EDMONTON – Eleven days after capturing their second-straight Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championship, the Griffins men's hockey team took three major honours at the annual MacEwan Athletics awards banquet on Thursday at the Sutton Place Hotel.
Men's hockey not only won the prestigious Murray Orvis Team of the Year award, but they swept the men's major individual honours also. Forward Brett Njaa was named MacEwan male athlete of the year and forward Brett Smythe won the inaugural MacEwan male rookie athlete of the year award.
Women's volleyball player Cassidy Kinsella and women's soccer player Brittany Costa took home the female athlete of the year and rookie of the year, respectively.
"It's pretty special," said Njaa, who was named ACAC Most Outstanding Player earlier this month. "I don't know what to say. I'm kind of out of words. It's awesome. Like I said before, all those guys I played with helped me get it for sure.
"To win team of the year just to top it off and get another championship, there's nothing better really. It's awesome."
Brett Njaa, right, and head coach Michael Ringrose pose after he won MacEwan male athlete of the year award.
Smythe, who had an incredible rookie season with 28 points in as many games, echoed Njaa's sentiments about his award coming from his teammates also.
"It's a good attribute to my teammates," he said. "I wouldn't be here without them. They helped me every step of the way. I wouldn't have this without them."
MacEwan male rookie of the year poses with coach Michael Ringrose.
Cassidy Kinsella, meanwhile, who leaves the MacEwan women's volleyball team as the program's career record holder in every category except assists, finally won the MacEwan female athlete of the year award after being a finalist a couple of times before. To finish a five-year career with the Griffins' top individual female honour means the world to her.
"It's an incredible way to finish a season," she said. "It feels like a nice way to leave it all behind with an ending like that. I couldn't ask for anything more.
"Being a Griffin has been the best achievement I've had in my life. I'm so proud to have been a part of this program, especially," she added. "I'm really excited to see where I go from here, but I know it's going to be a little piece of me is left behind in those locker-rooms and gyms."
Cassidy Kinsella and Griffins women's volleyball head coach Ken Briggs.
Women's soccer midfielder Brittany Costa took home the inaugural MacEwan female rookie athlete of the year award after a season that saw her score three game-winning goals, as well as a playoff winner on a penalty kick.
"It feels good," she said. "It's amazing.
"It came from having the team being able to build me up. Their support was (huge)."
MacEwan female rookie of the year Brittany Costa with head coach Dean Cordeiro.
The MacEwan men's volleyball team took home the Cathryn Heslep Academic Team of the year award, topping an impressive list of seven Griffins teams to achieve at least a combined 3.0 GPA.\
The MacEwan men's volleyball team won the Cathryn Heslep Academic Team of the Year award.
Taylor Shaw, whose primary duties were hockey scoresheets while also helping out with other sports, was named the Griffins' Minor Official of the Year.
A total of 60 MacEwan student-athletes were presented with Academic All-Canadian honours from the 2016-17 season.
And 20 Griffins were feted as graduating student-athletes who've completed at least three years at MacEwan.
The MacEwan men's hockey team won the Murray Orvis Team of the Year award.
Individual team awards were also handed out on the evening:
Outstanding: Kayla Ivicak
Most Improved: Paige Knull
Outstanding: Ali Raza
Most Improved: Jake Notice
Outstanding: Hannah Leggatt
Most Improved: Jocelyn Leffers
Outstanding: Scott Kohlman
Most Improved: Aaron Boyle
Outstanding: Jordan Semen
Most Improved: Andrea Bury
Outstanding: Elizabeth Stewart
Most Improved: Rachel Wiebe
Outstanding: Josh Gorieu
Most Improved: Justin Berget
Outstanding: Carley Jewell
Most Improved: Kennedy Davidson
Outstanding: Brett Njaa
Most Improved: Stefan Danielson
Women's Indoor Track
Outstanding: Nikita Case
Most Improved: Valerie Schlottke
Men's Indoor Track
Outstanding: Thomas Cross-Trush
Most Improved: Reece Runco
Outstanding: Jamie Erickson
Most Improved: Sarah Riddle
Outstanding: Bennett Foster
Most Improved: Brian Mayall
Outstanding: Cassidy Kinsella
Most Improved: Hailey Cornelis
Outstanding: Kai Hesthammer
Most Improved: Tyler Jodoin