Concordia Says Bye to Olivier Hinse

Men’s Hockey Captain Reflects on Five Years as a Stinger

Olivier Hinse walks off the ice after his final game as a Concordia Stinger on Feb. 27. Photo Matt Garies

It was a chilly Thursday afternoon. Olivier Hinse sat on the bench in front of his locker room stall. He wasn’t drenched in sweat nor was he dressed in his Stingers uniform. His skates were perched on the shelf above him—his maroon and gold jersey rested on a hangar behind him.

Four days earlier, on Feb. 26, the Concordia Stingers were eliminated by the Queen’s Golden Gaels in the second round of the U Sports playoffs. It marked the end of the team’s incredible season, where they finished second in the Ontario University Athletics East Division with 40 points and made it past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

It also meant the end of the road for Hinse.

“Five years of my life have been [spent] in this locker room,” he said reflectively. “Being here was always a pleasure and I was always looking forward to practices, games and everything.”

At the end of the 2015-2016 season, the captain planned to pack his bags after completing his undergraduate degree in child studies.

Turns out, Hinse had changed his mind. At the Stingers banquet last April, he announced that he was going to take advantage of his fifth and final year of eligibility as. The news took everyone by surprise—well, maybe not everyone.

“I knew he would come back for another year,” said head coach Marc-Andre Element, with a slight smile of satisfaction on his face. “He was the face of the program for the last five years and he did amazing at school, at hockey and his life.”

Indeed, his efforts on and off the ice have been recognized through the Dr. Randy Gregg award in 2015 for exhibiting “outstanding achievement in hockey, academics and community involvement” as well as the Guy Lafleur award of excellence “in athletics and academics and shown exceptional leadership.”

In 133 games, Hinse has scored 72 goals and 67 assists for a total of 139 points—over a point per game. He has impressed at almost every turn, so much so that teammate Philippe Hudon is convinced that Hinse is the “perfect human.”

“He comes to the rink, he’s happy whether it’s at six a.m. or seven at night,” said Hudon, the assistant captain. “He always finds a reason to smile. He has left such a big footprint.”

That footprint got a lot bigger this year—and Hinse predicted it. In a previous interview last year, the Stingers centre voiced his excitement about the upcoming 2016-2017. He felt that the team had a lot of promise with new recruits coming in the off-season.

“[Hinse] was the face of the program for the last five years and he did amazing at school, at hockey and his life.” — Marc-Andre Element

Hinse was right. Veteran leaders like himself, Hudon, Raphael Lafontaine and Dominic Beauchemin, as well as rookies like goaltender Philippe Cadorette, defensemen Mathieu Desautels and Alexandre Gosselin formed an impressive core. Adding forwards Anthony De Luca and Philippe Sanche—to name a few of the 14 new recruits—the Stingers’ second place finish in the OUA east division was remarkable, considering the team finished in the bottom five teams of the division in Hinse’s first four years.

“It’s the best one,” he said about his fifth season. “I created a lot of friendships throughout the years and guys were amazing. But hockey-wise and on a personal level, this year was just amazing.”

The dream year for Hinse and the Stingers didn’t end there. The quarterfinal win against the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks broke the 16-year curse barring the Stingers from the second round of the playoffs.

“My goal was to do something at Concordia and bring Concordia to another level,” he said. “I know it’s not a lot but I think it’s a great start looking forward for the future. We have to win
one and that’s what we did.”

Many memorable moments have come to define Hinse’s varsity career—this first round win being one of them. In the 2012-2013 season, he became an assistant captain in his first year.

Photo Matt Garies

“Coach [Kevin] Figsby came to me and just gave me an ‘A’ without saying anything,” he said,.

Being given the “C” two seasons later is also something that the 26-year-old will cherish along with the countless road trips taken with his teammates who he considers family.

“We have so much fun on the road. We create bonds […] and yes, we study, yes we study,” he said, smiling.

Hinse left his mark on the international stage too. He was named captain of the Canadian national team at the International University Sports Federation Winter Universiade, a bi-annual event in the summer and winter, uniting university athletes from across the world. He helped bring home the bronze medal, for team Canada.

“Being captain of Concordia was one of the greatest honours, and having to wear the ‘C’ for your country […] it’s amazing,” he said.

Between the Stingers hockey revival and a medal win for Canada, the business administration student is currently assessing his options to play in Europe. When asked about his aspirations of making it to the NHL, he said, “it’s always there” at the back of his mind. He is also not ruling out a return to Concordia in some capacity. Element already said that Hinse will help with recruiting next year.

“Concordia’s my home,” he said. “If I have the opportunity I’m going to take it for sure.”

Until then, he will prepare for his final speech at the upcoming Stingers banquet in April while completing his certificate. Despite all his accomplishments, there remains one thing that Hinse would like to cross off his bucket list.

When he made the announcement to come back last year, he wanted to drop the mic—but the mic was attached to the stand. This year, announcement or not, Hinse remains determined to drop that mic, one way or another.

“If I can drop the mic, I’ll do it for sure,” he said, laughing. “I’ll find a way to drop it.”