TORONTO, ON – The Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games are in the books, but the seasons are far from done for Canada’s winter sport university athletes.
With 13 medals won, Canada finished third in the medal rankings at the FISU Games, with six gold medals. Yet, while Canada’s 121 student-athletes thrived in all aspects, OUA athletes were among some of the strongest competitors at the Games.
As athletes return to their academic and school athletics programs, 49 Sports looks back at some of the top performances from OUA student-athletes at the FISU Games.
1. Shilo Rousseau – uOttawa biathlon
Named Canada’s closing ceremony flag bearer, there wasn’t anyone at the FISU Games wearing the maple leaf that outperformed Shilo Rousseau with her two gold medals and a silver.
The uOttawa Gee-Gee nordic skier got Canada started at the Games on Day 2, skiing and shooting her way to a gold medal in the women’s 12.5km short individual before making her way onto the podium for a second time finishing second in the 7.5km sprint.
In the penultimate biathlon event, she finished with another gold medal, topping the race in the women’s 10km pursuit.
“Coming into the Games, I didn’t imagine winning any medals, let alone two gold and a silver,” Rousseau said. “I have put in so much hard work into being a student and an athlete and competing at a high level.”
With three medals around her neck, the first Canadian to reach that feat at a FISU Games since 1985, the Ottawa biology student was appointed Canada’s flag bearer for the final event of the Lake Placid Games.
2. Jacob Paquette, Queen’s Gaels men’s hockey
Queen’s Gaels and Team Canada defenceman Jacob Paquette has played a critical role for the Gaels in the OUA, but he stepped up his play for Team Canada on the greatest stage of university sport.
The 23-year-old played on a pair with UNB’s Adam McCormick. The Canadian coaching staff relied on the two to play significant moments at both ends of the ice, as they shut down opposition teams with ease and allowed Canada’s forwards to get the job done offensively.
A former Nashville Predators NHL Draft pick, Paquette scored a goal and four assists over Canada’s seven games and was on the ice for Canada’s golden goal at Herb Brooks Arena, scored by TMU’s Kyle Bollers.
With the form and confidence he picked up at the FISU Games, he’s bound to lift a Queen’s Gaels squad that desperately needs points in their hunt for the Queen’s Cup Playoffs. In his return to the lineup on Wednesday alongside fellow FISU teammate Jonathan Yantsis, the Gaels fell 2-1 to the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks.
3. Maria Dominico, Nipissing Lakers women’s hockey
Nipissing’s Maria Dominico scored Canada’s 2-1 and eventual winning goal against Team USA in the final group stage game of the Lake Placid 2023 women’s hockey tournament before also scoring in the gold medal game against Japan.
The Lakers forward credited Nipissing’s emergence as a national contender as something that helped push her towards the Games and the impactful role she was able to step into on her way to leading Team Canada in scoring, with 11 points in seven games, good for second in the tournament.
Although she was Canada’s top scorer, she led a group of OUA players who were all critical to Canada’s tight-knit bond that led them to gold, playing alongside Queen’s Scout Watkins-Southward, Toronto’s Celine Frappier, and Waterloo’s Carley Olivier and Leah Herrfort.
Joining back up with her sister Mallory Dominico with the Lakers, Maria hopes the gold medal can push them back to the McCaw Cup Final and even further at the U SPORTS Women’s Hockey Championships in Montreal this spring.