Canadian university women's hockey must be on the rise. Hayley Wickenheiser didn't even make the CIS first all-star team.
Despite averaging two points per game and leading the country with seven game-winning goals, the University of Calgary Dinos' forward wasn't named to the first all-star team Wednesday. The top three forwards, as voted on by CIS coaches, were Ann-Sophie Bettez of McGill, Alex Normore of St. Francis Xavier and Julie Paetsch of Saskatchewan.
That surprised Calgary head coach Danielle Goyette.
"For me, I'd like them to name three players who are better than Wick and who have the same impact on the game," said Goyette, whose team will be competing in the national championship tournament in Edmonton beginning Thursday. "I talked to Wick and said we want to make women's hockey better and keep our best players in Canada. We want them to be recognized. It's disappointing."
Wickenheiser was a first-team all-star last season as well as being named the CIS player of the year. Her statistics in 15 games included 17 goals and 23 assists. This season, she appeared in 16 games, juggling her schedule with the Canadian national team, and scored 17 goals and 15 assists. That got her a spot on the 2011-2012 CIS second all-star team, a baffling turn of events for Goyette.
"All I can do is put her name forward [for voting]" Goyette said of Wickenheiser, who missed a CIS game this season to receive the Order of Canada for having highlighted women's hockey at home and internationally. "I feel we need to respect the players who deserve it. If that player deserves it then they should be chosen. I'm not willing to give it to someone else just to change it up … In women's hockey we want to be fair and fair is not always right."
Wickenheiser, 33, has been criticized for playing CIS hockey instead of being lauded for lending it her expertise and experience. Last season, the three-time Olympic gold medalist had beer poured on her by fans in Lethbridge then was verbally abused by fans in Winnipeg. Goyette said Wickenheiser did an admirable job handling those situations while also dealing with the extra attention she has received on the ice.
"If they had three other players better than Wick, I'd understand. I don't think there is," said Goyette.
The fist-team CIS all-star team included McGill goaltender Charline Labonte, McGill defenceman Cathy Chartrand and St. Francis Xavier defenceman Suzanne Fennerty. Chatrand became a four-time all-star with her selection.
Bettez, from McGill, was named the Brodrick Trophy winner Wednesday as player of the year. She scored 37 points and helped her team post a remarkable 18-1-1 record. Her coach Peter Smith was named coach of the year.
The rookie of the year was McGill's Melodie Daoust while Jill Morillo of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology won the Marion Hilliard Award combining hockey, academics and community service.
The six teams in this year's national women's championship are Wilfrid Laurier, McGill, Calgary, Prince Edward Island, Alberta and Montreal. The championship final goes Sunday at the Clare Drake Arena.