ʿⱦ Athletics Celebrates Student-Athletes at Annual Awards Banquet

(ʿⱦ Ste. Marie, ON April 4, 2024) – Last night, ʿⱦ held its annual Awards Banquet to celebrate the academic and athletic success of student-athletes throughout the 2023-2024 season.

Men’s hockey player Ethan Esposito and women’s hockey player Emma Lee were named the 2023-24 ʿⱦ Athletes of the Year.

Esposito led the Cougars men’s hockey team in scoring with 40 goals, and 58 points across only 27 games. Esposito earned first team National All-Athletic honours for Division 2 American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Esposito was instrumental in the Cougars season earning a birth at the regional playoffs and will look to build off his impressive season.

Lee was a top player across the entire ACHA, accumulating 32 goals and 57 points across 25 regular season games, good for third in the league. Lee was the driving force behind the Cougars repeat as ACHA W2 National Champions as she earned tournament MVP and first team All-Star honours with seven goals and two assists in five games.

Throughout the evening, many athletes were celebrated for their academic and athletic success throughout the season. 

The male rookie of the year award was presented to men's hockey player Nick Jameus, and women’s hockey forward Materia Land. Both Jameus and Land were key contributors to their teams’ success in their first year of competition.

After another outstanding season, finishing first in the CCWHA and repeating as ACHA W2 National Champions, the women’s hockey team was named Team of the Year, finishing with an overall record of 29-1-0-1.

In addition, women’s hockey head coach Brianne Shunock received the Coach of the Year honours for the third consecutive season.

Mixed Doubles curlers Brooke Nicholson and Charles Darling earned the G.R. Hodgson Award, which is presented to a male and female student that displays athletic talent, academic proficiency, leadership and proudly contributes to the athletic program. Nicholson and Darling formed a strong mixed doubles curling team, capturing gold at the OCAA Provincial championships.

The Cougar Pride award acknowledges athletes that positively represent ʿⱦ and the varsity program while showing pride and dedication to their team. Recipients of the Cougar Pride award were men’s and women’s soccer players Julian Roberts and Ainslee Buchan.

The Top International Athlete award was presented to men’s baseball player Bryce Blixt from Manistique, MI, who has shown outstanding athletic ability and sportsmanship in his first year with the men's baseball team. 

Virginia McLeod received the Gerry McGuire Cougar Contributor Award, which is given to an athletic support staff for their extensive contribution of time and talent toward the operation of the ʿⱦ Athletics program.

"It has been an incredible year for ʿⱦ athletics marked by significant achievements. The College secured its third ACHA national championship in the last five years, alongside the remarkable performance of our women's hockey team, which boasted five CCWHA All-Stars. In a hard-fought season, the men’s baseball team emerged victorious against Humber, Sheridan, and Seneca despite not making the playoffs. Our mixed curling team clinched the provincial curling title, while our men’s curlers secured bronze and earned a spot in Nationals. Furthermore, we are proud to announce that 30 student-athletes have been recognized as OCAA Academic All-Stars,” said Paul Orazietti, Director of Athletics and Student Engagement.

"Adding to our accomplishments, we have received approval for CJFL football and OCAA women’s volleyball, both set to commence play in the fall of 2025. We commend the dedication of our athletes to both their academic pursuits and athletic endeavors," added Paul.

2023-24 Team Awards

Men’s Curling Most Valuable Player – Jake Reid

Women’s Curling Most Valuable Player – Brooke Nicholson

Men’s Golf Most Valuable Player – Tanner Matier

Men’s Hockey Most Valuable Player – Ethan Esposito

Women’s Hockey Most Valuable Player – Emily Moore

Men’s Soccer Most Valuable Player – Dylan Winsor

Women’s Soccer Most Valuable Player – Ainslee Buchan and Cassandra Beckinridge