Managing Expectations

An In-Depth Look at Concordia Hockey Team Managers

  • Caitlin Booth, 25, is relatively new to the managerial game. The Leisure Science graduate is in her third season working behind head coach Les Lawton and the women’s team. Photo Bianca Rosetti

  • Men’s hockey team manager Stewart Wilson, 66, has been with the men’s team since 1992, and he’s seen many changes of the guard in his tenure so far. He started as a manager for both the football and hockey teams before choosing the men’s team exclusively. Photo Concordia Sports

Every year a new crop of players comes to training camp to try out for the Concordia Stingers hockey teams, and coaches are faced with the tough task of forming a competitive roster to battle through a season. Behind each team are managers whose tasks, from sharpening skates to ensuring players eat nutritiously, also make them essential for success.

At Concordia, managers Caitlin Booth and Stewart Wilson are integral members of the Stingers hockey teams who have helped take care of players during their university careers.

Wilson, 66, has been with the men’s team since 1992, and he’s seen many changes of the guard in his tenure so far. He started as a manager for both the football and hockey teams before choosing the men’s team exclusively.

“I’m a very organized and meticulous person,” said Wilson on being a manager. “I like making sure I can read the coach’s mind before he can even say anything.”

Originally born in Preston, England, he immigrated first to British Columbia before making the move to Montreal, where his wife has family. Wilson planned on staying in Montreal for a year before heading further east to Nova Scotia.

“Twenty-three years later I’m still here but no regrets; family always keeps me going strong,” he said.

Booth, 25, is relatively new to the managerial game, in comparison to Wilson’s 23 years of experience. The Leisure Science graduate is in her third season working behind head coach Les Lawton and the women’s team.

“I got hired on the spot and was invited to meet the girls as they did their fitness testing on the field,” said Booth. “I remember holding this clipboard and asking everybody for their papers and they looked at me clueless. I remember knowing and thinking that this task might be harder than I thought.”

Developing bonds with players has been of huge importance for both managers, as they’ve come to be more than skate sharpeners and equipment caretakers. They are a part of the Stingers hockey family.

In the case of Wilson, he could pass as a surrogate hockey parent.

“Stew is always there for us for whatever we need,” said men’s team forward Dany Potvin. “Getting our tape, sticks and [he] always has our skates sharpened. He takes care of us and makes sure we never forget anything—and if we do, he won’t. He’s also our biggest fan.

“Being our biggest fan he’s always more mad when we lose and happiest when we win,” Potvin continued.

As for Booth, she is praised for the energy she brings to the women’s team.

“[Booth is] a very enthusiastic person, always prepared and ready for every situation,” said Lawton. “She’s our extra player and is part of the team. There is so much respect between all of us.”

Managers can even endure regular frustrations with their players and hockey life, varying from flying pucks to sharpening skates too close to game time. However, the downsides of being a team manager pale in comparison to the good.

“When they bring me [skates] five minutes before [the game], it always gets me stressed,” said Wilson. “But it doesn’t bother me too much and I get it done. Not much will get me upset around here.

“Sometimes the bench door can hit you in uncomfortable places, getting hit by a puck, or the girls who sometimes steal my water bottles,” said Booth. “But at the end of the day, I love my job, I love these girls.”

Correction: The Link has retracted a quote from Stingers forward Dany Potvin that suggested that manager Stewart Wilson was an alcoholic. The Link regrets the error.

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