Sports Wrestling

Past and present Stingers compete at the highest levels of wrestling

Concordia alumnus Alex Moore qualifies for the Paris Olympics, while two first-year Stingers pick up gold and silver medals at the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships.

Last week was an active one for Concordia Stingers and high performance wrestling. Concordia alumni Alexander Moore and Linda Morais competed in the Pan American Olympic Qualifiers held in Acapulco, Mexico between Feb 28 and March 1, while nine students competed in the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships at the University of Guelph on March 2. 

A total of 17 Canadians competed in the Pan American Qualifiers. As mentioned previously, three wrestlers competed out of the Montreal Wrestling Club, run by Victor and David Zilberman, the father-son tandem coaching the Concordia Stingers. 

Out of the three categories which included men’s Greco-Roman and men’s and women’s freestyle, five Canadians emerged victorious, the third-most behind the USA and Cuba who tied at six. They will be heading to Paris in July.

Linda Morais, who graduated from Concordia in 2016, competed at 62 kg in women’s freestyle and had a good run against Venezuelan competitor Soleymi Caraballo in her first matchup on Feb 29. Morais had scored nine points against Caraballo when she was pinned for a fall (VFA). Caraballo went on to beat Chilean Virginia Jiménez to secure a qualification spot alongside American Amit Elor. 

Unfortunately, the young Stone Lewis from Vanier College and the third Pan American participant from the Montreal Wrestling Club was defeated by Puerto Rico wrestler and University of North Carolina Tar Heel Sonny Santiago in the round of 16. 

Both Morais and Lewis have another chance to qualify for the Olympic Games at the World Olympic Games Qualifiers in Istanbul, Turkey, held May 9-12. 

Alex Moore, U SPORTS 2023 outstanding male competitor, gave it his all on March 1 and will be heading to the Olympics at 86 kg. He was happily surprised at his fortune of not needing to face Cuban Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta, who had been pinned by Anthony Valencia Gomez of Mexico. The Cuban and Montreal natives previously faced off in Argentina in 2023 for the Pan American Championship finals, and the former had won by superiority (VSU1).

On Friday, Moore was able to dominate against Argentinian Jorge Llano in his quarterfinals matchup, winning by superiority, 11-0. He faced Venezuelan Pedro Ceballos in the semifinals matchup, where he turned a takedown into a pin for the win.  

Moore had sustained various injuries in his recent career, including a torn ACL four years ago, a shoulder surgery, and a broken hand only seven weeks ago. “I always thought that I would make the Olympics, but to face all the adversity I have, to stick with it and now I’m going to the Olympics, I’m an Olympian! It is the greatest feeling in the world.” said Moore to Wrestling Canada. “

Coach David Zilberman accompanied Moore to Mexico, and is proud of the work he put in leading up to the tournament. “[Moore] worked extremely hard on his conditioning and really pushed the cardiovascular portion of it, which ultimately helped him win that match,” says the trainer. “He was in better shape than his opponents by far. He was proactive in finding solutions, so we were able to find different workouts for him to do.”

On Saturday, March 2, Concordia participated in the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships in Guelph, Ontario. Seventeen schools across Canada participated for the men’s and women’s freestyle categories. Concordia, showing its well-roundedness, placed 8th for both. Stingers men amassed a total of 20 points, while the women accumulated 25. Brock University, which placed first in both the men’s and women’s categories, collected 83 and 75 total points, respectively. 

Two Concordia competitors finished bearing hardware. In men’s, rookie Yann Heymug won the silver medal at 72 kg, while Jolie Brisco won gold at 62 kg in women’s. 

Heymug, a Saint-Césaire native, was able to defeat University of Calgary’s Shane Richards to move on to the final, conceding to Brock University’s Bobby Narwal. Impressive for his first semester with the Stingers. Jolie Brisco, also in her first semester, faced Olivia Lichti from McMaster University and prevailed. 

