EDMONTON (ISN) – Ann-Sophie Bettez, a fifth-year forward from McGill University, was named the CIS player of the year in women’s hockey, Wednesday night.
The native of Sept-Îles, Que., is only the second Martlet to claim the Brodrick Trophy. Goaltender Kim St-Pierre, the three-time Olympic gold medallist, received the distinction following the 2002-03 season.
Bettez, who was voted the nation’s top freshman in 2007-08, also became the second player in CIS women’s hockey history to win both the rookie-of-the-year and MVP awards over her career. The only previous double-winner was former Alberta great Danielle Bourgeois.
Reigning national champion McGill dominated the awards presentation held at the Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe in Edmonton as forward Mélodie Daoust of Valleyfield, Que., merited top-rookie honours, while head coach Peter Smith of Lachine, Que., was recognized by his CIS peers for a record-tying third time in his 12th season behind the bench.
The only trophy to elude the Martlets, the Marion Hilliard Award celebrating excellence in athletics, academics and community involvement, went to Jill Morillo of Whitby, Ont., a third-year forward with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks.
The 2012 CIS championship gets under way on Thursday at Clare Drake Arena on the campus of the University of Alberta and culminates Sunday at 6 p.m. Mountain with the gold-medal final. SSN Canada will have live webcasts of all nine games from the tournament (ssncanada.ca).
Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wice/index
BRODRICK TROPHY (player of the year): Ann-Sophie Bettez, McGill
Bettez, an alternate captain with the Martlets, finished second in the RSEQ in both points (37) and assists (24) this season, while tying for the league lead with four-game winning goals in 20 contests. The 5-foot-4 forward helped defending national champion McGill take first place in the Quebec standings for the seventh straight year thanks to a stellar 18-1-1 mark.
The 24-year-old marketing major has had a storied career since earning CIS rookie of the year honours in 2007-08. The two-time RSEQ MVP has been named a first-team all-star in Quebec in each of her five campaigns and is also a five-time all-Canadian, including a trio of first-team nods. She will graduate this spring as McGill’s all-time leader in goals (85), assists (87) and points (172) in 91 regular season games.
On the eve of her fifth appearance at the CIS championship, Bettez has already guided the Martlets to four trips to the national final, including gold medal victories in 2008, 2009 and 2011. A former national under-22 team member, she also helped Canada capture gold at the 2011 Winter Universiade in Turkey.
“Her growth and development as a player, student and person has been incredible,” said McGill head coach Peter Smith. “She is a coach’s dream — keeps it simple, plays an uncomplicated style of game and brings a great combination of skill and grit. She is the hardest workers on a team full of hard workers and I hold her work ethic up as the standard for the young players on our team to strive for.”
The other finalists for the Brodrick Trophy were forwards Alex Normore of St. Francis Xavier, Morgan McHaffie of Queen’s and Julie Paetsch of Saskatchewan.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Mélodie Daoust, McGill
Daoust is the fourth McGill player in six years to capture CIS rookie-of-the-year honours. She follows Marie-Andrée Leclerc-Auger (2009), current teammate Ann-Sophie Bettez (2008) and Catherine Ward (2007).
The 5-foot-6 centre merited first-team RSEQ all-star and second-team all-Canadian status in her university debut after winning the conference scoring title with an impressive 18-25-43 record in only 18 contests, including three game-winning goals. Her average of 2.39 points per game was the best in the country, while her point total was the third-best in the history of the Quebec league.
The 20-year-old physical education freshman, who also plays for the Canadian under-22 squad, ended up fifth in the nation in goals, third in points and second in assists, despite playing significantly fewer games in the RSEQ.
“Mélodie is smooth and deceptively fast,” said bench boss Peter Smith. “Her skating has improved so much over the year and her ability to play a much-improved skating style has been a big factor in her game. She had a couple of flaws in her mechanics but has worked hard on her agility and it’s made a big difference. It has really paid off in terms of increased productivity over the course of the season.”
Moncton forward Marie-Pier Arsenault, Waterloo goalie Rebecca Bouwhuis and Lethbridge forward Sadie Lenstra were the other nominees.
COACH OF THE YEAR (presented by Coaches of Canada): Peter Smith, McGill
Smith previously won the coach-of-the-year trophy in 2007-08 and also shared it with Lisa MacDonald of Saint Mary’s in 2002-02. Current Alberta bench boss Howie Draper is the only other coach to have claimed the CIS award on three occasions.
