Concordia Stingers Men’s Hockey Preview
Stinger Kick-Start Training Camp and Hope for Strong Season
The Stingers men’s hockey team finished last season with a losing record and an early playoff exit against their arch rivals, the McGill Redmen. While the statistics paint a negative image, the now-official head coach Marc-Andre Element viewed last season from a positive light.
“We were really young last year and I think we had a really good season,” said Element. “All the young kids, they’ve been working hard, they’ve been battling hard and I know they’ve been training during the summer so that’s exciting for this season.”
Once again, the Stingers will be welcoming a young team with the departures of veterans Jessyko Bernard, Frederick Roy and Luca Ciampini. Luckily for the team, captain Olivier Hinse will don the maroon and gold jersey for one last season.
“We want to have a winning record,” said Hinse. “We want to be in good position for the playoffs and hopefully win a championship,” he continued. “It’s my last chance to bring our team to a championship and I wanna do that.”
Hinse led the team in points last year with 35 points in 28 games, placing him 11th amongst all skaters in the Ontario University Athletics. Going into this season, the team will need other players to step up offensively with the losses of Bernard and Roy, who each had 25 and 22 points and ranked second and third on the team in points, respectively.
New recruits will be expected to fill-in those offensive gaps. Anthony Deluca and Philippe Sanche who both played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League are exciting additions to the Stingers roster.
Deluca recorded 209 points in 202 games with the Rimouski Oceanic and won the league’s President’s Cup in the 2014-2015 season. He played two season in the East Coast Hockey League before joining Concordia.
“To be honest, I wasn’t really thinking of the school route,” said Rosemère native. “But after speaking to [Element], he was the one to really change my mind about things and hanging out with the captain Olivier Hinse, I just [felt] that it was a great environment.”
Philippe Sanche, defined as a hard-working forward, collected 200 points in 210 games with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. The Mercier native focused his offseason on rehabilitation after breaking his tibia last December but feels ready for the upcoming season.
Other recruits include defensemen Anthony Gingras, Matthieu Desautels, Alexandre Gosselin, and Philippe Bureau-Blais, who all have experience in the QMJHL. Stingers defense will need to shut-down other teams better if they hope to improve their record. Last year, the team let the opposition score 112 goals against, placing them second for most goals allowed in the league.
Goaltending will also need to improve. Phillippe Candorette and Marc-Antoine Turcotte will be competing for the job alongside returning netminders Miguel Sullivan and Robin Billingham.
Last season, Element played musical chairs with his goalies. Neither one of them stood out as a clear number one goaltender. For the head coach, it will all come down to “the goalie that wants it more” this year.
“It’s a good problem for me,” he said. “Those guys are going to push themselves in training camp and we’ll see what happens.”
The Stingers have a month to prepare for the upcoming season as they play their first game on October 7 against Nipissing. Until then, the team is scheduled to play two pre-season games against Acadia on September 23 and 24.
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