Fourth-year Wilfrid Laurier goaltender Liz Knox was named the CIS Player of the Year in women’s hockey March 10, 2010.
Knox, a native of Stouffville, Ont., became the first Golden Hawk to claim the Brodrick trophy since women’s hockey was added to the CIS program in 1997-98.
Other CIS major award winners announced at the All-Canadian Banquet at St. Francis Xavier University’s Keating Centre were Manitoba defenceman Caitlin MacDonald of Winnipeg, who was named the nation’s top rookie, Saskatchewan’s Steve Kook, who claimed coach-of-the-year honours, as well as Dalhousie’s Kaitlyn McNutt of Ottawa, who received the Marion Hillard award recognizing excellence in hockey, academics and community involvement.
The 2010 CIS championship gets underway Thursday, March 11, 2010 in Antigonish, N.S., with the first of three days of round-robin action. The national tournament, hosted by StFX for the second straight year, culminates Sunday with the gold-medal final set for 6 p.m. Atlantic Time. SSN Canada will webcast all nine games from the competition.
BRODRICK TROPHY (player of the year): Liz Knox, Wilfrid Laurier
Knox was honoured following a record-breaking campaign that saw her lead the nation in every major goaltending category. The 21-year-old sociology major won 24 of 25 starts during the regular season for the No. 2-ranked Golden Hawks (26-0-1), her only loss coming in overtime in Laurier’s conference finale. She finished first in CIS in wins (24), shutouts (11), goals against average (0.89) and save percentage (.960).
Her 11 whitewashes set an OUA single-season record and matched the CIS mark established in 2007-08 by two-time Olympic gold medallist Charline Labonté, who is expected to return to McGill next year after taking a sabbatical from university competition. Knox also tied Labonté’s CIS record of 30 career shutouts, a new OUA standard.
The three-time OUA all-star and first-time all-Canadian resumed her stellar play during the conference playoffs as she added a pair of shutouts and allowed only two goals in four contests to lead Laurier to a seventh straight OUA title. The Hawks have captured the Ontario banner and have advanced to the CIS championship in each of Knox’s four seasons with the team. She was named the top netminder at the 2008 CIS tournament when Laurier claimed the first of two straight silver medals.
Knox, who helped the Canadian under-22 national team reach the final at the 2009 MLP Nations Cup (formerly Air Canada Cup) in Ravensburg, Germany, is also involved in the community and takes time out of her busy training schedule to assist Parkinson’s patients at the Movement Disorders Research & Rehabilitation Centre.
“Liz is a pure example of a student-athlete that has totally accepted the challenge of being the best she can be in the classroom and on the ice,” said Wilfrid Laurier head coach Rick Osborne. “She is a world-class athlete who makes everyone around her better and more confident at what they do.”
Moncton forward Mariève Provost of Laval, Que., McGill defenceman Cathy Chartrand of Lac Nominingue, Que., and Saskatchewan forward Breanne George of Saskatoon were the other nominees for the 2009-2010 Brodrick trophy.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Caitlin MacDonald, Manitoba
MacDonald is the first Bison to be named CIS rookie of the year in women’s hockey since the award was implemented in 1999-2000.
The 5-foot-7 rearguard, who played her prep school hockey with the Balmoral Hall Blazers, was so impressive in her university debut she became the first freshman in three years to be selected as a first-team all-Canadian. The 17-year-old University 1 student played in all 24 conference games for Manitoba, finishing second in scoring amongst Canada West defencemen with 15 points (6-9-15), which was also good for third on her team. Her six goals – including a game-winner vs. UBC on October 30 - all came on the power play, putting her sixth in the conference in that category. Her performances helped the No. 6 Bisons finish second in league standings with an 18-6-0 mark and reach the Canada West final.
MacDonald was one of 20 players selected to represent Canada at the 2010 IIHF world women’s under-18 championship. The tournament will take place in Chicago from March 27 to April 3.
