U Sports held their annual All-Canada Awards banquet on Wednesday and along with the naming of the 2020 All-Canadian and All-Rookie Teams, some athletes picked up individual Awards
Player of the Year: Trinity Western Spartans – Eric Loeppky
Despite not appearing in every game this season, the 4th year Outside Hitter was a force to be reckoned with in Canada West. He finished 4th in country in Kills per set at 3.73 and claimed the best hitting percentage of 2019-2020 at .443. Loeppky carved his place into the Canada West record books in 2020. He now holds the League record for Aces with 153 and his 1002 kills see him rank 6th on the all-time leader board. The Trinity Western Spartans have had a lot of success over the last four years but a lot of it has to be credited to the play of Loeppky (especially this year) which is why he is crowned Player of the Year.
Rookie of the Year: Queen’s Gaels – Erik Siksna
The Queen’s Gales managed to pick up their 2nd straight Forsyth Cup in 2020 and a lot of it had to do with the play of this man. It was on the offence where Eric Siksna truly shone in 2019-2020. He ranked 4th in the OUA in hitting percentage at .294, one of three Queen’s athletes to rank in the top 5 along with Adam Boljkovac and Zac Hutcheson. and the only rookie in the top 5. Siksna also thrived as a sharp server, tying for 4th in the OUA with 24 Services Aces. Siksna already has shown the ability to step up when it counts as led the Gaels with 3 services aces during their Forsyth Cup win vs the Toronto Varsity Blues.
Dale Iwanoczko Award (Student-Athlete Community Service): Brandon Bobcats – Seth Friesen
The Dale Iwanoczko Award is a fascinating one because it isn’t about what you do on the court, it is about what you do off of it. Seth Friesen is the perfect example of being a role model off of the court, as he picks up this award for the 2nd straight season. Beyond his play on the court Seth spent his 5 years in Brandon striving to make his community a better place. He has spent the last 5 years as a volunteer coach for the Brandon Volleyball Club as well as running tutoring and studying sessions for his fellow university students and student athletes. When asked about it in an article for the Brandon Sun he said that “So much of being a Bobcat is the family aspect and the relationships you build here. Any chance you get to be a part of the community is super valuable.”
It is that kind of an attitude that helped Friesen to earn the The Dale Iwanoczko Award for the second straight season.
FOX 40 COACH OF THE YEAR: Trinity Western Spartans – Ben Josephson
This one feels like it could be the most expected of the night. The resume of Ben Josephson is incredible, in 13 seasons he has delivered 5 national titles to Trinity Western and won Coach of the Year two previous times for his troubles. In 2019-2020 he continues building on his legacy. The Spartans rode a perfect 2020 (outside of one loss to Thompson Rivers) all the way to a 20-2 record and first placee in Canada West. In the playoffs it was more of the same as the Spartans were able to toppled the Brandon Bobcats in 2 games to 1 before sweeping Alberta in 3 sets to win their 4th Canada West Title in 5 years and Ben Josephson’s 5th title altogether. Being the coach of the undisputed (currently) best team in the country is a pretty good way to earn coach of the year and that’s why it belongs to Ben Josephson for the 3rd time.
Cover Photo: Milana Paddack