Wednesday, March 5, 2014

AUS Awards, All-Stars Announced: Maillet, Culligan, Murray Honoured

(HALIFAX, N.S.) - Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2013-14 AUS men's hockey major award winners and all-stars as selected by the conference's eight head coaches following regular season play.

Third-year Acadia forward Liam Heelis of Georgetown, Ont. was named the Atlantic University Sport most valuable player.

Other AUS major award winners announced today were UNB's Philippe Maillet of Terrabone, Que., who was named rookie of the year; UNB's Chris Culligan of Howie Centre, N.S., who was selected as the most sportsmanlike player; StFX's Murdock MacLellan of Mabou, N.S. who earned the Godfrey award for student-athlete community service; and Acadia head coach Darren Burns, who was named the AUS coach of the year for the third time in his career.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER (Kelly Trophy): Liam Heelis, Acadia

The Atlantic University Sport men's hockey most valuable player is Liam Heelis of the Acadia Axemen.

Heelis, a third-year forward from Georgetown, Ont., led the CIS in goals this season with 24. He led the AUS conference in scoring with 42 points in 26 games played. Also named a first team all-star today, he had an AUS-leading four short-handed goals and was second in power-play goals with seven. He also boasted the second most shots with 117.

He becomes the fifth Acadia player to claim the Kelly Trophy since 1979-80 and the second league MVP from the Axemen program in the past three seasons.

In three seasons of university hockey, Heelis, a former player with the OHL's Owen Sound Attack and Peterborough Petes, has now accumulated 86 career points in 81 regular season games played.
Heelis played an integral part in the Axemen's journey to the 2014 Subway AUS men's hockey championship finals. In Game 1 of the semifinal series versus the Moncton Aigles Bleus, he posted four points (one goal and three assists) and earned Subway First Star of the Game honours. In Game 2, Heelis scored a hat trick to jump start and complete a 6-5 comeback by the Axemen from a 4-0 deficit. Acadia ultimately took the series 3-1 to earn their place in this week's championship final series versus the Saint Mary's Huskies.

"We are extremely proud of Liam's accomplishments, not only on the ice this year, but as a leader in the community here at Acadia," said Axemen head coach Darren Burns. "His determination, leadership and commitment as a person showed every day in practice and in games, enabling him to be a very dominant player for our team this year. I would be hard pressed to say that I have witnessed a player improve as much as Liam has in the AUS. His outstanding season was no doubt instrumental in our team's success."

Heelis will now represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the CIS's Senator Joseph A. Sullivan trophy as the nation's top player.

The Atlantic conference has claimed five of the past six CIS player of the year awards, with Saint Mary's Lucas Bloodoff as the most recent recipient last season.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (A.J. MacAdam Trophy): Philippe Maillet, UNB

The Atlantic conference rookie of the year and recipient of the A.J. MacAdam Trophy for 2013-14 is UNB Varsity Reds forward Philippe Maillet.

In just his first year with the UNB program, Maillet, a native of Terrabone, Que., played in 26 games for the Varsity Reds, finishing first in team scoring and third overall in the AUS with 41 points.
He had the third most goals in the conference this season with 16 and the second most assists with 25.

"Phil was a welcome addition to our team and he made an immediate impact on our top line in helping a youthful UNB squad with twelve new members finish first in the AUS standings," said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "He is a dynamic player with high-end offensive talents but is also one of the top penalty killers in the AUS and was one of our most improved players throughout the season."

Maillet, who played four seasons with the QMJHL's Victoriaville Tigers before joining the Varsity Reds, becomes the ninth UNB player to be named the conference's top rookie. However, it is the first win for the Varsity Reds since 2007-08 when former UNB standout Hunter Tremblay took home the honours.

He will now look to become the third UNB player to be selected as the CIS rookie of the year later this month. Former Varsity Reds Kevin Young and Ryan Lindsay took home the national honour in 2003-04 amd 1997-98 respectively. The most recent player from the Atlantic conference to earn the award was StFX's Jason Bast in 2010-11.

COACH OF THE YEAR (Bob Boucher Trophy): Darren Burns, Acadia

In his 13th season as head coach, Darren Burns has been selected by his peers as the 2013-14 AUS coach of the year for the third time in his career.

Burns guided the CIS No. 2-ranked Axemen to a 21-4-3 regular season record this year and a second-place finish in the Atlantic conference standings with 45 points. His 21 regular season wins were the most in his career and the highest total by an Acadia coach since 1996-97 when Mark Hanneman led the Axemen to a 21-6-1 finish.

Burns, a captain in his senior year as a player with the Axemen, is the third-longest serving coach in the AUS. Since taking over the Acadia hockey program in 2001-02, he has led the Axemen to an AUS crown (2005-06), claimed a CIS coach of the year award (2004-05) and served as an assistant coach of the AUS team that represented Canada and won gold at the 2007 Winter World University Games in Turin, Italy.

This is Burns' third AUS coach of the year award. His overall coaching record (regular season, AUS and CIS post-season play) now stands at 206-189-12. He picked up his 200th career victory this past January in a win over StFX.

"My life's been in hockey and the job Darren's done this year is as good as it gets," said Acadia athletic director Kevin Dickie. "He has always had a unique ability to blend and maximize the potential of skilled and role players, to build a successful team. This season was special in that regard. Burnsy loves Acadia and coaching the Axemen, and in turn our campus and community are fortunate to have him."

