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MRU Hockey and Volleyball Nab Major Award

From the rink to the volleyball court, a number of honours have been handed out to Mount Royal University (MRU) athletes and coaches.

On the men’s hockey side, Connor Bouchard earned the prestigious title of U SPORTS Player of the Year.

He will also see his name inscribed on the Sullivan Trophy, as the Canada West player of the year, and the Dave “Sweeney Schriner Scoring Trophy for leading the way in points.

Bouchard scored 23 goals and added 34 assists over 25 games while posting a plus/minus of +31.

“Canada West men’s hockey always has elite players that stand out statistically each season. Connor Bouchard’s season, however, has put him among the greatest individual performances in decades … he is a special player who has had a special season. And, best of all, he is the type of guy who would give all the credit to his linemates and team,” said head coach Bert Gilling.

“He has simply been sensational all season long. He has made an impact on every game he has played in and has become a leader on our team with his competitiveness and work ethic. His talent is remarkable; he can literally generate offense at any moment from anywhere on the ice. We are fortunate to have him in Cougar Hockey and look forward to his very bright future.” 

The Cougars nabbed awards all over the ice.

Connor Blake, a point-per-game player, was honoured with the UBC Hockey Alumni Trophy, given annually for sportsmanship and ability during Canada West competition.

“He really embodies all of the qualities of an exceptional student-athlete. He has been an awesome captain and deserves a tonne of credit for the success of our team this year. Among his greatest qualities, what really stands out are his character and class. He plays the right way and has been an impactful player and person all season long,” said Gilling.

Shane Farkas, meanwhile, was named the U SPORTS Goalie of the Year and the best netminder on the Canada West circuit. The product of Penticton, B.C. posted a 2.18 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage in his 22 games between the pipes. Farkas also collected 17 wins during the campaign.

Gilling praised his goalie as “rock steady” and the “backbone of the team.”

The Mervyn “Red” Dutton Trophy went to MRU’s Clay Hanus, an honour given to the best defenceman in the league. The Minnesotan notched 35 points in 25 games for the Cougars. Hanus also represents MRU as a first team All-Canadian, an accolade given by U SPORTS.

“He makes an impact on both ends of the ice with his smooth skating skills, slick hands and wicked shot,” said Gilling, adding his exceptional training in the off-season helped make him a deserving award winner.


The women’s hockey team picked up two major awards.

Scott Rivett was named the Canada West women’s hockey coach of the year, while Emma Bergesen earned the title of top defenceman for the second year in a row.

“Scott is so deserving of the CW Coach of the Year award. He has tirelessly worked on every aspect of our women’s hockey program and the fruits of his time, energy, and passion are being rewarded in the 2023-24 season,” said Mount Royal Cougars Athletic Director Karla Karch in congratulating Rivett.

Bergesen, a native of Stavanger, Norway, is a strong two-way player who put up 22 points – including 12 on the power play – over 28 games.

“Emma being a back-to-back recipient of this award is a true testament to the player and leader that she is. Her skill on the ice speaks for itself but it’s the relentless work ethic and desire to grow and improve on a daily basis that fuels Emma’s success,” said Rivett in a statement on MRU’s website.

“Emma is a true leader by example, she finds a way to show up for herself and her teammates consistently and is always willing to find small improvements every day. Her impact on our team environment cannot be understated; she brings a level of intensity and joy to practice that many of our younger players aspire to. Emma’s skill and ability makes her a game-changer every time she steps on the ice while her commitment, determination, and work ethic make her a vital piece of our roster.” 

U SPORTS, the national governing body for university sports in Canada, also named Bergesen a first team All-Canadian for her contributions at the rink.


U SPORTS also recognized a pair of men’s volleyball players for their outstanding seasons.

Chris Byam, an outside hitter for the Cougars, was honoured as a first team All-Canadian. In making the selection, U SPORTS took notice of Byam’s defensive play, as well as his work ethic.

MRU setter Grant Hill was also named to the U SPORTS All-Rookie Team. Hill stood out individually and as a team player with a strong understanding of the sport.