Brisebois, Sclater named Canada West Athletes of the Year, BLG nominees

Brisebois, Sclater named Canada West Athletes of the Year, BLG nominees

Evan Daum, Canada West Communications

With files from U SPORTS


  • Volleyball stars Danielle Brisebois (UBC Thunderbirds), and Ryan Sclater (Trinity Western Spartans) are the 2016-17 Canada West Athletes of the Year 
  • Brisebois and Sclater move forward as the Canada West nominees for the prestigious BLG Awards, which honour the top female and male athletes from across U SPORTS
  • Brisebois was a first-team conference all-star in 2016-17, an All-Canadian, and was named U SPORTS tournament MVP after leading UBC to a national title
  • A fifth-year outside hitter, Sclater was the U SPORTS Player of Year this season and guided the Spartans to a second consecutive national title

EDMONTON – Volleyball national champions Danielle Brisebois and Ryan Sclater are the 2016-17 Canada West Athletes of the Year.

Brisebois, a fifth-year left side for the UBC Thunderbirds, is the CW Female Athlete of the Year after leading the T-Birds to the program’s 11th national title, while Sclater, a fifth-year outside hitter, is the conference Male Athlete of the Year after lifting the Trinity Western Spartans to a second consecutive national banner. 


The pair now move forward as the conference’s nominees for the BLG Awards, which have honoured the top U SPORTS athletes for the past 24 years. Winners will receive a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship, while all finalists will return home with a commemorative gold ring from Jostens and a watch from Timex – official suppliers for U SPORTS. 

Both CW student-athletes enjoyed tremendous seasons to wrap up their varsity athletic careers, as Brisebois was a first-team conference all-star and a first-team All-Canadian before going on to be named MVP at the national tournament in Toronto. Sclater had a remarkable season for the Spartans, earning the CW Player of the Year award, as well as the national honour after posting the ninth highest single-season kills total in CW history (369). 

Sclater is looking to become the second athlete in TWU history to claim a BLG Award, as fellow volleyball player Josh Howatson was honoured in 2007. The Port Coquitlam, B.C. product is also looking to become the 10th CW male athlete overall to win the nation’s top honour, and second consecutive winner from the conference after Calgary football star Andrew Buckley earned the award in 2016. 

Should Brisebois claim the award, she would become the fourth UBC T-Bird to win the female award, and third volleyball player to pull off the feat, joining Liz Cordonier (2010) and Shanice Marcelle (2013). Brisebois would become the eighth CW female athlete overall to earn the nation’s top honour and first since Marcelle. 

The BLG Awards will be handed out Monday, May 1 at the Martha Cohen Theatre in Calgary, where Brisebois and Scalter will be joined by the rest of the nation's top student-athletes.


2017 Female BLG Award Nominees (Jim Thompson Trophy): 

AUS: Sarah Bujold, hockey, StFX (Riverview, N.B.)

RSEQ: Arielle Roy-Petitclerc, soccer, Laval (St. Nicolas, Que.)

OUA: Claire Sumner, cross country, Queen’s (Calgary, Alta.)

CWUAA: Danielle Brisebois, volleyball, UBC (Caledon, Ont.) 


2017 Male BLG Award Nominees (Doug Mitchell Trophy):

AUS: Philippe Maillet, hockey, UNB (Terrebonne, Que.)

RSEQ: Mathieu Betts, football, Laval (Montreal, Que.)

OUA: Jonathan Lao, soccer, York (Unionville, Ont.)

CWUAA: Ryan Sclater, volleyball, Trinity Western (Port Coquitlam, B.C.)


BIO: Danielle Brisebois

University of British Columbia

Sport: Volleyball

Year of eligibility: 5

Academic program: Arts (Psychology)

Hometown: Caledon, Ont. 

The UBC Thunderbirds are making a habit of competing for U SPORTS Female Athlete of the Year honours. Volleyball standout Danielle Brisebois is the seventh Jim Thompson Trophy finalist from the Vancouver institution over the past nine seasons, including 2009 winner Annamay Pierse (swimming), 2010 recipient Liz Cordonier (volleyball) and former teammate Shanice Marcelle, who was honoured in 2013 following Brisebois’ rookie campaign with the program.  

Brisebois, who moved all the way from Caledon, Ont. to join the T-Birds five years ago, completed her stellar university career this season the same way it had started, by helping UBC capture a national title. With one major difference: after playing a supporting role in her freshman year, the 6-foot left-side hitter was now the star of the show. 

Playing in front of friends and family in Toronto, the psychology student was named MVP of the U SPORTS championship at Ryerson University after she averaged tournament highs in kills (5.27) and points (5.8) per set, including a remarkable 20 kills against only four attack errors in a 3-1 gold-medal triumph over top-seeded Alberta, which a week earlier had defeated the T-Birds in the Canada West conference final.

Brisebois’ domination in her final weekend wearing the blue and gold uniform came as no surprise to her teammates and coaches. After all, the 22-year-old was fresh off her first selection as a First Team All-Canadian thanks to her 4.7 points and 3.86 kills per set in the regular season, good for sixth and seventh in the country, respectively.   