“Well, you know, [Brisco] is a talented athlete for sure, and she works really hard. She has a lot of experience, so that helps quite a bit,” says David Zilberman.  “And she’s just a fighter.” The coach commended her for winning the tournament so recently after recovering from shoulder surgery just a year ago.

 “With [Heymug]… he has the ability to win,” adds Ziberman. In my opinion, I think he could have won that tournament. They’re solid athletes, so it’s nice to see them do well.”

While the week in Acapulco proves that Concordia has a tremendous past, the Stingers’ performance in Guelph is a demonstration of a bright and dangerous future.

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.

Boxing Sports

Tammara Thibeault: From Concordia to the Olympics

The Canadian boxer has been undefeated since 2021 and is now eyeing the gold medal in Paris.

Concordia alumna Tammara Thibeault recently won the women’s boxing middleweight gold medal at the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games. 

Today, all her attention is geared towards the only competition she has yet to win at the amateur level: the Olympic Games.

Her beginnings

Growing up, Tammara Thibeault’s father was a wide receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. During the offseason, he boxed to stay in shape. Thibeault’s passion for the sport started at nine years old when visiting the boxing gym with her father. “On Fridays, we would go together, my three siblings and I, and then eventually I just got hooked on to the sport,” she recalled. 

In 2012, women’s boxing became an Olympic sport. By then, Thibeault had already been boxing for a few years. She remembers looking up to Mary Spencer at the time, the first Canadian woman to box at the Olympics in her weight class. 

Seeing Spencer, a young Canadian woman at the Olympics, inspired Thibault to chase her own dream of becoming an Olympic champion.

Balancing school and boxing

Following her 2017 Canadian Championship win, Thibeault joined the Canadian national team. From there, success quickly followed, with multiple medals at international competitions.

Around the same time, she started attending Concordia University, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in urban studies in 2023. 

Being a university student and an elite international athlete simultaneously was not easy. There was “a lot of running around, a lot of tiresome days, but I managed to make it work,” Thibeault said.

After next year’s Olympics, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in urban studies, a field she wants to work in after her career in boxing.

First Olympic experience and gold medal galore

Tammara Thibeault with her gold medal from the 2023 Pan American Games.
Courtesy Photo by Sweet Science Management

Thibeault qualified for what was originally the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. However, the yearlong postponement of the event was a stressful experience for her. “The fact that the Olympics got postponed for a year was kind of crazy,” she said. Since her loss in the quarter-finals in Tokyo, the southpaw fighter is undefeated, a streak of over two years. 

In 2022, she won her first world title at the International Boxing Association Women’s World Boxing Championships. Since the Olympics, she has also won the 2022 Commonwealth Games and two continental championships. 

Thibeault then headed into the 2023 Pan American Games this October with two goals: qualifying for the Olympics and winning the gold medal. She did both, winning every fight by either the referee stopping the contest or by unanimous decision.

What’s next?

After taking some time off to relax and attend graduation, Thibeault will start her preparation for the Olympics next summer in Paris. Although she is ranked number one in the world in her weight category and is arguably the favourite to win the gold medal, she tries not to put too much pressure on her shoulders regarding expectations.

“I’m definitely on top of the game right now, but I try not to think about [being ranked number one in the world] because I don’t want it to impact my performances. I try to take everything one step at a time and just, like, really focus on what I can control,” Thibeault expressed.

After the Olympics, Thibeault plans to turn professional. The two main differences between the amateur and professional levels are that amateur boxing is competed in a knockout tournament format, while professional boxing consists of longer single fights. 

“I think women’s boxing is growing and the level of opposition is growing, which is really interesting because you have women like me who have big amateur backgrounds that jump into the professional sport,” she said. “I think people are starting to appreciate women’s boxing more, which is really nice.” 

Soccer Sports

Heartbreak for Canada as Christine Sinclair plays one last time in Montreal

Canada’s women’s soccer team lost 1-0 to Brazil on Oct. 28 at Saputo Stadium in Montreal.

After Canada was eliminated in the group stage during a disappointing World Cup performance this summer, the women’s national soccer team turns to the 2024 Olympic Games. With qualification secured after two convincing wins against Jamaica in September, the road to redemption continued on Oct. 28 at Saputo Stadium in Montreal for the first of two friendly matches in four days against Brazil.

