Concordia Success Highlighted By Stingers Hockey Call-Ups

Trio Headed to International University Sports Federation Winter Games Training Camp

  • Captain Olivier Hinse is one of three Stingers who will be attending the Canadian hockey team camp in Kazakhstan. Photo Brian Lapuz

  • The Stingers have turned it around this season, as they sit fifth place in the East division. Photo Brian Lapuz

Kazakhstan is not often at the top of one’s “Countries to Visit” list, especially during the frigid winter months.

Its temperatures rival Montreal—reaching anywhere from -10 C to -30 C in the heart of winter. Despite these harsh conditions, come January, there’s no place Stingers men’s hockey captain Olivier Hinse would rather be.

He has been invited to participate in a training camp for the Canadian hockey team, along with Stingers forward Philippe Hudon and rookie goaltender Philippe Cadorette, in the lead up to the upcoming International University Sports Federation Winter Games. The Games, also known as the Winter Universiade, brings together the top student athletes between the ages of 17 and 28 across various disciplines in an Olympic-style event.

“I was very proud when I got the news,” said Hinse. “It was something I was looking for. I am really happy to be going to training camp.”

Stingers head coach Marc-André Element was just as happy.

“It’s important for our program to have some guys represent their school and hockey program,” he said. “It means a lot for us. Those three guys have worked extremely hard since the beginning of the season and they deserve to be there.”

In addition to his search for that elusive university championship, Hinse cites the Winter Games—which take place every two years—as a motivating factor behind his decision to return to the Stingers for a fifth and final season. And above all else, he wants to put Concordia on the map.

“Concordia is my life now. It’s my home,” said Hinse. “That is why I came back and stayed for five years. It would be a great opportunity for me to represent them on the international level. I want to show that Concordia is a great school to come to.”

Hinse has had a strong start to the season for the Stingers so far, scoring 12 goals—including a four-goal outing on Saturday against the Royal Military College Paladins. He has also recorded five assists for a total of 17 points in only 15 games.

In the past, he has represented the Stingers at international events, most notably serving as assistant captain last year for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-star team that faced the Canadian World Junior team.

Hinse will reprise his role this season for the games on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13 against the national junior squad—before the start of the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Hockey Championships, which are set to take place in Montreal and Toronto beginning Dec. 26.

It will be uncharted waters, however, for both Hudon and Cadorette, who have never represented Concordia or their country on an international stage.

Hudon, currently in his third season with the team, has already been impressive for the Stingers, contributing eight points in the team’s opening 13 games. Cadorette has taken the league by storm in his debut season with the club. He has put together an 8-4 record, with a goals-against-average of 2.77 and a save percentage of .911 through the first half of the 2016-17 campaign.

In the eyes of Element, another one of his players should have joined the trio at the camp. New recruit Anthony De Luca has had a hot start to the season, with 22 points in just 15 games. His 13 goals scored so far are pacing the league. He has also been named Concordia male athlete of the week for two weeks straights, in recognition of his offensive prowess.

De Luca was disappointed about not making the initial training camp invite list but keeps his cell phone nearby just in case a last-minute call comes his way.

“Coming here, that was one of my goals­—to make that team,” said De Luca. “You never know until the last day is done. I’ve got to keep working hard and prove to the coach that I should be on that team and try to bump out a guy from a spot.”

The Stingers have had a lot of success collectively as well. With a 10-5-0 record, they currently sit in fifth place amongst the 10 teams that make up the Ontario University Athletics Eastern Division. The team sits only three points behind the division leaders, the McGill Redmen.

Hinse attributes the team’s recognition to the group’s strong start. And while it has not been an easy process, he thinks that getting some attention finally, sure feels good.

“It’s a great thing,” said Hinse. “We can see that Concordia is heading in the right direction since the rebranding. We have come a long way, step-by-step, one win at a time.”

Concordia’s three representatives will have little time to rest before the second half of the season begins. The trio will head to Teen Ranch in Caledon, Ont. for a four-day training camp from Dec. 27 to Dec. 30. There, under the watchful eye of head coach Brett Gibson of Queen’s University, 40 invitees will be whittled down to the final 22-man roster bound for Almaty, Kazakhstan, host city of the Games.

The Games are set to take place between Jan. 25 and Feb. 10 of next year. Should either of the three make the final squad, it would mean that they would miss the final five regular season games before the start of the USports playoffs.

But Element has no problem with that.

“That’s part of the game,” he said. “All the other best players on the other teams are going to be gone too. I’m just so excited for those guys to have the opportunity to represent their country and school. Everything is positive in our eyes.”

Hinse understands that as one of the few fifth-year players invited to camp, his leadership skills will be called upon regularly.

“I’m going to be there to lead the team,” said Hinse. “I’m going to make it clear to the coach that I will provide a lot of leadership and offensive skills. I’m going to bring it all to the table and make sure that I’m at my best. We will see how it goes.”

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