by Earl Zukerman, McGill Athletics
MONTREAL -- Nathan Chiarlitti, team captain of the McGill University men's hockey team, has earned Google Cloud Academic All-America honours. The award, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, recognizes the top student-athletes in the USA and Canada, for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom.
The 26-year-old native of Maple, Ont., becomes only the sixth athlete in McGill history to merit Academic All-America status, joining hockey player Cedric McNicoll (2015), football players Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (2013), J.P. Veri (1991) and Bruno Pietrobon (1987), as well as basketball star Willie Hinz (1983), who went on to become a Rhodes scholar.
Chiarlitti, who recently signed with the Sydney Ice Dogs of the Australian Ice Hockey League, is currently enrolled in a master's degree in exercise physiology with the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education. He achieved a lofty grade-point average of 3.91 (out of 4), was a two-time Academic All-Canadian and twice made the Principal's Student-athlete Honour Roll.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound defenceman joins swimmer Josh Zakala from the University of Victoria on the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America second-team and they were only two U SPORTS athletes selected on the men's side of the at-large category in the College Division, which recognizes student-athletes from Canadian institutions, the American-based NAIA conference and all two-year collegiate programs. The at-large category comprises the sports of fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, swimming and diving, tennis, water polo for both men and women; bowling, crew and field hockey for women; and volleyball and wrestling for men.
The women's at-large honorees featured three U SPORTS athletes, all from the Victoria Vikes. Rower Judith Beestermoeller and field hockey player Lindsay Cole were named to the first team, while golfer Quinn Fitzgerald was a second-team pick.
The men's at-large team produced an average GPA of 3.94 with the first team combining for an average of 3.97. The honorees include 11 student-athletes with 4.0 GPA and three graduate students. The women's side produced a 3.97 average with the first team combining for 3.99. That group includes 13 student-athletes with a GPA of 4.0 or higher.
In his fifth and final year of eligibility after transferring to McGill in 2016 from St.FX, Chiarlitti scored 16 points in 28 regular season games and had only eight penalty minutes. A four-time all-star at the university level -- twice in the AUS, twice in the OUA -- he was named as the OUA conference nominee for the Randy Gregg Award, which recognizes a U SPORTS hockey player for combining academics with leadership and citizenship. He previously won the national award with Acadia in 2015-16.
Prior to joining the university ranks, Chiarlitti played junior in the OHL with Owen Sound and had an NHL tryout with Arizona. He began his university career with St. Francis Xavier, where he was a two-time AUS second-team all-star. After graduating a bachelor's degree, he transferred to McGill in 2016, earned second-team all-conference honours in his two campaigns with the Redmen.
Last December, Chiarlitti played for the U SPORTS all-stars in a two-game series against the Canadian junior hopefuls in preparation for the IIHF world junior championship. The previous year, he was picked to play for Canada at the World University Games in Kazakhstan, where he served as an alternate captain and helped lead the team to a bronze medal. In June of 2017, he won the Prix d'excellence Guy Lafleur as the Quebec university player who best combines hockey with academic excellence and citizenship. Five months later, he received the Jean Béliveau Award, which recognizes the most outstanding student-athletes at McGill for leadership in the community.