Can the Queen’s Gaels recapture the momentum they had after an injury-plagued season?
Head coach: Stephan Barrie
Record in 2014: 5-14 (Fourth in OUA East division)
Playoffs: No playoffs
Points scored per game: 70.9
Points allowed per game: 80.5
Key players: Sukhpreet Singh, Tanner Graham, Jesse Graham
Key losses: Greg Faulkner
The Queen’s Gaels missed the playoffs, by one game, last season and spent the summer licking their wounds after injuries had derailed their plans. “Now it’s a matter of taking the work that they did in the summer,” says head coach Stephan Barrie, “and putting that into games against other teams.” Barrie believes this season could bring with it a wind of change, as Ryerson, Windsor and Carleton will be without their head coaches; not just the coaches, either. “The league is in for a change. […] There will be new guys in key positions,” Barrie says. “I look at our division and I don’t see (any) team that’s weak.” The Gaels’ schedule is another thing that isn’t weak: in January, Queen’s plays five away games, two in Ottawa and three against fellow OUA East teams.
Key games: VS York, Nov. 7; at York, Jan. 23
at Toronto, Jan. 15; VS Toronto, Feb. 27
The one thing you notice about the Queen’s Gaels is that the team’s injury list from a season ago was long: Sukhpreet Singh played through a torn hip labrum, and Mark Paclibar, Andrew Mavety and Dan Thompson all missed large chunks of the season. The second thing you notice is that all four are guards; what could have been a strength was decimated by injuries.
There are ways to rationalize the disappointment of last season’s 5-14 record after two 10-win seasons, but head coach Stephan Barrie says it still stings. “There were a lot of individuals in our (locker) room,” he says, “that were ticked off by this.” Perhaps it’s why he’s noticed that his team is “very, very motivated” to forget about missing the playoffs. “We had 12 players stay here in the summer to train,” Barrie says. “It was a message of how serious they are.”
Singh is another who has sent quite the message to the Gaels community—namely, that suffering a labral tear at both hips, as he has last year and during his sophomore season, will not keep him down for long. “His pain threshold is pretty spectacular,” Barrie says. “As was his recovery rate.”
If the team can recover from last season as quickly as its fourth-year guard has, good things should happen.