Record-breaking crowd, disappointing performance

A sold-out crowd of 19,619 people gathered at Saputo Stadium for the game. This attendance figure is a national team record for a friendly match in Quebec, men and women combined. It once again proves the enthusiasm for women’s soccer in Canada. Three years ago, 4.4 million people watched the Olympic triumph in Tokyo and women’s national team matches regularly sell out everywhere in the country.

The crowd gives a standing ovation to Christine Sinclair as she comes on in the 68th minute.
Photo: Félix-Antoine Beauchemin.

It was always bound to be a close affair between the two teams, with Canada ranked 10th in the world and Brazil only one place higher. The local favourites came out strong and dominated the initial minutes. However, as the game progressed, Brazil gradually took control of the match and looked to be a far more dominant team. For example, Canada’s first shot of the second half only came in the 92nd minute. 

Despite this, they looked to be able to hold for a 0-0 draw, notably due to multiple great saves from Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, who was undoubtedly the team’s best player on Saturday. But Brazil’s domination paid off. In the last minute of the game, Débora ‘Debinha’ Cristiane de Oliveira’s shot ricocheted off two Canadian defenders, giving Sheridan no chance to react in time. The ball bounced over the line, much to the delight of the thousands of Brazil fans also present at the game.

Brazilian legend Marta takes a free-kick.
Photo: Félix-Antoine Beauchemin

Nevertheless, Canada got back on track only three days later, beating Brazil 2-0 in front of another sold-out crowd in Halifax on Halloween night, with goals from Jordyn Huitema and Deanne Rose.

A farewell to the greatest international goalscorer of all time 

On Oct. 20, Christine Sinclair announced that she would retire from the national team at the end of the year. Now aged 40, she played her first game for Canada in 2000. Since then, Sinclair has played 329 games and scored 190 goals, a record for international goals for both men and women. For most of the fans at the game, it was their last chance to see Canada’s legendary number 12 in action. As such, they gave her a standing ovation, lasting over 30 seconds when she entered the game in the 68th minute.

Sinclair’s illustrious career also contains many collective achievements. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she scored six goals in six games on her way to the bronze medal. She helped the team repeat the feat in Rio in 2016 with another bronze medal. However, the crowning glory of her career came at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, when she captained team Canada to a gold medal.


A disappointing silver medal for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship

Team Canada lost the gold medal game to Team USA

The World Junior Championship (WJC) is always one of hockey fans’ favourite times of the year, especially for Canadians, as we normally have a great chance of winning gold.

This year, Team Canada competed with a roster of 22 talented players, 20 of whom were selected in the first round of the National Hockey League (NHL) Draft.

Hockey analysts had high expectations for the team. In other words, many people had already given the gold medal to Team Canada before the first game of the tournament was even played.

Led by Head Coach André Tourigny, Team Canada started the competition with a crushing 16-2 win against Germany on Dec. 26. The squad dominated the round robin — where each team of the same group played each other once — winning their four games and finishing first in Group B for the start of the elimination round.

Having scored 33 goals and allowed just four in the same amount of games, Team Canada showed fans that they had nothing to fear entering their quarterfinal game against Czech Republic; and they were right thinking that way.

It almost felt weird seeing Team Canada win so easily in an elimination round game. Yes, it was the Czech Republic, but a 3-0 win meant a second shutout, and also another game where our country didn’t seem to have trouble getting past its opponent. Moreover, it was the fifth straight game where Team Canada didn’t allow an even-strength goal.

Our semifinal game against Russia was anything but a close contest. That game probably confirmed many fans’ thoughts, which was that we could win it all. I’ll admit my own confidence was boosted after beating Russia the way we did. The two countries normally offer great battles, but this time it was totally one-sided, with a 5-0 victory for Team Canada.

Another shutout for Canada and a second consecutive one entering the final game of the tournament was as perfect of a scenario as you could imagine. A great way to present yourself to your last opponent.

