Soccer Sports

The stage is set for the 2024 Euro Championship

Multiple teams will make their bid at winning this summer’s main football event.

The European Championship playoff round took place on March 26 to decide which final teams in the tournament would be. Now that the groups are set, it is time to deliberate who will be crowned European Champions in 2024.

This year’s tournament will include a mix of soccer powerhouses along with teams that may go under the radar. Six groups of four teams each will battle in the first round—the group stage—to decide who advances to the knockout rounds. The top two teams from each group, along with the best third place teams in the tournament, will punch their ticket to the next round.

In Group A, the host country, Germany, is likely a favourite to advance through to the knockout round. Young talent in attacking midfielder Kai Havertz, as well as established goalkeeper Manuel Nauer give the hosts a big advantage against opposing countries. Scotland, Hungary and Switzerland will battle tough to be the runner-up and clinch their spot in the next round.

Another notable group in the tournament is Group D. France, who came in second place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is likely to win the group. The runner-up spot is likely to be a tough battle between Netherlands, Austria and Poland. 

England is also a favourite in Group C with Slovenia, Denmark and Serbia. The same thing goes for Belgium in Group E with Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine. Group F is likely to be topped by Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal squad, as they will compete against Turkey, Czechia and Georgia.

Finally, the stacked Group B—ranked third in Europe is Spain. The Spanish powerhouse comes into the tournament with one of the most balanced squads in the world made up of striker Álvaro Morata, midfielder Dani Olmo and goalkeeper Unai Simón. Though they are favourites to win the tournament, advancing to the knockout stage will not be a breeze for Spain. First, they will have to get through Croatia. Led by the veteran striker Luka Modrić, Croatia came in third place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

They did, however, finish the Euro Qualifying stage by losing to Wales, whose team failed to qualify for the tournament. Despite the talent of both Spain and Croatia, the competition does not stop there. Italy, winner of the 2020 European Championship, comes into the tournament as the 18th nation in Europe. Yet, Italy has the experience as one of the top nations in the world. Striker Federico Chiesa and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma have the potential to carry Italy to the knockout stage even against the toughest opponents. Albania, the final nation in the group, will be up against large competition and will have to go on a magical run to make it out of the group stage.

The European Championship is a world-renowned tournament for a reason. Once again in 2024, it will be a best-on-best frenzy to see which nation will be crowned champions of the football capital of the world.


Get to know the Concordia women’s flag football family

The team is demonstrating impressive progress in only their third season.

It all started with the love for flag football and a lack of opportunities.

In 2021, students in Quebec joined forces with their institutions’ sports directors to create a flag football league. The universities involved include Concordia University, Université de Montréal, Université du Quebec à Montréal (UQAM), Université du Quebec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Université Laval, Universite de Sherbrooke, and Université du Quebec à Outaouais (UQO).

Eventually, the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) created a flag football pilot project which has been running for three years, now being extended for a fourth.

Sara Parker, Elyane Corneau-Dulude and Stéphanie Nazarov were the students who pushed for Concordia University to be involved in the possible flag football league. Corneau-Dulude and Nazarov are no longer with the team, but Parker is currently in her third year and serves as the offence captain for the Concordia Flag Football team and the quarterback of Canada’s national women’s flag football team. She will compete in Finland from August 25 to 30 at the 2024 IFAF Flag Football World Championship.

Besides Parker, the team is led by head coach and defensive coordinator Alexis Labonté, offensive coordinator Lovinski Geli, assistant coach Sydney Roche, team captain Amélie Brisebois Bentler and defence captain Leanne Majeau. Roche is an alum player in her first year of coaching, while it is the third year for Labonté and Geli.

The Concordia Flag Football team has been working hard to prove themselves, which shows in their results. The team finished first in the league this 2023-24 season with 11 wins and one loss. They made it to their first-ever finals after defeating the Laval Rouge et Or 38-14 in the semi-finals, but they lost to the Université de Montréal Carabins 38-13.

One common aspect the team shares is the sense of family they feel together. “Having each other’s back and bringing each other up when we’re down has kind of been the motto of our team,” said second-year player Victoria Di Loreto. “We’ve had some ups and downs, but when we have ups, I feel that the entire team feels it together.”

Loreto enjoys flag football because it requires using both feet and hands. She started playing soccer as a goalkeeper but never felt the “family feeling” on her team until flag football. 

Second-year player Frédérique Paul shares similar sentiments. “My favourite part about the sport is the friendships you make when you play. It’s a family, really,” she said. “I know we are always here for each other.”

Paul fell in love with the sport when she was 12 years old. She wanted to play tackle football but decided to try “flag” since women couldn’t play football at her high school. Paul even chose Concordia for its flag football program.

