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Liz Knox will represent Wilfrid Laurier University and the OUA at the BLG awards
Liz Knox will represent Wilfrid Laurier University and the OUA at the BLG awards
Knox to represent Laurier at BLG awards
OTTAWA (CIS) – Canadian Interuniversity Sport and national business law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) announced Wednesday the eight finalists for the 18th Annual BLG Awards.

Golden Hawk netminder Liz Knox, from Stouffville, Ont., will represent Wilfrid Laurier University at the BLG awards. As the schools President’s award winner she was selected to represent the OUA at the national awards gala. Previous award nominees from Laurier include Cindy Eadie in 2005 and Alison Goodman in 2004. All of Laurier’s female nominees have been members of the women’s hockey program.  Bill Kubas, a football player, won the award in 1995.

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The BLG Awards were established in 1993 to recognize the top female and male athletes from universities affiliated with CIS.

On Monday, April 26, 2010, 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 BLG guests at EPCOR Centre’s Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary.

The awards show will premiere on TSN on Sunday, May 16, at 11 a.m. EDT.

“We are delighted to recognize these outstanding student-athletes along with our clients and guests at the 18th Annual BLG Awards that will again be hosted by our Calgary office,” said Doug Mitchell, National Co-Chairman, BLG LLP. “Our goal in hosting these Awards is not only to focus attention on the importance of athletics at Canadian universities, but also to shine a spotlight on the exceptional athletes produced right here in Canada.”

“The BLG Awards are a highlight of the university sport calendar year,” said Marg McGregor, CIS Chief Executive Officer. “The BLGs honour the achievements of eight exceptional student-athletes. They celebrate excellence and showcase student-athletes who inspire us with their impressive accomplishments.”

The other 2010 nominees for the Jim Thompson Trophy presented to the female BLG Award recipient are Cape Breton basketball player Kelsey Hodgson of Fredericton, Montreal soccer player Véronique Maranda of Saint-Lambert, Que., as well as UBC volleyball player Liz Cordonier of Vancouver.

The finalists for the Doug Mitchell Trophy presented to the CIS male athlete of the year are UNB hockey player Hunter Tremblay of Timmins, Ont., McGill hockey player Francis Verreault-Paul of Mashteuiatsh, Que., Western Ontario football player Michael Faulds of Eden Mills, Ont., and Calgary football player Erik Glavic of Pickering, Ont.

The BLG Awards are based on athletic accomplishments, outstanding sportsmanship and leadership. Each of 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), Quebec Student Sports Federation (QSSF), 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.

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 22 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

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)

2009-2010 FEMALE BLG AWARD NOMINEES (Jim Thompson Trophy)

Ontario University Athletics (OUA)

Liz Knox
Wilfrid Laurier University
Sport: Hockey
Year of eligibility in 2009-2010: 4
Academic program: Sociology
Hometown: Stouffville, Ont.

Liz Knox’s name might not be as familiar to hockey fans as those of fellow goaltenders and former BLG Award winner Kim St-Pierre (2003) and nominee Charline Labonté (2009), both of whom played at McGill University and have teamed up to win multiple Olympic and world championship gold medals for Canada, the latest at the Vancouver Games. But if the 2009-10 CIS season is a sign of things to come for the 21-year-old Knox, she might soon become a household name in her own right.

Knox’s coming out party came two years ago at the 2008 CIS championship when, despite losing a 2-0 head-to-head decision to Labonté in the national final, she was named the top goalie of the tournament following a 43-save performance in the title match. Her stock has continued to rise ever since and this season, her fourth with the Golden Hawks, she not only established herself as the best netminder in CIS women’s hockey, she was named player of the year after she finished first in the country in wins (24), shutouts (11), goals against average (0.89) and save percentage (.960), and tied Labonté’s single-season and career (30) CIS records for most whitewashes, both new OUA marks.

