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Leadership at a national level

With national and international successes and recognition, the Concordia Stingers gave their fans and supporters a lot to be proud of and cheer about throughout the 2022-23 year - at both the player and coaching levels.

For D’Arcy Ryan, director of Recreation and Athletics, the success of a varsity program is strongly informed by the reputation and accomplishments of its coaching staff. “When any of our coaches are given the nod for national-level coaching, it’s a testament to their skills and ability to develop players. And therefore, in our mind, it brings a lot of notoriety to the program,” he says.

In May, Stingers women’s rugby head coach Jocelyn Barrieau was named an assistant coach with Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team. That same month, Stingers women’s basketball head coach Tenicha Gittens was named an assistant with Canada’s U23 national team staff and was given the nod to coach at the GLOBL JAM international showcase in Toronto. Gittens was also featured in the 2023 CBC Black Changemakers of Quebec.

“Young student athletes are looking at this and trying to figure out what is their best pathway for success in their sport. And it’s the coaches who are the driving, motivating factor for a lot of the students picking and choosing between different institutions,” Ryan says. “So any time we get a coach who’s able to show and share their talents on a provincial or national level, it’s huge for our programs. We have to be constantly encouraging and supporting them in these endeavours.” 

And this recognition reached beyond our borders this year, with Stingers associate women’s hockey head coach Caroline Ouellette being inducted into the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Tampere, Finland, at the end of May.

Honouring our history

Concordia’s own Sports Hall of Fame also paid homage to two accomplished coaches from its past. 

In September, long-time Stingers women’s hockey coach Les Lawton was inducted into the shrine. His career spanned more than three decades and included 15 Quebec championships and two national titles.

Jackson Winters was the head coach of the Loyola College men’s basketball team in the early 1960s. Winters passed away in 2021 at the age of 91, and his posthumous induction into the hall of fame was accepted by his daughter, Lauren Winters, in February. She shared the story of his journey from growing up in the United States amid racial segregation in the 1940s and 1950s to his accomplishments as a coach, mentor, and successful businessman.

Individual and team highlights

Stingers coaches weren’t the only ones making appearances on behalf of Team Canada this year. In January, three Concordia hockey players - Emmy Fecteau, Rosalie Bégin-Cyr and Tyler Hylland - helped Canada’s women’s and men’s hockey teams win gold medals at the 31st winter edition of FISU World University Games, which took place in Lake Placid, New York. Additionally, Fecteau was named captain of Canada’s women’s team.

Ryan notes that while Concordia has had player representation on both teams in the past, it was a big deal to see both men and women win gold this year. “It’s also fantastic to be able to support the development of our student athletes by providing them with the chance to compete on a national scene.”

Other standout moments for Stingers players include Jeremy Murphy’s third-round draft selection by the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Ryan acknowledges the significance of this news, noting that it’s not every day that a Stingers player goes on to play professional football. 

In February, Alex Moore was named the outstanding wrestler at the U Sports national championship. Stingers wrestlers earned seven medals at the tournament. The men’s team finished fifth in the country, while the women’s team finished in sixth place.

Finally, while it would have been tough to top last year’s showing for Stingers hockey, both teams had strong finishes.

The men won the OUA bronze medal game with a 4-0 victory over the Lakehead Thunderwolves to earn a berth at the U Sports men’s national championship. 

The women, meanwhile, won the RSEQ championship and finished with a silver medal at the U Sports national championship, after a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Mount Royal Cougars in the finals. “It would have been amazing to win back-to-back,” Ryan says. “But they’ve got a lot to play for this year coming. Real motivation.”

With the two finals appearances in a row, the women’s team under coach Julie Chu has emerged as a national powerhouse to be reckoned with for years ahead.

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