Team Captain and third-year player Amélie Brisebois Bentler started playing because her dad was a fan of college football. They would play catch together in their front yard, but she never knew if she could play on an official team until she learnt about her high school’s flag football team. 

Bentler played rugby in her first year at Concordia, with the intention of ultimately playing flag football as soon as the program started. She had many memorable moments with the team.

“I love the victories that we’ve gotten as a team, but I love being involved in the team management as well,” said Bentler. “We’re a small organization and we’re just starting, so we have to get our funding and put our name out there. We’re working really hard on our social media and financial state right now. I think it’s been very memorable to build the program from scratch.”

Although the Concordia Flag Football team is a small organization, they are making a name for themselves through their success and victories. The team even recently won a tournament in Laval.

Université Laval held their first edition of the Provincial Flag Football Tournament on Feb. 10. Concordia defeated team Subzero in the final to bring home their first banner of the season.

The flag football team celebrates their Provincial Flag Football Tournament win on Feb. 10
Credit: Laury-Anne Potvin

“The team Subzero consists of girls from Montreal who are representing Canada in the next world championship in Finland, so it felt great to win against them in the finals,” said Loreto. She mentioned the win was even more rewarding as they had previously lost against team Subzero before meeting again in the finals.

Coming off the tournament win in Laval, the team will play in the third edition of the ConU Tournament on April 7 at the Stinger Dome.

Even though the Concordia Women’s Flag Football team has yet to become varsity, they remain one of Concordia’s most successful teams.


Concordia on 64 squares

Learning about life through chess.

Among all the comings and goings to the Hall building’s seventh floor is a group of students all connected by the same passion for chess. Twice a week, a little over a dozen students from the Concordia Chess Club get together to play games, socialize, and get away from the stresses of university life.

Monday and Thursday afternoons are chess time for regular and the less regular chess players of all levels. Even I, with my (very) little experience in chess, was welcomed with open arms, and offered to play with other beginner players. 

Shoshana Wasserma is an executive committee member of the Concordia Chess Club. For her, chess is not only a game, but also a place to relax and forget about the stresses of life. “One of the biggest reasons I started playing chess was because I wanted a distraction from interpersonal struggles,” Wasserman said. “And I was like, man, chess is the perfect thing to throw myself into, because it can be very consuming and it can take up a lot of your mental energy.” 

Calculations, thinking and creating plans in chess are all transferable skills, according to Wasserman. And this, she noted, “helps just keep [her] life a little more organized.”

Sara Salehi is a member who joined the club last fall, and she likes how it gives her the opportunity to meet with friends and catch a break. “We’re fun. We make the environment fun,” she said. 

Whether you are a complete beginner (like me), or a very experienced player ready to take on Dario Martinez, the captain of Concordia’s team at the 2024 Canadian University Chess Championships, you can find someone at your level to play and have fun with. 

“I think it’s a really good opportunity to practise failure in a safe space,” Wasserman said. “Because with chess, there is so much responsibility and accountability put on you as a player that, like when you blunder a piece, when something goes wrong, you know that’s on you, but you are doing it in a contained environment. So you have the opportunity to practice failure and do that in a way where you can still learn from your mistakes.”

The Concordia Chess Club regularly posts information on their Instagram and Facebook pages. However, they also welcome people who simply want to come and play chess, no matter their level.

“Come join, tell us you’re a beginner and that you haven’t played that much,” Wasserman said. “And usually what we can do is we can pair you up with other people who are also just starting out.”

Basketball Sports

Jaheem Joseph dominates, no matter the circumstances.

The second-year basketball Stinger is a top scorer, despite being blind in one eye.

Jaheem Joseph plays basketball using one eye, and he has scored the most points in the RSEQ this season. The phenomenal shooting guard, in his second year at Concordia, is completely unphased by the fact that he only has five per cent vision in his right eye. It took lots of hard work to normalize his game.

Originally from Ottawa, Joseph spent his early years playing soccer. His father, a prolific basketball coach and ex-player, brought him to shoot around at their local gyms. This is where Jaheem discovered his love for basketball. He started playing on teams in his first year of secondary school, and discovered he had a talent when he was bumped up to play with older players due to his exceptional gameplay.

It was in July of 2020 that the hooper’s life would change forever. He and his friends were messing with fireworks at the park, and one flew into his right eye. At the time, he was getting ready to head to St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in New Jersey to pursue his athletic potential in America. Due to the unfortunate accident, he was now limited to rehabilitation, numerous surgical procedures and the classroom.

It was in April of the following year that Joseph would be ready to step on the hardwood again, accompanied by his high school athletic trainer Isabelle Chiasson at Saint Laurent Express. The two would spend four hours daily, every day for four months, performing sensory exercises and finding solutions to his impairment. Running, head positioning, positioning on the court and spatial awareness were their main targets for improvement.

