REGINA - University of Regina women's hockey player Toni Ross has been selected as the winner of the Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Award, which recognizes an active Canadian player who demonstrates dedication and leadership in women's hockey.
The award is presented by Hockey Canada each year and has been awarded to some of the most recognized names in women's hockey. Ross will be the second Cougar to receive the award, as four-year forward (1999-2003) and current assistant coach Julie Foster received the honour in 2001.
Other past recipients include IIHF gold medalists Andria Hunter (2002) and Cathy Phillips (2005), as well as four-time Olympic gold medalist and six-time world champion Caroline Ouellette (2013).
Ross, a fifth-year goaltender, helped the team to a Canada West semifinal berth, where the Cougars fell in three games to the eventual conference champion UBC Thunderbirds. The Weyburn product led the CIS in wins with 17 and overtook the top spot in the U of R's record book with 36 career victories. Ross set career highs with a .929 save percentage and a 1.93 goals-against average - ranking her second and third, respectively, in Canada West.
"Toni is a great recipient for this award because she is an outstanding player who also knows her responsibility in growing the game in southern Saskatchewan," Cougars head coach Sarah Hodges said.
"She jumps at every opportunity to volunteer as a coach in women's hockey and will be joining us in Regina to volunteer as a goalie coach at our prospect camp this weekend. Toni enjoys doing these things and I can see her continuing to contribute as a coach and volunteer in minor hockey and with our program, even though her playing time with us is done."
Ross is a three-time Academic All-Canadian and was named a Canada West First-Team All-Star in the 2015-16 season. Off the ice, Ross works with the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life and the Big Sisters program in Regina. Ross also assists with the Cougar Cubs hockey program for children aged three to five and has helped with goaltender instruction academies as well.
The award will be presented on Friday morning at the Esso Cup breakfast banquet in Weyburn.