The sociology student, who backstopped the Canadian U-22 team to a silver medal at the 2009 MLP Nations Cup (formerly Air Canada Cup) in Germany and hopes to one day represent her country at the Olympics, has led Laurier to the OUA title each of her four campaigns with the team to go with three straight CIS medals, including silver in 2008 and 2009 and bronze this winter. A first-time all-Canadian this season and a three-time OUA all-star, she has an astonishing career record of 115-6-5 in conference and playoff action.

“I have been amazed and left speechless many times as I have witnessed Liz developing, fine-tuning and perfecting her physical and mental preparation techniques and routines that compliment her natural athletic ability,” says Golden Hawks head coach RICK OSBORNE. “This focus, concentration and attention to detail when combined with an unrelenting work ethic make her a perfect role model, a caring mentor and great leader to her teammates. Liz is a real people person who has a knack for balancing the emotional highs and lows teams and individuals always go through; she just knows how to bring out the best in all of us.”

Atlantic University Sport (AUS)

Kelsey Hodgson
Cape Breton University  
Sport: Basketball
Year of eligibility in 2009-2010: 5
Academic program: Arts
Hometown: Fredericton, N.B.

One of the great careers in the recent history of CIS women’s basketball came to an end on March 14 in Hamilton when Kelsey Hodgson played her final game in a Capers’ uniform. To no one’s surprise, the Fredericton native went out with a bang, scoring a season-high 37 points (the second highest single-game total in her five-year career) in the CIS championship consolation final to lead CBU to fifth place in the country.

In five record-setting campaigns on the Sydney, N.S., campus, Hodgson became the most productive Caper in history with 1,588 career points in 100 regular season games, including a single-season Atlantic conference mark of 515 points in 2008-09. The two-time CIS scoring champion with a 25.8 point-per-game average in ’08-09 and 22.1 average in ’09-10, the 5-foot-10 forward ended her illustrious university career with three straight selections as an all-Canadian, including first-team nods and AUS MVP awards each of the past two seasons. Thanks to her stellar play, the Capers claimed three conference titles and made as many CIS championship appearances over the past five years.

In addition to her second CIS scoring title this season, Hodgson led the AUS in free-throw percentage (90.4), steals per game (3.0) and three-point shots made per game (2.6), while finishing third in minutes played (33.4 mpg) and assists (3.2 apg).

The 22-year-old member of Canada Basketball’s Development Team wore the Maple Leaf at last summer’s Universiade in Belgrade, Serbia. She now hopes to play professional basketball in Europe “until my body tells me it’s time to retire”.

“I could write a novel on what Kelsey has meant to me and our basketball program here at CBU,” says Capers head coach Fabian McKenzie. “I have watched her grow from a wide eyed rookie to a savvy veteran and the ride has been incredible. She has an amazing desire to improve, without question the highest level of desire I have ever seen in a university athlete. Over the course of a career, many coaches never get to have a truly special player on their roster. With Kelsey, I have been truly blessed as she is a special person and a special basketball player.”

Quebec Student Sports Federation (QSSF)

Véronique Maranda
University of Montreal
Sport: Soccer
Year of eligibility in 2009-2010: 4
Academic program: Administration (HEC Montreal)
Hometown: Saint-Lambert, Que.

To say Véronique Maranda is not your average CIS soccer player would be a major understatement. Before making her Canadian university debut in the fall of 2007, the 23-year-old midfielder had been a member of the senior national team for a number of years, representing Canada at the Olympic Qualifiers for the 2004 Athens Games, earning international caps against Brazil and England, and helping Canada claim silver at the 2003 Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic. Also a member of the junior national squad from 2002 to 2005, she wore the Maple Leaf at the 2004 FIFA U-19 world championship (now World Cup) in Thailand.        

