Fourth-year St. Thomas University student Emily Oleksuk said being named the women’s hockey top defensive player of the year in the Atlantic University Sport league was unexpected.
“It’s really awesome that [my coach, Peter Murphy] thought of me to nominate and I got the respect to from the league. That was like very humbling and felt really good,” said Oleksuk.
As the captain of the STU women’s hockey team, this is the first award Oleksuk has received from the league. In her first year, she was named STU’s Rookie of the Year at the annual athletics banquet.
Oleksuk said getting an award wasn’t one of her main goals at the beginning of the season, but she said she felt like she had a good chance of getting one towards the end of the season.
“I felt like I had a good season so if it was going to come, it was going to come, but if not, then I wouldn’t have been disappointed,” said Oleksuk.
Oleksuk was happy to hear that Murphy was named the women’s hockey AUS coach of the year. She believes the award is well deserved.
Murphy has been the head coach of the STU women’s hockey team for 17 years. He said while he is grateful to be recognized by the league and his fellow peers, he feels the award reflects the team just as much as himself.
“I feel it’s more of a team award. We have a great staff here and they work hard every year and it goes to them as much as it goes to me,” said Murphy.
“And then also the other side of it is you don’t get the coach of the year award without the players putting out a good effort all year too.”
Fifth-year player Abby Clarke was proud to see her coach recognized for this hard work.
“Peter’s award was very well-deserved. He has put in a lot of time, heart and work into this program and for him to be recognized has been a long time coming,” said Clarke.
This is Murphy’s first time receiving the award and the first Tommies coach to receive it.
Tommies Alexandra Woods and Lauren Henman were named AUS women’s hockey first team all-stars while Oleksuk and Clarke were named second team all-stars.
Men’s volleyball head coach Henri Mallet was named the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association men’s volleyball coach of the year and player Henry Doucet was named the ACAA men’s volleyball Rookie of the Year.
Mallet was proud to have received the award and get the respect from the other coaches in the league who nominated him, but said he doesn’t see it as an award for just himself.
“I take a coach’s award and I see that as a team award,” said Mallet.
He said the award represents the effort his team puts in and the work they do on and off the court to be successful.
Doucet was happy to receive his award. He’s hoping to use his experiences this year to help him become a better leader on the team next year.
Garret Dickson and Christian Christie were named to the men’s volleyball ACAA all-star team while Megan Mills was named to the women’s volleyball first ACAA all-star team. Vanessa Soffee was named the ACAA women’s volleyball Rookie of the Year.
Bridget Frazee from the women’s basketball team was named a women’s basketball ACAA first team all-star and a Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association all-Canadian. Lainy Dow was named a women’s basketball ACAA second team all-star.
Frazee was excited to have received the national award.
“I am honoured and humbled to have been recognized for this award,” said Frazee in a Facebook message.
“Our team has had good chemistry all year long building relationships on and off the court and I am thankful to play with such supportive and hard-working teammates and a dedicated coaching staff.”