That summer, Joseph played against Vanier College in the finals of a tournament while he was on the Red Rush Basketball Program, which is part of a grassroots leadership organization. The guard put on an incredible performance for a decisive win, and attracted attention from the CEGEP’s coach. 

“I just felt really natural. I felt like everything was just normal, like I’ve been through nothing in my life,” said the guard remembering the game. “It was just like playing basketball or just doing what I love. It was pretty normal, but when we go way back, I know it was all the work I had done with coach [Chiasson], of course.”

This 2023-24 season, Joseph dominated with the Stingers. He finished as the league’s second top-scorer, averaging 15.8 points per game. This was after being injured for two weeks after spraining his ankle playing at Université Laval on Nov. 25, before suffering a light concussion for a couple of days this past January.

Joseph was selected for the RSEQ All-Star second team, despite these outstanding statistics which he had thought sufficient to land him a place in the first team.

“I couldn’t understand why I got second team, but I feel like it’s pretty good,” he said. “I mean, I had a good season and I showed I should have been an all star this year, and then I think the next year coming up I can probably get on the first team and be MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the league one day.”

The star is grateful to have strong supportive people surrounding him, including head coach Rastko Popović, who was named RSEQ coach of the year in March. The trainer’s obsession with the game is contagious to his players. 

“[Popović] locks himself up and then just watches [game recap] film until he gets tired,” said Joseph. “You can see on film—it says he was watching a clip at 4:00 a.m., so he is crazy about details, but that’s what makes us like the number one team. So it’s really the passion, the drive that he has that really got the team going.”

Joseph is looking forward to next season, where he will be looking to prove himself all while being more supportive for the team.

Having only come up short by a hair this season when losing in the RSEQ finals to the UQAM Citadins, the Stingers team evidently has amazing potential. With more hard work, Jaheem Joseph and the men’s basketball team are sure to go the whole way next season.

Baseball Sports

The MLB Regular Season is almost here, and here’s why you should be excited

New rules, new names, and new teams for star players.

The Texas Rangers capped off the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) season winning their first World Series in franchise history. The offseason that followed would end up changing the image of how the league now looks going into the 2024 regular season.

Prior to the 2023 season, the MLB unveiled a groundbreaking new rule called the pitch clock. The implementation of the pitch clock gave pitchers 15 seconds between pitches when no runners were on base, and 20 seconds when there were runners on base. In 2024, the plan is to speed the pace of play up even more. 

One of the new rules approved by the league is to trim the pitch clock with runners on base from 20 seconds to 18 this season. On top of this, the amount of visits a coach is allowed to visit the pitching mound in a game will be reduced from five to four. As was the goal last season, the league hopes that these rule changes will reduce stoppages in play and give fans a more exciting product on the field.

Along with these rule changes coming in 2024, there will be no shortage of rookies featured on their respective teams’ opening day lineups. In the batter’s box, the number-two ranked prospect in all of baseball, Jackson Chourio, won his spot on the opening day roster for the Milwaukee Brewers. The 20-year-old put up outstanding numbers last year for the Brewers’ minor league affiliate, posting 91 runs batted in while ending the season with a .282 batting average in 128 games. 

Other notable rookie batters to look out for in 2024 include third baseman Junior Caminero, centre fielder Evan Carter, and left fielder Wyatt Langford. These three batters have all officially made their teams’ opening day lineups.

On the mound, the most notable name to keep an eye out for is2023 first overall pick Paul Skenes. While it has not yet been determined whether he will make the Pittsburgh Pirates’ opening day roster, the 21-year-old flamethrower will more than likely reach the major league field in 2024. Skenes has topped out his pitch velocity at an impressive 102 mph during spring training, most notably striking out the MLB’s top-ranked prospect Jackson Holliday.

Lastly, let’s look at the offseason trades and signings. Not often does a major sports league see its cover athlete get traded or signed elsewhere during an offseason, but Shohei Ohtani did just that this past winter. The reigning American League MVP is moving across Los Angeles from the Angels to the Dodgers. With Ohtani being added to the mix with the 2020 World Series champion Dodgers, the team also added top Japanese pitching prospect Yoshinobu Yamamoto, five-time 20-home run hitter Teoscar Hernandez, and 3.89 career earned-run-average pitcher Tyler Glasnow. The Dodgers have all the components of a star-studded team in 2024.

Three-time all-star and former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes was also on the move this offseason. He will become the top pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles’ rotation this season as the team looks to make a deep playoff run come November.

Lastly, the New York Yankees completed a blockbuster trade with the San Diego Padres to receive Juan Soto—the 25-year-old outfielder who is already a four-time Silver Slugger, three-time all star and World Series champion. Soto will be added to the lethal batting lineup for the Yankees, hitting alongside star players Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and Giancarlo Stanton.