With her varsity career now in the books, Brisebois could be tempted to follow in the footsteps of her sister Taylor, a former McMaster Marauder who now plays semi-professional volleyball in Denmark. Competing at the next level would be nothing new for the soon-to-be UBC graduate, who represented Canada at the 2015 Summer Universiade and at the 2016 FIVB World Grand Prix series, the latter with the senior national team. 

“I am so proud of Dani for the growth she has shown over her five-year career,” states UBC head coach Doug Reimer. “She leaves a legacy as one of the most dynamic offensive players in program history. But just as important to recognize is her discipline and dedication to personal improvement, on and off the court. Our entire team is thrilled for Dani because she is such a humble, soft-spoken individual, proving that you don’t need a large ego to be a superstar.”

“I am honoured and humbled to even be considered among the best athletes in university sport in Canada,” says Brisebois. “The last five years have been the best of my life. From being a rookie and learning from amazing seniors, to growing and having the privilege to be called captain, I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to play with such amazing women and they are truly the ones who got me here today.”


BIO: Ryan Sclater

Trinity Western University

Sport: Volleyball

Year of eligibility: 5

Academic program: English

Hometown: Port Coquitlam, B.C.

You could call it a Hollywood script. Or a perfect ending. Those who have witnessed Ryan Sclater’s exploits on the volleyball court over the past five years simply call it the fitting conclusion to a special university career. 

Born and raised in Port Coquitlam, B.C., just a short drive away from Langley, where Trinity Western University is located, Sclater excelled in many sports growing up. In basketball, he captained his high school, Terry Fox Secondary, to the AAA BC championship in 2012, meriting tournament MVP honours in the process. He played Metro soccer until he was 16 and was a three-time school MVP in that sport. For good measure, he also played one year of high school tennis.

“Choosing volleyball over basketball for my university career was not an easy choice,” says Sclater. “But I felt that I would be able to go further with the sport in the long-term and I was excited about the opportunity to play at TWU since they were back-to-back national champions and close to home as well.” 

After playing in the shadows of more veteran stars in his first two seasons with the Spartans, the 6-foot-6 outside hitter became a full-time starter in the fall of 2014 and success quickly followed in his third and fourth campaigns, including back-to-back Canada West All-Star nods, a first trip to the national final (2015) and the first conference and U SPORTS titles of his career (2016). And then came a senior season for the ages.  

The English student was simply dominant in his farewell tour in 2016-17. Individually, he finished fifth in the country in both kills (4.29) and points (5.0) per set, helping him set single-season and career school records in both statistical categories. To no one’s surprise, he became the fourth TWU men’s volleyball standout to be named U SPORTS Player of the Year. But more importantly, he helped the Spartans repeat as conference and national champions, a fitting end for a humble athlete who has always put team success ahead of his own.

“Sport has taught me that unrelenting hard work, self-sacrifice and teamwork are massively important, but what is most important in life is not winning or losing or even trying your best in sports, but laying down your life to help others,” says Sclater, whose wife Amy is also passionate about volleyball and coaches a high-performance team. “If I do win the BLG Award, I will be honoured beyond belief but I will not forget that my identity will not change and my purpose in life remains the same: love God and love others.”

“Ryan’s amazing year continues to amaze me,” states Trinity Western head coach Ben Josephson. “Ryan truly is one of those special athletes and men that you rarely get to coach and play with. He is a champion on the court, in the classroom, in the locker room and every other room he happens to be in.”   

Canada West member athletes of the year 

All 17 Canada West members honour their top male and female athletes annually. Below is a complete list of the 2016-17 athletes of the year from every conference member. 



FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR                     



Niko Saler, Soccer

Lindsey Post, Hockey

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Roy Ching, Volleyball

Keisha Cox, Basketball

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Yuri Kisil, Swimming

Danielle Brisebois

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Lars Bornemann, Volleyball

Veronika Fagan, Cross Country (PACWEST)

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Thomas Cooper, Basketball

DaLeaka Menin, Rugby

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Brad Hildenbrandt, Wrestling

Monika Levarsky, Soccer

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Peter Millman, Track & Field

Lara Roth, Track & Field

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Barrett Belland, Golf (ACAC)

Sandy Heim, Hockey (ACAC)

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Devren Dear, Volleyball

Lauryn Keen, Hockey

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Connor Rankin, Hockey

Maddi Quinn, Volleyball

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Tofa Fakunle, Soccer

Vasiliki Louka, Basketball

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Noah Picton, Football

Joy Becker, Track & Field

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Jordon Cooke, Hockey

Astrid Nyame, Track & Field

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Volodymr Iegorov, Basketball

Iuliia Pakhomenko, Volleyball

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Ryan Sclater, Volleyball

Elly Wendel, Volleyball

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Eric Hedlin, Swimming

Julia Folk, Rugby

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Casey Schouten, Volleyball

Antoinette Miller, Basketball

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