CALGARY - Ann-Sophie Bettez and Marc-André Dorion, two hockey players from McGill University, were among the eight finalists introduced at the BLG trustees luncheon in Calgary, Sunday. The winners of the 20th Annual BLG Awards, presented to the CIS female and male athletes of the year, will be announced on Monday night.
The BLG Awards, sponsored by national law firm Borden Ladner Gervais were established in 1993 to recognize the top athletes from universities affiliated with CIS.
On April 30, the eight national nominees will be honoured, with one female and one male winner receiving a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship in front of more than 1,000 guests at the EPCOR Centre's Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary. The gala gets under way at 7:30 p.m. Mountain Daylight Savings Time.
The awards show will premiere on TSN on Saturday, May 26, at 1:30 p.m. EDT.
The Bettez-Dorion tandem marks the 16th time in the two-decade history of the BLG Awards and the second time in McGill history that two nominees came from the same institution. The previous occurrence involving McGill athletes took place in 2000 when forward Mathieu Darche, currently with the Montreal Canadiens, and track star Sarah Ali-Khan both merited the honour.
An institution with double nominees in the same year has produced a winning candidate five times (1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2000).
Other double occurences took place in 2007 (Dalhousie); in 2004 (Dalhousie); in 2001 (Regina); in 2000 (Winnipeg and Alberta); in 1999 (Regina); in 1998 (UBC); in 1997 (Manitoba); in 1996 (Winnipeg and Calgary); in 1995 (Manitoba and Calgary); in 1994 (Winnipeg) and in 1993 (Winnipeg).
McGill leads all CIS institutions with 17 nominees lifetime, nine of them women, in 20 years who have earned a conference nomination for the BLG Awards. Among the previous McGill nominees was Randy Chevrier (2001), a long-snapper and defensive lineman with the Calgary Stampeders, who also played in the NFL with Dallas and Cincinnati. Two McGill students have won the award, namely Olympic goaltender Kim St. Pierre in 2003 and distance runner Dr. Linda Thyer in 1995.
"We are extremely excited to be hosting the 20th Anniversary of the BLG Awards in Calgary," said Doug Mitchell, national co-chair of BLG. "We continue to be amazed by the talents and accomplishments of these outstanding athletes. Each year, as we follow the past winners and hear about their accomplishments or what they are involved in, we realize how important their university sports background has been to them. We congratulate the universities who have provided the great education and athletic programs for these students to succeed in their careers."
"The BLG Awards is the event we look most forward to all year long," said Marg McGregor, chief executive officer of CIS. "With over 10,000 student-athletes competing in CIS, the BLG Awards highlight eight exceptional individuals and we are extremely proud of their accomplishments and unrelenting pursuit of excellence."
The other finalists joining Bettez as 2012 nominees for the Jim Thompson Trophy presented to the female BLG Award recipient are Tyson Beukeboom of Uxbridge, Ont., a rugby player from St. Francis Xavier University; Jacey Murphy of Alliston, Ont., a rugby player from the University of Guelph; and Robyn Pendleton of Victoria, a field hockey player from the University of British Columbia.
Finalists accomanying Dorion for the Doug Mitchell Trophy presented to the CIS male athlete of the year are Andrew Clark of Brandon, Man., a hockey player from Acadia University; Kyle Quinlan of South Woodslee, Ont., a football player from McMaster University; and Ben Ball of Abbottsford, B.C., a volleyball player from Trinity Western University.
Detailed profiles of Bettez and Dorion are included below.
The BLG Awards are based on athletic accomplishments, outstanding sportsmanship and leadership. Each of the 52 CIS schools selects one female and one male athlete of the year. From these nominees, one female and one male athlete are chosen within each of the four regional associations: Atlantic University Sport (AUS), Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ), Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CWUAA). To be eligible, a student-athlete must have competed in a CIS sport for a minimum of two years and cannot be a previous recipient of a BLG Award.
All nominees receive a commemorative gold ring and winners are presented with a trophy and a $10,000 scholarship to attend a Canadian university graduate school. Winners are selected by the Canadian Athletic Foundation, a not-for-profit board established for the purpose of administering the BLG Awards and protecting the integrity of the selection process. The CAF Board of Trustees consists of 21 members from five Canadian cities representing major corporations from across the country who are committed to ensuring that Canadian university athletes receive the recognition they deserve.
Past BLG Award Winners:
2010-11: Jessica Clemençon (Windsor - basketball) / Tyson Hinz (Carleton - basketball)
2009-10: Liz Cordonier (UBC - volleyball) / Erik Glavic (Calgary - football)
2008-09: Annamay Pierse (UBC - swimming) / Joel Schmuland (Alberta - volleyball)
2007-08: Laetitia Tchoualack (Montreal - volleyball) / Rob
Hennigar (UNB - hockey)
2006-07: Jessica Zelinka (Calgary - track & field) / Josh Howatson (Trinity Western - volleyball)
2005-06: Marylène Laplante (Laval - volleyball) / Osvaldo Jeanty (Carleton - basketball)
2004-05: Adrienne Power (Dalhousie - track & field) / Jesse Lumsden (McMaster - football)
2003-04: Joanna Niemczewska (Calgary - volleyball) / Adam Ens (Saskatchewan - volleyball)
2002-03: Kim St-Pierre (McGill - hockey) / Ryan McKenzie (Windsor - cross country & track)
2001-02: Elizabeth Warden (Toronto - swimming) / Brian Johns (UBC - swimming)
2000-01: Leighann Doan (Calgary - basketball) / Kojo Aidoo (McMaster - football)
1999-00: Jenny Cartmell (Alberta - volleyball) / Michael Potts (Western Ontario - soccer)
1998-99: Corinne Swirsky (Concordia - hockey) / Alexandre Marchand (Sherbrooke - track)
1997-98: Foy Williams (Toronto - track & field) / Titus Channer (McMaster - basketball)
1996-97: Terri-Lee Johannesson (Manitoba - basketball) / Curtis Myden (Calgary - swimming)
1995-96: Justine Ellison (Toronto - basketball) / Don Blair (Calgary - football)
1994-95: Linda Thyer (McGill - track & field) / Bill Kubas (Wilfrid Laurier - football)
1993-94: Sandra Carroll (Winnipeg - basketball) / Tim Tindale (Western Ontario - football)
1992-93: Diane Scott (Winnipeg - volleyball) / Andy Cameron (Calgary - volleyball)
2012 FEMALE BLG AWARD NOMINEE (Jim Thompson Trophy)
Year of eligibility: 5
Academic program: Public Relations Diploma
Hometown: Sept-Iles, Que.
