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January 25, 2001 Promising newcomers join Stingers hockey squad



by John Austen

The Concordia men’s hockey team has a couple of new faces in the lineup this month, and head coach Kevin Figsby feels they could just be the missing pieces to the puzzle.

Joining the Stingers roster are goaltender Philippe Ozga and centre David Comeau. Both have Quebec Major Junior Hockey League experience and both are expected to have an immediate impact.

“I’ve been saying that we’re a goaltender away from becoming one of the top teams in the country,” said Figsby. “Ozga gives us that edge and now we have two solid goalies. We can build outwards.

“Comeau is a phenomenal hockey player — pure and simple,” Figsby continued. “I’ve known David since he was 15, when he played for me at the midget AAA level. The future is very bright for us now that we have him. He has tremendous character to go along with his high skill level.”

Comeau, 21, has had tryouts with both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. While he did well, he is considered too small for many NHL scouts. The five-foot-10 180-pounder is perfect for the fast-paced university game, however.

“The fact that David has joined us should have an immediate impact,” said Figsby. “He’s been itching to go after being hurt for so long.”

Comeau has been off the ice for eight months after dislocating his left shoulder playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In 280 major junior games, mostly with the Moncton Wildcats, the Lorraine native scored 80 goals and 134 assists for 214 points.

“The shoulder is better — I’d say about 85 per cent,” said Comeau, before a recent practice. “I don’t have full motion and I have to wear a brace, but it’s much better.

“The first game was tough because I’d been off the ice for so long,” he continued. “There are also different things about university hockey to get used to. There is no red line, you have to wear a full cage and there is a no-fighting rule.”

Comeau, a first-year Economics student, says he’s ready to make needed sacrifices.

“I’ve done well academically so far, and for that to continue I know I can’t go out every night. That’s a switch from playing Major Junior hockey in the Maritimes!”

Ozga, 20, comes to Concordia after three seasons in the QMJHL. He spent the 1998-99 season with the champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan and then suited up for the Victoriaville Tigers in 1999-2000.

“Phil brings a lot of experience to us having played for a Memorial Cup team,” said Figsby. “The addition of key players likes this makes everyone a little more confident.”

Ozga says the chance to play with friends and to pursue an interest in politics made Concordia a natural choice.

“I knew the coach, I knew a lot of the players on the Stingers and the university has a good political science program,” said Ozga. “Everything was a good match for me.”