THUNDER BAY, Ont. - Fourth-year Saint Mary's left-winger Marc Rancourt is the player of the year in Canadian Interuniversity Sport men's hockey.

The native of Gloucester, Ont., became only the second member of the Huskies to claim the Senator Joseph A. Sullivan trophy since it was first awarded in 1975-76. Goaltender Mark Locken was honoured back in 1982-83.

Other CIS major award winners announced Wednesday night in Thunder Bay were Saskatchewan right-winger Steven DaSilva of Saskatoon, who received the Clare Drake award presented to the rookie of the year; Ottawa centre Dan McDonald of New Liskeard, Ont., who claimed the R.W. Pugh award as the nation's most sportsmanlike player; Alberta's Eric Thurston, who captured the Father George Kehoe memorial award as coach of the year; and Lakehead forward Andrew Brown of Bancroft, Ont., who received the Dr. Randy Gregg award recognizing his excellence in hockey, academics and community involvement.

Championship website:

The 2009 Cavendish University Cup tournament, presented by TBayTel, is hosted by Lakehead University. The championship gets under way Thursday at the Fort William Gardens with the first of three days of round-robin action and culminates Sunday with the presentation of the national final at 2 p.m. Rogers Sportsnet will broadcast Saturday's two round-robin duels (2 p.m. & 7 p.m.) and the gold-medal match, while SSN Canada will webcast all seven games from the tournament.

Senator Joseph A. Sullivan trophy (player of the year): Marc Rancourt, Saint Mary's Huskies

Rancourt was the only player in the country to average over two points per game in the regular season finishing with a CIS-leading 57 points (16-41-57) in 28 contests, the best tally by a Saint Mary's skater since Craig Teeple amassed 60 points in 1991-92. The six-foot-one, 200-pound team captain was also first in the nation in assists (41) and tied for first in game-winning goals (5). He recorded at least one point in 26 of 28 conference outings, including 16 multiple-point matches and a 19-game point-streak to open the schedule. Eight of his 16 goals were power-play markers.

A three-time first-team AUS all-star, Rancourt was named to the first CIS squad for the first time in his career this season, following a second-team all-Canadian nod in 2007-08. After guiding the Huskies to second place in the Atlantic conference standings with a 20-7-1 mark, the 24-year-old led all scorers in the AUS playoffs with 10 points in seven games as Saint Mary's captured its first conference title and a first berth in the University Cup tournament since 2001-02.

A gold-medal winner with Team Canada at the 2007 Winter Universiade in Italy under Huskies head coach Trevor Stienburg, Rancourt ranks fifth on the Saint Mary's all-time scoring list with 175 points (52-123-175) in 109 conference games. He moved to Halifax following a solid major junior career with the OHL's Belleville Bulls, for whom he played from 2001-02 to 2004-05, tallying 78 points in 68 outings in his final season.

The fourth-year commerce student was also the AUS nominee for Dr. Randy Gregg award.

"I've been coaching at this level for 12 years and Marc could be one of the most skilled players ever to play CIS hockey," Stienburg said. "He's a great captain and team leader."

DaSilva and fourth-year Wilfrid Laurier forward Mark Voakes of St. Thomas, Ont., were the other nominees for the Sullivan trophy.

Clare Drake award (rookie of the year): Steven DaSilva, Saskatchewan Huskies

DaSilva became only the third Saskatchewan player to claim the Clare Drake award since it was inaugurated in 1985-86. Forward Dean Beuker was honoured in 2002-03, while defenceman Jason Becker was the recipient back in 1995-96.

The six-foot, 189-pound right-winger had a stellar university debut leading the Canada West in scoring and finishing 12th in the nation with 41 points (18-23-41) in 26 regular-season games en route to first-team all-Canadian status. His 18 goals were also good for first place in the conference while his 23 assists and three game-winning markers both ranked second.

The arts and science student captured three Canada West awards in his freshman campaign including rookie of the year, most valuable player and the Dave "Sweeney" Schriner trophy as scoring champion. He became the first rookie to be named Canada West MVP since the conference inaugurated its trophy presentation in 1978-79.

DaSilva represented Canada at the 2009 Winter Universiade in Harbin, China, where he led the squad with 10 points in six games as Team Canada captured a silver medal. He joined Saskatchewan following a successful major junior career with the Kootenay Ice from 2004-05 to 2007-08. He finished second in WHL scoring with 91 points in his third season and placed fifth with 89 points in his fourth campaign, earning a spot on the Eastern Conference first all-star team on both occasions.

"It is not often a rookie leads the Canada West in scoring from start to finish," said Saskatchewan head coach Dave Adolph. "The CIS is full of former top junior players from the CHL and Junior A and for Steven to step in and contribute the way he has this season has been remarkable. We believed Steven was capable of adding something the Huskies were missing - scoring. He has had a very good year and it is nice to see him be recognized at the CIS level for his accomplishments."

