Thursday, March 20, 2014

Three V-Reds Recognized At CIS Awards Gala

SASKATOON (CIS) – Liam Heelis, a third-year forward from Acadia University, was named the CIS player of the year in men’s hockey, Wednesday night.

The Georgetown, Ont., native became the second Axemen player in three seasons and the fourth in program history to claim the Senator Joseph A. Sullivan Trophy. He follows in the footsteps of forwards Andrew Clark (2012), Kevin Baker (2006) and Duane Dennis (1994).

Other winners announced during the SaskTel All-Canadian Presentation at TCU Place in Saskatoon were McGill rearguard Ryan McKiernan, who was named CIS defenceman of the year; Calgary netminder Jacob DeSerres, selected as the country’s best goaltender; Queen’s goalie Kevin Bailie, who received the Clare Drake Award as rookie of the year; UNB forward Chris Culligan, who claimed the R.W. Pugh Award as the nation’s most sportsmanlike player; Queen’s head coach Brett Gibson, who captured the Father George Kehoe Memorial Award; and Alberta defenceman Ben Lindemulder, who merited the Dr. Randy Gregg Award recognizing his excellence in hockey, academics and community involvement.

The PotashCorp University Cup presented by Co-op gets under way on Thursday at the Credit Union Centre and culminates Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Local Time (3:30 p.m. Eastern) with the gold-medal final, live on Sportsnet.

Sportsnet also has live coverage of the last two contests of the preliminary round, Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., on Sportsnet 360. All seven games from the six-team tournament will also be webcast live on

SENATOR JOSEPH A. SULLIVAN TROPHY (player of the year): Liam Heelis, Acadia

Heelis is the third straight AUS player – and sixth in the past seven years - to win the Sullivan Trophy. Saint Mary’s forward Lucas Bloodoff was the recipient last season.

The six-foot-one, 195-pound sniper exploded in his third university season as he won the AUS scoring title with 42 points, including a CIS-leading 24 goals, in only 26 league games, a significant improvement from his 10-12-22 mark as a sophomore a year ago. A terrific special teams player, he tied for the CIS lead with four short-handed markers and was second in the Atlantic conference with seven power play goals. He also potted three game-winners and ranked second in the Maritimes with 117 shots.

Thanks in large part to his stellar play, the Axemen took second place in the ultra-competitive AUS conference with a 21-4-3 record and were ranked in the top five nationally for most of the season.
A former OHL player with Owen Sound and Peterborough, Heelis has now accumulated 86 career points in 81 regular season games with the Axemen. Last December, the arts major played an integral part as a team of AUS standouts claimed gold for Canada at the FISU Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy.

“We are extremely proud of Liam’s accomplishments, not only on the ice this year, but as a leader in the community 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.”

The other finalists for the Sullivan Trophy were forwards Zach Harnden of Western and Derek Hulak of Saskatchewan.


McKiernan, who hails from White Plains, NY, brings the defenceman-of-the-year trophy back to McGill for the third time in the five-year existence of the award. Former Redmen standout Marc-André Dorion was the inaugural recipient in 2010 and merited the honour again in 2012.

McKiernan, a 24-year-old finance senior, led the Redmen in points, was 14th in the national scoring race and led all CIS rearguards with 34 points - including 13 goals - six points better than the next closest defender. The six-foot, 193-pound alternate captain tallied four power-play goals, one shorthanded effort and a game-winner while collecting only 11 minor penalties. He either scored or assisted on 26.7 per cent of his team’s goals in league play.

A three-time Academic All-Canadian who is also fluent in French, McKiernan was also a key cog on a squad that had the fourth-best defensive record in the OUA league and 10th best in the nation with a 2.52 goals-against average.

“Ryan is a charismatic, mature and confident young man who is an outstanding student,” said Kelly Nobes, head coach of the Redmen. “Despite being from another country, he has adopted the bilingual culture of Quebec with open arms, has learned French and communicates well with his teammates. On the ice, he has played a major role along our blue line since joining the Redmen and has been a major contributor to our success. A key component on our power-play and penalty-killing units, Ryan also excels in even-strength situations. He is a physically strong defenceman, skates well, possesses a great shot and plays with a controlled mean streak.”

UPEI’s Reginaldo Traccitto and Alberta’s Jordan Rowley were also in the running for the award.