Though the regular season featured two games on March 20 and 21 during the Seoul Series, the official date for opening day will be on March 28. When the teams hit the field for the first time, fans will be treated to the addition of new rules, rookies starting their major league careers, and all stars starting a new chapter on their new teams. This season has the ingredients for a very exciting summer of baseball. Time will tell which team comes out on top in November.

Our season predictions:

Exciting team to watch this season: With the additions of pitcher Jordan Hicks, third baseman Matt Chapman, and outfielder Jorge Soler, the San Francisco Giants come into 2024 looking like a much more complete team with a high-powered offence and a deep pitching rotation.

Underrated team to watch this season: Look out for the Kansas City Royals. The team has a good combination between rookie and veteran talent, the Royals could be a sneaky pick for a playoff spot in the American League Central Division this season.

World Series champion: There are plenty of teams that are in a ‘win now’ window across the major league. The Braves are coming off a historic season before losing to the Phillies in the playoffs. The Dodgers have loaded up over the offseason. Yet, the team that still shows an immense amount of potential is the Texas Rangers. They now have a World Series under their belt, they have up and coming talent across their lineup in Evan Carter and Wyatt Langford, and still have a very competitive pitching rotation led by Nathan Eovaldi. They are our pick to win it all in 2024.

Sports Wrestling

Alex Moore: Wrestling to Paris 2024

Former Stingers wrestler Alex Moore has qualified for his first Olympic Games this summer.

Four years ago, Alex Moore was preparing for the Canadian Olympic Trials leading to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. However, two weeks before the trials, he suffered a complete ACL tear, requiring an operation that ruled him out of the Tokyo 2020 qualifications. It was devastating news for him—he was number one in Canada in the men’s freestyle wrestling 86 kg category and felt confident in his chances of qualifying for the Olympics.

“It’s like your dreams flash before you and then kind of get crushed,” Moore said. “It was hard, and I remember the first day, I kind of felt bad for myself. I was upset. And then right away, I was like, hey, what can I do now? So I started the prehab [prehabilitation process] to strengthen my knee before I got into surgery.”

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic threw him a lifeline. With the games postponed to 2021, he had enough time to recover from his ACL tear. Moore’s previous performances in international competitions made him eligible for a wrestle-off against Clayton Pye, who had won the Canadian Olympic Trials, but failed to qualify for Canada through the Pan American Olympic Qualification Tournament. To be Canada’s representative at the 2021 World Wrestling Olympic Qualification Tournament, Moore had to win two fights in a row against Pye. 

Despite this opportunity, nothing seemed to work in Moore’s favour. One week before the wrestle-off, he tore his labrum in his right shoulder. It would be an understatement to say it handicapped him when it came time to wrestle against Pye.

“I didn’t know it was torn, but I couldn’t do a push-up,” Moore said. “It was hurting. I had no strength in my shoulder.”

Amateur Wrestling champion Alex Moore. Photo by Kaitlynn Rodney

Nonetheless, he still won the two matches to get to the world qualifiers, where he lost against the Armenian Hovhannes Mkhitaryan, officially ending his hopes of qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo.

After recovering from his torn labrum, he achieved many good results, including a bronze medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and a silver medal at the 2023 Pan American Wrestling Championships. In 2023, he obtained his Bachelor of Commerce in Management from the John Molson School of Business. He capped off his university wrestling career by winning the U SPORTS 90 kg wrestling championship title and the Male Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Year Award, both repeats of 2019. He was also named the Stingers Male Athlete of the Year.

Everything was going well for Moore, as he was preparing for the 2024 Pan American Olympic Qualification Tournament. Then, seven weeks before the qualifiers, he competed in a “small tournament just to tune up.” There, he broke something in his right hand and was put in a cast for four weeks. He thinks it happened when he accidentally punched one of his opponent’s shin. Nonetheless, he tried to remain positive in his recovery; when discussing the situation with his coach, David Zilberman, a former Olympian.

“We were going back and forth talking about how every time something bad happened, it would just make for a better story,” Moore said. “Like, wouldn’t that be cool? You know, after everything, getting the job done.”

Five days before competing, his second time getting back on the mats in six weeks, his hand still hurt, even when practicing against lighter high school wrestlers.

“You’re pulling on people and pushing in wrestling, so I’m pulling on the guy’s neck, and I have no strength in my hand,” he said. “There’s so much pain, and I remember thinking to myself: I’m not ready for it, so that was the only time where I was kind of like broken, almost mentally for a second.”

However, Moore was determined to wrestle no matter what, saying he was “not throwing away everything” because of this injury. Through a combination of determination and painkillers, he still wrestled at the qualifiers and obtained his ticket for Paris, beating Jorge Llano of Argentina and Pedro Ceballos of Venezuela. It was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream for him.

