Patrick Boivin Leaves Concordia for the Montreal Alouettes

Stingers Athletics Left Finding a Replacement

Patrick Boivin signed as President and CEO of the Montreal Alouettes earlier last month Photo Courtesy Dominick Gravel

Concordia University’s Recreation and Athletics Department suffered an unexpected departure recently as the now former director, Patrick Boivin, parted ways with the school after three years.

After revitalizing Concordia sports, Boivin decided to take his expertise to another struggling sports organization—the Montreal Alouettes—where he will assume the role of president and chief executive officer.

During his brief tenure at Concordia, Boivin attempted to renew the pride among student-athletes with his personal rebranding initiative, which was led by 20 handpicked Concordia fine arts students.

“I hope that I created foundations and a sense of direction for where all these varsity teams can go,” Boivin said about his legacy at Concordia in an interview on The Link’s Pressbox Hat Trick podcast last week.

Boivin left his mark with the rebranding campaign, which was revealed in September 2015.

When Boivin arrived at Concordia he brought along experience at a professional level. Boivin spent almost ten years with the Montreal Canadiens hockey club—three years were spent as Director of Hockey Operations.

Boivin said the biggest problem was the lack of engagement between the students, athletes and coaches. He preached fan participation from day one, and in order to generate better fan support, something needed to be done.

“There was a distinct lack of connectivity and engagement between a general fan base but even between student athletes and coaches and essentially who the Stingers were,” Boivin said.

The former athletics director immediately recognized that students were not motivated to attend games or participate in recreational activities. He identified the longstanding issue that is the divide between Loyola campus and the downtown campus. Boivin decided that rebranding would help the situation, and that a fresh coaching staff could generate a buzz.

The major sports teams—football, basketball and hockey—saw the most change under Boivin, who replaced many long-tenured coaches with new ones. Boivin wanted to make an impact as soon as he became director and saw a need to change the Stingers philosophy.

During Boivin’s tenure, notable hires such as Mickey Donovan—head coach of the football team— and Rastko Popovic took over from the former coach John Dore in men’s basketball. Tenicha Gittens came in as the women’s basketball head coach.

“We needed to create the persona for [whom] the Stingers were and had a lot to do with creating fundamental pillars and values,” Boivin said.

Despite the major changes around the coaching staff during Boivin’s three years, men’s Rugby remains the only team to win a championship for Concordia—but that was back in 2014.

During his interview, Boivin said he believes a national championship is right around the corner for Concordia. According to him, all the programs already have the capability of attaining the coveted prize, but will need a few more years to develop.

“I think the real impact of the changes that I was able to get people to buy into will be seen over the course of the next two to three years,” Boivin said.

With majority of the Stingers teams currently struggling to generate success, The Link reached out to the organization to speak with current coaches and representatives. The request was denied, as they felt uncomfortable about speaking on their former boss.

Boivin’s departure to the Alouettes came as a surprise, and the Stingers organization is now left with finding a replacement halfway through the academic year.

The Alouettes have stumbled ever since they lost franchise quarterback Anthony Calvillo to retirement. Not to mention in the past few years, fans have been reluctant to attend games, opting to support the more popular Montreal Impact. But Boivin doesn’t see a doomed future for the Montreal football team.

“There needs to be some fine-tuning. I think the Als in a pure branding perspective have a lot of good elements,” said Boivin. “My job consists of putting this franchise back on its feet, or potential that it has had.”

With files from Alexander Perez.