Acadia centre Jonathan Laberge of Ste-Foy, Que., and McGill forward Alexandre Picard-Hooper of Boucherville, Que., were also finalists for the Clare Drake award.

R.W. Pugh award (most sportsmanlike player): Dan McDonald, Ottawa Gee-Gees

McDonald is the second Gee-Gee in history and the second in three years to receive the R.W. Pugh award, following former teammate Ben McLeod in 2006-07.

The fourth-year centre was Ottawa's top scorer in 2008-09 with a career-high 41 points (14-27-41) over 25 regular-season games, good for fifth-best in the OUA and 12th in the nation. The six-foot-one, 190-pound public administration student had only 40 penalty minutes in conference play, tied for third-place on the Gee-Gees, before he signed a 12-game professional contract with the East Coast League Utah Grizzlies within days of Ottawa losing to McGill in three matches in the OUA Far East playoffs. In 105 conference duels over four campaigns with the Gee-Gees, McDonald had more points (119) than penalty minutes (114).

The 25-year-old scored 175 points (65-110-175) over a four-season career in the OHL with the Plymouth Whalers, Kingston Frontenacs and Brampton Battalion.

"Dan has left a strong imprint on our program and more importantly he was a great example to our younger players for how you need to compete at this level," said Ottawa head coach Dave Leger. "We are very proud and fortunate to have had Dan as part of the program and we wish him all the success at the next level."

A pair of second-year forwards, Saint Mary's Cam Fergus of Brantford, Ont., and Alberta's Derek Ryan of Spokane, Wash., were also in the running for the fair-play award.

Father George Kehoe memorial award (coach of the year): Eric Thurston, Alberta Golden Bears

Already honoured twice at the Canada West level, Thurston joins a prestigious list of Alberta bench bosses who were named CIS coach of the year including Rob Daum (2000-01, 2003-04), Bill Moores (1983-84, 1990-91) and Clare Drake (1974-75, 1987-88).

In Thurston's fourth season at the helm, the Golden Bears finished atop the Canada West standings with a 22-4-2 conference mark and a CIS-best 46 points. They tied for the nation's lead in wins (22), allowed a CIS-low 63 goals, were first in the Canada West and fifth in the country with 120 goals scored, and led the first 13 national media polls of the campaign before dropping to second place in the final rankings. In the playoffs, the Bears beat Regina two games to one in the conference semi-finals before sweeping Saskatchewan in the final to claim their third Canada West banner under Thurston and earn the No.1 seed for the University Cup tournament.

Thurston succeeded Daum as head coach in 2005-06 after 10 seasons as an assistant. The 45-year-old became the third coach in history to guide his team to the CIS title in his first two trips to the University Cup tournament as head coach, in 2005-06 and 2007-08. His career record as Alberta bench boss is 84-26-2 in conference play (.759), 15-3 in the Canada West playoffs (.833) and 5-1 at the University Cup championship (.821). During his tenure, the Bears have been ranked first 26 times and second 27 times in 53 national polls.

A three-time winner of the University Cup as an assistant to Daum, Thurston played one season for the Golden Bears in 1985-86 claiming Canada West rookie-of-the-year honours and capturing the national title under Drake. He went on to play and coach in Europe for eight years, with stops in Germany, Italy and Switzerland. He was the team leader and an assistant coach with Team Canada at the 2009 Winter Universiade.

"I am thrilled that Eric has been recognized by his peers for having an outstanding year as the leader of the Golden Bears hockey program," said Alberta Director of Athletics, Dale Schulha. "In the very competitive Canada West conference, Eric has been able to continue the strong tradition of Golden Bears hockey and has provided an environment where our student-athletes can excel in the classroom and on the ice. The University of Alberta is very fortunate to have Eric at the helm of our men's hockey program."

Moncton's Robert Mongrain and McGill's Martin Raymond were the other nominees for the Kehoe award.

Dr. Randy Gregg award (outstanding student-athlete): Andrew Brown, Lakehead Thunderwolves

Brown is the first member of the Thunderwolves to receive the Dr. Randy Gregg award since its inception in 1990-91.

On the ice, the six-foot-three, 215-pound team captain was Lakehead's sixth best scorer this season with 20 points in 26 conference games, before adding five points in five playoff contests. The 25-year-old was often used on defence when the 'Wolves blue line was affected by injuries, and even saw double duty as a forward and rearguard in a number of games.

Brown also excels in the classroom having maintained an 80-percent academic average over his five years at Lakehead and achieving CIS Academic All-Canadian status. After graduating with an Honours Degree in geography in 2007-08, he is currently doing his bachelor of education and plans to pursue a Master's degree in geography.