“The feeling was insane, like indescribable, but it was weird,” he said. “I never showboat, I never do anything, I just walk off the mat. But for this one, I was yelling, I was pumped, and emotions just took over… I’ll never forget it. This is crazy.”

What is his objective for Paris?

“Just a medal, preferably gold,” Moore said. “But yeah, it’s like a lifelong dream… You want to make that 5-year-old version of yourself happy… That little kid has that dream, and I’m doing it for that guy.”

Moore, practicing at a young age Courtesy of Alex Moore


Professional tennis: A beginner’s guide to the 2024 season

The reality of tennis at the highest level.

It may seem as simple as hitting a fuzzy yellow ball over a net, but in reality, tennis is arguably the most grueling and demanding professional sport.

The professional tennis season calendar for 2024 is loaded. It comprises approximately 60 events in about 30 different countries, played on three different surfaces (hard-court, clay-court, and grass-court). Tournaments are categorized based on their prestige, prize money, and ranking points awarded. The categories include Grand Slam tournaments otherwise known as Majors (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open), Masters 1000 tournaments, 500-level tournaments, and 250-level tournaments.

Tennis has a unique scoring system. Games make up sets, and sets make up matches. A set is won by the first player to claim six games. Once a point is won, scoring starts at 15, then progresses to 30, then 40, and finally, the game. If both players reach 40, it’s called “deuce.” After deuce, a player must win two consecutive points to claim the game. Matches are typically decided by whoever wins the best of three sets. The only instance where a match is decided by the best of five sets is at Majors, but only for the men, as has been tradition for decades.

Tennis players have similar goals—to win tournaments and to increase their world ranking. Winning one of the four Grand Slam tournaments is known as the pinnacle of tennis, and only a very small percentage of players can say they’ve reached it. Not only does the sport require physical toughness, but being mentally tough is equally as important.  

The 2024 season is off to a rocking start. Both the men’s and the women’s competitions have seen thrilling moments, whirlwinds of emotions, emerging talents, as well as solidified greatness.

As it does every year, the season begins on the other side of the world, in Australia. Competitors head Down Under early to get acclimated to Aussie conditions. This includes practice tournaments in Brisbane and Adelaide, followed by the first Major of the year in Melbourne.

On the women’s side, world number two Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus won her second straight Australian Open title, which also happened to be her second career Major title. It was a very straightforward title run for her, as she won the tournament without losing one set.

On the men’s side, this year’s Australian Open was one of the most exciting Majors in recent history. A record tying 35 matches went to a deciding fifth set, with one of them lasting four hours and twenty-three minutes, while ending at 3:39 a.m. Australian time. In the end, it was the 22-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner who came out on top beating the likes of world number one and 24-time Major champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, followed by a win against world number four Daniil Medvedev in the finals. This was the first Major win of Sinner’s young career, and certainly not the last.

Players are currently competing in what’s known as the Sunshine Swing. This includes back-to-back Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells, California, and Miami, Florida. They will then head to Europe until mid-July. The rest of the 2024 tennis season is undoubtedly going to be action-packed.

Hockey Sports

Stingers Women’s hockey team takes home gold at the National Championships

For the second time in three years, Concordia is the top team in Canada.

The Concordia Stingers Women’s Hockey team won their third-straight Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) championship on March 3. A 10-4 victory against the Université de Montréal Carabins propelled the Stingers into the U SPORTS National Championship tournament as the top-seeded team in Canada.

To advance to the next round, the Stingers’ had to take down the eighth-seeded University of Saskatchewan Huskies on March 14. The Huskies were coming off a heartbreaking series defeat in the Canada West (CW) quarterfinals, though qualified for the U SPORTS National Championship tournament as the host university.

As the puck dropped for the quarterfinal matchup, the Huskies came out strong on home ice. With nearly 2,400 fans in attendance, the first challenge for the Stingers was to weather the storm in the first ten minutes. Despite some close-range opportunities for the Huskies, Stingers goaltender Jordyn Verbeek kept the game scoreless.

With 11 minutes remaining in the first period, the Stingers drew their first penalty. Before the Huskies could get possession on the delayed penalty, Stingers forward and captain Emmy Fecteau took a shot that fortunately bounced over both the defenders and the Huskies goaltender, giving Concordia a 1-0 lead.

A fierce forecheck for the Stingers allowed forward Émilie Lavoie to linemate Rosalie Bégin-Cyr for the one-timer goal and the 2-0 lead. The Stingers carried this momentum into the third period with the semifinals inching closer.

Two late goals from forward Émilie Lussier capped off the shutout for Verbeek and the 4-0 victory in the quarterfinals. Two more wins and the Stingers were back on top of Canadian women’s hockey.

