Canada West Communications
NEW WESTMINSTER – Second-year University of Saskatchewan goaltender Jordon Cooke is the 2015-16 Canada West Men’s Hockey Outstanding Player of the Year and Goaltender of the Year, as announced Wednesday.
Cooke becomes the first Canada West goaltender to win the Outstanding Player award since Lethbridge’s Trevor Kruger, who took home the honour during the 1993-94 season.
Saskatchewan’s netminder posted a conference-best 19-5-0 record and .921 save percentage, as the Huskies tied a program record for wins in a season (22) and clinched top spot in the conference for the first time since 1999-00.
Along with Cooke, fellow Huskie Kohl Bauml earned recognition from the conference’s eight coaches, who selected the major award winners.
Bauml is the conference’s University of Alberta Hockey Alumni Trophy winner as rookie of the year after topping the first-year scoring race with 33 points – good for fourth overall in the conference and third amongst CIS rookies.
Also earning major awards were Alberta’s Jordan Rowley as Oustanding Defencemen (Mervyn ‘Red’ Dutton Trophy), Calgary’s Elgin Pearce for sportsmanship and ability (UBC Hockey Alumni Trophy), Mount Royal’s Bert Gilling as Coach of the Year, and Lethbridge’s Dylan Tait as Randy Gregg Award recipient for hockey, academics and community service.
All award recipients will now go onto represent Canada West as nominees for their respective awards at the CIS level.
Outstanding player – Senator Joseph A. Sullivan Trophy nominee
Goaltender of the Year
University of Saskatchewan Huskies
It was a season to remember in Saskatoon for Jordon Cooke and his Saskatchewan teammates, who joined the 1987-88 and 1999-00 editions of the Huskies as the program’s only 20-win teams.
The former Kelowna Rocket was a stalwart in net for the Huskies, posting a .921 save percentage and 19-5-0 record – both tops in Canada West. Cooke was the driving force behind Saskatchewan’s turnaround season, as the Huskies finished 21 points better in the standings compared to a year ago. Also, his 19 wins set a new program single-season program record for victories.
Cooke is the first goaltender in more than two decades to win the conference outstanding player award, and is looking to become the first netminder since UQTR’s Luc Belanger in 1998-99 to win the Sullivan Trophy as CIS men’s hockey top player.
“Jordon's play early in the season gave a really young team the confidence it needed to believe they could be successful,” said Huskies head coach Dave Adolph. “He gave us a chance to win every night and our team found a way. 19 wins proves it wasn't luck – this young man can play.”
Rookie of the Year – U of A Hockey Alumni Trophy
University of Saskatchewan Huskies
Dynamic rookie Kohl Bauml is the conference’s rookie of the year, after leading Canada West in rookie scoring with 33 points (12G-21A) in 28 games.
The former Everett Silvertip finished fourth in overall league scoring and was the driving force behind Saskatchewan’s first-year phenom line, which also featured Levi Cable (28 points) and Andrew Johnson (26 points), who finished second and third in the rookie scoring race respectively.
Bauml becomes the first Huskie to lead Canada West in rookie scoring since Jimmy Bubnick tallied 24 points in 2012-13.
“Kohl Bauml plays with energy and enthusiasm and has his entire hockey career,” pointed out Saskatchewan bench boss Dave Adolph. “His play and spirit are contagious. Kohl and his first-year line mates have enjoyed a very successful season and have had more fun than most doing it.”
Outstanding Defencemen – Mervyn ‘Red’ Dutton Trophy
University of Alberta Golden Bears
Fifth-year Golden Bear Jordan Rowley is the conference’s top defencemen after leading the conference in defencemen scoring with 24 points in 25 games.
2015-16 marked the third consecutive season that Rowley finished inside the top three in defencemen scoring, as the former Prince Albert Raider wrapped up his five-year Canada West career with 91 points in 127 regular season games.
“Jordan is very deserving of this level of recognition. He has demonstrated consistently this season that he is not only a top defencemen in Canada West but also in all of CIS,” said Bears head coach Serge Lajoie. “This is a tremendous honour for him to have been chosen among the tremendous group of defencemen we have in our league.”
Coach of the Year
Mount Royal University Cougars
In just two seasons at the helm of Mount Royal, head coach Bert Gilling has built the Cougars into a formidable Canada West program and has now won conference coach of the year awards both seasons because of it, after taking home the award in 2014-15 as well.
Gilling, who joined MRU after serving as an assistant at Bemidji State for more than a decade, has led the Cougars to 34 combined regular season wins over his two seasons – second only to Alberta’s 43 victories during that same span.
In addition to his regular season record, Gilling has also led MRU to a playoff series win in both his seasons behind the Cougars’ bench.
“It is an outstanding award that Bert has won personally, but I believe that he would attribute this honour to his team – not only the members of men’s hockey, but his team in the department as well, because that is the type of person Bert is,” said MRU athletic director Karla Karch. “We are so proud to have him as part of Cougar Athletics and believe that the men’s hockey program will continue on its upward trajectory.”
Sportsmanship and Ability - UBC Hockey Alumni Trophy
University of Calgary Dinos
Forward Elgin Pearce has emerged as the face of the Calgary Dinos, leading his team in scoring in 2015-16 with 27 points, while taking just 14 penalty minutes in 28 games played.
This season marks the second consecutive UBC Hockey Alumni Trophy win for Pearce, who ranked third last season in conference goal scoring (17).
For his Canada West career, Pearce has registered 63 points in 66 regular season games
“Elgin has been a consistent offensive performer the last two years for us,” said Dinos head coach Mark Howell. “He works hard at everything he does. He is in peak physical condition, he works hard in the classroom, and on the ice he is competitive, but disciplined. He respects the game, his teammates, coaches, staff, and the opposition. It’s fitting he should get this award for the second year in a row.”
Randy Gregg Award - Hockey, academics & community service
University of Lethbridge Pronghorns
Tait achieved the best statistical season of his five-year Canada West career in 2015-16, finishing with a 6-9-1 record and third in the league in save percentage (0.918) and total saves (512).
The veteran netminder accomplished this career season after making an improbable comeback from cancer treatment, after being diagnosed with testicular cancer last season.
In the classroom, Tait boasts a 3.70 cumulative GPA while pursuing a combined degree in Kinesiology and Psychology and has been an academic All-Canadian during his first four seasons with the Pronghorns. He continued his academic excellence during last year despite going through six rounds of chemotherapy and surgery, which spanned more than half of the academic year.
Tait volunteers extensively with the Jr. Horns program and minor hockey teams in Lethbridge, while also working tirelessly to raise cancer awareness.
“There's no one more deserving of this award than Dylan Tait,” pointed out ‘Horns head coach Spiros Anastas. “He exemplifies all that this award is about and more.”
“He has been an incredible piece of the new culture that surrounds Pronghorn hockey and is a first class student, citizen, athlete and most importantly person.”
Canada West Men’s Hockey Final schedule (best-of-three)
Friday, March 4
Alberta at Saskatchewan / 7:00 PM CST / CW Final Game 1
Saturday, March 5
Alberta at Saskatchewan / 7:00 PM CST / CW Final Game 2
Sunday, March 6
Alberta at Saskatchewan / 7:00 PM CST / CW Final Game 3 (if necessary)
All games can be seen live on Canadawest.tv