U Sports unveils nominees for male and female athletes of the year

U Sports unveils nominees for male and female athletes of the year

OTTAWA — An aspiring Olympian, a runner conquering autoimmune disease and a history-making goaltender are among the nominees for U Sports athletes of the year.

Manitoba swimmer Kelsey Wog, Toronto runner Lucia Stafford and Saskatchewan hockey player Taran Kozun were three of the finalists announced Thursday for the Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards, which will be announced June 25.

Toronto hockey player David Thompson, Montreal soccer player Aboubacar Sissoko, Laval rugby player Fabiola Forteza, and basketball players Keevan Veinot from Dalhousie and Jenna Mae Ellsworth from the University of Prince Edward Island are the other finalists

Each of the four conferences in U Sport nominate a male and female athlete for the Doug Mitchell and Jim Thompson trophies respectively. The male and female winners each receive post-graduate scholarships of $10,000.

Previous winners include CFL players Jesse Lumsden, Don Blair and Andrew Buckley as well as Olympic swimmer Kylie Masse, heptathlete Jessica Zelinka and hockey player Kim St. Pierre.

A couple of this year’s nominees had seasons impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including Kozun.

The native of Nipawin, Sask., became the first to earn both top goaltender and player-of-the-year U Sports awards in men’s hockey. He was also the second goalie in Canada West history to score a goal, performing the feat in a January game against the Calgary Dinos.

The Huskies were the No. 2 seed for the University Cup in March which was cancelled because of the pandemic.

Wog won four gold medals for the Bisons in February’s national swimming championship, but COVID-19 put the Winnipegger’s Olympic aspirations on hold. The Tokyo Olympics were postponed until 2021 because of the pandemic, and so were Canada’s swim trials.

Stafford claimed the national women’s cross-country title in November for the Varsity Blues, and added track and field gold medals in the 1,000 and 1,500 metres. The Toronto native has Graves Disease, which is an autoimmune disorder causing an overactive thyroid.

Her Varsity Blues hockey counterpart Thompson scored 17 goals and assisted on 23 to finish second in men’s OUA scoring. The forward from Vaughn, Ont., led the conference in power-play goals with seven.

Sissoko helped the Carabins earn a silver medal at the national men’s soccer championship. The Mali-born midfielder has been signed by the Canadian Premier League’s Halifax Wanderers.

Montreal’s Forteza was chosen player of the match in leading the Rouge et Or to their first U Sports women’s rugby title. She scored three tries this past season and has been recruited by Rugby Canada for international matches.

Veinot helped Dalhousie capture a silver medal at the national men’s basketball championship. The guard from Port Williams, N.S., led the Atlantic conference in steals with an average of 2.3 per game, and assists averaging 5.5 per game.

Charlottetown’s Ellsworth scored 20.5 points per game for the UPEI women’s hoops team in conference games. The Panthers won a bronze medal at the national championship.

Canadian university sport honours have been presented since 1993 first as the Howard Mackie Awards and then the BLG Awards named for the law firm Borden Ladner Gervais.

The brand was relaunched in 2019 by Alberta’s lieutenant-governor Lois Mitchell and husband Doug Mitchell, a BLG co-chair and former CFL player and commissioner who founded the awards.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

robbery
UPDATE: Shooting suspect arrested by Wetaskiwin/Camrose RCMP

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

Quality Inn & Suites in Rimbey. Photo Submitted
Rimbey hotel gets new lease on life

The Quality Inn & Suites in Rimbey is now open and taking bookings

Leanne Evans, Rimbey Neighbourhood Place Program Coordinator, accepts a donation of $5,000 from Kevin Maxwell manager of Field Support for Telus. (Photo Submitted)
Rimbey Neighbourhood Place making big changes behind the scenes

Rimbey Neighbourhood Place recently recieved a $5,000 donation from Telus

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID-19: One more death in central zone

Ponoka County on province’s watchlist

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier isolating after minister tests positive for COVID-19

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is isolating at home

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier tests negative for COVID-19 but will isolate for a week

Kenney said he will isolate until Oct. 29 and, in the meantime, work from home

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Alberta's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday, July 6, 2020. Advisers are reportedly recommending Alberta's kindergarten to Grade 4 arts and social studies curriculum remove all references to residential schools because it's "too sad" for young children. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Advisers suggest Alberta students not learn about residential schools before Grade 4

Documents suggest children younger than Grade 4 are too emotionally vulnerable to learn about residential schools

File photo
RCMP’s response to online discussions about anti-racism demonstrations

Ponoka RCMP Staff Sgt.’s comments misattributed online

Shaelynn Decock and her dog Taco, who has been missing since Aug. 26. Photo Submitted
Sylvan Lake woman looking for closure for her stolen dog

Shaelynn Decock says it has been two months since she last saw her dog Taco

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

Most Read