An off day gave the Stingers the opportunity to enjoy their win and get ready for their semifinal opponent on March 16. The Stingers had to get through the fourth-seeded University of Waterloo Warriors next if they wanted to advance to their third straight National Championship final.

Six minutes into action, the Stingers set the tone. Émilie Lavoie found forward Zoé Thibault wide open in front of the Waterloo goal crease, backhanding the puck five hole on Warriors goaltender Mikayla Schnarr to give Concordia a 1-0 lead. The Stingers were not done in the opening frame.

In what seemed like an innocent rush up the ice, Stingers forward Courtney Rice skated through the Warriors defence and rifled a shot past Schnarr to give Concordia some insurance and a 2-0 lead.

The second period saw the Stingers play a disciplined, balanced game where they outshot the Warriors 14-6 but could not add to their lead. Yet, they would retain their two-goal lead heading into the final frame.

Desperate, the Warriors came into the third period with a power play, and they took advantage almost immediately. A goal 29 seconds into the period cut the Concordia lead in half with plenty of time remaining, 2-1. Concordia responded well in the minutes that followed.

With the clock ticking down, the Warriors found themselves with a golden opportunity to tie the game—on a power play with two minutes remaining. What followed did not favour the Warriors, however.

Stingers forward Jessymaude Drapeau stole the puck, drew the Warriors goalie out of position, and buried the dagger as Concordia was now up 3-1 with one minute remaining. The defeated Warriors did not earn any late opportunities as the Stingers had now clinched a ticket to the National Championship final.

With the vibes high for Concordia, one last opponent stood in the way from being crowned Canadian champions. That final team was the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.

With the stage set for the winner-takes-all game, the Stingers came out buzzing. One minute into the opening frame, Lussier scored her third of the tournament and most importantly, put her team in front 1-0 in the championship final. Just minutes later, the Stingers added to their lead.

Drapeau fired the puck from a sharp angle behind the net that found its way through Toronto goaltender Erica Fryer, making it 2-0 Concordia early. Toronto answered by sharpening up their defence to calm the storm of Stingers goals. They kept the game 2-0 until the third period.

With Concordia doubling Toronto’s shot total, the Stingers were in a good position despite not being able to add to their lead. Toronto came into the third period searching for an answer, but early penalty trouble only helped the Stingers. Bégin-Cyr corralled the puck and took a mid-slot wrister to beat Fryer. It was 3-0 Stingers with the clock on their side.

Toronto pulled their goalie as a last-ditch effort to pull off a miracle comeback, but that was stopped short as they could only get one goal before the final buzzer. 

As the scoreboard hit zero seconds, the Stingers had officially done it. One year after a heartbreaking silver-medal finish, six months after beginning a perfect regular season campaign, and one month after their playoff journey began, the Concordia Stingers had checked off the final box on their season goals list: becoming U SPORTS national champions.

Basketball Sports

The Stingers’ quest for a RSEQ basketball title ends at the final hurdle

Concordia’s men’s basketball team loses in the final, the women’s in the semifinal.

The Stingers men’s basketball team hosted the UQAM Citadins on Saturday, March 2, for the RSEQ title and a place in the 2024 U SPORTS Final 8.

It had been a successful season for the Stingers up until the final. A 12-4 league record propelled them to first place in the RSEQ in the regular season. A 77-67 win against the Université Laval Rouge et Or in the semifinal set up the provincial final against UQAM for a spot in the U SPORTS men’s basketball national championship.

This was the fourth matchup between the two teams in less than a month. The Citadins won the first one, as well as another one in November 2023. But the Stingers had won the most recent two, including one on Feb. 24 to finish the regular season. 

The Stingers came into the playoffs without their first-team all-star guard Sami Jahan, who suffered an injury in a game against McGill on Feb. 17. As such, the two key players for Concordia were Jaheem Joseph and Alec Phaneuf. They ranked second and eighth, respectively, in terms of points per game in the RSEQ during the regular season. Proving their importance, they combined for 46 of the team’s 77 points in the semifinal against Laval.

In front of a sold-out crowd at the Concordia Gymnasium, it was UQAM who would be crowned provincial champions and book their tickets for the Men’s Final 8. Leading 17-14 after the first quarter, the Citadins would never surrender the lead and ultimately win by the final score of 63-57. Karam Sahly was the Stingers’ top performer in the final, scoring 18 points.

The road ends in the semifinal for the Stingers women’s basketball team

Concordia’s women’s basketball team has had a season full of ups and downs. After finishing 2023 with a 4-2 league record, the team lost six straight games to start the new year. However, they finished the season strong, winning three of their final four games. As such, the Stingers finished the regular season with a 7-9 record, good for a third place in the RSEQ.

This third-place finish called for a trip to Lennoxville to play the Bishop’s University Gaiters, who finished second in the league with a 9-7 record. Both teams equally split their four matchups this season, with Concordia winning the first two in 2023 and Bishop’s taking the last two in early February. 