When he recruited Ann-Sophie Bettez out of Dawson College back in 2007, McGill head coach Peter Smith knew he was adding a special player to his roster for the next five seasons. But did he really know she was THAT good?
Bettez, a 5-foot-4 forward from Sept-Iles, Que., wrapped up her record-setting university career this winter with the highest individual honour in CIS women's hockey, the Brodrick Trophy presented to the most outstanding player in the country. It was the latest of countless individual and team awards that the two-time conference MVP and scoring leader has received during her five campaigns with the Martlets, including CIS rookie of the year, five selections as a first-team Quebec all-star, five nods as a CIS all-Canadian (three on the first squad), five RSEQ championships and as many appearances at the CIS tournament, including three national titles, one silver and one bronze.
Prior to her arrival on the Montreal downtown campus, the Martlets had never claimed the CIS banner.
"She is a coach's dream -- keeps it simple, plays an uncomplicated style of game and brings a great combination of skill and grit. She is the hardest worker on a team full of hard workers and I hold her work ethic up as the standard for the young players on our team to strive for," says Smith, who served seven years with the national women's program and was an assistant coach on the squad that won Olympic gold in 2010. "Her growth and development as a player, student and person has been incredible."
In her fifth and final CIS season, Bettez, who graduated last year with a bachelor of commerce degree and is currently working towards a public relations diploma, finished second in RSEQ scoring with 37 points in 20 league games before adding 13 points in eight playoff contests. She is McGill's all-time leader in goals (85), assists (87) and points (172) in 91 regular season matches and also owns the team's overall records in all three categories with 148-175-323 in 196 career games.
The 24-year-old has also enjoyed success on the international stage over the years. Back in 2009, she helped the Canadian under-22 squad capture gold at the MLP Nations Cup in Germany and then guided the national senior team to a silver-medal finish at the IIHF world championship in Finland. In 2011, she once again triumphed with the Maple Leaf jersey on her back, this time claiming gold with a group of CIS all-stars at the Winter Universiade in Turkey.
Ontario University Athletics (OUA)
2012 MALE BLG AWARD NOMINEE (Doug Mitchell Trophy)
Year of eligibility: 4
Academic program: Physical & Health Education
Hometown: St. Hubert, Que.
The McGill's men's hockey team has apparently become a farm club for the BLG Awards. Or at least it appears that way, as defenceman Marc-André Dorion's nomination in 2012 marks the third straight year a member of the Redmen is in the running for CIS' highest individual honour, following forwards Francis Verreault-Paul (2010) and Alexandre Picard-Hooper (2011).
We will probably never know if the BLG Awards had anything to do with it, but the talented trio was at the forefront of one of the greatest accomplishments in the storied history of athletics at McGill, in late March at Fredericton. As the CIS University Cup championship was celebrating its 50th anniversary, it seemed only fitting that the Redmen, the oldest hockey team in the world, captured their first-ever national title, in their 136th season, thanks to a thrilling 4-3 overtime win against Western. Following the final, Dorion, Picard-Hooper and Verreault-Paul were all named tournament all-stars, with the latter earning MVP honours.
Hoisting the University Cup was the crowning moment of Dorion's remarkable university career. Prior to the national tourney, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound rearguard was voted MVP of the OUA East division, CIS defenceman of year for the second time in three seasons and a first-team all-Canadian for the third straight campaign. Over his four years, the alternate captain and physical education major guided McGill to three conference titles, four trips to the CIS championship and two appearances in the University Cup final. He will graduate as the highest-scoring blueliner in school history with a 38-154-192 record in 174 games overall.
In 2011-12, Dorion topped all CIS defencemen with 39 points in 28 league games, a tally that was good enough for seventh place in the CIS scoring race. He became the first rearguard in history to lead the Redmen in scoring. Perhaps his most impressive statistic however was that he was assessed only four penalty minutes in 38 regular and post-season matches, a remarkable accomplishment for a defenceman.
Of course, Dorion's success with the Redmen came as no surprise to hockey observers. After all, the veteran of five QMJHL seasons has received NHL tryouts with Dallas, Phoenix and Toronto over the years. He recently signed a two-year contract to play for EHC Linz, the reigning champions of the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, the top league in Austria.
"Marc-André is an elite CIS defenceman who excels at both ends of the ice. He's also an outstanding student and a well-respected leader within our team," says McGill bench boss Kelly Nobes about his team MVP, who was honoured by CIS last fall as one of the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians in the country.
Official website: www.blg.com/blgawards
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For further information, please contact:
McGill Athletics & Recreation
Manager, Communications & Media Relations
Canadian Interuniversity Sport
Cell: (613) 447-6334
Media Relations Consultant
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Cell: (403) 850-2485