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CIS women’s hockey- Alberta’s Podloski named player of the year

ANTIGONISH, N.S. (CIS) – Fourth-year Alberta forward Tarin Podloski is the player of the year in Canadian Interuniversity Sport women’s hockey.

Podloski, a native of St. Albert, Alta., became the fifth Alberta player to claim the Brodrick trophy since women’s hockey became a CIS-sanctioned sport in 1997-98.

Championship website:

Other CIS major award winners announced Wednesday night in Antigonish, N.S., were McGill’s Marie-Andrée Leclerc-Auger of Sherbrooke, Que., who was honoured as the nation’s top rookie; Alberta’s Howie Draper of Edmonton, who was named coach of the year for the third time; and Ottawa’s Danika Smith of Munster Hamlet, Ont., who received the Marion Hillard award recognizing her excellence in hockey, academics and community involvement.

The 2009 CIS women’s hockey championship, hosted by St. Francis Xavier University, gets under way Thursday and concludes Sunday with the gold-medal final set for 8 p.m. Atlantic Time. The championship match can be seen on The Score television network (two-hour tape delay to 10 p.m. Atlantic), while SSN Canada will webcast all nine games from the tournament.

Podloski follows in the footsteps of Lindsay McAlpine (2006-07), Danielle Bourgeois (2003-04, 2004-05) and Lori Shupak (2001-02), all former Alberta greats who captured the Brodrick trophy as CIS MVP.

A second-team all-Canadian and a national champion in both 2005-06 and ‘06-07 during her first stint with Alberta, Podloski made a triumphant return to the Pandas this season after a year away from university hockey. The five-foot-five right-winger set a CIS single-season record with 61 points (23-38-61) in 24 conference games, bettering the old mark (27-30-57) set by McAlpine in 2006-07, also over 24 matches.

She led the nation in assists with 38 and finished third in the country with 23 goals, including three game-winners. Her season was highlighted by a pair of stellar two-game weekends where she registered 12 and 10 points, earning CIS female-athlete-of-the-week honours on both occasions.

A former member of the Canadian under-22 national team and the MVP of the 2006 CIS championship, the 22-year-old agriculture and forestry student led the Pandas to a 22-2 mark and first place in the Canada West standings.

“Tarin is an exceptional student-athlete. She commits herself to being the best she can be in both the classroom and hockey,” said Draper. “More than that, however, Tarin has emerged as an outstanding leader. Her ability to support, counsel and motivate her teammates has been remarkable this season and was an important part of the development of this year’s team.”

Leclerc-Auger became the third member of the Martlets in three years to be named as the top rookie in CIS women’s hockey, marking the first time in CIS history that players from the same school (in a team sport) were honoured as the nation’s best freshman for three consecutive years. Current teammates Catherine Ward and Ann-Sophie Bettez received the award in 2006-07 and ‘07-08, respectively.

Leclerc-Auger has had a stellar debut in CIS hockey, tallying 18 goals and 46 points in 18 regular-season games to rank fourth among CIS scoring leaders and second in Quebec despite playing in a league that plays 6-9 fewer games that the other conferences across the country. The five-foot-five right-winger posted an impressive 20-20-40 record in 16 contests overall against teams ranked in the CIS Top 10 poll, scoring goals against seven different ranked squads.

The 21-year-old physical education major enters the CIS championship with McGill single-season records of 45 goals and 89 points in 39 games overall, statistics that earned her a spot on the QSSF second all-star team. Her performances helped the defending national champion Martlets keep an unblemished 18-0 mark in conference play and a 33-0 overall record against CIS opponents going into the CIS tournament.

“Marie-Andrée has made a huge impact in the league in her freshman year,” said McGill head coach Peter Smith. “She has the rare combination of being a natural goal scorer mixed with great play-making skills. A measure of consistency, she is one of our strongest players, both physically and mentally.”

At the helm of the U of A program since its debut in 1997-98, Draper is the first three-time recipient of the CIS coach-of-the-year award.

In his 12th campaign, the five-time Canada West coach of the year guided the Pandas to yet another spectacular regular season. Alberta finished first in the conference standings with a 22-2 record, led the Canada West in goals for (138) and goals against (25) over the 24-game schedule, and was ranked in the top four all season in the national coaches poll, spending four weeks at No. 2, four at No. 3 and nine at No. 4. In the playoffs, the Pandas swept UBC in two games before dropping a heartbreaking 3-2 decision in triple-overtime to Manitoba in the third and deciding match of the Canada West final.

Since the Pandas inaugural campaign in 1997-98, Draper has led the team to a record six national titles and 10 CIS championship appearances, an all-time mark that will be tied by McGill this week. He has career records of 187-12-8 (.923) in conference play, 63-8 in the Canada West post-season, 24-6 at the CIS championship and 304-39-10 overall.

The U of A alumnus played hockey for the Golden Bears from 1986 to 1990, winning a University Cup national championship in his rookie season. He was a CIS tournament all-star in 1989 and team captain in 1989-90.

“It is great to see Howie recognized for his coaching contributions to women’s hockey within the Canada West conference. Coach Draper has built an outstanding program at the University of Alberta and he continues to annually recruit exceptional student-athletes who excel on the ice and in the classroom,” said director of athletics Dale Schulha. “Each year Howie strives to improve the Pandas hockey program and has expectations that the team will be highly competitive at the CIS championship level. The University of Alberta is indeed fortunate to have Coach Draper as part of our coaching staff.”

