Claudia Dubois: The Stinger From Saguenay
Stingers Forward Reminisces on Her Path to Concordia
Options were not something Claudia Dubois always had growing up in her hometown of Saguenay.
“Chicoutimi is not a city where you can find a lot of sports leagues. It’s not Quebec City or Trois-Rivières. We’re far from everything,” said Dubois.
Since no women’s teams existed in her hometown, the 22-year-old grew up playing on boys’ teams for the major part of her life.
“It definitely affected my technique and the way I play today,” said Dubois, looking back. “Most of the girls who played on the boys’ teams growing up became really strong players because the level of play is usually higher, faster and more physical with boys.”
Dubois, who wears number 10, has been the first line centre of the Stingers hockey team since 2015. She has cumulated a total of 12 points—including eight goals and four assists this season so far. Dubois is ranked eighth amongst all the players in the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec for top scorers.
Dubois is mostly known for her strong presence on the rink and her one timer shot, which has been qualified by Stingers women’s hockey head coach Julie Chu as an incredible weapon for the team.
She’s calm; down to earth; relaxed. But Dubois’ laid-back is anything but reflective of her aggresive and intense play style.
—Video by Jérémie Gauthier-Caron
“Claudia is a worker,” said Chu—it’s a sentiment she often finds herself repeating when talking about Dubois. “She has the ability to possess the puck, creates a lot of scoring chances and consistently executes at a high level.”
Chicoutimi, with its ice-cold winters, warm people, and omnipresent hockey culture, possesses all the ingredients of a hockey paradise. However, the former captain of the powerful Cégep Limoilou Titans has learned that playing women’s hockey is not as accessible as it may seem in her remote hometown.
“The majority of girls stop playing hockey at a city level because there is no other option for growth in the sport after that level,” said Dubois.
Dubois’ talent and perseverance have however decided otherwise.
“One thing that I’m most proud of is to have signed with the Stingers here at Concordia,” said Dubois. “For girls, being able to play within a university team is an achievement in itself.”
Dubois said the best memory in her career was the time her former midget AA hockey team made it to the provincial championship in Laval in 2012. Nobody expected the little town’s formation to position itself for the gold. Yet, after being upgraded to the next “category” the following year, they nabbed, for a second year in a row, first place.
“We were the team nobody knew,” she explained. “We didn’t even know that this kind of competition existed.”
Still, the Saguenay local team arrived in Laval believing they could win, and they smashed the whole game.
A pattern that now seems pretty familiar to Dubois since she has adopted the Stingers uniform. “She practices exactly like she plays, and that’s what coaches want,” said Chu. “With her high intensity and great execution, she has made a huge impact on our success on the ice and also within the locker room where she has a tremendous amount of respect from her teammates.”
Respect, according to Chu, isn’t something that a second year player earns so easily. Chu’s inevitable bond with her top scorer showed in the locker room, where she only had kind words forDubois.
“She is always a competitor, she’s intense, dedicated, and a great leader for our team,” added the Stingers coach.
Even though the intensity of the play is different with boys, Dubois says that sharing the ice rink with women is something unique on its own.
“My teammates are not only my friends, they’re like sisters to me,” said Dubois.