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March 2, 2010

2009-10 Canada West major awards and all-stars announced

by CWUAA Communications

Photo courtesy Ivan Tam / USask Athletics: Huskies star Breanne George had a terrific season, with 46 points in just 24 league games to earn 2009-10 Canada West MVP honours

EDMONTON - Canada West announces the 2009-10 women's hockey individual major award winners and All-Stars, as selected by head coaches across the conference.

University of Saskatchewan Huskies forward BREANNE GEORGE has been a highlight for Canada West throughout the season scoring a conference-high 28 goals and 18 assists for a league-leading 46 points in 24 games, an overall performance that has earned the third-year forward recognition as conference Player of the Year.

Throughout the season George has been a thorn in opponent's backs, scoring multiple goals in eight games this season, including six goals in one weekend. She had five game-winning goals through the regular season. Also a First Team All-Star, her 28 goals tied the all-time Canada West record for goals in a single season.

The Kinesiology student from Saskatoon has been named Huskie Athletics athlete of the week three times this season and Canada West & CIS Female Athlete of the Week twice. Her first nod at the conference and national level came after scoring four goals against the nationally ranked Manitoba Bisons, including all three in a 3-2 win. The second time was after she scored six goals in a weekend series over the Regina Cougars. George helped the Huskies to a program-best 16-5-3 record in the regular season.

"Breanne has always been an offensive threat for us," said Huskies head coach Steve Kook. "This season she has been able to stay consistent while playing against other team's top defensive lines. Moving to centre this season, Breanne was able to adapt quickly and is not only just our best offensive player, but solid defensively, with a +28. Quick to attribute her success to her teammates, she has made her teammates better as five other players who have been on her line have had their career seasons."

In her short career, George has already been named a Canada West Second Team All-Star. She finished the season with 96 career points and 53 goals, making the CWUAA top 10 all-time in both categories.

The Manitoba Bisons' CAITLIN MacDONALD has been selected this season's Rookie of the Year.

In her initial Canada West season, MacDonald played in 24 conference season games and was second in defenceman scoring, with 15 points (6g, 9a), including one game-winning goal vs. UBC on October 30, just her fifth league game.

The 5'7'' Winnipeg native was third in Bisons team scoring, 20th-best overall in Canada West. MacDonald is already recognized as having one of the hardest point shots in the league and her six power-play goals tied her for sixth in the conference.

"Caitlin has had a tremendous first year in CIS and has made the transition from high school to university a seamless one," said long-time Manitoba head coach Jon Rempel. He added, "She is skilled, a very hard worker on and off the ice and very passionate about the game. Her ability to skate the game as well as shoot the puck with velocity and accuracy are impressive for a first-year player. Along with her natural offensive ability, Caitlin has worked very hard to make herself a better all around defensive player, a factor that has helped her overall game develop at a rapid pace."

Marion Hilliard Student-Athlete Award nominee STACEY CORFIELD, also of the Bisons, is a team leader on and off the ice for a Manitoba team that finished second in the standings, at 18-6-0, and a No. 6 CIS ranking.

While posting an impressive 15-6 regular season record, a 1.85 goals against average and three shutouts as the team's starting goaltender, Corfield has also made plenty of contributions to her school and the community.

Now in her final year of CIS eligibility, Corfield is in her second year in the U of M's demanding Faculty of Nursing program and last year achieved a 3.25 GPA. The program is extremely intensive and involves two days every week of clinical and hospital practical experience from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. along with the rigorous demands of regular course work.

In the University community the 22-year-old is very active, having served as the coordinator for the Bison Sports Siloam Mission project. This initiative sees Bison athletes from all teams serve meals at an inner city shelter over the Christmas holiday break. She is also involved in the Bisons vs. Bullying project, an initiative started several years ago by UMAC (University of Manitoba Athletes Council), and Corfield has been involved from the outset as a driving force from the women's hockey team. The project sees Bison athletes visit local schools in Winnipeg and rural Manitoba helping educate young children about bullying and promoting strategies to help combat it. In the hockey community she has been a guest evaluator for a number of years with Hockey Manitoba's Program of Excellence and has also guest-coached with a number of local female minor hockey teams, lending her experience and knowledge to young, up and coming goaltenders in the province.