After playing for the University of Tennessee in the NCAA in 2005, Maranda transferred to the UdeM in 2007 and has since established herself as one of the top players in the QSSF and CIS. The administration student has been named a first-team Quebec all-star each of her three seasons with the Carabins, as well as QSSF MVP and a first-team all-Canadian each of the past two campaigns. Her performances helped “Les Bleues” win the first two conference titles in school history and qualify for the CIS championship three years in a row, including a bronze-medal finish in 2008 and a first appearance in the national final last fall.

In 2009, Maranda led the QSSF in points (18) and assists (13) from her midfielder position, led the league with six player-of-the-game selections during the regular season, and finished eighth with five goals.

“Véronique has been the heart and soul of our team since the day she joined the program,” says Carabins head coach Kevin McConnell. “Despite her vast experience, she is really down to earth and loves nothing more than to share her passion for soccer with her teammates. She is a true leader both on and off the field and her work ethic is impeccable. She is one of the main reasons behind our success of the past few years. You don’t get a chance to coach athletes like Véronique very often.”

Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CWUAA)

Liz Cordonier
University of British Columbia
Sport: Volleyball
Year of eligibility in 2000-2010: 5
Academic program: Arts (Geography)
Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.

A perfect season and a perfect ending to a remarkable CIS career. This would be the perfect way to summarize Liz Cordonier’s fifth and final volleyball campaign at UBC.

Simply put, the 6-foot-1 outside hitter was the best player on the best team in the country in 2009-2010. The 23-year-old arts major became the first Thunderbird in history to be named CIS player of the year in women’s volleyball after she finished third in Canada West in both kills (3.37) and points (4.00) per set, fifth in service aces (0.36 per set) and eighth in hitting percentage (.281). Her stellar play helped UBC maintain No. 1 status in each of the 13 weekly national coaches’ polls, post a 20-0 record in the regular season and a 27-0 overall mark against CIS opponents, including a sweep of their three duels at the CIS championship en route to a third straight national title. Fittingly, the Vancouver native earned one final honour following the gold-medal final as she was chosen MVP of the CIS tournament.

A three-time Canada West all-star and two-time all-Canadian, Cordonier excels both at the indoor and beach games. A member of the national team who represented Canada at the 2007 Summer Universiade in Thailand, she is also part of the National Beach Program and will compete on the World Beach Volleyball Tour in 2010.

Good genes might have played a role in her athletic success. She played her rookie season with UBC alongside older sister Emily, a two-time CIS all-Canadian who was also on the Team Canada roster at the 2007 Universiade. Her brothers Joe and John currently play for the T-Birds men’s team. Her father, John, rowed for Canada at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

“Liz inspired our team with the ability to raise her level of play at critical times of key matches,” says Thunderbirds head coach Doug Reimer. “In addition, we valued her consistently high level of skill execution. She loves to compete and has made so many contributions to both our program and the national team indoor and beach. We will miss not only her athleticism and charisma but also her humble, good natured and caring personality that made Liz a fabulous leader by example on and off the court.”

2009-2010 MALE BLG AWARD NOMINEES (Doug Mitchell Trophy)

Atlantic University Sport (AUS)

Hunter Tremblay
University of New Brunswick
Sport: Hockey
Year of eligibility in 2009-2010: 3
Academic program: Business
Hometown: Timmins, Ont.

“My ultimate life goal since I’ve been able to speak is to play in the NHL. That’s still my goal today,” Hunter Tremblay says. Should he go on to realize his dream, the native of Timmins, Ont., will have taken a little detour from the typical Major Junior to NHL route. The UNB Varsity Reds won’t complain.

Following a solid five-year OHL career with the Barrie Colts where he had three consecutive 30-goal campaigns, Tremblay joined the V-Reds in the fall of 2007 and, after only three seasons in Fredericton, has already established himself as one of the best players in team history. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound forward tallied 50 points in each of his first two university campaigns, earning AUS rookie-of-the-year honours in 2007-08 and a second-team all-Canadian nod a year ago. After leading the V-Reds to the CIS final in ’07-08 and to the national title in ‘08-09, he became this year the first skater in UNB history to amass 50 points or more in three consecutive seasons thanks to a 57-point tally that earned him the CIS scoring crown.