GOALTENDER OF THE YEAR: Jacob DeSerres, Calgary

DeSerres follows in the footsteps of former teammate Dustin Butler and becomes the fifth-straight Canada West puck stopper to win the CIS goaltender of the year award since it was first presented in 2010.

DeSerres, a third-year arts student, played 17 conference games for the Dinos, allowing just 35 goals for a 2.15 goals-against average. He finished the year with a sparkling 13-2-2 record, a .914 save percentage and a trio of shutouts. The Calgary native’s 13 wins were the second-highest by a goaltender in the Canada West regular season, while his goals-against average and save percentage both ranked third.

The six-foot-two, 190-pound goalie, who backstopped Saint John to the 2011 Memorial Cup title, was the Canada West-WHL Graduate of the Month for November 2013 when he went 5-0-1 with a 0.67 goals-against average and three shutouts.

“Jake is very deserving of this award,” said Calgary head coach Mark Howell. “He has been consistent from start to finish this year, has played tremendous hockey and helped us win games. He has been a leader and one of the best goaltenders in the league, and it’s fitting that he receives this recognition.”

The other nominees for top-goalie honours were Evan Mosher of Acadia and Kevin Bailie of Queen’s.

CLARE DRAKE AWARD (rookie of the year): Kevin Bailie, Queen’s

Bailie, a six-foot-three arts & science student from Belleville, Ont., was vital to the Gaels resurgence this season. He is the first Queen’s player to receive the Clare Drake Award since its inception in 1986.

After spending five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and one year with the Summerside Western Capitals in the Maritime Junior Hockey League, where he was named top goaltender at the RBC Cup, Bailie found his way to Queen’s ready to take over the starter’s role after the graduation of all-Canadian netminder Riley Whitlock.

The rookie was dominant from the start and posted a goals against average of 1.98 and a save percentage of .934 in 20 league games, which were good for third and second, respectively, among CIS goalies. He also collected a pair of shutouts among his 11 wins.

Bailie lifted his team to a 17-6-5 regular season and a fourth-place finish in the tight OUA East division race. Thanks in large part to his efforts, the Gaels improved by seven wins over last year and allowed an OUA-low 57 goals, 10 fewer than any other team. The team also broke into the CIS Top 10 for the first time in 30 years and tied the program record for wins in a season.

“Kevin is a true professional in every essence of the word. His preparation and focus are as high as any player I have ever coached,” said Queen’s coach Brett Gibson. “It was extremely comforting going into every game knowing he was back there for us and that just motivated every other player on the ice in each game to play their best.”

Forwards Philippe Maillet of UNB and Christopher Collins of Calgary were also nominated for the Clare Drake Award.

R.W. PUGH AWARD (most sportsmanlike player): Chris Culligan, UNB

A two-time winner of the AUS most sportsmanlike player and recipient of the Don Wells Trophy, Culligan is the first UNB Varsity Red to win the distinction at the CIS level.

A second-year team captain, the Howie Centre, N.S., native tied for 10th in the country with 17 goals and ranked 11th with 40 points in his fifth and final campaign with the V-Reds, while receiving only 16 penalty minutes in 28 games. His +21 rating was also the second best in the Atlantic conference
UNB’s third all-time leading scorer with 171 career points in 133 regular season contest, the two-time University Cup champion captained Canada to gold at the Winter Universiade last December in Italy, where a team of AUS all-stars wore the Maple Leaf. Culligan joined the V-Reds in 2009-10 after a five-year QMJHL career with Cape Breton.

“Chris has been a terrific 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 in the AUS and had a career-best season in helping achieve this feat.”

Forwards Steven Reese of Western and Sean Ringrose of Alberta were also up for the Pugh Award.

FATHER GEORGE KEHOE MEMORIAL AWARD (coach of the year): Brett Gibson, Queen’s

A two-time OUA East coach of the year, Gibson from Gananoque, Ont., is the first Queen’s bench boss to receive the Kehoe Award.

In his ninth season behind the bench, Gibson guided the Gaels to a fourth-place finish in the tough OUA East division with a 17-6-5 mark. Remarkably, the team’s first regulation loss came 18 games into the schedule, in the 2014 calendar year. Thanks to a 12-0-5 start, Queen’s got back into the national Top 10 rankings for the first time since the 1982-83 campaign, reaching as high as No.7.

