MONTREAL—With a 14-2 record, the Concordia Stingers represented Quebec at the nationals last season, but with a handful of veteran players forced to watch the start of the new campaign from the sidelines, their resolve will be tested.

The Stingers have a bull’s-eye on their collective backs.

“There have been injuries nearly continuously,” said Kafil Eyitayo, a fifth year forward. “The coaches expect us veterans to step up and lead the rookies.”

With Brisebois, Garner and Desmarais all out indefinitely, it will be up to the others to keep the Stingers in the playoff picture. One of those players is rookie guard Adam Chmielewski.

“We have a very athletic group and we have a real impact player coming in the form of Adam Chmielewski,” said Stingers Head Coach John Dore.

“I know Kyle was a bit-time leader and he changed the culture of this team when it went bad. I’m just trying to replace him in his role of leadership, which I think I’m getting better at, but I still have work to do,” said Chmielewski.

The Stingers will play a furious, in your face, brand of basketball, something they will have to do against increasingly competitive Quebec university opponents.

“I think this year is really going to be hard,” said Evens Laroche, a fifth year forward. “Each team will face each other four times, so they know everything about you, so we will need to adjust to that.”