ANTIGONISH, N.S.) – At a special presentation during the StFX Athletics Awards Gala held Monday evening in Antigonish, N.S., Atlantic University Sport announced X-Men hockey forward Eric Locke as the 2017 recipient of the 31st annual James Bayer Memorial Scholarship Award presented by PepsiCo Beverages Canada.

The James Bayer Memorial Scholarship Award was established in 1985 and is awarded annually to an outstanding student-athlete in Atlantic University Sport for excellence in academics, athletics, leadership, sportsmanship and citizenship.

Phil Currie, executive director of Atlantic University Sport, was on hand to make the presentation on behalf of the selection committee which also includes Marg Bayer, wife of the late James Bayer, and Dr. Eddy Campbell, president and vice-chancellor of the University of New Brunswick and chair of the AUS board of directors.

“It’s always an exciting time of year when we get the opportunity to recognize these outstanding student-athletes,” said Currie. “Eric Locke is an outstanding student-athlete who embodies what this award represents and we congratulate him on being named this year’s recipient. He had another outstanding year on the ice, with StFX capturing the AUS conference title for the second year in a row. Both his performance in the classroom and the extent to which he has volunteered his time in the StFX and Antigonish community are commendable.

“Once again our selection committee received 11 incredible nominations and I would like to congratulate all of the nominees on their achievements.”

Locke is a fourth-year science student from Toronto, Ont., completing a degree in human kinetics. He is in his third year of eligibility as a forward for the StFX X-Men.

He played in all 30 games for the X-Men this regular season, posting 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points and being named an AUS second team all-star.

Locke was also named the 2017 AUS recipient of the Godfrey Award for student-athlete community service—given annually to the player who best represents the spirit of intercollegiate hockey by his leadership both on and off the ice and by his conduct throughout the season.

In the 2017 postseason, Locke led the X-Men with nine points (four goals and five assists) as the StFX team posted a 7-0 record to capture their second consecutive AUS championship title.

Last season he was named the AUS most valuable player and a CIS (now U Sports) first team all-Canadian.

“Eric Locke is an outstanding example of what a student-athlete should stand for,” said X-Men head coach Brad Peddle. “He is a dynamic player and a key leader on our team. His work ethic on and off the ice is unmatched and his character, competitiveness and team-first attitude have made him an integral part of the X-Men hockey program.”

Off the ice, Locke is a three-time academic all-Canadian who finished at the top of his class in the BSc human kinetics honours program with a 95 per cent average. He hopes to attend medical school next year.

Locke is heavily involved in both the StFX and Antigonish communities. He has served as his team’s representative on StFX’s student-athlete advisory council for the past two seasons. He is also a member of the StFX Pre-Med Society, the StFX Leadership Academy and the winner of the Leader of Distinction Award.

He volunteers his time with Fit 4 Life and Fit 4 Tots—a StFX human kinetics community service program which promotes healthy lifestyles to children.

Locke is also involved with the Antigonish Minor Hockey Mentorship Program, the Antigonish Multisport Program and the Paq’Tnkek First Nation Learn to Play Initiative.

“Eric Locke is perhaps the most gifted student-athlete I’ve ever worked with in my 12 years at StFX University,” said StFX director of athletics and recreation Leo MacPherson. “We believe our student-athletes should strive to excel in four key pillars of student-athlete success which are: academics, athletics, citizenship and leadership. In the past year, Eric Locke has reached the highest level of achievement in all four areas. Eric is an exceptional young man—a captain and MVP on our men’s hockey team, the top student in his program, and a gifted leader who generously gives back to his community.”

Each year, the 11 AUS member schools nominate one student-athlete for this prestigious award. As this year’s recipient, Locke receives a $1,000 scholarship.

Also nominated were Acadia’s Geoff Schemitsch, Cape Breton’s Robyn Novorolsky, Dalhousie’s Jonathan Doucett, Memorial’s Hannah Rivkin, Moncton’s Jean-François Plante, Mount Allison’s Matthew Zwicker, UNB’s Lauren Adam, UPEI’s Kiera Rigby, Spencer Wiechert from Saint Mary’s and Myfanwy Thomson St. Thomas University. Each of the nominees receive a $500 scholarship award.

James Bayer taught education and physical education at both high school and university levels. He served as supervisor and consultant for the Nova Scotia Department of Culture, Recreation and Fitness.

At Acadia University, he served as dean of recreation and physical education and as director of athletics from 1978-1985. As an administrator in the AUAA and the CIAU, he was a key player in the establishment of intercollegiate athletic policy.

This memorial scholarship is the most prestigious award offered annually by Atlantic University Sport.

Previous recipients the James Bayer Memorial Scholarship Award:

1987 – Greg Berry, StFX University, Soccer; Caroline Lulham, Mount Allison University, Volleyball
1988 – Gunnhildur Baldursson, Acadia University, Soccer
1989 – Jackie Wong, Mount Allison University, Volleyball / Soccer
1990 – Augy Jones, St. Francis Xavier University, Basketball
1991 – Heather Morrison, University of Prince Edward Island, Field Hockey
1992 – Keith Donovan, Dalhousie University, Basketball
1993 – David Sykes, Saint Mary’s University, Football
1994 – Kathy McNally, University of Prince Edward Island, Field Hockey
1995 – Scott Bagnell, Dalhousie University, Volleyball
1996 – Carla Edwards, Mount Allison University, Volleyball
1997 – Chris Diamond, University of Prince Edward Island, Soccer
1998 – Peter Benoite, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Basketball
1999 – Jan Trojanowski, Acadia University, Basketball
2000 – Kristen Lewis, Dalhousie University, Cross Country
2001 – Jillian MacDonald, Dalhousie University, Basketball
2002 – Louis Poirier, Université de Moncton, Track & Field
2003 – Dan Tudin, Dalhousie University, Hockey
2004 – Eric Gillis, St. Francis Xavier University, Cross Country
2005 – Adrienne Power, Dalhousie University, Track & Field
2006 – David Chant, Saint Mary’s University, Hockey
2007 – Colin Sinclair, University of New Brunswick, Hockey
2008 – Katherine Quackenbush, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Basketball
2009 – Isabelle Miles, University of New Brunswick, Soccer
2010 – Alex Legge, Dalhousie University, Basketball
2011 – Jacob Kilpatrick, University of New Brunswick, Volleyball
2012 – Daniel You, Dalhousie University, Volleyball
2013 – Rebecca Haworth, Dalhousie University, Track & Field
2014 – Alana Fairfax, Acadia University, Soccer
2015 – Karolyne Blain, Cape Breton University, Soccer
2016 – Katie Ross, Acadia University, Soccer and Basketball
2017 – Eric Locke, St. Francis Xavier University, Hockey