Unfortunately, things seemed to stop working for a team that had been almost perfect up until then. Team Canada was the only country that didn’t lose a game in the tournament. However, a great showing from Team USA, added to a normal performance by Tourigny’s team, was all our long-time rivals needed to grab gold with a solid 2-0 victory.

It’s hard to judge this WJC for Team Canada, considering they still won the silver medal, something that isn’t that bad in the end. But for a team full of NHL first-round picks that had high expectations, that second place hurts a little bit.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Carl Neill: a Stingers odyssey

It’s not unusual for Carl Neill to spend plenty of time handling the puck—he’s the Stingers’ top defenceman.

Even for a defenceman, in the first period against the Nipissing Lakers, his teammates were making sure to feed him the puck as much as they could.

Finally, near the end of the period, the puck went from Neill’s stick to the back of the net. It was a powerplay goal, like many he’d scored before. But this time, the celebration by his teammates was something special.

“I’m really, really proud of him, we all are,” said Neill’s coach, Marc-André Élement.

Neill’s goal was his 84th point as a member of the Concordia Stingers. He had just moved into first place, as the highest scoring defenceman in Stingers history.

“It’s a great honour,” said Neill, who sits just one short of the team’s all-time assist record as well. When he learned he was approaching both records after just three seasons with the team, the stingers alternate captain was shocked.

Carl Neill reflects on his three years as a Concordia Stingers

“I know Concordia’s been around forever,” said Neill. “I imagined there’s some guys a couple hundred years back that must have got a few points so I never really thought of that.”

Maybe he was surprised, but anyone that’s watched him over the last three seasons shouldn’t be. He’s dominated the university game since day one. He’s been one of the country’s best blueliners and made his mark in the Stingers’ history books.

In his three years Neill has collected awards on and off the ice, all-star nominations, and a collection of impressive stats that any player would be proud of.

He has played overseas representing his country, gone to the national university hockey championships, and done it all with the flare to his game that’s allowed him to be one of the top players in the league.

Neill joined the Stingers with a shining resume in junior hockey. He was captain of the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL, where he set records just like he’s started to do with the Stingers.

His 178 points rank fourth all-time in Phoenix history while his 139 assists are second overall. Among defencemen though, he is the sole leader in both, along with goals (39).

Sherbrooke was also where he would end up meeting his best friend, future roommate and Stingers teammate Chase Harwell.

The two played three seasons together with the Phoenix and joined forces again a few years later at Concordia. Harwell’s face lights up with a big smile whenever the topic of his teammate and former captain comes up.

“He’s my best friend,” said Harwell. “We grew up together. He’s a great guy, I’m just so happy to see him have that success. He deserves it.”

Chase Harwell and Neill have played together as teammates for six seasons at the junior and university levels combined

His impressive junior career was enough to get him drafted into the NHL. In the fifth round of the NHL entry draft, the Vancouver Canucks chose Neill. He went on to play in several professional training camps before deciding to take the U Sports route and earn a degree before trying to head to the pro leagues when things didn’t work out in terms of the NHL.

Looking back, there’s no doubt in his mind that he made the right choice by going down the U Sports path.

“I made the right decision coming here,” said Neill. “Coming out of junior, not knowing much of what U Sports is Marc told me it was a good program here. I had faith in him and he had faith in me. It coupled well. I’m really happy about my decision. I’m happy I didn’t go to McGill [instead].”

While it’s been gaining traction and notoriety, U Sports isn’t a league that every player knows about coming out of junior. Neill was entering a completely new world and system of hockey. He’s become a major advocate for the league now, but three years ago, it was a leap of faith.

From the moment Neill walked into the Ed Meagher arena, the expectations were sky-high for him. He was the marquee rookie of a strong class of first years. His coach expected him to come in and become a number one defenceman early on.

“He’s going to be the guy who leads the power play, he’s going to be the quarterback,” said Élement just before Neill’s rookie season in 2017. “I’m pretty sure he’s going to be one of the top defencemen in the league.”

