by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
Once again the Windsor Lancers were front and centre of the award recipients during the 10th annual Windsor-Essex Sports Person of the Year awards.
Seven Lancers in total were honored at the WESPY Awards, which were hosted Apr. 13 at the Caboto Club.
The WESPY Awards recognize outstanding local athletes for their success and contribution to their respective sports, with the awards based on the athletes accomplishments during the previous calendar year.
For the second consecutive year, Lancers basketball alum Miah-Marie Langlois was named the overall female athlete of the year as well as the female basketball athlete of the year.
Langlois had a terrific season in 2013-14 as she was named the OUA and CIS defensive player of the year and an All-Canadian asset to helping the Lancers capture their fourth straight CIS national championship title in Windsor. The 2013-14 women’s basketball team also took home the team of the year award for the fourth consecutive year.
The Lancers swept the basketball category as Lien Phillip captured the award on the men’s side. Phillip was named the OUA West player of the year and a CIS all-Canadian for the second-straight season in his fifth year of eligibility with the Lancers. Lancers track and field alumni Noelle Montcalm rounded out the award winners, being named the female track & field athlete of the year.
Lancer men’s hockey team coach Kevin Hamlin was named the WESPY awards coach of the year for the 2013-14 season, where he led the Lancers to their first Queen’s Cup title in 16 years with a semifinal finish at the CIS University Cup in Saskatoon.
Hamlin said it was an honor just to be nominated alongside Chantal Vallee of women’s basketball and John Cooper of the St. Clair College men’s baseball team.
“It’s nice to be here among all of these great athletes and coaches,” said Hamlin. “This is a collective award, I think I have the best coaching staff in the country. The amount of time and effort everyone puts in is incredible. I’m out in front of everything but it is certainly a collective award. All of the people who give us the tools to do what we do is very much appreciated. I’m not naive enough to believe that this is an individual award.”
The Lancers also swept the hockey category as Jenny MacKnight and Parker Van Buskirk were named the Ed Jovanovski female and male hockey players of the year. In 2014, MacKnight won the OUA women’s scoring title and finished second in the country in scoring while Van Buskirk back-stopped the Lancers men to just their second OUA Championship in program history.
After the 2015 season completed, Van Buskirk leaves the Lancers hockey program as it’s top goaltender in almost every statistical category. In his fifth year of eligibility, the Lancer men’s hockey team was ranked in the CIS top 10 for 17 consecutive weeks during the 2014-2015 season. Van Buskirk was a focal point of that success, earning 22 regular season wins while back-stopping his team to an OUA Bronze medal victory over the McGill Redmen and claiming a berth in the CIS University Cup tournament.
“It’s an amazing honor, when I found out I was nominated I was thrilled,” said Van Buskirk. “I think this is an amazing cap to my career to receive some awards I never expected or thought I might get. To win male athlete of the year at the University last year and to come here and see so many big names here, be involved in it and to win is pretty exciting.”
Lancer women’s volleyball team captain Hannah Robson captured the prestigious Mickey Renaud Captain’s trophy, which was named after the beloved Windsor Spitfires captain who tragically passed away in 2007 from an underlying heart condition. A four-time Academic all-Canadian, Robson also won the OUA award of merit for combining academics, community involvement and athletics.
“I’ve heard so much about Mickey and the Renaud family, it’s such an honor to win this award,” said Robson. “It’s tough to live up to the kind of person that Mickey was. I don’t think you can say enough.”
Robson said it is the influences from the multiple organizations in the community that has helped her become so well-rounded.
“Every different experience impacts you in different ways,” said Robson. “It’s nice to represent the University of Windsor. I’m proud of my school and I always enjoy other Lancers winning awards. It’s always a good thing.”