CIS women’s hockey McGill’s Clément-Heydra named player of the year

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by Michel Bélanger

March 13, 2014, FREDERICTON (ISN) – Katia Clément-Heydra, a fourth-year centre from McGill University, was named CIS player of the year in women’s hockey, Wednesday night.

The native of St. Bruno de Montarville, Que., keeps the Brodrick Trophy in the Martlets family for the third straight campaign as former teammates Mélodie Daoust, who helped Canada win gold at the Sochi Olympics, and Ann-Sophie Bettez had claimed MVP honours in 2013 and 2012, respectively.

Other award winners announced at the All-Canadian Banquet held at the Fredericton Inn were Saskatchewan forward Kaitlin Willoughby, who was named the nation’s top freshman; Toronto goaltender Nicole Kesteris, who received the Marion Hilliard Award celebrating excellence in athletics, academics and community involvement; and Saskatchewan head coach Steve Kook, who was honoured by his peers for the second time in five years.

The Scotiabank CIS championship, hosted by St. Thomas University, gets under way on Thursday at the Grant Harvey Centre and culminates on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Atlantic Time with the gold-medal final, live on Sportsnet 360. All nine games from the six-team competition will also be webcast live on www.CIS-SIC.tv.

CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wice/index

BRODRICK TROPHY (player of the year): Katia Clément-Heydra, McGill

Clément-Heydra is the fourth McGill player overall to merit the Brodrick Trophy. Before the Clément-Hydra-Daoust-Bettez trifecta, goaltender Kim St-Pierre, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, had captured the award in 2002-03.

In her fourth season with the Martlets, Clément-Heydra claimed the RSEQ conference scoring title and ranked second in the nation with 40 points, including 13 goals, in only 20 games, helping McGill take first place in the Quebec standings with a sparkling 18-2 record. The 5-foot-7 alternate captain either scored or assisted on 49.4 per cent of the team’s 81 markers in league play. Of her 13 goals, four were game-winners, five came on the power play and two were shorthanded.

Thanks to her stellar play, the 24-year-old earned a spot on the first all-Canadian unit, improving from a second-team nod a year ago. She also enjoyed international success over the past few months as she helped Canada win gold at the FISU Winter Universiade in Italy last December, finishing second in tournament scoring with a whopping 18 points (5-13-18) in only seven contests. 

“Katia plays with such confidence and has improved so much over her career in every aspect of her game, especially so since last year,” said head coach Peter Smith, in his 13th season as bench boss at McGill. “One of the biggest factors is how hard she worked last summer. She came into training camp so fit this season that the rest of her game just fell into place, from the drop of the puck in training camp, right through to her last game. She really embraced her leadership role and brought a great on-ice performance every night. She was very dynamic out there, real sharp on both sides of the puck, played exceptionally hard this season and was justly rewarded.”

The other finalists for the Brodrick Trophy were forwards Alex Normore of St. Francis Xavier, Jenny MacKnight of Windsor and Tatiana Rafter of UBC.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Kaitlin Willoughby, Saskatchewan

Willoughby, who hails from Prince Albert, Sask., is the first Huskie to be named CIS rookie of the year.

The 5-foot-6 forward turned heads in her university debut with 25 points (13-12-25) in 28 regular season games, 13 more than the next best freshman in the Canada West conference. Her tally was good for fourth place in league scoring and 19th in the country. She finished conference play with a stellar +19 rating, showed discipline with only six penalty minutes all season, and was a constant threat with the man advantage with five power-play markers.

Willoughby was one of the main reasons behind the Huskies’ resurgence this season. After going 11-12-5 and finishing fifth in the Canada West standings a year ago, Saskatchewan improved to 18-4-6 and second place in 2013-14.

“Kaitlin was an important part of our success this season,” said head coach Steve Kook. “It is difficult to come into this league and make an impact as a rookie. For Kaitlin to not only make an impact but consistently be an impact player week in and week out is a testament to her competitive nature. She’s worked hard in preparation for her rookie season and has worked hard at being a successful student-athlete during her first year at the University of Saskatchewan. She was an everyday top six forward and we look forward to seeing what her future holds.”

The other nominees were forwards Breanne Lanceleve of Saint Mary’s, Vickie Lemire of Ottawa and Rachel Marriott of Waterloo. 

COACH OF THE YEAR: Steve Kook, Saskatchewan

A three-time Canada West coach of the year, Kook had received the national award for the first time at the end of the 2009-10 campaign.

In his ninth year at the helm, Kook led the Huskies to a historic season. The team set a program benchmark with an 18-4-6 record, finished second in the Canada West standings for the first time and earned its first-ever home playoff berth. It was quite a turnaround from a year ago, when Saskatchewan took fifth place in the league standings with an 11-12-5 mark.

Kook, whose troops went on to capture their first-ever Canada West banner two weeks ago, has a 110-106-4 career record with the Huskies. During his tenure, 16 team members have been named conference all-stars and two were voted league MVPs.

“Steve is well-deserving of this outstanding honour,” said UofS athletic director Basil Hughton. “He has worked extremely hard this year, adding new dimensions to growing as a coach to work with a young team. This award and historic season his team has accomplished is evidence that his commitment has paid dividends. We at Huskie Athletics are extremely proud of his accomplishments and those of the women’s hockey team.”

