UBC’s best celebrated at 92nd annual Big Block Awards

Billy Greene (left) and Shanice Marcelle (right)

VANCOUVER – More than 1,000 people jammed the Vancouver Convention Centre West on Wednesday to celebrate the successes of Canada’s best university athletics program at the 92nd annual Big Block Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet.

Athletes from six different sports were honoured with individual awards while the UBC women’s hockey team added one last accolade to its magical season, capturing the Du Vivier Team of theYear Award, presented by Freedom 55. In addition, four others won recognition for their service to the UBC Thunderbirds.

The current crop of Thunderbirds were also reminded of the great tradition they are a part of as the latest class of the UBC Sports Hall of Fame was inducted.

The athletes included Penny Cooper (women’s field hockey), Jessica Deglau (women’s swimming), Jessica Mills (women’s basketball) and Victor Warren (men’s field hockey).

Dr. Rob Lloyd-Smith, the head sport medicine physician for UBC Thunderbirds teams since 1982, was enshrined as a builder.

Two dynasties, the 1972-74 women’s volleyball and 1989-91 men’s soccer squads, were the latest additions to the UBC Sports Hall of Fame’s Team category.

92nd Big Block Awards (Apr. 3, 2013) Gallery

MAY BROWN TROPHY – Graduating female athlete of the year

Five-time CIS champion Shanice Marcelle (Victoria, BC) of women’s volleyball won the May Brown Trophy as UBC’s graduating female athlete of the year, completing one of the greatest careers of any Thunderbird in any sport.

Marcelle was named the Mary Lyons Award winner as the CIS Player of the Year in women’s volleyball after winning the Canada West’s Most Valuable Player. She led UBC to its sixth straight CIS title in March and was named a tournament all-star for an almost unheard of fifth time in her career.

The Canadian national team member also becomes the first Thunderbird to win the Marilyn Pomfret, May Brown and Thunderbird Rookie of the Year awards in a career, since the latter two were first handed out in 2007.

Softball player Jesslyn Hodge (Vancouver, BC) and swimmer Grainne Pierse (Edmonton, AB) were the other nominees.

MARILYN POMFRET TROPHY – Female athlete of the year

All four finalists for the Marilyn Pomfret Trophy were the Canada West’s Most Valuable Player in their respective sports.

Women’s basketball player Kris Young (North Vancouver, BC) was named the winner after being the only player in the Canada West to finish in the top 10 in scoring, assists and rebounding this past season.

She lead her team in scoring 12 times during the campaign, which saw UBC win 17 times in 22 regular season games.

The other outstanding finalists for the award were soccer’s Janine Frazao (Port Moody, BC), CIS swimmer of the Year Savannah King (Vernon, BC) and Marcelle.

BOBBY GAUL MEMORIAL TROPHY – Graduating male athlete of the year

Football player Billy Greene (Surrey, BC) was named the school’s graduating male athlete of the year and added his name to the illustrious list of Bobby Gaul Memorial Trophy winners.

The five-year starter never missed a game despite several serious injuries. Greene finished his time at UBC as the school’s second all-time leading passer and first in yards, pass attempts and completions when only Canada West games are taken into account.

He passed for 49 career touchdowns and 9,143 yards over five seasons. Greene was also prolific as a runner, carrying the ball for 1,820 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground.

In 2011, he won the Hec Crighton Award as Canada’s best player, the biggest individual honour in a university career full of accolades.

The other nominees: CIS male swimmer of the year Kelly Aspinall (Nanoose Bay, BC), pitcher David Otterman (Coquitlam, BC), who was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers of Major League Baseball, and First Team All-Canadian basketball player Doug Plumb (Pitt Meadows, BC).

BUS PHILLIPS MEMORIAL TROPHY – Male athlete of the Year

After leading UBC men’s soccer to conference and national banners, Gagandeep Dosanjh (Abbotsford, BC) won the Bus Phillips Memorial Trophy as male athlete of the year.

He was the offensive spark for a Thunderbirds team that went undefeated to capture the 2012 CIS men’s soccer championship.

Dosanjh scored 12 goals and nine assists for 21 points to lead all Canada West players in all three categories. For his efforts, he was named the conference player of the year and a First Team All-Canadian. At the nationals, Dosanjh was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after scoring four of UBC’s eight goals at the event.

Dosanjh finished ahead of Aspinall and cross country runner Luc Bruchet (Surrey, BC), who captured bronze at the NAIA championships and then made the Canadian national team for the World Championships, for the award.


