tonight and do what we were supposed to do,” Jahan said. 

McGill’s fifth-year guard Mayali led the way for the Redbirds, tallying 29 points on 16 shot attempts with six made threes. Concordia rookie Olivier Koumassou Bernier led the Stingers in minutes and brought confidence and energy to the team. He finished the game with 10 points to go along with his three rebounds, three assists, and two steals. 

The first half was back and forth with McGill leading 32–30 before the break, but Concordia struggled to keep their foot on the gas once play resumed. At the start of the third quarter, McGill went on an 8–0 run which gave the Redbirds a comfortable double-digit lead that Concordia could never overcome. Jahan put the team’s slow start to the second half on himself and the Stingers veterans.

“We didn’t come out with any energy,” Jahan said. “It was really the rookies that came into the game and held down the fort for us […] but we [the veterans] let the game slip and that’s on us.” 

Thursday night was Concordia’s first game of the season, but the Stingers coaching staff were already discussing ways to improve the team amongst themselves well after the game. 

“We have to play a lot harder and execute more offensively. There’s too many small details that we’re not doing right now. Today McGill played much harder. We showed some good things early on but we didn’t compete, especially in the second half,” Popovic said.

The Stingers will look to bounce back next week when they host Bishop’s and Laval at Concordia Stadium on Thursday and Saturday respectively.


Photograph by Laurent Beausoleil

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