It was a McGill hockey sweep at the BLG Awards as Ann-Sophie Bettez and Marc-André Dorion were named the top athletes in Canadian Interuniversity Sport on Monday.
The female and male athletes of the year were chosen from the same university for the first time in the 20-year history of the awards. It's also the first time two hockey players were selected in the same year.
“It's been a great year for McGill hockey,” Dorion said. “People should look at it not only as a good school now. They should look at it as a good hockey program as well.”
Bettez, from Sept-Iles, Que., and Dorion, from St. Hubert, Que., each received a trophy and a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship from award sponsor and law firm Borden Ladner Gervais.
Bettez and Dorion were among eight finalists — one female and one male — from each of CIS's four conferences. All nominees received a commemorative gold ring.
The winners, announced at a ceremony in Calgary, were chosen for their athletic accomplishments, outstanding sportsmanship and leadership.
Dorion was the first defencemen in program history to lead the Redmen in points with seven goals and 32 assists in 28 games.
Named the CIS's best defenceman for the second time in three years, Dorion helped McGill win the first men's hockey championship in the 136-year history of the school. The Redmen defeated Western 4-3 in overtime in the final.
“I'll remember that goal forever,” Dorion said of the winner scored by captain Evan Vossen. “It's a little bit like our golden goal, like the Sidney Crosby golden goal in 2010. That's our golden goal for us in 2012.”
The 25-year-old senior was integral in a defence that gave up 62 goals, which tied for the best goals-against in the CIS. Dorion was assessed just four penalty minutes in 38 regular and post-season games.
He wore a cast on his left thumb Monday, which was broken when he blocked a shot late in the third period of the CIS final.
Dorion completed a degree in physical education this year. He recently signed a two-year contract to play for the Austrian pro league champions EHC Linz.
Dorion received the Doug Mitchell Trophy, named in honour of the BLG Awards founder.
“I don't really know how to react to it, but I'm just proud of what I've accomplished and proud of the team in general,” Dorion said. “Without winning nationals, I don't know if I would have won this tonight.”
The other male finalists were Acadia hockey player Andrew Clark, McMaster quarterback Kyle Quinlan and Trinity Western University volleyball player Ben Ball.
Bettez won the Jim Thompson Trophy, given to the female winner in memory of the late president of TSN.
“I think my knees just dropped,” the five-foot-four forward said. “When they said ‘McGill University', I said ‘OK, this is the women and it's me.’ Joy and happiness when they called out my name.
“I couldn't believe both of us actually won from McGill.”
The 24-year-old was the CIS player of the year in women's hockey following a campaign of 13 goals and 24 assists in 20 league games. Bettez added six goals and seven assists in eight post-season games.
She caps her fifth and final season at McGill as the school's all-time leader in goals (85), assists (87) and points (172).
During her career with the Martlets, McGill won three women's national championships, was runner-up once and finished third this year.
“I started playing hockey at the age of five and I've been in sports my whole life,” Bettez said. “I picked hockey at the age of 12. I had to pick between diving and hockey. I picked the team sport. I love being around people.”
Bettez has a commerce degree and a public relations diploma from McGill. She's about to start a new job in marketing for a new nutrition company. She wants to play in the Canadian Women's Hockey League for the Montreal Stars next season.
The other female nominees were St. Francis Xavier rugby player Tyson Beukeboom, Guelph rugby player Jacey Murphy and University of British Columbia field hockey player Robyn Pendleton.
The RSEQ conference last swept the awards in 1999 when Concordia hockey player Corinne Swirsky and Sherbooke track athlete Alexandre Marchand were BLG winners.
Last year's winners were basketball players Jessica Clemencon from Windsor and Tyson Hinz from Carleton.
CFL football player and Olympic bobsledder Jesse Lumsden, Olympic women's hockey team goaltender Kim St. Pierre, Olympic heptathlete Jessica Zelinka and Olympic swimmer Curtis Myden are among previous recipients.
The winners were chosen by the Canadian Athletic Foundation, a board of 21 business people from five Canadian cities. Mitchell is chairman of that board.
Student-athletes must compete in CIS sport a minimum of two years to be eligible and can't be a previous recipient of a BLG Award.