TORONTO (CIS) – Mélodie Daoust, a second-year forward from McGill University, was named CIS player of the year in women's hockey, Wednesday night.
The native of Valleyfield, Que., is the second McGill standout in as many seasons, and the third in program history, to claim the Brodrick Trophy. Forward Ann-Sophie Bettez was the recipient a year ago, while goaltender Kim St-Pierre, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, was honoured following the 2002-03 campaign.
Daoust also became the first player in CIS women's hockey history to be named rookie of the year and MVP in back-to-back seasons.
Other award winners announced at the All-Canadian Banquet at the Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel in Toronto were Guelph forward Christine Grant, who was named the nation's top freshman; St. Thomas captain Kayla Blackmore, who received the Marion Hilliard Award celebrating excellence in athletics, academics and community involvement; and UBC's Graham Thomas, named coach of the year in his first season behind the bench.
BRODRICK TROPHY (player of the year): Mélodie Daoust, McGill
Daoust took the CIS women's hockey world by storm in her rookie campaign a year ago when she won the RSEQ scoring race and finished third in the country with 43 points (18-25-43) in only 18 league games.
There was no sophomore jinx this season for the member of the Canadian national under-22 program. She repeated as RSEQ scoring champion and also claimed the CIS crown with a remarkable 54 points in only 20 contests, which tied the Quebec conference single-season record set by Bettez in 2008-09. Her 21 goals were good for second in the country behind linemate Katia Clément-Heydra, while her 33 assists were a CIS best and set a new RSEQ mark.
Daoust also ranked third in Quebec in both game-winning goals (4) and power play markers (5). Thanks in large part to her stellar play, the Martlets (20-0) were the only team in the country to maintain a perfect record in the regular season.
“Mélodie is a gifted player and possesses an unbelievable skill set combined with a great mind for the game,” said Peter Smith, the former national team coach who just completed his 13th year as bench boss at McGill. “She sees the game as well as any player I've coached. Although she scores a lot of goals, her real strength is as a playmaker. A strong leader by example, she practices, prepares and plays with tremendous intensity and focus. She always has a smile on her face, is all business on the ice and gets the job done.”
The other finalists for the Brodrick Trophy were forwards Alex Normore of St. Francis Xavier, Amanda Parkins of Guelph and Hayley Wickenheiser of Calgary.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Christine Grant, Guelph
Grant became the first-ever Guelph player to capture CIS rookie-of-the-year honours.
A native of Mississauga, Ont., the 5-foot-6 right winger played in all 26 league contests for the Gryphons in her university debut. She tallied 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points, good for fourth in OUA scoring and ninth in the nation, while playing a very disciplined game and spending only eight minutes in the penalty box.
The environmental engineering student, who was voted to the second OUA all-star team, was a major contributor as Guelph finished second in the conference with a stellar 21-3-2 record, thanks in part to a 14-game win streak.
“Christine is an explosive forward with the ability to finish plays around the net,” said Gryphon head coach Rachel Flanagan. “She distributes the puck well then gets in position to get it back. She plays with the patience usually seen from a senior player and has a great shot from in tight and from outside lanes.”
The other nominees for the CIS award were Saint Mary's goalie Sienna Cooke, as well as forwards Gabrielle Davidson of McGill and Jessica Kampjes of Alberta.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Graham Thomas, UBC
Thomas is the first UBC women's hockey bench boss to be honoured by his CIS peers.
In his first season in the league, Thomas operated one of the greatest turnarounds in CIS history, in any sport. He took a Thunderbird team that had won only one game a year ago (1-21-2) and led them to third place in the Canada West standings with a program-best 17-7-4 record, only one point behind second-place Regina.
UBC virtually re-wrote its entire women's hockey record book in 2012-13. The team earned its first playoff home date, its first post-season series victory, its first conference title and first CIS championship appearance. During conference play, the T-Birds broke school marks for wins, goals scored, goals allowed and longest winning streak.
“We are really proud of Graham and all he has accomplished in his first year in CIS,” said Theresa Hanson, Associate Director of Intercollegiate & High Performance Sport. “His passion for hockey and his technical knowledge of the game is remarkable – we are very fortunate to have him as part of the Thunderbirds coaching staff and wish him the best of luck in his first CIS national championship.”
StFX's David Synishin, Guelph's Rachel Flanagan and Montreal's Isabelle Leclaire were also in running.
MARION HILLIARD AWARD (hockey, academics & community service): Fayla Blackmore, St. Thomas
Blackmore, a forward from Fredericton, became the first St. Thomas winner of a CIS award in women's hockey.
In her fifth and final campaign, the Tommies' captain led the team in goals (12), assists (9) and points (21) in league play and earned a spot on the first AUS all-star squad after finishing second in conference scoring. St. Thomas took second place in the AUS standings with a solid 16-7-1 mark.
Blackmore spearheaded bringing the ‘You Can Play' project to STU, an initiative to flush out homophobia and discrimination from athletics across North America. She is a past recipient of the Dr. Tony Rhinelander Nature of History Prize for commitment to the field of history and research, and currently maintains a 4.3 grade point average in a demanding Education program.
She also played a role in fundraising efforts for Hailey's Dreams – a young girl suffering from juvenile metachromatic leukodystrophy; the New Brunswick division of the Canadian Mental Health Association; as well as breast cancer awareness initiatives.
Blackmore continues to coach young, up-and-coming female hockey players, coaching the Team New Brunswick under-17 squad to a gold-medal finish this past year.
“Kayla represents the ideal of the student-athlete. She excels in the classroom and on the ice but never forgets that she is part of a bigger community both the university and the one that surrounds it,” said STU head coach Peter Murphy. “It is great to see her years of dedication to various causes being recognized in this manner. She is a tremendous athlete but an even better person.”
Ottawa's Cassie Seguin, UOIT's Jill Morillo and Calgary's Tanya Morgan were also nominated for the Marion Hilliard Award.
The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Wednesday, with the reigning national champion Calgary Dinos and the Western Mustangs each placing a pair of players on the top unit.
Joining Daoust on the first squad were conference MVPs Wickenheiser and Parkins, as well as Western goaltender Kelly Campbell and rearguards Katelyn Gosling of Western and Stephanie Ramsay of Calgary.
Like Daoust, Dino teammates Wickenheiser and Ramsay were second-team members a year ago. Wickenheiser had previously earned first-team honours in 2010-11, when she was named CIS player of the year.
The second CIS unit for 2012-13 is comprised of UBC goalie Danielle Dube, Manitoba's Caitlin MacDonald and Montreal's Sophie Brault on defence, as well as McGill's Katia Clément-Heydra, StFX's Alex Normore and Queen's Morgan McHaffie on offence.
Normore, the AUS MVP, was honoured at the national level for the third straight campaign, including a first-team nod last year.
In addition to Grant, the all-rookie squad is made up of conference top freshmen Cooke, Davidson and Kampjes, as well as defenders Alexis Larson of Regina and Maude Laramée of Ottawa.