Burns, Hanneman, Tom Coolen and Don Wells are the only Acadia head coaches to be named AUS coach of the year. Burns and Coolen are the only Acadia head coaches to win the Father George Kehoe Memorial Award as the CIS coach of the year. Burns took home the CIS award in 2004-05 while Coolen was named the nation's top coach in 1992-93 and 1994-95.

MOST SPORTSMANLIKE PLAYER (Don Wells Trophy): Chris Culligan, UNB

UNB forward Chris Culligan has been chosen as the Atlantic University Sport most sportsmanlike player and recipient of the Don Wells Trophy for the second consecutive season.

Culligan, a fifth-year forward from Howie Centre, N.S., finished second in the AUS in goals this season with 17 and fourth overall in points with 40. His +21 plus/minus rating was the second best in the Atlantic conference.

In five season with the Varsity Reds, he has racked up 171 career points in 133 regular season games.
Culligan, the team captain, often receives a significant amount of attention from opposing teams as one of the league's top players, yet he remains disciplined, picking up just eight minor penalties this season.

"Chris has been the ultimate leader and sportsman during his five years at UNB," said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "He is the ultimate competitor and plays the game the right way on a consistent basis. He helped lead our team to a seventh straight first-place finish and had a career best season in helping achieve this feat."

Culligan is the third Varsity Reds player to receive this award. Dax MacLean (1997-98) and Peter MacKellar (1999-00) are the previous UNB players to have been recognized. A UNB player has yet to take home the R. W. Pugh Award as the CIS's most sportsmanlike player.


StFX's Murdock MacLellan is the 2013-14 Atlantic conference recipient of the Godfrey Award and is nominated for the prestigious Dr. Randy Gregg award. The Godfrey Award, named after Dr. Bill Godfrey, is 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.

MacLellan, a fifth-year science student from Mabou, N.S., is a member of the StFX Leadership Academy's Leadership 360 program and is the X-Men hockey representative for the Student-Athlete Leadership Team (SALT).

He is involved with the 'Best Buddies' program, volunteering with individuals with special needs through the Canadian Association for Community Living. He also participates in the CACL Classic, an annual hockey game fundraiser for the organization.

MacLellan is a volunteer coach with the weekly Antigonish Minor Hockey novice advanced program. He is active with the StFX athletics X-Out Bullying program and he represented StFX student-athletes at the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (known informally as 'White Ribbon Day').

The 2012-13 X-Men hockey team captain was also the 2013 winner of the StFX athletics Male Community X-Cellence award, given each year to a male and female student-athlete in recognition of extensive community involvement, volunteer experience and extra-curricular contributions.

"Murdock exemplifies everything this award is about," said X-Men head coach Brad Peddle. "He is the leader of our team and is a tremendous person. He has consistently defied odds and exceeded expectations to get where he is today. His work ethic sets the bar for every one of his teammates and consistently holds players to it."

MacLellan appeared in 26 games for the X-Men this season and contributed seven points, including a short-handed goal.

"He is our top defensive forward and can be counted on for important on-ice minutes," said Peddle of his play. "He is our most valuable penalty killer due to his understanding of the game, and is willing to block shots, eat pucks or do whatever it takes to win."

MacLellan is the seventh StFX player to take home the honour and the first since Pat Grandmaitre earned the title in 2004-05.

He now becomes the AUS nominee for the Dr. Randy Gregg Award for the most outstanding CIS student-athlete. X-Men head coach Brad Peddle is the most recent StFX winner of the national award. He took home the honours as a player in 1998-99.

UPEI's Jordan Knox was the recipient of the Dr. Randy Gregg Award last season.


The Atlantic University Sport first and second team all-stars were also announced today, along with this year's all-rookie team.

First Team All-Stars:
Goaltender - Evan Mosher, Acadia (3rd year - Conception Bay South, N.L.)
Defense - Reggie Traccitto, UPEI (4th year - Oakville, Ont.)
Defense - Chris Owens, Acadia (4th year - St. John's, N.L.)
Forward - Liam Heelis, Acadia (3rd year - Georgetown, Ont.)
Forward - Chris Culligan, UNB (5th year - Howie Centre, N.S.)
Forward - Mike Cazzola, Acadia (2nd year - Guelph, Ont.)

Second Team All-Stars:
Goaltender - Wayne Savage, UPEI (4th year - St. Thomas, Ont.)
Defense - Jordan Murray, UNB (1st year - Riverview, N.B.)
Defense - Jamie Doornbosch, Saint Mary's (3rd year - Richmond Hill, Ont.)
Forward - Eric Faille, Moncton (4th year - Lachine, Que.)
Forward - Phillippe Maillet, UNB (1st year - Terrabonne, Que.)
Forward - Chris Desousa, UPEI (3rd year - Mississauga, Ont.)

All-Rookie Team:
Goaltender - Brandon Glover, Acadia (Victoria, B.C.)
Defense - Jordan Murray, UNB (Riverview, N.B.)
Defense - Geoff Schemitsch, Acadia (Thornhill, B.C.)
Forward - Phillippe Maillet, UNB (Terrabonne, Que.)
Forward - Steven Beyers, Saint Mary's (Orangeville, Ont.)
Forward - Allain Saulnier, Moncton (Cap-Pelé, N.B.)