“Caitlin has had a tremendous first year in CIS and has made the transition from high school to university a seamless one,” said Manitoba head coach Jon Rempel. “She is skilled, a very hard worker on and off the ice, and very passionate about the game. Her ability to skate as well as shoot the puck with velocity and accuracy are impressive for a first-year player. Along with her natural offensive ability, Caitlin has worked very hard to make herself a better all-around defensive player, a factor that has helped her overall game develop at a rapid pace.”
StFX forward Abygail Laking of Cambridge, Ont., Montreal forward Kim Deschênes of St-Quentin, Que., and Laurier forward Candice Styles of Orangeville, Ont., were the other finalists for top-rookie honours.
COACH OF THE YEAR, presented by Coaches of Canada: Steve Kook, Saskatchewan
Kook was named CIS coach of the year for the first time after receiving the award at the Canada West level for the second time in three years.
In his fifth campaign behind the bench, Kook led the Huskies to a program-record 16-5-3 mark in league play, good for third place in Canada West, just one point behind 2008-09 conference champion Manitoba (18-6-0). It was a major improvement from a year ago, when Saskatchewan went 10-13-1 and finished 22 points out of the second spot. The Huskies were ranked in the CIS Top Ten all season in ‘09-10 and pushed Manitoba to the limit in the playoffs, dropping a heartbreaking 3-2 decision in Game 3 of a best-of-three Canada West semifinal series.
In five seasons, Kook has guided the Huskies to 50 wins, 10 more than they had in the first eight years of the program’s existence. Kook joined Saskatchewan in 2005-06 as a part-time coach and, in 2008-09, was named the first-ever full-time women’s hockey coach at the UofS. Prior to joining the Huskies, he was the head coach of the SAIT (CCAA) women’s hockey program in Calgary from 2002 to 2004. In 2001, he was co-coach of the gold-medal team at the senior national women’s championship and, in 2005, was general manager of the under-18 Team Saskatchewan.
“Steve is a wonderful example of the type of coach we have here at the University of Saskatchewan,” said UofS Athletic Director Basil Hughton. “He is hard-working, a leader, dedicated, and has true commitment to take the women’s hockey program to the next level. This all translates to his players and the type of athletes he brings to the program. Steve is well-deserving of this award.”
Moncton’s Denis Ross, McGill’s Amey Doyle and Queen’s Matt Holmberg were also in running for the award.
MARION HILLARD AWARD (outstanding student-athlete – community service): Kaitlyn McNutt, Dalhousie
McNutt became the second Dalhousie recipient of the Marion Hillard award in the 13-year history of the trophy, following Leah Kutcher in 2005-06.
The Tigers team captain for the last three seasons, McNutt was known as a physical shut-down defenceman who played in all critical situations, with the ability to jump into the rush and lead the power play. She finished her five-year university career with 11 goals and 29 assists for 40 points, along with 125 penalty minutes.
Her record as a student-athlete is outstanding. She has been named an academic all-Canadian twice in mechanical engineering and is on pace to achieve the prestigious status once again this year. She was recognized as one of the top five engineering students in Canada by the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation, an honour that is part of the CEMF scholarship given to standout women who inspire others.
McNutt is a regular volunteer in the Halifax community. She has participated in various fundraising events for the Canadian Cancer Society for the last four years, has rolled up her sleeves as a soup kitchen volunteer at a local church since 2006, and is an organizing committee member for the “Pulling for the Kids” event in support of Camp Triumph.
“Often there are players who can excel at a couple key areas in life or hockey, but Kaitlyn excels in athletics, fitness, academics, leadership, community involvement, character, time management, and the list could go on and on,” said Dalhousie head coach Lesley Jordan. “She is one of the most inspiring athletes to have come through our program.”
Ottawa’s Christine Allen of Gatineau, Que., Western’s Veronica Johnston of Oshawa, Ont., and Manitoba’s Stacey Corfield of Winnipeg were also nominated for the Marion Hillard award.