While the Varsity Reds weren’t able to defend their University Cup title this year, it was still a memorable season for the team and assistant captain Tremblay. The only player in the country to average over two points per contest (2.11), the business student was named to the first all-Canadian squad after he tied for the nation’s lead in goals (25), led CIS in winning goals (8) and short-handed markers (5), and recorded at least a point in 23 of 27 games, including 20 multiple-point performances. UNB finished first in the Atlantic with a 27-1 mark, setting a CIS record for most wins in a regular season and tying the all-time mark for most points (54).

Tremblay doesn’t have to look far for inspiration as he pursues his dream of playing professional hockey. After claiming the BLG Award in 2008, former UNB teammate Rob Hennigar signed a contract with the New York Islanders and has since averaged over a point a game in the pro ranks (AHL & ECHL).

“Hunter had a career-best season. He was a key factor in our team setting a new standard for CIS regular season success,” said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. “He has set a new standard of performance at UNB in his last three years. He is the ultimate competitor and has had a tremendous influence in our dressing room. In addition, he is a solid 3.0 GPA student and is a community role model for the young people in our school district.”

Quebec Student Sports Federation (QSSF)

Francis Verreault-Paul
McGill University  
Sport: Hockey
Year of eligibility in 2009-2010: 2
Academic program: Science (Psychology & Kinesiology)
Hometown: Mashteuiatsh, Que.

There was no sophomore jinx in 2009-10 for McGill hockey star Francis Verreault-Paul. Following a fine freshman campaign that saw him average over a point a game (26 pts in 24 GP), the speedy 5-foot-9, 178-pound left winger exploded for 25 goals and 54 points in 27 league outings this season, tying him for the nation’s lead in goals and giving him second place in the CIS scoring race, three points back of fellow BLG Award nominee Hunter Tremblay of UNB. The science major became the first McGill player to top the OUA in scoring since former BLG nominee (2000) and current Montreal Canadiens forward Mathieu Darche accomplished the feat in 1999-00.

Verreault-Paul, who was named OUA player of the year and earned CIS all-Canadian status, not only achieved individual success this year, he guided the Redmen to one the best seasons in school history. His OUA-leading six game-winning markers in conference play and 14 points in seven playoff games helped McGill set team records for most victories in the regular season (22) and overall (34). The Redmen finished 22-6 in league play and added seven wins in eight matchups in the OUA playoffs en route to the conference banner and their fourth appearance in five years at the CIS University Cup championship.

The 22-year-old forward, who hails from the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region of Quebec, played his major junior hockey with the local Chicoutimi Saguenéens and captained the team in his final season. His first goal in the QMJHL was scored against Lewiston’s Jaroslav Halak, who is currently starring in the NHL with the Canadiens.  

“Francis is a fierce competitor and highly-skilled offensive player who has a knack for scoring the big goal,” says Redmen head coach Jim Webster. “He produces game in, game out despite being shadowed and double-teamed. He has good speed, is tough as nails and is a threat to score every shift.”

Ontario University Athletics (OUA)

Michael Faulds
University of Western Ontario
Sport: Football
Year of eligibility in 2009-2010: 5
Academic program: Maters of Kinesiology (Coaching)
Hometown: Eden Mills, Ont.

Michael Faulds didn’t win his final university game on November 14, 2009. His Western Ontario Mustangs lost a 43-39 shootout to eventual Vanier Cup champion Queen’s in the OUA Yates Cup final. Still, his performance that day will be remembered as one of the most courageous in CIS football history. Despite only being able to put weight on one leg, playing with two torn and one partially-torn ligament in his knee, the 6-foot-2, 197-pound quarterback passed for 509 yards, limping back onto the field to try to orchestrate a comeback on the last drive of the epic duel.  

