Kaye And Maillet Named Athletes Of The Year

Laura Kaye, female Athlete of the Year, Connor McConnell, male Rookie of the Year, Kristen Burns, female Rookie of the Year, and Lauren Adam, Garnet Copeland Award winner. Male Athlete of the Year Philippe Maillet was absent from Wednesday's Celebration of Excellence. (Rob Blanchard/UNB)
Laura Kaye, female Athlete of the Year, Connor McConnell, male Rookie of the Year, Kristen Burns, female Rookie of the Year, and Lauren Adam, Garnet Copeland Award winner. Male Athlete of the Year Philippe Maillet was absent from Wednesday's Celebration of Excellence. (Rob Blanchard/UNB)

(FREDERICTON, NB) Philippe Maillet, of the men’s hockey team, and Laura Kaye, of the women’s basketball team, have been named the UNB Varsity Reds male and female Athletes of the Year.

Maillet and Kaye were honoured during the Varsity Reds ‘Celebration of Excellence,’ at the Fredericton Playhouse, on Wednesday night.

Maillet, a fourth-year forward, was named the winner of the James Downey Shield, as UNB’s top male athlete.

Wrestler Ilya Abelev and Eivind Andersen, of the men’s volleyball team, were also finalists for the award.

Maillet scored 23 goals and 32 assists to lead the country in scoring during the regular season.

He was named Atlantic University Sport MVP as well as U SPORTS Player of the Year. He capped his season by earning University Cup MVP honours as he helped the Varsity Reds to their second consecutive national championship.

“Philippe was an on-ice leader and was relied upon heavily to spark the offence on a nightly basis,” said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. “He led our forwards in ice time and played hard at both ends of the ice.”

Kaye, a fourth-year forward, was named winner of the prestigious Colin B. MacKay Shield, as the Varsity Reds top female athlete.

Sydney MacDonald, of the women’s track and field team, and soccer player Hayley Gates were also finalists for the award.

Kaye started all 20 regular season games for the Varsity Reds, averaging almost 30 minutes and more than 13 points per game.

She scored a career-high 263 points this past season and finished among the conference leaders in numerous statistical categories.

“I’m obviously very happy for Laura,” said Varsity Reds head coach Jeff Speedy. “We challenged her to be a little more selfish and be the dominating player we knew she could be. I think the entire AUS saw that this year and unlucky for them, they’re going to have to deal with her again next season.”

Volleyball players were named as the Varsity Reds top rookies.

First-year outside hitter Kristen Burns, named AUS Rookie of the Year and a member of U SPORTS All-Rookie team, was named UNB’s female Rookie of the Year.

Mikaela Dodig, of the women’s basketball team, and Burns’ teammate Julia Diemert, were also finalists for the award.

“This is a big honour for Kristen, no doubt,” said Varsity Reds interim head coach James Cress. “She’s a talented young student-athlete that has made an immediate impact. After a successful first season at this level, she has the ability to continue to develop and be a dominant player in the AUS.”

Connor McConnell, a first year outside hitter with the men’s volleyball team, was named the Varsity Reds male Rookie of the Year.

Matt Murphy, of the men’s hockey team, and Jamaal Potopsingh, of the men’s basketball team, were also finalists for the award.

Like Burns, McConnell was named AUS Rookie of the Year and was named to U SPORTS All-Rookie team.

“Connor is a first-year student-athlete who made significant contributions at different times throughout the season,” said Varsity Reds head coach Dan McMorran. “He was seventh in the conference in points per set, blocks per set and hitting percentage. Those are decent stats for a veteran, never mind a rookie.”

Swimmer Lauren Adam was named winner of the Garnet Copeland Award, presented to the top all-round student-athlete who shows excellence as a student, an athlete, and a community contributor.

The James Born Award, presented to an individual who’s made significant contributions to the Varsity Reds over a period of time, went to Joe Crossland, who has spent nine years as an assistant coach with the women’s soccer team.