Despite any internal or external pressure to come in and be a top player in a new league, Neill played like a veteran from his very first game.

A cerebral player, he was a key contributor in what would be an explosive offense that season. He showed the vision and ability to rush the puck up ice that earned him NHL attention and became an instant player that opposing teams had to gameplan for.

“He certainly lived up to the expectations,” said former stingers captain Philippe Hudon. “He never second-guessed his decision to play U Sports hockey, and coupled with his desire to become a better hockey player, he was an immediate impact to our team and has done wonders since then.”

Neill would end up leading the entire country in scoring by a defenceman with 31 points in 28 games. His team was one of the top eight in the league, earning a trip to the national championship for the first time in over 30 years for Concordia.

Neill has been the back bone of the Stingers’ defensive group since he joined the team back in 2017

While Neill and the Stingers ended up losing, the defender was rewarded for his impressive rookie season. He was named to the OUA East first all-star team as well as the U Sports all-rookie team.

Off the ice, he was presented with the Guy Lafleur award for his combination of success in the game as well as in the classroom. All in all, a good start to his university career.

His second season, the team lost their top two scorers, including league MVP Anthony Beauregard. Instead of an offensive step back, or sophomore slump, Neill kicked it up a notch. Despite a less productive team, he upped his season totals to 33 points, good enough for second in the country among defencemen. He was named to the OUA East all-star team and earned OUA defenceman of the year honours.

On top of that, he was selected to the FISU games to represent Canada in Russia once his season ended. He was among the team of top university players that won bronze at the tournament.

At the start of the year though, another of Neill’s talents was recognized. He was named an assistant captain for the team and his leadership became a major part of his role on the team. The message constantly repeated by teammates is that Neill takes care of people.

As much as his sarcastic prodding and joking are a part of him, he is someone who truly cares for the wellbeing of his teammates.

He helped recruit former teammates like Harwell and Hugo Roy and made sure they and their fellow rookies were brought into the fold immediately and never had to feel like outsiders.

“Obviously he’s an amazing hockey player but on the other side he’s just a great dude,” said Harwell. “If a guy needs a ride, he picks them up. If a guy is having trouble at home or with his girlfriend, he’s there for you. He’s the guy you want on your team.”

Neill’s goal was always to make the guys comfortable, to show them the ropes and have his teammates enjoy an environment where they felt supported and relaxed.

“It’s important to have that on a team,” said Neill, listing past teammates like Hudon who helped him as a rookie. “I came here my first year, not really knowing what was going on. It’s good to pass the torch and help the boys along.”

He’s the kind of player that teammates light up when asked to talk about him. The respect for Neill in the Stingers locker room is evident.

While this past season may not have been as statistically dominant as the last two (20 points in 25 games), Neill had plenty to celebrate.

He played a preseason game as a member of a Quebec U Sports all-star team against the top prospects of the Montreal Canadiens and etched his name across the Stingers record books.

“All the credit goes to him and his work ethic,” said Élement.

Neill now sits 12th all-time in scoring in Stingers history in addition to sitting second all-time in assists and leading among defencemen.

And for the first time, his Stingers future is uncertain. Neill has turned down pro offers every season. He has focused on finishing his degree before turning to the professional world.

Where he’ll be next year, whether it’s at Concordia or on a new team in the pro sphere, is unclear.

If he is wearing a non-Concordia jersey next season, those around him think he’ll be just as successful in that league as he has been in U sports.

“I certainly think he can bring that same impact at the pro level,” said Hudon. “He has tremendous hockey sense. [He’s] capable of effectively fending off attackers as much as anchoring the blue line. Not to mention his high skill level and smooth skating abilities.”

If it’s Neill’s last run with the Stingers, there would be no better way to cap it off than another run to nationals. Despite an up and down year for the team that has been plagued by injuries, the Stingers are red hot heading into the postseason.

Neill called the mood in the room similar to the excitement of his first year where they made their run to nationals.

He definitely has his mind set on getting back there and his teammates can tell.

