U Sports unveils the eight finalists for 25th annual BLG Awards event

U Sports unveils BLG Awards finalists

TORONTO — Hockey players Sarah Bujold of St. Francis Xavier University and Philippe Maillet of the University of New Brunswick are among the finalists for the 25th annual BLG Awards.

U Sports released the eight finalists for its top individual honours Thursday.

Bujold, of Riverview, N.B., is one of four finalists for the Jim Thompson Trophy, given annually to Canadian university’s top female athlete. The others are Laval soccer player Arielle Roy-Petitclerc, Queen’s cross-country runner Claire Sumner and British Columbia volleyball player Danielle Brisebois.

Maillet, of Terrebonne, Que., is in the running for the Doug Mitchell Trophy as top male athlete. Also named for the honour are Laval football player Mathieu Betts, York soccer player Jonathan Lao and Trinity Western volleyball player Ryan Sclater.

The award winners will be named May 1 in Calgary.

Bujold, 21, a third-year human kinetics student led the country in points (43), goals (24) and game-winning goals (six). Bujold became just the second Atlantic University Sport performer to be named U Sports player of the year.

“I grew up my entire life around hockey and sport so I think this nomination is quite amazing,” Bujold said in a conference call. “I’m extremely honoured to represent AUS and St. Francis.”

Roy-Petitclerc, a fourth-year management student from St. Nicolas, Que., had 10 goals in 14 games. She was the player of the year in women’s soccer and a first-team All-Canadian in leading Laval to its second Canadian title in three years.

Sumner, 22, of Calgary, captured both the OUA and U Sports national championship. The fourth-year life sciences student capped her season representing Canada at the world cross-country championships in Uganda.

Brisebois, a fifth-year psychology student from Caledon, Ont., helped British Columbia capture a national title. She was the tournament MVP after leading the event in kills (5.27) and points (5.8) per set and recorded 20 kills in a 3-1 series win over top-seeded Alberta in the final.

Brisbois said her future plans include trying out of for the national squad this summer before heading to Europe to pursue a pro career.

Maillet had 23 goals and 32 assists in leading New Brunswick to its second straight national title and third in five years. He was also named the U Sports player of the year and recently signed with the Ontario Reign, the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.

“At UNB there’s a lot of expectations with the hockey program,” Maillet said. “We were hosting nationals this year going back to back and I think it made me a better player (with) all that pressure.

“I’m under contract next year (with Reign) so I guess the results were there. It just feels pretty good right now.” 

Betts, a second-year physical education and health student from Montreal, made Canadian university football history this season. He captured the J.P. Metras Trophy as the top lineman for the Vanier Cup-champion Rouge et Or after receiving the Peter Gorman Trophy last year as top rookie, the first player to claim both honours.

The six-foot-three, 250-pound Betts has recorded 21 sacks his first two seasons at Laval after opting to play collegiate football in Canada rather than south of the border.

“The Rouge et Or football program, I felt like it suited me well,” Betts said. “I’d also be able to grow as a student-athlete as well as a future professional in physical education.”

Lao, an economics major from Unionville, Ont., has enjoy four solid seasons at York. The four-time All-Canadian’s strong play has resulted in the squad losing just three times in 64 league games and post a 19-5 playoff record en route to two national championships.

Sclater, a six-foot-six English student from Port Coquitlam, B.C., was fifth nationally in both kills (4.29) and points (5.0) per set. He was named U Sports’ top player in helping the Spartans repeat as national champions.

Sclater said he’d like to become an English professor after pursuing a pro volleyball career.

“I kind of have limited time while I’m young to do that,” he said. “Sports will come first and then hopefully dive fully into the English world later on.”

The Canadian Press