Stingers 3, Gee-Gees 1: Concordia takes home resounding win during Pride Game

Stingers talk acceptance and emotion during a high-strung game

The Stingers celebrate their victory at goaltender Arianne Leblanc’s net. Photo Alice Martin

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team won 3-1 against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees in their first ever Pride Game on Feb. 4 at the Ed Meagher Arena.

The themed afternoon, which drew a large crowd of Concordia students, staff, and alumni, featured pre-game tabling by GRIS-Montreal and Inter-ligne, as well as a raffle for a variety of different pride-themed Stingers and Montreal Canadiens merch.

The game itself was tense—Stingers defender Sandrine Veillette, who scored the game’s first goal, left the ice after an awkward collision late in the first period. 

Animosity was palpable from both teams throughout the following two periods. The teams racked up 26 minutes of penalties between them, including five tripping penalties, two illegal body checks, and one illegal hit to the head.

“We have a lot of depth on our team,” said Stingers head coach Julie Chu of Veillette’s impending absence. “We know that whenever another player gets the nod to play, that they’ll do a great job.”

Chu also praised the team on their ability to stay focused during an antagonistic game. “We talk about discipline, we talk about wanting to play hard, play tough [...] It was just a battle—I don’t think there was any dirtiness in the play,” she said.

Stingers forward Chloé Gendreau played plenty tough during the last two periods, but managed to avoid the penalty box despite a few post-whistle altercations with Ottawa players. When asked how she kept her cool, Gendreau laughed. “Honestly, I’ve had to work a lot on it, all my life. It’s a tough one,” she said. “You gotta do it for the team [...] honestly, I like it.”

Gendreau tallied secondary assists on the game’s final two Stingers goals, bringing her season points total to 24 points in just 22 games.

On top of showing up on the scoresheet, Gendreau also showed up for the Pride Game, keeping her stick decked out in Pride Tape throughout the entire night. “It’s always nice to have an event where we can show how we support the community,” she said.

“It’s really just coming to a place where people can be who they are,” said Chu, whose wife Caroline Ouellette serves as Stingers associate head coach. “It meant a lot to me and my family, being a part of the community, but I think for our team, it’s something that we’re happy to be a part of because it’s just who we are.”

Representation in hockey meant a lot to the organizations that tabled in the lobby before the game, too. “It’s really important to talk [queer issues] in sports, in general,” said Flo Fouquet, a member of Inter-ligne.

Inter-ligne is a hotline for members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, providing information, resources, and mental health support to callers. “I want to help other people,” said Fouquet. “I think if we talk about [queer issues], there will be more acceptance.”

GRIS-Montreal, the other organization to do pre-game tabling, provides education to primary and secondary school students on queer health and issues. “We’re volunteers, and we go into classrooms to answer all the questions the kids have about these different subjects,” said Sandrine Deschênes-Lessard, who was manning the table. “We just answer with our lives. We’re not trying to debate on anything, we really answer about what we’ve been through.”

“It changes mentalities,” said Deschênes-Lessard. “It helps people have role models.”

With their historic Pride Game in the bag, the Stingers are now staring down the end of a season in which they are still undefeated. 

Their next home game will be held at Ed Meagher Arena on Feb. 9, against the Bishop’s University Gaiters. The game will double as the Stingers’ senior night, in celebration of graduating players who have dedicated their years at Concordia to the team. The puck drop is slated for 7 p.m.