This senior girls D4 basketball player from Hatley, Quebec played her first basketball game of the season last Monday and her presence did not go unnoticed. She was everywhere on the court and gave a hard time to the other team. The Grade 9 student scored a solid 12 points and almost gave her team the victory in overtime. Congratulations to this week’s Athlete of the Week, Arielle Houde.
First away game – finally! The Red & White were going on the road to Richmond, Que. to take on the Raiders. We’d learned a lot about ourselves over the weekend at our home invitational, and the Monday and Tuesday practices had been productive, so I was quietly confident. We’d added a couple of plays, and most importantly we were going to be more organized in transition. I liked our chances.
Despite being the smallest and one of two Grade 8 boys on a senior basketball team, this young man from Newport, Vermont, displayed grit, tenacity and bravery in his second senior game. He led his team in scoring, and even though the results of the game were less than favourable, he was a beauty to watch. Congratulations, this week's Athlete of the Week, from the senior boys D4-1 basketball team, Joshua Lippmann.
This past weekend the Mackay Gym was jumpin’. Not only was the Stanstead Invitational Tournament back after a one-year hiatus, but Athletic Director Mr. Spirk had ramped it up to another level. Two days Sat/Sun instead of just one day. Six-team affair instead of the regular four. There was even an NBA 2-ball shooting competition with pairs of players from different schools matched up together in the true spirit of the Dyke ‘N’ Friends Invitational.
17-2. Let’s remember that score. That’s the way the 2021-22 senior girls D3 basketball season started this past Tuesday. In our home opener, after an energetic warmup, and with a raucous home crowd waving signs and cheering us on, with four minutes left in the first half I looked up and saw those numbers on the scoreboard. Down 17-2.
This varsity boys goaltender from Ange-Gardien, Quebec played one of his best games of his life on Thursday night in Minnesota. Although his team was outshot 53 to 17, Benoit was able to preserve the shutout and help his team to a 2-0 victory. This wasn’t against just any opponent; this was the third-ranked independent high school in the United States. Head coach Tom Serratore of Bemidji State University said after the game, “That was the best goalie performance I have seen in my 25 years of recruiting college hockey players.” Congratulations to this week’s Athlete of the Week, the gardien from Ange-Gardien, Benoit Forget.
The varsity boys headed to Minnesota to compete in one exhibition game and the 2021 Upper Midwest HS International Invitational Tournament. Also on the road, the prep girls headed to Port Hope to face Trinity College School for a double-header. The prep boys stayed home to host John Rennie in a pair of games.
Our varsity girls and boys hockey teams continued to compete in practice and games in October. In fact, our varsity girls went 6 and 0, with three wins versus Rothesay Netherwood School and three wins versus Balmoral Hall. On the boys’ side, the varsity team went 8 and 3, with a myriad of competition amongst CAIS Schools.
Late autumn weather in the Eastern Townships can be harsh. Cold rain, wind, even hail. But not this past Wednesday at the ETIAC final, with the Playoff Championship Trophy on the line. Blue sky, puffy white clouds and technicolor trees. Couldn’t ask for better.
I tell ya, I did NOT see that coming. After a dispirited warmup – even by our low standards! – your Banniere Championnes Spartans refused to look past our opponents, ignored the late ref, and shook off the cold to produce hands down the best team performance of the season.
This cross-country runner always gives 100% effort in practice. Whether it is long-distance running, intervals, flipping tires or conditioning, he works his hardest at everything in order to improve. A Grade 7 student Stanstead resident is willing to help out when asked and can outrun most people on the team even at bantam age. Very coachable and respectful of others, Liam has placed first in his division at every one of his races so far. We look for much of the same in the finals this week at BCS! Congratulations, Liam Sumun.
On Tuesday, NHL Central Scouting released its initial “Players to Watch” list for the 2022 NHL draft. Included on the list is current Spartan captain and Grade 12 prefect Liam Steele as well as 2020-21 captain Ryan Hopkins. Both players were listed as “C” prospects, which represents players with the potential to be selected in the 4th to 6th rounds of the draft. Both players have made verbal commitments to play in the NCAA, with Steele committed to Cornell University and Hopkins to the University of Maine.
Let’s go back in time a little. To October 6th, 2014. “Frozen” is the biggest movie in the world. “Happy”, “LetHer Go” and my girl TSwift’s “Shake It Off” are the top songs. And Stanstead College travels to Lennoxville, Quebec to take on Bishop’s College School in the last ETIAC regular season game of the season. In that game, which they win 6-1, your Spartans clinch 1st place in the league to win the Regular Season Banner.