Hannah Haughn (North Vancouver, BC) had a perfect debut with the UBC Thunderbirds women’s field hockey team in 2012. She notched seven goals in eight regular season games to lead the Canada West in scoring alongside teammate Kate Gillis (Toronto, ON). Haughn won both the Canada West and CIS Rookie of the Year awards.

Then at the national championships in Toronto, she was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after leading UBC to a record 14th McCrae Cup title.

Ice hockey’s Stephanie Schaupmeyer (Kelowna, BC) and golf’s Stephanie Wong (Richmond, BC) were the other nominees.

Schaupmeyer was third in Canada West rookie scoring with 13 points in 28 regular season games as UBC set a new program record for most wins (17). Then as part of an historic run to the conference championship and an appearance at the nationals, Schaupmeyer tied for second in Canada West playoff scoring with 10 points in seven games.

Wong was instrumental in golf’s two national championship victories in 2012. She played nine of 10 NAIA and NCAA tournaments for UBC and had the lowest scoring average on the team, 78.5 over 13 rounds, during the regular season. Wong’s outstanding play earned her a place on the NAIA First All-American team.

Her average was nearly three shots better (75.6) during the ten rounds of playoffs she competed in. Wong was the golfer who sunk the final putt to seal the victory at the NAIA championship in Greeneville, Tennessee. Her third-round score of even-par 72 also helped UBC win the Golf Canada University/College Championship.


Men’s hockey player Neil Manning (Nanaimo, BC) was instrumental in helping UBC to its best season under coach Milan Dragicevic. The former Vancouver Giant defenceman had two goals and 16 assists in 31 regular season and playoff games. He averaged 27 minutes of playing time a night and was used in every key situation for the team.

At the conclusion of the season, Manning was named to the CIS All-Rookie Team, confirming his place as one of the top newcomers to university men’s hockey in Canada.

Conner Kozak (Vernon, BC) of golf and Isaiah Solomon(Richmond, BC) of basketball were also finalists in this category.

Kozak helped UBC to a third-place finish at the NAIA men’s golf championship in 2012. He tied for second at the A.I.I. conference tournament, where UBC was third. Kozak was named to the PING NAIA All-America Second Team as well as thePING NAIA All-Freshmen Team.

Solomon played in all 29 games this season for the Canada West champion men’s basketball team, averaging 21 minutes at one of sports’ toughest positions, point guard. He led the team in free throw percentage at 83 percent and scored eight points a game to go along with 2.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds a game. Solomon led UBC in assists in 10 games and was the team leader in assist-to-turnover ratio.


The UBC women’s hockey team added their own special chapter to the chronicles of Thunderbirds sports history with an unforgettable season. After recording just one regular season victory during the 2011-12 campaign, UBC earned 17 wins this year, with new head coach Graham Thomas at the helm. It was the biggest turnaround in CIS sports history. Nearly every team and individual record was smashed.

The magic continued into the playoffs as UBC hosted a Canada West post-season series for the first time. The T-Birds, with the support of two raucous crowds, swept Manitoba to advance to a conference semifinal match-up in Regina. After losing game one, UBC’s Tatiana Rafter (Winnipeg, MB) scored a triple-overtime goal in game two to keep the season alive. Then in the third and deciding game, UBC crushed Regina 7-1 to advance to the Canada West finals and clinch a spot at the CIS women’s hockey championship for the first time ever.

It was off to Calgary to face the defending national champion Dinos. Again, UBC lost game one but rebounded to triumph in game two, this time needing only two overtimes. Schaupmeyer scored on the first shot of double OT to force a game three, which UBC won 5-2 to secure both the Canada West trophy and banner for the first time.

The other contenders for the Du Vivier Team of the Year Award, presented by Freedom 55, speak to how special a season it was for UBC women’s hockey. All the other finalists for Team of the Year won national championships at the CIS (women’s field hockey, men’s soccer, women’s swimming and women’s volleyball) or NAIA (women’s golf and women’s cross country) levels.

Two teams, women’s field hockey and men’s soccer, went undefeated through the regular season and playoffs, while women’s golf won both the NAIA and Golf Canada titles. Women’s cross country won its first NAIA banner ever while women’s volleyball captured its sixth CIS championship in row. Women’s swimming dominated the CIS meet and successfully defended the Canadian title it won in 2012.


This leadership award was established in 1995-96 by the Thunderbird Athletic Council and is unique, in that it represents peer recognition for outstanding qualities and achievements in individuals. It is meant to represent UBC student athletes who would otherwise remain too often unrecognized. The award is meant to acknowledge students at UBC who are outstanding athletes, leaders, contributors and, above all, outstanding people.

Two athletes, Evan Cheng (Vancouver, BC) of men’s rowing and Robert Ragotte (Belleville, ON) of nordic skiing, shared the award.