However, the Stingers could not avoid a third defeat in 28 days against the Gaiters, losing 77-67. This final game concluded the season for the women’s basketball team.

There are still some positives to take away from the women’s team’s season. Serena Tchida is a RSEQ first-team all-star. Her 15.1 point-per-game average places her second in the province. She is also the RSEQ nominee for the U SPORTS Tracy MacLeod Award, which “rewards determination, perseverance and unwavering spirit.” She could become the second Stinger to win this award after Myriam Leclerc in 2021-22.

Areej Burgonio and Rowena Blais were also named on the RSEQ second all-star team.

Hockey News Sports

The three-peat is complete: Stingers women’s hockey wins RSEQ championship

Stingers beat Université de Montréal Carabins in winner-take-all game three.

Following a series win against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team shifted their focus to their next and final opponent in the RSEQ final— the Université de Montréal Carabins.

Though both Montréal and Concordia had clinched their tickets to the U SPORTS National Championship tournament by becoming provincial finalists, there was plenty at stake coming into this series. For the Stingers, a series win would make it their third straight RSEQ championship, a feat that has not been accomplished by Concordia since 2002. On the Montréal side, a first RSEQ title since 2019 was up for grabs, as well as revenge from last year’s heartbreaking final that saw them lose to the Stingers in three games.

The first game of the 2024 RSEQ final took place at the Ed Meagher Arena on Thursday, Feb. 29. Defense on both sides was the story of the first period. Concordia was held to 10 shots while Montréal only managed to total five, meaning quality scoring opportunities were minimal. The first period would come to a close as a scoreless draw.

Thirteen minutes into the second frame, Stingers forward and assistant captain Rosalie Bégin-Cyr broke the deadlock. Forward Jessymaude Drapeau patiently held onto the puck before finding her linemate who buried a shot past Carabins goaltender Aube Racine.

It did not take long before the Carabins evened up the game. A deflected shot from the point found its way past Stingers goaltender Jordyn Verbeek, tying the game 1-1 late in the second period.

As the third period got underway, Montréal took its first lead of the series, scoring one minute into the frame. The Stingers began to show desperation as they fired everything they had at Racine. With five minutes remaining in regulation, a golden opportunity emerged as the Stingers earned a late power play.

On the ensuing advantage, the Stingers tied it. Forward Émilie Lavoie scored on a seeing-eye wrister from the blue line, tying the game 2-2. Unfortunately, the momentum of the Stingers was short-lived.

With less than one minute on the clock, a deflected shot from the Carabins found its way into the Stingers’ cage, sealing game one for the Carabins. Stingers head coach Julie Chu offered some insight on what the message would be going into game two.

“I said to the team [today] the same as I did against Ottawa— ‘we have to reset, we have to get going and make sure that this loss is just a loss for today. So process it as you need to and don’t let it hit your heart,’” Chu shared after the loss. The message sent was received for the Stingers in game two.

As the first period got underway at CEPSUM Arena at the Université de Montréal on Saturday, March 2, the pace of play was the epitome of playoff hockey—fast-paced, physical and scoring opportunities at both ends. The Carabins came out of the gate firing, knowing the RSEQ title was in their hands with a win; but the Stingers knew if they lacked effort, their RSEQ season would end. Despite the quality chances, the first period ended 0-0.

Five minutes into the second period, the Stingers broke the tie. Forward Megan Bureau-Gagnon parked in front of the Montréal net and capitalized on a perfect deflection off a shot from forward Émilie Lussier. Bureau-Gagnon spoke on what it meant to score the opening goal.

“It felt good. The couple of shifts before the goal, we were buzzing around them so it was just a question of timing—and to put that [goal] in, it gave us a little room and we started to play freely which was great.” Once going up 1-0, the Stingers did not look back.

A goal by Drapeau in the second period and a goal by Lavoie in the third gave the Stingers the insurance they needed to close out game two. The Carabins got a goal of their own to narrow the deficit to two, but the Stingers would add an empty netter and win the game by a score of 4-1. Coach Chu spoke about returning home for the winner-take-all game three.

“We love playing at home. For us, we’re going to enjoy [the win] today but we’re going to turn the page really quick because [game three] tomorrow is going to come fast.”

The Ed Meagher Arena saw a packed crowd for the rubber match of the provincial final on Sunday, March 3. As fans supporting both sides piled in, the puck dropped to begin action. In what became a theme in the series, the first period resulted in both goalies making key saves to keep the game scoreless. This would change drastically in period two.

Three minutes into the middle frame, Montréal opened the scoring on a rebound that was put home by forward Marie Terriault. The lead for the Carabins, however, would not last long.

