Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
Third-year University of Alberta Pandas curler Kelsey Rocque has been named the winner of The Bakewell Trophy, as the U of A’s 2014-15 Female Athlete of the Year, while fifth-year Golden Bears hockey defenceman Jesse Craige has been awarded 2014-15 The Wilson Challenge Trophy as the Male Athlete of the Year. The honours were bestowed at the annual Green and Gold Athletic Awards which were held on April 2nd at the Myer Horowitz Theatre.
Other Green and Gold winners include: Hannah Olenyk (Pandas hockey) as the Female Rookie of the Year, Stephane Legault (Golden Bears hockey) as the Male Rookie of the Year, Kelly Haggstrom (Pandas basketball) as the winner of the R.G. Glassford Award in coaching, while Jessie Niles (Pandas volleyball) earned the Block ‘A’ Ring.
The Wilson Challenge Trophy, which has been awarded to the top male student-athlete at the U of A since 1934-35, went to fifth-year Golden Bears hockey stalwart Jesse Craige. In his final of CIS eligibility, the Edmonton-born blueliner was named the Canada West and CIS Defenceman of the Year, and he earned a spot on the CIS First Team all-Canadian squad. Craige also helped the Bears to the program’s 15th national championship, and second straight, and was named to the championship all-star team after leading all defencemen in points at the University Cup tournament. Craige also was selected to Team Canada for the 2015 Winter Universiade Games, which were held in Granada, Spain in January and February, where he earned alternate captain status, and helped Canada to a bronze medal.
He is the 27th member of Golden Bears hockey to win the trophy, but the first since Derek Ryan won in 2011.
The Bakewell Trophy, awarded to the top female student-athlete who exhibits athletic prowess, leadership, character, and academic ability at the University of Alberta since its inception in 1948, went to Pandas curling phenome Kelsey Rocque. The third-year skipper, who hails from Fort Saskatchewan, had an historic season in 2014-15, winning provincial, national and world junior curling championships, as well as the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship, giving her four championship trophies during a three month stretch between January and March. She piloted her teams to glory in Grand Prairie, Alberta (January 7-11, 2015, provincial junior title), Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labradour (January 28-31, Canadian junior championship), Tallinn, Estonia (February 28-March 8, World junior championship) and Waterloo, Ontario (March 18-21, CIS championship). The provincial, Canadian and World junior titles were the second consecutive for Rocque, while the CIS championship was a career first after she finished with silver in the previous season. Rocque was also named a CIS First Team all-Canadian this year.
She becomes the first member of the Pandas curling program to win the Bakewell Trophy as well.
Hannah Olenyk, forward for the Canada West champion Pandas hockey team, was selected as the U of A Female Rookie of the Year. Originally from Cochrane, Alberta, the Education student was named to the Canada West All-Rookie team this year, and finished tied for first in team scoring with 25 points.
The Male Rookie of the Year award went to Golden Bears hockey forward Stephane Legault. A former member of the WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings, Legault led all Canada West rookies in points this season, with 21, and earned the Canada West Rookie of the Year award. He was also named to the CIS all-rookie team.
Jessie Niles, libero for the Pandas volleyball team, received the Block ‘A’ Ring for her superior demonstration of exceptional contribution to university sport in the areas of athletics, academics, community support, and leadership.
The R.G. Glassford Award went to long-time Pandas basketball assistant coach Kelly Haggstrom. The award is given annually to a coach who has demonstrated long-standing coaching excellence in teaching ability, knowledge of sport, and the ability to motivate the athletes he/she coaches. The award, named after former Dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, Dr. Gerry Glassford, is presented to either an assistant coach of a Golden Bears or Pandas team or to a coach outside of the University of Alberta system that has contributed significantly to the U of A programs. Haggstrom has been an assistant coach with the Pandas basketball program for the past 11 seasons, and he is the lead coach for the Junior Pandas Basketball program, where he coaches one of the teams and oversees all coach and player development within the club.