(ISN) – NEW WESTMINSTER, BC – The Canada West Universities Athletic Association announced University of Alberta Golden Bears and former Chilliwack Bruins and Lethbridge Hurricanes defenceman Jesse Craige as the March 2015 Canada West WHL Graduate of the Month.
Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Craige was instrumental in the Golden Bears’ conference and national championship runs in March.
The Golden Bears alternate captain registered an assist and a +2 rating in the two-game sweep versus rival Calgary Dinos in the Canada West Championship, to help secure their third consecutive conference banner, the 52nd overall for the Edmonton-based squad.
He followed this up with a strong outing in the CIS University Cup, where he totaled three assists and a +3 rating in three games, as Alberta won back-to-back national titles in convincing fashion, giving the Golden Bears their 15th CIS University Cup championship, a CIS record. The fifth-year senior scored two assists in Alberta’s 5-1 quarterfinal win versus St. Francis Xavier on March 13, then provided an encore performance on the next day with another assist in the 5-1 semifinal victory over Trois-Rivieres.
The Physical Education & Recreation major had quite the haul for the month of March, as he won the Mervyn “Red” Dutton Trophy as the Canada West Outstanding Defenceman of the Year, along with a conference First Team All-Star selection. He also was named the CIS Outstanding Defenceman of the Year, the first Canada West blueliner to earn the national award. In addition, he was also honoured as CIS First Team All-Canadian, and for the second consecutive year, he was named to the CIS University Cup All-Tournament team.
Craige finished the season with six goals and 19 assists, a total of 25 points in 37 games for the Golden Bears. His stellar university career wrapped up with 24 goals, 104 assists and 128 points in 198 games.
The other nominee for the month was Calgary Dinos and ex-Chilliwack Bruins and Saskatoon Blades forward Chris Collins.
Canada West Universities Athletic Association and the Western Hockey League have partnered for 25 years to recognize outstanding athletic achievement and assist in educational development of men’s hockey players who represent the full student-athlete experience within Canada West.
The WHL Graduate of the Month award is voted on by all Canada West men’s hockey coaches. Each monthly winner receives a $500 cheque towards the cost of education and a letter from WHL Commissioner Ron Robison.