The women’s hockey team is undefeated, yet unsatisfied

After winning twelve straight games, Stingers explain what factors contribute to their success

Émilie Lussier (front) drives into enemy territory backed by Alexandra-Anne Boyer (back). Photo Alice Martin

The Stingers women’s hockey team is a gem within the Concordia varsity programs this season. Boasting a 12-0-0 record after their last game on Nov. 25 against McGill University, the women’s hockey team is a force to reckon with.

The Stingers are the only undefeated team so far in all of U Sports women’s hockey. While they have been hogging the number one spot in U Sports for two consecutive weeks, they have also consistently ranked in the top two since the start of the season.

Head coach Julie Chu attributed this domination to the team’s ability to break down the season into small manageable chunks. 

“Our team does their best to really focus on one shift at a time,” she said. “It's been a really big part of why we've been successful and make sure that we don't get ahead of ourselves, because we're still in November and we want to play our best hockey in February.”

Welcoming a class of seven first-year players, Chu said they kept a strong focus on team development throughout the start of the season. First-year forward Émilie Lussier noted she felt seamlessly integrated into the team by veterans, as well as Chu and associate head coach Caroline Ouellette.

“Julie and Caroline made the transition from CEGEP to university really easy,” said Lussier. “It was also easy for me to come into the team since it’s already so well structured.”

Lussier is already having an exceptional inaugural season with the Stingers, leading the team with eight goals scored, closely followed by third-year forward Émilie Lavoie who recorded seven. So far, the Stingers have tallied 52 goals, the most in the Réseau des sports étudiants du Québec.

Captain and forward Emmy Fecteau explained that their scoring prowess is a result of off-the-ice chemistry translating to complete passes and positive energy.

“We cheer for the little details. If someone scores, we cheer, but also if someone does a big block shot or a nice pass, we cheer for them,” she said, adding that they stay optimistic even between periods where they trail. 

But the Stingers are more than an offensive powerhouse. The defence, accompanied by goaltenders Jordyn Verbeek and Arianne Leblanc, has kept opposing teams to only 16 points scored against the Stingers this season—the lowest in the division. Fourth-year defenceman Léonie Philbert said the defence aims to create opportunities for the forward players.

“It’s a style of defence where we attack afterwards,” explained Philbert, who exemplifies this, having recorded eleven assists and one goal. “As for the team’s success, we work hard and no matter our results, every game has to be earned.”

After reaching the U Sports National Championships in 2021 and 2022, winning gold and silver respectively, the bond of the Stingers seems stronger than ever. While players and coaches celebrate their wins, they know each game is a brand-new challenge.

“We’re having a great start, but we aren’t satisfied yet,” said Lussier. “We know there’s a championship at the end, and we are only going to get there by going one step at a time. Right now, we’re having a perfect season, but even if we lose a game, we’re not going to stop there.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 44, Issue 7, published November 28, 2023.