Canada West Communications
NAPANEE, Ont. – Fifth-year Mount Royal Cougars forward Sarah Weninger is the 2017 Marion Hilliard Award winner, as announced Wednesday night by U SPORTS.
Weninger earned the award – which honours a women's hockey player for excellence on the ice, in the classroom, and the community – thanks in large part to her extensive work giving back to the hockey community in Alberta through several Hockey Alberta initiatives.
Among the programs Weninger has worked with is Hockey Alberta's Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (HEROS) program, which uses the game of hockey to teach life skills and empower Canada's marginalized youth.
The veteran forward registered 13 points in 25 regular season games this season, finishing tied for MRU's scoring lead.
Weninger was the lone Canada West player to take home one of U SPORTS women's hockey's major individual awards, but five conference players were named U SPORTS All-Canadians.
Canada West Player of the Year Lauryn Keen (F) from Manitoba and UBC's Kelly Murray (D) were named first team All-Canadians, while Cassandra Vilgrain (F – UBC), Alexandra Anderson (D – Manitoba), and Rachel Dyck (G – Manitoba) cracked the second team.
Also honoured Wednesday night ahead of this week's U SPORTS Women's Hockey Championships (hosted by Queen's) was UBC's Mairead Bast, who was named to the U SPORTS All-Rookie Team.
The U SPORTS Women's Hockey Championship opens Thursday, when the Canada West champion UBC Thunderbirds take on StFX (3 p.m. ET / noon PT). The conference's other representative, Alberta, opens their tournament Friday against Saint Mary's (11 a.m. ET / 9 a.m. MT).
MARION HILLIARD AWARD (Student-Athlete Community Service): Sarah Weninger, Mount Royal
Veteran forward Sarah Weninger is the Marion Hilliard Award winner for Student-Athlete Community Service. Weninger finished tied for Mount Royal's scoring title this season, registering nine goals and 13 points in 25 games.
Off the ice, Weninger is involved in several volunteer initiatives, including Hockey Alberta's Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (HEROS) program, which uses the game of hockey to teach life skills and empower Canada's marginalized youth. In addition to her involvement with HEROS, Weninger also attended Hockey Alberta's Future Leaders Camp, which helps prepare coaches to play an active role in Hockey Alberta programs and within their communities. Academically, Weninger has achieved a combined GPA of 3.66 over her last two academic semesters and is on pace to be an Academic All-Canadian this season.
"Sarah is extremely committed to try and better those around her, whether it is in the hockey community, or life in general," said Mount Royal head coach Scott Rivett. "Her relationship with HEROS is truly remarkable. Sarah has brought other players from our team out to work with them and many are continuing to build their own relationships with these kids on a weekly basis and are having a true impact in their lives. We raised over $3,000 and created an evening for these kids that most have never experienced and it was in large part to all the work that Sarah has put in."
The other nominees were forward Kristi Riseley of Toronto, defenceman Beatrice Harrietha of Saint Mary's, and forward Vickie Lemire of Ottawa.
U SPORTS WOMEN'S HOCKEY AWARD WINNERS
Brodrick Trophy (Player of the Year): Sarah Bujold, StFX
Rookie of the Year: Tricia Deguire, McGill
Coach of the Year: Chris Larade, Saint Mary's
Marion Hilliard Award (Student-Athlete Community Service): Sarah Weninger, Mount Royal
U SPORTS WOMEN'S HOCKEY ALL-CANADIANS
Pos. / Name / University / Year / Hometown / Academic Program
F / Sarah Bujold / StFX / 3 / Riverview, N.B. / Human Kinetics
F / Mélodie Daoust / McGill / 5 / Valleyfield, Que. / Phys. and Health Ed.
F / Lauryn Keen / Manitoba / 3 / Manitou, Man. / Agriculture & Food Sciences
D / Kelly Murray / UBC / 5 / Medicine Hat, Alta. / Arts
D / Katherine Bailey / Guelph / 3 / Lucan, Ont. / Child, Youth, & Family
G / Valerie Lamenta / Guelph / 3 / Montreal, Que. / Mech. Engineering
F / Krystin Lawrence / Windsor / 3 / Tecumseh, Ont. / Criminology
F / Breanna Lanceleve / Saint Mary's / 4 / Middle Sackville, N.S. / Arts
F / Cassandra Vilgrain / UBC / 4 / Calgary, Alta. / Arts
D / Alexandra Anderson / Manitoba / 3 / Winnipeg, Man. / Arts
D / Caroll-Ann Gagné / Concordia / 4 / Fermont, Que. / Human Resources Mgmt.
G / Rachel Dyck / Manitoba / 4 / Winnipeg Beach, Man. / Enviro., Earth & Resources
F / Annie Berg / Brock / 1 / Beamsville, Ont. / Concurrent Ed.
F / Delaney Ross / Carleton / 1 / Meadow Lake, Sask. / Sociology
F / Jade Downie-Landry / McGill / 1 / St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. / Psychology
D / Mairead Bast / UBC / 1 / Red Deer, Alta. / Arts
D / Alexandra Nikolidakis / Concordia / 1 / Laval, Que. / Exercise Science
G / Tricia Deguire / McGill / 1 / Sherbrooke, Que. / Phys. & Health Ed.