A seven-time recipient at the conference level over his 12 seasons, the native of Lachine, Que., guided McGill to an 18-1-1 record and first place in the RSEQ standings for an unprecedented seventh straight year. His troops registered the second-best offence in the country (4.80 goals per game), the top defensive record (1.00 GAA), best power-play (25.0%), third-highest penalty-kill (91.0) and were the least penalized team in the nation, averaging 7.6 minutes per game.
Smith, who also served seven years with the national women’s program and was an assistant coach on the squad that won Olympic gold in 2010, has led the Martlets to a berth at the CIS national championship tournament for the 11th time in 12 campaigns and enters this year’s tournament with three CIS gold medals, a pair of silvers and four bronzes. He is the winningest women’s hockey coach in McGill history, entering the Nationals with a career record of 327-118-30 in 475 games overall (.720).
“Peter is a consummate professional and a great role model as a coach who cares extremely about the success of his athletes, both on the ice and in the classroom,” said Drew Love, executive director of athletics at McGill.
UPEI’s Bruce Donaldson, Waterloo’s Shaun Reagan and Lethbridge’s Chandy Kaip were also in running.
MARION HILLIARD AWARD (hockey, academics & community service): Jill Morillo, UOIT
Morillo became the first UOIT student athlete in any sport to receive a CIS major award since the Ridgebacks joined CIS in 2006-07.
The third-year forward finished third in OUA scoring with 32 points in 26 conference games, collecting six multi-point outings and establishing several new team records along the way. Her performances earned her first-team OUA all-star status and a spot on the second all-Canadian unit.
In the classroom, the nuclear engineering student has earned the UOIT All-Academic award for the past two years and was named a CIS Academic All-Canadian in 2010-11. She is also a member of the Canadian Nuclear Society and was the recipient of the 2011 James-Baun Cup, presented to a student who shows commitment, dedication, perseverance, academic responsibility, leadership and is a great teammate in the pursuit of excellence. The Cup is named after Bobby Baun and his long-time friend Don James.
The Ridgebacks’ captain also stays active in the community, appearing at fundraisers and elementary school visits. She also takes on a leadership role while the Ridgebacks run numerous clinics and practices for local girls hockey organizations, helping promote CIS hockey and grow the sport at the grassroots level.
“I am very proud of Jill’s accomplishments this season,” said UOIT head coach Karen Nystrom. “She showed much poise, determination and confidence throughout the season. In her role as captain and with her performance, she led our program to new heights. Jill is a true varsity athlete, achieving academic and athletic success through commitment, focus and discipline, as well as finding the time to play a valuable role within the community. Not only is this important for the Ridgebacks, but it is for Jill too, which was seen in her active involvement within the community.”
St. Thomas’ Kyla Blackmore, Carleton’s Kristen MacDonald and Saskatchewan’s Kelsey Tulloch were also nominated for the Marion Hilliard Award.
The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Wednesday and McGill once again led the way with four selections.
Joining Bettez on the first squad were teammates Charline Labonté in net and Cathy Chartrand on the blue line, StFX teammates Suzanne Fenerty on defence and Alex Normore at forward, as well as Saskatchewan Julie Paetsch, also a forward.
Labonté, a two-time Olympic gold medallist from Boisbriand, Que., became the first player in CIS women’s hockey history to be named a first-team all-Canadian each of her five university seasons. In her final campaign, the national team goalie led the country with a .944 save percentage, recorded a CIS-best eight shutouts in 18 league games and finished second in the nation with a stingy 1.06 goals against average. She ends her CIS career with an 82-3 mark in conference play, including a record 45 shutouts.
Chartrand became a four-time CIS all-star, including three straight first-team nods. Fenerty is also a returnee from last year’s first unit, while Normore was a second-team all-Canadian and the CIS rookie of the year last season.
In addition to Daoust and Morillo, the second CIS dream team for 2011-12 is comprised of Waterloo freshman Rebecca Bouwhuis between the pipes, rearguards Stephanie Ramsay of Calgary and Jacalyn Sollis of Guelph, as well as Canadian icon Hayley Wickenheiser at forward.
Wickenheiser, a three-time Olympic gold medallist and six-time world champion, was named CIS MVP a year ago in her varsity debut. She averaged two points per contest in her second season with the Dinos, including a CIS-best seven game-winning goals in only 16 conference games.
Joining Daoust on the season’s all-rookie squad were Bouwhuis, defenders Valérie Watson of Ottawa and Kristen Barbara of York, as well as forwards Marie-Pier Arsenault of Moncton and Sadie Lenstra of Lethbridge.