March 5,1998

Victory was sweet

Andrew Soong

Andrew Soong

The Concordia Stingers women's hockey team won the first CIAU championship last week at the Loyola Arena with a decisive 4-1 victory over the Toronto Varsity Blues.
The Department of Recreation and Athletics was ready to meet the challenge of hosting this historic event. Here's a day-by-day account of the tournament. Tuesday: The arena is filled with the smell of cleaning solution, and Director Harry Zarins says he's never seen the glass around the rink looking so clear. The complex is filled with hustle and bustle, as staff and volunteers spruce up the 30-year-old facility for more than 1,000 fans, and for TSN and RDS television cameras, which will televise the final game live.
Wednesday: It's 8 a.m. While most students are drinking their last sip of coffee and running for the bus, the Stingers are practising on the ice.At 3 o'clock, the six coaches from Alberta, Guelph, Trois-Riviˇres, Toronto, St. Mary's and Concordia address the media. Among them are alumna Lisa MacDonald, who played left wing here under head coach Les Lawton before graduating in 1996. She is now head coach of St. Mary's University. "It's great to be here," she says. "It's like a homecoming."
Thursday: In opening action, Stingers defeat the Toronto Varsity Blues, 1-0. It's a hard-fought victory. According to Lawton, Toronto wanted to make a statement at the beginning of the tournament, and only allowed the Stingers to score with two minutes left in the game.
Later, at the awards banquet, Delaney Collins, Corinne Swirsky and Anne Rodrigue are named to the CIAU's first All-Canadian team. Major award-winners from Concordia include Swirsky, who was named outstanding player in Canada. Karen Kendall, who maintains a 3.36 GPA towards her BSc in Exercise Science, wins the TSN Award and $3,000 for academics, athletics and community involvement. Olympic silver-medallist Therese Brisson, a 1989 alumna, addresses the banquet.
Friday: The Stingers are a fine-tuned machine, easily overcoming the Alberta Pandas, 7-0. The singing of Na, Na, Na, Goodbye draws an expression of concern from a CIAU representative.
Saturday: Stingers continue their domination, defeating the Guelph Gryphons in the semi-final, 3-0. An unusual number of penalties are called, but they are described by Swirsky as "a minor obstacle affecting both teams." Sunday: The stands at the Loyola Arena are packed with more than 1,000 spectators eager to see the home team bring back gold in the final round. They will not be disappointed. The Stingers score early in the first period and maintain their momentum to a 4-1 victory over the Blues. Swirsky is named MVP, and Stingers forward Anne Rodrigue is named to the all-tournament team. Trois-Rivi¶res wins the bronze medal.
"It feels like 30 years of hard work have been worthwhile," said assistant coach Julie Healy. "It's been a long road, and the victory is sweet."

Copyright 1998 Thursday Report
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