For a second game in a row, Bureau-Gagnon netted a huge goal for the Stingers, this time tying the game 1-1. This ignited the Stingers to take over the play overwhelmingly, resulting in an onslaught of goals.

Four goals by the Stingers over the next 12 minutes put them in command up 5-2, heading into the final period with the championship in their sight. For the players, the three goal lead, although nice, was not satisfying enough.

Following two goals by Drapeau and one from Lussier, defender Camille Richard and forward Emmy Fecteau, Concordia put the game to rest. The Stingers defeated the Carabins soundly by a score of 10-4, clinching their third straight RSEQ title. Coach Chu closed out the RSEQ season by sharing what this win means to the team heading into the National Championship.

“Anytime you win, it builds momentum. If anything, it helps us feel confident that we can go through a game where we are down a goal, where we are going through ups and downs of emotions, where the fans are incredible and the energy is great.”

The U SPORTS National Championship will be the next stop for the Stingers women’s hockey team. The team will head out to the University of Saskatchewan for March 14 where they will face the best university hockey teams from around Canada. The matchups and game times are still to be determined.

Football Sports

All eyes on Vegas for Super Bowl LVIII

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will be in familiar territory on Feb. 11.

The defending Super Bowl-champion Chiefs find themselves in the big game for the fourth time in five years. The 49ers will attempt to avenge their 31-20 loss to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV just four years ago.

This was perhaps the toughest road to the Super Bowl the Chiefs have faced with Patrick Mahomes at the helm. Following their 26-7 victory over the feisty Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card Game, the Chiefs met a new challenge unseen in the Mahomes era: road playoff games.

If marching into Buffalo and coming away with a 27-24 victory wasn’t hard enough, the Chiefs headed south to Baltimore to face likely MVP-winner Lamar Jackson and the top-seeded Ravens for a spot in the big dance.

The Chiefs came away with a 17-10 victory and now sit one win away from consecutive Super Bowl victories.

Usually known for explosive offence, it was the Chiefs defence that did the heavy-lifting this postseason. They never eclipsed 27 points on offence, but the defence held top quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson to a combined 657 passing yards and three touchdowns in three postseason games.

If the Chiefs defence is on their game again, then the 49ers will have their hands full as they attempt to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

The 49ers are no slouches themselves. In the past five seasons, they have made the Super Bowl twice and the conference championship game four times.

As the top seed in the postseason, they received a bye to the divisional round, and were guaranteed to play all their playoff games at home leading up to the Super Bowl. But their journey wasn’t a cake walk.

San Francisco’s 24-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round required some late-game heroics. Their reward? Facing the upstart Detroit Lions who were riding the highest of highs following their first playoff victories in over 30 years.

Once again, the 49ers scraped by with a 34-31 victory to qualify for the Super Bowl. While quarterback Brock Purdy has put up two solid performances in the postseason, the 49ers offence has lived and died by running back Christian McCaffrey. He led the NFL in regular season rushing by nearly 300 yards. Nobody has been able to stop CMC, and that has only continued into January.

In the 49ers’ two postseason matchups, McCaffrey has amassed 188 rushing yards and a whopping four rushing touchdowns. He will be a problem for the Chiefs’ defence.

Both teams are battle-tested, having fought through several close games to get to this point. They will leave it all on the field at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The Lombardi Trophy awaits.

Hockey Sports

Five ex-Hockey Canada players charged with sexual assault

Five members of the 2018 Hockey Canada World Junior Championship team were charged with sexual assault.

Content warning: This article discusses the ongoing investigation of a sexual assault case

Michael McLeod, Cal Foote, Dillon Dubé, Carter Hart and Alex Formenton were all charged with one count of sexual assault. McLeod is also charged with one count of being party to the offence.

The assault allegedly occurred in London, Ontario, during the night of June 18th to 19th, 2018, after players from the 2018 Hockey Canada World Junior Championship team attended a Hockey Canada gala.

The victim provided a statement to the London Police Service in the days following the alleged assault, said Det. Sgt. Katherine Dann in a press conference on Feb. 5. However, the investigation was closed in February 2019 without charges being pressed. The investigation was then reopened in July 2022. On Jan. 30, 2024, the five players were charged with one count of sexual assault.

The next court date for this trial is set for April 30, after a procedural hearing was held on Feb. 5.

Apology from the London Police Chief

On Feb. 5, after the procedural hearing, the London Police Service hosted a press conference about the sexual assault case. During the press conference, London Police Chief Thai Truong apologized for the length of the investigation: “I want to extend on behalf of the London Police Service my sincerest apology to the victim and her family for the amount of time that it has taken to reach this point.” 

Police Chief Truong has also acknowledged the victim’s actions during the investigation. “I want to recognize the victim for her courage and incredible strength throughout,” he said during the press conference.

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