Neill amassed 84 points in 81 games as a member of the Concordia Stingers

“He wants it bad, he’s pushing even harder,” said Harwell. “It motivates the guys to go even harder as well.”

Looking back to the end of Neill’s first season, when asked if he felt like he was a number one defenceman as his coach had suggested, the rookie said not yet, but maybe next year.

Since then he’s become a franchise leader for defensive scoring, collected all-star nominations, academic awards, represented his country, and made his mark on the team.

When asked the same question at the end of this season, he had a similar answer.

“I don’t know, there’s a lot of number one defencemen in our league. I guess it depends on the night,” said Neill.

After all of this, it is probably safe to say that Neill can call himself not only a number one defenceman, but one of Concordia’s all-time greats.


Concordia wrestler grapples to the top

Vincent De Marinis is making a name for himself with two national titles

Concordia is home to one of the best young wrestlers in the country, and you probably didn’t even realize it.

Vincent De Marinis is a two-time national champion in the 65-kilogram weight class in wrestling. He recently defended his national title in Edmonton at the University of Alberta. He went 3-0 in the group stage, without being pinned down once, before beating Brock University’s Mizam Tamaradze in the final.

De Marinis said even though he won the national title last year, he did not slack off heading into this season. He trained hard, and did not get over-confident before heading into the 2017 National Championships.

“Coming into this competition, I really felt ready, and I was excited to get that second gold medal,” De Marinis said. “I was really proud of myself.”

The fourth-year finance student hopes to continue making a mark in Canadian wrestling after he leaves Concordia. He said his ultimate goals are to make the Olympics for Team Canada and win a medal at the World Championships.

He already has a foot in the door on an international stage, as he has represented Canada on two occasions. His first time wearing the red-and-white instead of Concordia’s maroon-and-gold was at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Bulgaria. He said his first experience representing his country was a learning one.

“When I was a junior, I got blown away,” he said. “That was, more than anything, a wake-up call. That was an indicator to what level it takes to compete internationally.” Two years later, at the Pan-Am Championships in Chile, he won a bronze medal.

His road to representing Canada at an international level would not have been possible without the help of his coaches at his various schools, including the Concordia Stingers. He started wrestling at John Rennie High School, when his friend suggested he join the wrestling team, which was coached by the late Don Kinsella. He said he was unsure about joining the team, but his friend reassured him.

“I was pretty nervous, because I was small, but he told me I would be against people my size,” De Marinis said.

So he joined the team, which was not an official school team, but rather, an after-school activity. Coincidentally enough, his first wrestling match was at Loyola High School. De Marinis started his wrestling career just steps away from where he now practices it.

Vincent De Marinis is in his fourth year with the wrestling team at Concordia. Photo by Brianna Thicke.

After graduating from high school, he attended Vanier College, which did not have a wrestling team. However, he continued training at the Montreal Wrestling Club, where he met Victor Zilberman, the head coach of the Concordia Stingers wrestling team. De Marinis said he knew right away that he would be going to Concordia to compete for the Stingers, and he’s grateful for the opportunity Zilberman gave him.

“Coming out of high school, I was a kid with no head on his shoulders, then I met Victor and started training seriously,” he said.

Since then, De Marinis has trained to become one of the most dominant wrestlers in the country. He has won most of the tournaments he’s competed in, and now sits at the top of his weight class for the second year in a row.

He said his bread-and-butter move is the fireman throw. Like the name suggests, it looks like when a fireman is rescuing someone, carrying them away over his shoulder. Except in wrestling, De Marinis is not attempting to save anybody’s life, but rather, trying to pin his opponent down.

“It’s probably something most wrestlers look out for when they face me,” De Marinis said.

A great athlete does not come without weaknesses. He added that, while his key move is a relatively safe one, when he attempts to do more aggressive moves, he gets beat by his opponent’s counter-attack.

“When I do leg attacks, something that leaves me more vulnerable, and I tend to get countered,” he said.

Like any student-athlete, De Marinis also has to grapple between school work, 30 hours of training a week and a social life. For him, the key to his success is pinning down one task at a time. A bit like what he does on the wrestling mat on his way to national titles.