Smith is the second uOttawa student-athlete to receive the Marion Hillard award. Former Gee-Gee Karina Verdon was honoured back in 1999-2000.

The fifth-year team captain and defender is a leader on the ice and in the classroom. She was named a QSSF first-team all-star in 2006-07 and a second-team all-star in 2005-06, and will skate at the CIS championship for the third and final time this week.

Smith, 23, is finishing up a Master’s degree in sport psychology in addition to chairing the uOttawa Student-Athlete Council, which among many community enhancement initiatives, sends kids from neighbouring French and English elementary schools to Gee-Gees summer camps. She also assists with the Gee-Gees Running and Reading program for inner-city Ottawa youth to experience the benefits of physical activity and nutrition awareness in addition to expanded knowledge through reading.

After playing on a Canadian champion women’s touch football team the last two off-seasons, Smith will compete in the world ball hockey championships this summer in the Czech Republic.

“Danika is a lead-by-example ambassador for our program,” said Gee-Gees head coach Shelley Coolidge. “She is a student-athlete with a strong will to win. Off the ice she has a real desire to expand her horizons and help improve the situation of others.”

The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Wednesday.

Joining Podloski on the first CIS squad were a trio of McGill teammates including goaltender Charline Labonté of Boisbriand, Que., defenceman Catherine Ward of Mt. Royal, Que., and forward Ann-Sophie Bettez of Sept-Iles, Que. Rounding out the first constellation were Wilfrid Laurier rearguard Andrea Bevan of Collingwood, Ont., and Moncton forward Mariève Provost of Laval, Que.

Labonté, Ward and Bevan were all selected for a third straight campaign, while Bettez was a second-team all-Canadian last season when she was voted CIS rookie of the year. Provost made the first team as a freshman back in 2006-07.

Labonté and Ward, both in their third season with the Martlets, were named on Tuesday as Team Canada members for the upcoming 2009 IIHF world championship (April 4-12, Hameenlinna, Finland).

The second CIS squad for 2008-09 is comprised of Manitoba goaltender Stacey Corfield of Winnipeg, McGill defenceman Cathy Chartrand of Lac Nominingue, Que., first-year Alberta rearguard Stephanie Ramsay of Charlottetown, McGill forward Vanessa Davidson of Kirkland, Que., Wilfrid Laurier forward Andrea Ironside of Collingwood, Ont., and Alberta forward Alana Cabana of Edmonton.

Davidson was a first-team all-Canadian the last two seasons.

A former national team member and the tournament MVP of last year’s CIS championship, Chartrand was Canada’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremonies of the 2009 Winter Universiade in Harbin, China, where she captained Team Canada to gold at the inaugural women’s hockey tournament along with Bevan, Provost, Corfield, Ramsay, Davidson and Ironside.

Toronto netminder Kendyl Valenta of Brampton, Ont., Waterloo defenceman Julia Endicott of Toronto, Guelph forward Tamara Bell of Guelph, Ont., and UPEI forward Janelle Parent of Ponoka, Alta., joined Leclerc-Auger and Ramsay on the CIS all-rookie team.


Brodrick trophy (player of the year): Tarin Podloski, Alberta Pandas

Rookie of the year: Marie-Andrée Leclerc-Auger, McGill Martlets

Coach of the year: Howie Draper, Alberta Pandas

Marion Hillard award (student-athlete – community service): Danika Smith, Ottawa Gee-Gees

First Team

Position Athlete University Year Hometown Faculty

Goaltender Charline Labonté McGill 3 Boisbriand, Que. Physical & Health Education
Defence Catherine Ward McGill 3 Mt. Royal, Que. General Management
Defence Andrea Bevan Laurier 5 Collingwood, Ont. Sociology
Forward Tarin Podloski Alberta 4 St. Albert, Alta. Agriculture, Forestry & Home Ec.
Forward Ann-Sophie Bettez McGill 2 Sept-Iles, Que. General Management
Forward Mariève Provost Moncton 3 Laval, Que. Kinesiology

Second Team

Goaltender Stacey Corfield Manitoba 4 Winnipeg, Man. Nursing
Defence Cathy Chartrand McGill 2 Lac Nominingue, Que. Physical & Health Education
Defence Stephanie Ramsay Alberta 1 Charlottetown, P.E.I. Physical Education & Recreation
Forward Vanessa Davidson McGill 4 Kirkland, Que. Physical & Health Education
Forward Andrea Ironside Laurier 4 Collingwood, Ont. Kinesiology / Physical Education
Forward Alana Cabana Alberta 2 Edmonton, Alta. Arts

All-Rookie Team

Goaltender Kendyl Valenta Toronto 1 Brampton, Ont. Physical Education & Health
Defence Stephanie Ramsay Alberta 1 Charlottetown, P.E.I. Physical Education & Recreation
Defence Julia Endicott Waterloo 1 Toronto, Ont. Honours Science
Forward Marie-Andrée Leclerc-Auger McGill 1 Sherbrooke, Que. Physical & Health Education
Forward Tamara Bell Guelph 1 Guelph, Ont. Human Kinetics
Forward Janelle Parent UPEI 1 Ponoka, Alta. B.A.


For more information, please contact:

Michel Bélanger
Communications Manager
Canadian Interuniversity Sport
Ph: (613) 562-5670 ext. 25
Cell: (613) 447-6334

Krista McKenna
Sports Information Director
St. Francis Xavier University
Off: (902) 867-5381
Cell: (902) 870-4207



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