Coach Jon Rempel stated, "Stacey deserves all the credit in the world for being able to maintain a high level of excellence on the ice and in the classroom as well as making time to give back to her community. She has a tremendous work ethic, is diligent in her preparation and cares about the people around her. She is the embodiment of what a student-athlete in the CIS is all about and our program is extremely proud of all her accomplishments."

For the second time in three years, Saskatchewan Huskies head coach STEVE KOOK has been named the Canada West Coach of the Year. Kook, in his fifth year at the helm, led the team to a program-best 16-5-3 record in 2009-10, good for third place, just one point behind defending conference champion Manitoba Bisons, and a No. 8 CIS ranking.

Highlights include a sweep of Manitoba on January 15-16, a season-long CIS Top 10 ranking and a 6-0 start back in the fall. Kook has had seven players be named Canada West All-Stars during his tenure.

"Steve is a wonderful example of the type of coach we have here at the University of Saskatchewan," said UofS Athletic Director Basil Hughton. "He is hard-working, a leader, dedicated and has true commitment to take the women's hockey program to the next level. This all translates to his players and the types of athletes he brings to the program. Steve is well-deserving of this award. It is a true accomplishment to win this award twice in three years."

In his five seasons with the Huskies he has been behind the bench for 50 wins, 10 more than the Huskies had in the first eight years of the programs existence. Kook joined the Huskies in 2005-06 as a part-time coach and in 2008-09 he was named the first-ever full-time women's hockey coach at the UofS. In 2007-08, Kook was named Canada West Coach of the Year after guiding the team to a 12-9-3 record and third place, three spots higher than a year earlier.

The 2010 All-Star team consists of several returnees from last year's top squad, including award winners George, Corfield, 2009 CIS Player of the Year Tarin Podloski (Alberta), her teammate Alana Cabana and 2008 conference Rookie of the Year Addie Miles (Manitoba). Corfield, Podloski and Cabana each grazed the CIS All-Canadian team last year, alongside such players as Team Canada Olympic gold medalists Catherine Ward and Charline Labonté, while Leah Copeland was a Canada West all-star back in 2007-08. Now in her final season, Podloski is the all-time CIS scoring champion (213), the single-season points record-holder (61), was CWUAA 2004-05 Rookie of the Year, an All-Canadian in 2005-06 and 2006-07, won Tournament MVP in 2006 and made the All-Tournament team at the 2007 CIS event.

Following is a breakdown of all individual award winners and All-Stars:

Awards
Player of the Year: Breanne George, Saskatchewan
Rookie of the Year: Caitlin MacDonald, Manitoba
Marion Hilliard Award nominee: Stacey Corfield, Manitoba
Coach of the Year: Steve Kook, Saskatchewan

All-Stars

First Team
F: Breanne George, Saskatchewan
F: Tarin Podloski, Alberta
F: Leah Copeland, Alberta
D: Caitlin MacDonald, Manitoba
D: Nicole Pratt, Alberta
G: Stacey Corfield, Manitoba

Second Team
Addie Miles, Manitoba
Tamara Pickford, UBC
Julie Paetsch, Saskatchewan
Rayna Cruickshank, UBC
Andrea Boras, Alberta
Dana Vinge, Alberta

Major award are now considered for national awards, to be handed out by Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) at the 2010 national championship, hosted by St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS, March 11-14.

This weekend's Canada West final is the sixth straight season that the Alberta Pandas host the Manitoba Bisons in a best-of-three final. Last year Manitoba knocked off the 10-time CWUAA champions in triple overtime of Game 3, becoming the first to deny the Pandas a conference title since 2001. Games are 2:00 p.m. MST on Friday, Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday at Clare Drake Arena on the U of A campus in Edmonton.

- Canada West -

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