Cheng is a rising star in Canadian rowing and is a member of the national program. He serves as captain of the UBC team and helped spearhead a fundraider for the BC Cancer Foundation.

In just his second year, Ragotte is one of the most inspiring athletes at UBC. He serves as the head coach and administrator of the nordic ski team and is also one of the team’s top performers. He is a representative on the TAC and volunteers his time with the ‘I Go To UBC’ program, which brings inner-city school children to UBC.


Kelly Aspinall was voted by his peers as the winner of the TAC Performance Award. He was chosen as the TAC athlete of the month in February for his performances at the CIS Championships in Calgary, where he earned gold in the 50-metre backstroke, 100m backstroke, and 50m freestyle, as well as being part of the gold medal-winning 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley teams. He was named the CIS male swimmer of the year. Aspinall’s victories in the 50m backstroke and the 100m backstroke were CIS record breaking times which earned him a spot on this summer’s Canadian team that will compete at the Universiade in Kazan, Russia.

KAY BREARLEY AWARD – Service to women’s athletics

John Foster, the major gifts officer for UBC Athletics, was presented with the Kay Brearley Award for service to women’s athletics. Foster is one of the people behind the creation of the Twenty-8 Group, a group of women of various ages and backgrounds – alumnae and non-alumnae alike – whose immediate objective is to provide 28 scholarships per year in the amount of $1000 each to two student-athletes from each of the university’s 14 women’s teams.


Mark Arlou won the Carolyn Dobie-Smith Award for his tireless work as trainer for the baseball team. Arlou has been with the team full-time for two seasons, spending many long days on the road with the Thunderbirds.

“The players absolutely love Mark and what he does for them,” said UBC baseball coach Terry McKaig. “We are very lucky to have had Mark with us. He is one of the most disciplined people at his age that I have ever seen. “Many mornings on the road, I get up to go workout at 6 a.m. only to find Mark in the hotel lobby working on his school work knowing how much of his time gets taken up treating our players. A true professional.”

The award is in recognition of Carolyn Dobie-Smith, the student trainer for the women’s volleyball team from September 1989 to April 1990, who died suddenly in the summer of 1992. Carolyn displayed an exemplary level of dedication and commitment to the athletes with whom she worked, both as a trainer and a friend. She willingly shared her knowledge and expertise with less experienced student trainers, providing an excellent role model.


Two women shared the Arthur W. Delamont Award on Wednesday night. Elizabeth Pratt of Athletics and Alexandra Leask of women’s rowing were both recognized for exhibiting the same contribution of service, goodwill and cheerfulness to students and athletes shown by Delamont during his four decades as leader of the University Pep Band.

Pratt spent her entire four years of school as scoreboard operator for UBC basketball and volleyball games at War Memorial Gym, exhibiting professionalism and attention to detail in one of the most important jobs of any competition. She showed leadership in training peers and was an exemplary worker during her time with Athletics.

Pratt was also honoured this past November with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, one of the highest honours a Canadian citizen can receive.

Leask is the inspirational leader of the women’s rowing program. She is the team captain but also serves as team photographer, executive member, manager, coach, motivator, and friend to the athletes.

“Alex’s contribution has infused a very strong and emotive passion into our team work ethic and her courage exemplifies the limitless capability and power of the human spirit,” said UBC assistant coach Sheryl Preston.

92nd Big Block Awards

May Brown Trophy – graduating female athlete of the year
Shanice Marcelle (Volleyball)

Marilyn Pomfret Trophy – female athlete of the year
Kris Young (Basketball)

Bobby Gaul Memorial Trophy – graduating male athlete of the year
Billy Greene (Football)

Bus Phillips Memorial Trophy – male athlete of the year
Gagandeep Dosanjh (Soccer)

Thunderbird Rookie of the Year –Female
Hannah Haughn (Field Hockey)

Thunderbird Rookie of the Year –Male
Neil Manning (Ice Hockey)

Du Vivier Team of theYear, presented by Freedom 55
Women’s Ice Hockey

Kay Brearley Award – Service to women’s athletics
John Foster

Carolyn Dobie-SmithAward – Trainer
Mark Arlou (Baseball)

Arthur W. Delamont Award – School spirit
Alexandra Leask (Women’s Rowing)
Elizabeth Pratt (Athletics)

Buzz Moore Thunderbird Athletic Council Leadership Award
Evan Cheng (Men’s Rowing)
Robert Ragotte (Nordic Skiing)

Thunderbird Athletic Council Performance Award
Kelly Aspinall (Men’s Swimming)