Gibson’s squad allowed an OUA-low 57 goals in league play, only three more than nationally top-ranked Alberta, and posted 17 wins to tie the program record for a single season. The team was also tops in the country in save percentage (.934) and fewest shorthanded situations (91), while it allowed the third fewest power-play goals in CIS on the year.

“Successful teams are led by great coaches and our men’s hockey program has benefited tremendously from Brett’s vision, energy and expertise,” said Leslie Dal Cin, Queen’s director of athletics and recreation. “We had a fantastic season in 2013-14, which is a testament to Brett’s leadership and ability to combine the talents of his outstanding group of student-athletes, assistant coaches and support staff to pursue a common goal. We can also point to many “wins” off the ice as well through Brett’s efforts to support his athletes in their academic success and through initiatives that build community leadership and alumni engagement.”

Acadia’s Darren Burns and Calgary’s Mark Howell were also in the running for coach-of-the-year honours.

DR. RANDY GREGG AWARD (hockey, academics & community service): Ben Lindemulder, Alberta

The Dr. Randy Gregg Award is going to a member of his alma mater, the University of Alberta Golden Bears, for the eighth time in program history.

Lindemulder is in his fifth and final season of CIS eligibility, his fourth with the Bears after he spent one campaign playing for Northern Michigan University in the NCAA. The Edmonton product is widely regarded as one of the best skaters in CIS hockey and may have a North American pro hockey career waiting for him after his university days are over, as he impressed during the Edmonton Oilers rookie camp last summer.

In 27 league games this season, the senior defenceman tied his career high with 13 points, including nine assists, while also finishing with a career best +19 rating. He is in his second season as an assistant captain and has been a key factor in Alberta leading CIS in fewest goals against (54) and finishing second in penalty killing efficiency (90.4%).

A three-time CIS Academic All-Canadian, Lindemulder is a graduate student currently working on obtaining his Masters degree, after earning a Bachelor’s degree with distinction in 2012. He is also heavily involved in the community, where he has taught balance classes for senior citizens at the Bow River Senior Citizens Lodge and weight training classes for junior high students at Edmonton Christmas School during the 2013-14 school year. He has also volunteered his time to help run the Golden Bears hockey alumni annual peewee tournament, and served an instructor for the Edmonton Oilers during their 2013 summer hockey school.

“Ben is a very dedicated student-athlete,” said Bears bench boss Ian Herbers. “Not only is he an assistant captain on our team and a leader on the ice in all situations, but he leads by example off the ice by excelling academically and in helping those in the community. He represents the finest qualities of the Golden Bears hockey program.”

Brock’s Matt Abercrombie and StFX’s Murdock MacLellan were also nominated for the Dr. Gregg Award.

First Team Pos. - Athlete - University - Year - Hometown  - Faculty
G Jacob DeSerres  Calgary  3 Calgary, Alta.  Arts
D Ryan McKiernan McGill  4 White Plains, NY Finance
D Jordan Rowley  Alberta  3 Edmonton, Alta. Business
F Liam Heelis  Acadia  3 Georgetown, Ont. Arts
F Derek Hulak  Saskatchewan 4 Saskatoon, Sask. Business
F Zach Harnden  Western 3 Thunder Bay, Ont. Business

Second Team
G Evan Mosher  Acadia  3 Conception Bay South, Nfld. Arts
D Reginaldo Traccitto UPEI  4 Oakville, Ont.  Arts
D Kenneth Peroff  Guelph  4 Astorville, Ont.  Geography
F Chris Culligan  UNB  5 Howie Centre, N.S. Rec. in Sports Science
F Jamie Wise  Ryerson 2 Stouffville, Ont.  Arts
F Sean Ringrose  Alberta  5 Edmonton, Alta. PE & Recreation

All-Rookie Team
G Kevin Bailie  Queen’s 1 Belleville, Ont.  Arts & Science
D Jordan Murray  UNB  1 Riverview, N.B. Kinesiology
D Drydn Dow  Calgary  1 Calgary, Alta.  Arts
F Philippe Maillet  UNB  1 Terrebonne, Que. UGND
F Christopher Collins Calgary  1 Calgary, Alta.  Arts
F Domenic Alberga Ryerson 1 Maple, Ont.  Public Admin.