by John Austen
While there were a few long faces around the Concordia campuses for a few days after the football team's early departure from the playoff picture last month, those frowns soon turned to smiles with the news that the women's hockey program has been lauded by a prestigious international magazine.
U.S.-based Athletic Management, in its October/November issue, has named the Concordia women's hockey program the most successful university team in North America.
Under the direction of head coach Les Lawton and assistant Julie Healy, the Stingers had another great season in 1998-99, finishing first in the Quebec Conference with 13 wins and a tie in 15 games. Their overall record of 26-4-2 showed their continued dominance of university women's hockey on the continent. The Stingers also won their second consecutive Canadian University Athletic Union (CIAU) national championship with a 2-0 win over the Alberta Pandas in the final.
"It's quite an honour to be recognized like that because they pick from all the sports," Lawton said. "I not only think it's great for our program, but also for CIAU women's sports in general."
Other highlights last season included three tournament wins, including the University of New Hampshire "Border Battle," which featured the top four women's hockey teams in North America.
The Stingers coaching staff has always emphasized strong, disciplined team play, but they've also had the luxury of having a couple of players in recent years who would fit into the "superstar" status.
In the mid-1990s, it was Cammi Granato, now on the U.S. National Women's team, leading the way. These days, it's right wing Corinne Swirsky, the 1998 and 1999 outstanding player in the CIAU. She recorded a better than two-points-a-game average, with 66 points in only 31 games. She was the leading scorer in the QSSF and once again was named its most valuable player. In May, she was named the top female athlete in the CIAU and won the prestigious Howard Mackie Award.
"Those talented players obviously are important, but the key to our program is our team's depth," Lawton said. "With the exception of our special teams (power play and penalty killing), players like Corinne get a regular shift just like the other girls. I think they all appreciate the team concept."
Athletic Management is published six times a year by College Administrator Inc., and is distributed free to college athletic administrators and high school athletic directors in the U.S. and Canada.
The Stingers have a 16-1-1 record so far this season. For those of you who want to catch the exciting Concordia women's team in action, they'll be at McGill tomorrow night, December 3. The team then travels to Hanover, N.H., for the Dartmouth University Invitational from December 29 to 31. Then it's back home for the Concordia Women's Invitational Tournament from January 7 to 9.
Rugby is big at Concordia this year. The women Stingers tied for first place at the end of their season, and went to Guelph last week for the CIAU championship tournament, where Chantal Hurtubise was named to the 1999 CIAU All-Canadian team. The following players were chosen for 1999 QSSF rugby all-star teams: Sommer Christie, Candace Patterson and Hurtubise for the women, and Mathieu Garston, Jon Webb, Harry Georgiopoulos and Ben Page for the men.
The Stingers football team finished their season in second place in the O-QIFC with a 6-2 record. Nine members of the team were named to the O-QIFC all-star team, a record number for the team. Congratulations to Scott Ashworth, Steve Jobin, Matt Orlando, Burke Dales, Matt Trudeau, Wayne Dunn, Terrance Alphonso, Sean Gordon and Jason Casey. Linebacker Casey, a fifth-year Geography major from North Bay, was also named the outstanding defensive player in the O-QIFC.
Frank Pons, a defender with the men's soccer team, was named a 1999 All-Canadian at the CIAU awards dinner in Victoria last week. Five members of the men's squad and one player with the women's team were named to the 1999 QSSF all-stars. They are Pons, Valdis Tomsons, Ari Angelopoulos, Xavier Rena, Amar Bedawieh and Laura Lalonde.
Hockey is in full swing. The men are 6-6-1 overall, 4-3-1 in the OUA, and the women, amazing as always, are 13-1 overall, 5-0 in the QSSF, No. 1 in the CIAU.
The basketball season has started, and our men are 5-2 overall, 2-0 in the OUA, while the women are 5-6 overall, 0-2 in the OUA.
Treat yourself to a game -- support our teams. For details of the coming games, call the Stingers hotline at 848-3862.