Hitting the ice and the books 

By Daniel Rodrigues

Physical balance is something many student athletes strive for to excel in their chosen sport. But for Stingers right winger Nicolas Lafontaine, the mental balance between the ice and the books is where he shines.

Lafontaine is in the final year of his BA/BSc in Actuarial Mathematics/Finance – the field studying the application of mathematics and statistics in life insurance, pensions, general insurance and investments. The program, one of Concordia's most exclusive and most demanding academic programs, accepts only 15 students annually.

“On average, I probably spend close to 45 hours a week going to class or studying,” says Lafontaine. “This semester is a little bit more difficult because I'm taking five classes instead of four.”

Along with his everyday courses, Lafontaine must prepare for his professional actuarial exams – nine in total.

“For each of these exams, I must study 100 hours for each hour the exam will last,” says Lafontaine. Earlier this month, he completed his fourth exam.

This past summer, Lafontaine was fortunate enough to gain first hand experience during an internship at Normandin Beaudry, one of Quebec's leading actuarial firms.

“I was very lucky,” he says. “Ninety-five per cent of students in actuarial don’t get internships.”

Nicolas Lafontaine in action. Magnifying glass

Nicolas Lafontaine in action.

With such a strong academic background, it is easy to forget that Lafontaine is a student athlete. Unless you happen to catch him at the rink, in the gym or passing through the sports complex (where he devotes another 20 hours/week), you might think he was just an actuarial bookworm.

The Gatineau native, now in his second season as right winger for the men's Stingers hockey team, is enjoying the added responsibilities that come with being a leader. Lafontaine has proven himself a key component to the team's two top lines, as well as a valuable asset to both the power play and penalty killing units.

Lafontaine is quick to deflect attention from his individual success and onto the team’s excellent leadership and strong coaching. Something he hopes will continue throughout the year as the Stingers make a push for the post-season.

His can-do attitude has helped the team post a 5-3-1 record through the first nine games of the season – the last of which saw Lafontaine post his best Stingers game ever, with two goals and three assists.


Concordia University