Moncton’s Denis Ross, McGill’s Peter Smith and Guelph’s Rachel Flanagan were also in running.

MARION HILLIARD AWARD (hockey, academics & community service): Nicole Kesteris, Toronto

Kesteris is the fourth UofT player to receive the Marion Hilliard Award, which is named after the Varsity Blues hockey legend. Previous winners from Toronto include Sue McCutcheon (2005), Jenny McRae (2003) and Bridget Bates (1999).

Kesteris has served as the back bone of the Blues this season. The Aurora, Ont., native led all CIS goaltenders in league play in save percentage (.948) and shutouts (5), while her 1.34 goals against average was the second best in the OUA conference and ranked fifth in the country. Not surprisingly, the veteran netminder was recognized with a spot on the first all-Canadian team.

Off the ice, Kesteris volunteers her time throughout the community. She spearheaded the Varsity Blues women’s hockey team’s work with Ronald McDonald House to provide dinner for those families with ill children away from home in conjunction with the Hospital for Sick Children and Mount Sinai Hospital.

She has helped organize and deliver baskets for the Children’s Aid Society for families in need of basic necessities during the holiday season. The fourth-year human geography major is heavily involved in the Toronto Latvian Centre, helping children new to Canada tour the city and become acclimatized to Ontario’s education system.

Kesteris has also mentored and coached young female goalies in the Aurora, Markham and Whitby since 2009.

“Nicole is the student-athlete that every coach wants on their team,” said Varsity Blues head coach Vicky Sunohara. “She is a top goaltender in the country, but also excels in the classroom and donates so much of her already busy schedule to others. She’s a truly unbelievable person and we are just so thrilled that she’s receiving this national recognition.”

UPEI’s Ferran Brown, Concordia’s Jaymee Shell and Manitoba’s Amy Lee were also nominated for the Marion Hilliard Award.

ALL-CANADIAN TEAMS

The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Wednesday.

Joining Clément-Heydra and Kesteris on the first unit were defenders Sarah Casorso of UBC and Candice Styles of Wilfrid Laurier, as well as conference MVPs Alex Normore of StFX and Tatiana Rafter of UBC on offence.

Normore is honoured as an all-Canadian for the fourth time in as many seasons with the X-Women, including a pair of first-team nods. She was also the CIS rookie of the year back in 2010-11.

The second dream squad for the 2013-14 campaign is comprised of goalie Lindsey Post of Alberta, rearguards Jenna Pitts of StFX and Maude Laramée of Ottawa, as well as forwards Jessica Pinkerton of Guelph, Cami Wooster of Saskatchewan and OUA MVP Jenny MacKnight of Windsor.

In addition to Willoughby, the all-rookie team is made up of netminder Tori Campbell of UOIT, defenders Stephanie Digness of Waterloo and Caitlin Fyten of Manitoba, and forwards Breanne Lanceleve of Saint Mary’s and Vickie Lemire of Ottawa.

2013-2014 CIS WOMEN’S HOCKEY AWARDS & ALL-CANADIANS

Brodrick Trophy (player of the year): Katia Clément-Heydra, McGill

Rookie of the year: Kaitlin Willoughby, Saskatchewan

Coach of the year: Steve Kook, Saskatchewan

Marion Hilliard Award (hockey, academics & community service): Nicole Kesteris, Toronto

First Team
Pos.     Athlete                        University       Year    Hometown                  Faculty

G         Nicole Kesteris             Toronto            4          Aurora, Ont.                Human Geography

D         Sarah Casorso             UBC                4          Kelowna, B.C.             Arts

D         Candice Styles             Laurier             4          Orangeville, Ont.         Arts

F          Alex Normore              StFX                4          Bedford, N.S.              Human Kinetics

F          Katia Clément-Heydra  McGill              4          St. Bruno de Montarville, Que.    Industrial Relations

F          Tatiana Rafter              UBC                4          Winnipeg, Man.           Arts

Second Team

G         Lindsey Post                Alberta             2          Chelsea, Que.              Phys. Ed. & Recreation

D         Jenna Pitts                   StFX                4          Antigonish, N.S.          Human Kinetics

D         Maude Laramée           Ottawa             2          Hull, Que.                    Communications

F          Jenny MacKnight          Windsor           4          Regina, Sask.               Environmental Science

F          Jessica Pinkerton         Guelph             3          Oshawa, Ont.               Sociology

F          Cami Wooster              Saskatchewan  5          Luseland, Sask.            Arts & Science

All-Rookie Team

G         Tori Campbell              UOIT               1          Saskatoon, Sask.          Criminology

D         Stephanie Digness       Waterloo          1          Aldergrove, B.C.          Arts

D         Caitlin Fyten                Manitoba         1          Cremona, Alta.            University 1

F          Kaitlin Willoughby      Saskatchewan   1          Prince Albert, Sask.      Arts & Science

F          Breanne Lanceleve      Saint Mary’s    1          Middle Sackville, N.S.    Arts

F          Vickie Lemire              Ottawa            1          Rigaud, Que.               Human Kinetics

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