Very involved in the Thunder Bay community, the list of Brown's volunteering experiences is extensive. Among others, he gathers donations to deliver medical supplies to a clinic in Kenya, visits with primary school children, is part of the Adopt-A-Wolf program, talks to kids as part of Lakehead's anti-tobacco campaign, participates in the Home Depot Backyard Rink initiative, is a head instructor at Lakehead's hockey school, and took part in the Terry Fox Run.

"Coaching brings many rewards and in many different ways. The opportunity to work and develop a relationship with some outstanding individuals would definitely rank near the top. Andrew Brown is one of these special individuals," said Lakehead head coach Don McKee. "His excellence both as an athlete and a student is evident in his performance over five years at Lakehead University. As a captain of the team, he led his teammates on and off the ice. He was committed to the university, the hockey team and the fabulous Wolves fans. His legacy will live on at Lakehead."

Rancourt and second-year Regina forward Kyle Ross of Regina were also nominated for the Dr. Gregg award.

All-Canadian Teams

The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Wednesday.

Joining Rancourt and DaSilva on the first CIS squad were Voakes, fourth-year Alberta goaltender Aaron Sorochan of Edmonton, fourth-year Saint Mary's defenceman Scott Hotham of Barrie, Ont., and second-year Waterloo rearguard Kyle Sonnenburg of Waterloo, Ont.

Sorochan, the CIS rookie of the year back in 2005-06, was a first-team all-Canadian in his sophomore season. He was Canada's number-one netminder at the Harbin Winter Universiade.

Hotham was a member of the second CIS constellation a year ago.

The second CIS all-star team is comprised of fourth-year Moncton goaltender Kevin Lachance of Vanier, Que., second-year Saint Mary's defenceman Andrew Hotham of Barrie, fourth-year Calgary rearguard Travis Friedley of Delia, Alta., second-year UNB forward Hunter Tremblay of Timmins, Ont., second-year Wilfrid Laurier forward Jean-Michel Rizk of Dunham, Que., and third-year Alberta forward Chad Klassen of Saskatoon.

Friedley also represented Canada in Harbin. Hotham - Scott's younger brother - and Tremblay were selected to the CIS all-rookie team last season.

Laberge, Picard-Hooper, UQTR netminder Jean-Christophe Blanchard of Trois-Rivières, Que., Moncton defenceman Jean-Philippe Paquet of St-Georges-de-Beauce, Que., and Regina defender Dylan Chapman of Vancouver joined DaSilva on the 2008-09 all-rookie squad.


Senator Joseph A. Sullivan trophy (player of the year):
Marc Rancourt, Saint Mary's Huskies
Clare Drake award (rookie of the year): Steven DaSilva, Saskatchewan Huskies
R.W. Pugh award (most sportsmanlike player): Dan McDonald, Ottawa Gee-Gees
Father George Kehoe memorial award (coach of the year):
Eric Thurston, Alberta Golden Bears
Dr. Randy Gregg award (outstanding student-athlete): Andrew Brown, Lakehead Thunderwolves

First Team

Position Athlete University Year Hometown Faculty
Goaltender Aaron Sorochan Alberta 4 Edmonton, Alta. Education
Defence Scott Hotham Saint Mary's 4 Barrie, Ont. Commerce
Defence Kyle Sonnenburg Waterloo 2 Waterloo, Ont. Arts
Forward Steven DaSilva Saskatchewan 1 Saskatoon, Sask. Arts & Science
Forward Mark Voakes Laurier 5 St. Thomas, Ont. Arts
Forward Marc Rancourt Saint Mary's 4 Gloucester, Ont. Commerce

Second Team

Position Athlete University Year Hometown Faculty
Goaltender Kevin Lachance Moncton 4 Vanier, Que. General Studies
Defence Andrew Hotham Saint Mary's 2 Barrie, Ont. Commerce
Defence Travis Friedley Calgary 4 Delia, Alta. Haskayne Business
Forward Hunter Tremblay UNB 2 Timmins, Ont. BBA
Forward Jean-Michel Rizk Laurier 2 Dunham, Que. French
Forward Chad Klassen Alberta 3 Saskatoon, Sask. Physical Education & Recreation

All-Rookie Team

Position Athlete University Year Hometown Faculty
Goaltender Jean-Christophe Blanchard UQTR 1 Trois-Rivières, Que. Administration
Defence Jean-Philippe Paquet Moncton 1 St-Georges-de-Beauce, Que. BA BED
Defence Dylan Chapman Regina 1 Vancouver, B.C. Arts
Forward Steven DaSilva Saskatchewan 1 Saskatoon, Sask. Arts & Science
Forward Alexandre Picard-Hooper McGill 1 Boucherville, Que. Finance
Forward Jonathan Laberge Acadia 1 Ste-Foy, Que. BA

Source: CIS Communications

Photo Credit: Joël Côté-Cright