The last time the varsity boys hockey team was on the bus for a road trip was in March of 2020 for the NISIC National Championship. This past weekend the team made the same trip to Upper Canada College and came away with three wins vs UCC (2-1), St. Michaels College School (6-1) and Ridley College (3-2).
Sometimes no matter what you do, you can’t score. You can do a million things right, bring the ball down, connect passes, play to feet, pepper the opposing keeper, but sometimes it doesn’t matter. Scoring in soccer is hard, and it often happens that the ball simply refuses to find the back of the net. But this past Wednesday was NOT one of those days. This past Wednesday the bounces went our way, the floodgates opened, and your Spartans had themselves a good ol’-fashioned offensive jamboree.
Our varsity girls and boys hockey teams are finally back at it after a solid month of practice to begin the 2021-2022 season. With great expectations, the girls opened up with a three-game series versus Ridley College, while the boys’ debut was versus our regional rivals from Bishop’s College School. The girls swept Ridley three games to nil, while the boys had to crawl back from a four-goal deficit to dramatically take their home opener 5-4.
In a four-game regular season, every game matters. After tying Alexander Galt in our first ETIAC game, we are still in control of our own destiny, but the margin for success is razor-thin. There is zero room for error if we want to win the coveted ETIAC League banner. We will most likely have to win all of our remaining three games, AND allow as few goals as possible in the process to have a chance (as goals against would be the tie-breaker should we end up tied with Galt at season’s end).
Last week featured the first competitive ETIAC game – in any sport – in a very long time. The last time Stanstead College squared off against ETIAC competition was in the 2019 soccer playoffs, two Septembers ago. And the last (and only!) time I was a head coach for a soccer game was even further back, when Coach Varro was taking his paternity leave back in 2017.
September 2018. That was the last time Stanstead College hosted our long-running Stanstead College Senior Girls Invitational Soccer Tournament. In 2019 we didn’t have enough teams, and in 2020 there was a, whadayacallit, a global pandemic. September 2018. Three years ago.
Looking back on my time here, which at this point is fair to call a long time, I have seen many variations of crowds at the Pat Burns Arena for games of all types, from early season tune-up games to the 2020 NAPHA finals where Laurence Frenette (Class of ’21) scored the winning goal to give the Spartans their 5th straight league championship. (Laurence recently scored her first NCAA goal with Clarkson while adding two assists this weekend against Holy Cross.) Without a doubt, the idea of a championship brought the crowd out to the rink and, in the end, to their feet with that overtime winner. Also without a question, that was a long time ago and feels even longer than it truly was.
In a strange way, it seems like yesterday was December of 2019, life was cruising along and what was lying ahead was nothing we could have imagined. The last year and a half has been a time of waiting for the next update or change in COVID regulations, wondering when “normal” would return and even wondering what “normal” is.
Welcome to this new chapter of your life. I am not here today to give you the classic “get out of your comfort zone” speech, but hear me out. Four years ago, I was in the same place as 130 of you. Homesick, even though I lived 30 minutes away. I hardly spoke English and I was scared. Scared of coming to a new school where I did not know a single soul except my Grade 12 brother who honestly did not care to hang out with me.
Welcome to Stanstead! Or welcome back to Stanstead!
If you are a day student or a boarding student, welcome! You are back on campus, and Stanstead life is going to become a reality! If this is your first fall on campus or your sixth, the start of the school year is always, let’s say, “interesting,” and it is ambiguous. Ambiguous meaning “being open to more than one interpretation” or “having double meaning.” On the one hand, I am sure you are excited, and on the other hand, you may dread this situation. Your heart and mind are still on vacation, and your body is in this little town in Canada.
Grade 12 student Laurence Frenette has won the Dugie Ross MVP Trophy for varsity girls hockey for an unprecedented third year in a row. It was one of a number of athletic prizes presented by Stanstead College sports teams over four nights this week.
Growing up as a goalie in Pickering, Ontario right across the city line from Toronto, my hockey idol outside my family was none other than Wayne Gretzky. I have vivid memories of watching #99 play for the Kings and the Rangers. (The Oilers were a little before my memory kicked in, and the Blues, well, that happened a little too fast.)
In many ways, the beginning of 2021 has started exactly as 2020 ended. Unfortunately, the flip of a calendar was not powerful enough to end the pandemic that has its grip on us. We continue to operate our lives, both inside and outside Stanstead College, with restrictions in place. Both adults and youth have had their lives altered, but we push on and look for better days while ensuring that we still take advantage of every moment to be active and learn.