REGINA (March 14, 2013) - Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women's basketball guard Amber Hillis of Hamilton, is the 2013 recipient of the CIS Tracy McLeod award as the national award winners and All-Canadians were announced at the All-Canadian Gala for the 2013 CIS Championships on Thursday night.
Hillis, a fifth year guard, becomes the first Golden Hawks player to win the award since it was introduced in the 1996-97 season to recognize determination and perseverance.
From her first game as a Golden Hawk and throughout her career, Hillis has proved that pure determination can overcome any obstacle thrown her way.
At just 5-foot-3, she has never backed down from any opponent and has been a consistent five year starter at Laurier. During the 2010-2011 season, she was hospitalized with a serious and very painful back injury that forced her to miss several games. she was determined to contribute to the team, in any way possible, and she returned to the line-up for Laurier's playoff run, playing through the injury. In the off-season, it was discovered that Amber had a torn disc in her back. With hours and hours of ongoing therapy and strengthening, she has continued to play with and manage the injury the last two years of her career. To add to her challenges, in the 2011-2012 season, she suffered a concussion in the final regular season game and was not available for the playoffs.
Through these (and several other) injuries, Hillis' positive attitude has never changed. She continues to play with a reckless abandon, as she is the team's leader both on and off the court. Her perseverance has been an inspiration for her younger Golden Hawk teammates, as well as anyone who has had the opportunity to see her play. She finishes her career at Laurier ranked ninth all-time in scoring, third all-time in steals and assists, and fourth in minutes played.
"Amber is the toughest player I have coached at any level," said Laurier head coach PAUL FALCO. "The past three seasons she has consistently played through pain in practices and games but she refuses to complain. She is a perfect example of what the Tracey McLeod award is all about."
UNB's Laura Fowler and UBC's Zana Williams were also in the running for the Tracy MacLeod Award.
2012-2013 CIS WOMENS BASKETBALL AWARDS & ALL-CANADIANS
Nan Copp Award (player of the year): Justine Colley, Saint Mary's
Defensive player of the year: Miah-Marie Langlois, Windsor
Kathy Shields Award (rookie of the year): Mariam Sylla, McGill
Peter Ennis Award (coach of the year): Scott Munro, Saint Mary's
Sylvia Sweeney Award (basketball, academics & community service): Alexa McCarthy, Fraser Valley
Tracy MacLeod Award: Amber Hillis, Wilfrid Laurier
Pos. Athlete University Year Hometown Faculty
G Justine Colley Saint Mary's 4 East Preston, N.S. Commerce
G Kaylah Barrett Concordia 3 Brampton, Ont. Independant
G Kris Young UBC 3 North Vancouver, B.C. Arts
F Nicole Rosenkranz Brock 3 St. Catharines, Ont. General Studies
P Diane Scheutze Thompson Rivers 5 Vernon, B.C. Tourism
F Jessica Clemenon Windsor 4 St. Rambert, France Arts/English
G Alyson Bush Carleton 5 Ottawa, Ont. Communications
G Michelle Clark Regina 4 Westlake Village, Cal. Grad Studies & Research
G Jenny Vaughan Western 4 Dundas, Ont. Kinesiology
G Lindsay Harris Acadia 4 New Minas, N.S. Science (Nutrition)
G Danielle Boiago McMaster 1 Hamilton, Ont. Kinesiology
F Mariam Sylla McGill 1 Conakry, Guinea Pharmacology
F Marilyse Roy-Viau Concordia 1 St-Janvier, Que. Education
G Cassandra Nofuente Ryerson 1 Toronto, Ont. Chang
F Jenna Bugiardini Victoria 1 Hamilton, Ont. Business