While his final performance was inspirational, it was nothing new for Western fans who grew accustomed to Faulds’ big-game heroics over his five seasons in London. In his lone appearance in the national final in 2008 against Laval, he completed a Vanier Cup-record 37 passes and amassed 403 yards – the second-highest total in game history – against the country’s top-ranked defence. He led the Mustangs to back-to-back OUA titles in 2007 and 2008, earning Yates Cup MVP honours on both occasions.

Despite the heart-breaking loss in the conference final, the 2009 campaign was memorable for the Masters student, who would love nothing more than to remain involved with football through coaching. At the helm of an offensive unit that ranked first in the nation in first downs (247), total yards (4,630) and points (335), he set CIS records for most passing yards in a single season (3,033) and in a career (10,811) en route to a second-team all-Canadian selection. He is the OUA career leader and ranks second on the CIS all-time list in both passing attempts (1,241) and completions (761).

“Michael was our captain, leader, most valuable player, and set those CIS records despite playing the second half of the schedule with a  knee injury which required surgery a the end of the season,” says Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall. “In each of the final six games, he went down with injury only to come back in the next series. He has earned the respect of each and every teammate. Michael Faulds is a warrior. He is the inspirational leader of this team, a role model for many young players and a great ambassador for CIS football. He deserves to have his name associated with the BLG Award and represents all of the key values for which this award stands.”

Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CWUAA)

Erik Glavic
University of Calgary
Sport: Football
Year of eligibility in 2009-2010: 4
Academic program: Social Sciences (Economics)
Hometown: Pickering, Ont.

It has been an interesting ride for quarterback Erik Glavic over the last two and a half years. After being recruited to Saint Mary’s by former Huskies head coach and current UofC sideline boss Blake Nill in 2006, the 6-foot-6, 230-pound standout claimed the Hec Crighton Trophy as CIS MVP in only his second campaign at SMU the following year. Unfortunately, the 2007 campaign didn’t end the way Glavic would have wanted it to as he sustained a torn ACL in the Uteck Bowl and had to watch from the sidelines as the Huskies lost to Manitoba in the national final. After suffering a setback while attempting a comeback with Saint Mary’s early in the 2008 season (he would need a second knee surgery), he transferred to Calgary and rejoin Nill with the Dinos. The rest, as they say, is history.

In his first Canada West season last fall, Glavic set a school record completing 67.5% of his passes and led the conference in total offence (336.1 yards per game), touchdown responsibility (20), rushing average (10.5 yards per carry), pass efficiency (181.6) and passing TDs (14), all of this while helping the Dinos set single-season team marks for total offence and first downs and tie the team record with 39 touchdowns. After leading Calgary to a 7-1 mark in conference play – the program’s best since 1988 – the social sciences student was named MVP of the Canada West final and guided the Dinos to their first Vanier Cup appearance since 1995 thanks to a 38-14 win over his former team, Saint Mary’s, in the Uteck Bowl. On Nov. 26, he became the first player in history to capture the Hec Crighton Trophy with two different teams.

Glavic, who also played basketball at Saint Mary’s - reaching the CIS semifinals in 2007 - and may join the Dinos hoops team after the 2010 football season, comes from an athletic family. Both his brothers are currently playing pro football in Switzerland, including Marko who won the Euro Bowl in 2008 and the Swiss Bowl in 2009, and Sasha who played three years with Hamilton in the CFL. His father, Tomo, was a champion volleyball player in Croatia.

“As an athlete, Erik has been blessed with God-given ability that allows him to supersede most. Along with his physical talent, he is immensely competitive, and the combination of the two is a formula for success,” says Dinos head coach Blake Nill. “Being a senior athlete, his experiences have allowed him to mature, thus his leadership skills allow him to be a positive influence among our other players. He has brought a new excitement to our university and our football program. He is a true leader both on and off the field and is truly deserving of this honour.”

About Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

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