Concordia Stingers Women’s Hockey Preview

Newly Appointed Full-Time Head Coach Julie Chu Ready for First Season

The Stingers were ousted from the Réseau de Sport Étudiant du Québec playoffs in the first round last season. Photo Andrej Ivanov

The Stingers were ousted from the Réseau de Sport Étudiant du Québec playoffs in the first round last season. The loss marked the end of a great career for team captain Erica Porter and veteran Marie-Pier Cloutier. Their departures signified a shift in leadership on the team, but Chu didn’t seem rushed to choose their next captain.

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team struggled last season, winning only six games in the 2015-16 season. However, newly appointed head coach Julie Chu has already cultivated a winning philosophy centered around team leadership from veterans and new recruits.

“We will again go through the captain nomination process that we go through and see who emerges as the leaders,” said Chu. “But beyond that we have a lot of great veterans who understand what it means to be successful.”

The team will look to a strong forward core featuring Devon Thompson who capped off an exceptional season by finishing in the top ten scorers in the league. Meanwhile, forwards Ann-Julie Deschenes and Kerianne Schofield look to carry their strong play into this season after finishing in the RSEQ’s top 20 scorers last season.

Veteran netminder Katherine Purchase, who finished last season with a 2.21 goals against average and a .914 save percentage, trained hard during the off-season. Purchase spent most of her time in the gym, coupled with long-distance running to keep in game shape. She praised her teammates work ethic during the summer and noticed that the atmosphere in the locker room had changed at the start of camp.

“This season coming into camp all of the team goals and philosophy are already laid out,” said Purchase. “It’s going to stick a lot better this year and right off the get-go we had a great first practice.”

Beyond the core group of veterans the Stingers women’s hockey team recruited some of Quebec’s CEGEP league’s top prospects. Audrey Belzile, Stephanie Lalancette and Marie-Pascale Bernier excelled with their respective teams.

Dawson Blues recruit Alexandra Nikolidakis remained a solid blue-line presence throughout her career. Nikolidakis was excited at the opportunity to play for Concordia and prepared for the challenge of balancing hockey and school.

“The balancing act is going to be difficult,” said Nikolidakis, who admitted it would take some time to adjust to her new surroundings.

She’s studied sciences all her life and chose to pursue exercise science at Concordia. The opportunity to play with the women’s hockey team was an added bonus that she couldn’t pass up on. “They’re building towards something great here.”

Chu complimented the new recruits for their individual talent and ability to mold to the team philosophy.

“The recruits have been like sponges, they’re ready to learn and eager to adjust to the level of CIS,” said Chu enthusiastically.

The Stingers women’s hockey team will begin their quest to capture the RSEQ title on October 14 as the season opens at home against the Ottawa Gee-Gees.