“I try to take it one day at a time,” he said. “You can’t look at what needs to be done in the future, you need to look at what needs to be done now.”

He said wrestling has taught him many valuable lessons that he applies to other areas in his life. He said he has learned work ethic, how to deal with tough situations, time management, discipline and how to make sacrifices.

“If you’re not going to take anything out of wrestling itself, you’re going to take life lessons,” he said.

De Marinis will be back with the wrestling team next year for his fifth and final season, where he said he is looking towards winning a third-straight national title.


Empowering women through sports

Concordia Stingers skills coach, Caroline Ouellette, is inspiring young hockey players

Through hockey, Les Canadiennes de Montréal forward Caroline Ouellette hopes to empower young women by teaching them the lessons she has learned throughout her time playing the game.

Ouellette has been an integral part of the Canadian women’s national hockey team since 1999. The four-time Olympian has never lost in a final, winning gold in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. According to CBC Olympics, she is third all-time in games played for the national team.

As someone with deep ties to the hockey community, Ouellette said “it’s a responsibility for Olympians to give back.”

When Ouellette is not playing for Les Canadiennes de Montréal, she coaches the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team as a skills and development coach. She is also the owner of the Caroline Ouellette High Performance hockey camps, located in Quebec, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

Her love for the game is what led her to start coaching and mentoring young women. She said she finds motivation through teaching girls to become confident and assertive—characteristics she feels will help them later in life.

“[When they] face the world, they will have the confidence to become anything they desire,” Ouellette said. “When I see young girls playing, it makes me so happy, because I’ve experienced the best moments through my sport.”

Ouellette said the lessons hockey has taught her prepared her for everything she has faced in life.

At age nine, Ouellette joined a boy’s hockey league because, at the time, it was not considered a sport for girls. “You played with the boys or you didn’t play at all,” she said.

After years of perseverance and competing against boys, she joined the women’s national team at 17.

Wanda Bedard, president of the 60 Million Girls Foundation—an organization Ouellette spoke at—said she found Ouellette’s story of gender discrimination to be an inspiring story of determination and strength.

Ouellette is currently working to close the gender gap in the sport she is so passionate about. Young boys are encouraged to play hockey, while young girls don’t get that same encouragement. According to Ouellette, one problem that arises with few all-girl teams is that teams have to travel farther in order to find opponents.

Ouellette loves to see young girls play hockey.

“If we offer more programs to try hockey, girls will know if they like it, and, if they do, then [the parents are] going to be convinced,” Ouellette said.

One of the ways Ouellette encourages young girls to try hockey is during events like the third annual Girls Hockey Celebration tournament, which is taking place between Dec. 15 and 18. The tournament is expected to host 50 to 60 all-girls teams. One of the workshops offered at the tournament allows girls to borrow full sets of of equipment for free and participate in a practice led by Ouellette and various female Olympians.

Ouellette said in collaboration with Hockey Canada and Hockey Quebec, more programs should be offered where girls can borrow equipment to test the sport out.

While Ouellette hopes to encourage more young girls to play hockey, she has another dream: a professional league where female athletes are paid to play.

A professional league “would give young girls a clear path of what they can aspire to, just like how young boys who play dream of the Stanley Cup,” Ouellette said.

While young boys can pursue their dreams of playing in the NHL, it isn’t the same case for girls. Although women’s hockey becomes prominent during the Olympic games, little attention is paid to it during the four-year gap in between, she said.

According to Ouellette, in order for women to get paid to play, there must be sponsors and media coverage to bring attention to the league and a partnership with the NHL.

Her contributions to women’s hockey have not gone unnoticed. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Award. According to Hockey Canada, this award is given to an active player “whose values, leadership and personal traits are representative of all female athletes.”

When asked about what she would do if given the opportunity to play with the national team at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, she said that she would play.

“It is the greatest honour and privilege to wear that jersey and play in front of the best hockey fans in the world,” said Ouellette.

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