Manitoba Bison Award Winners

WINNIPEG, MB. – The Manitoba Bisons varsity teams finished another successful season that had two teams reach the Canada West conference championship final and qualify for a national championship appearance. In the 2016-17 season, five of the eight teams in fall and winter sports qualified for post-season. On top of team success, there were numerous individual accolades plus major U SPORTS and conference award winners along with international recognition during the year.

The Manitoba Bisons handed out their year end hardware at the annual Brown and Gold Banquet held at the Manitoba Room, University of Manitoba, during Saturday, April 1 – hosted for the fourth time by Jim Toth – TSN 1290.

Bisons Lauryn Keen and Devren Dear were named as Bison Sports Female and Male Athletes of the Year for the 2016-17 season. Men’s Volleyball Head Coach Garth Pischke was selected as 2016-17 Bison Sports Coach of the Year while for the eighth time in handing out Bison Sports Rookie of the Year (Female and Male) awards, this year award winners were Kelsey Wog and James Wagner. In addition, the fifth annual Pat Gill Legacy Award was presented to long-serving Bison football coach/offensive coordinator Vaughan Mitchell.

In the 54th year history of the Bison Female Athlete of the Year award, Keen’s selection becomes only the fourth Bison women’s hockey player to be selected yet the fourth time that the sport has had an Athlete of the Year winner in the last 11 seasons.

In her third year of eligibility with Manitoba, Keen had a historic season as she captured a conference scoring title in 2016-17.

  *   Keen was the first-ever Bison to be named Canada West Women’s Hockey Outstanding Player of the Year in the 20-year history of the university program.

  *   The Manitou, MB was named as 2016-17 U SPORTS Women’s Hockey First Team All-Canadian at the forward position (first time as an All-Canadian).

  *   The Agricultural and Food Sciences student-athlete captured the Canada West conference women’s hockey scoring title with 34 points (nine goals, 25 assists) and became the second Bison to accomplish this feat.

  *   Also, Keen’s point total was tied for fifth most in U SPORTS. She also finished with the most assists (25) in U SPORTS during her amazing season. Keen finished the 2016-17 conference regular season with points in nine of last 11 games and ended up with nine goals and 25 assists while playing in all 28 conference games. She was seven points ahead of the second place scorer in the conference.

  *   The 5’9” forward was first in conference with 25 assists; tied for ninth in Canada West with nine goals; third in conference (seventh in U SPORTS) in shots at 101; first in points per game at 1.21 and first in conference (T-5th in U SPORTS) plus/minus rating at +22

  *   Had the second highest conference game point streak at seven (started on Jan. 20-Feb.10/17); conference-high seven game assists streak (Jan. 20-Feb. 10/17) and tied for fourth highest conference goal streak at four games (Oct. 8-Oct. 20/16). Plus, she had ten multi-points games in 2016-17 and highest point total in a 2016-17 game was four assists (Jan. 21/17 vs. Lethbridge).

  *   She was a 2016-17 Canada West First Team All-Star (first time as All-Star).

In the 58th year history of the Bison Male Athlete of the Year award, Dear’s selection marks the 16th overall time (tied for most with hockey) that a Bison men’s volleyball student-athlete has won the yearly honour and the second selection from men’s volleyball in the last six seasons (Dane Pischke in 2011-12) to be named to the top Bison male yearly honour.

Dear completed an amazing five year Bison career that culminated with the team earning a national championship berth and being ranked number one in the country during the 2016-17 season.

  *   Dear was selected as team MVP for the third time, second consecutive season.

  *   The fifth year right side hitter was named as 2016-17 U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball First Team All-Canadian (first time as an All-Canadian).

  *   In the 2016-17 conference regular season, he was fourth in Canada West (ninth in U SPORTS) with 3.96 kills per set and finished fifth in Canada West (13th in U SPORTS) for hitting percentage at .308 while starting and playing in all 24 conference matches.

  *   Dear was also eighth in conference (tenth in U SPORTS) with 353.5 points. His versatility on the court is highlighted as he also was T-24th in Canada West in digs per set at 1.62 and T-40th in total blocks at 43.

  *   The St. Andrews, MB native led the team in kills (309) and his highest kill total being 27 in one match during the 2016-17 season.

  *   He was a 2016-17 Canada West Men’s Volleyball First Team All-Star (second consecutive conference all-star selection).

  *   The Arts student-athlete was selected Canada West Male Third Star of the Week for the week ending January 15, 2017

  *   At the 2017 U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship, the Bisons were the second seed and ended up winning the Consolation Final and Dear was an offensive force throughout the two match victories and three games at the nationals. Dear accumulated 49 kills along with 18 digs, six total blocks, two service aces, one assist and 55.0 points while starting and playing in all 11 sets during the championship. In the first quarter-final match against host Alberta, Dear was named Manitoba’s Player of the Match after a match-high 16 kills and 17 points and was also team leader in kills and points scored in the other two matches.

For the female athletes, they have given the year-end Bison Athlete of the Year award since the 1963-64 season. Volleyball continues to lead with 23 winners, nine ahead of women’s basketball (counting multi-sport winners) and 15 ahead of women’s track and field (counting multi-sport winners) while hockey is now in fourth place with four selections. Bison Male Athletes of the Year have been selected since the 1959-60 season as volleyball is now tied with hockey as both sports have been selected 16 times and then football (12) follows, track and field (7) in fourth place and basketball with six selections.

Along with the Athletes of the Year, Garth Pischke was selected for the fourth time  as Bison Sports Coach of the Year in the 16th year history of the award. He leads coaches with his fourth time with this award (2002-03, 05-06, 11-12, 16-17). Some of his highlights with the Bison men’s volleyball team included:

  *   The Manitoba Bisons returned to the national championship for the first time since 2012 after an amazing run that propelled them to the top spot in the nation and the Canada West conference in the 2016-17 season.

  *   Manitoba was ranked in the U SPORTS Top 10 for the all of 2016-17 and was at one point in this season number one in the country for four consecutive weeks (Jan. 31-Feb. 15, 2017).

  *   The Bison men’s volleyball team had an amazing 20 match conference win streak (Nov. 4/16-Feb. 11/17) to propel them to first place in the conference in the regular season during 2016-17.

  *   Manitoba earned a bye in the conference Quarter-final as they were number one in Canada West and hosted the Final Four on March 10-11 in front of over 5,00 fans over the two days. This was the first time hosting this event since 2003-04 season.

  *   Pischke was named 2016-17 U SPORTS and Canada West Coach of the Year.

  *   This season on January 14, 2017, at home against UBC, Pischke reached another milestone with his 1,300 overall match win. The Winnipeg native now holds an overall coaching match record at 1,3113-363 (78.3% winning percentage). This is also the most overall coaching wins by a U SPORTS head coach in history.

Bison Sports have honoured rookie of the year since the 2009-10 season. In the eighth year of Bison Rookie of the Year awards that reflects the outstanding contribution of a first-year Bison, the Bison Female Rookie of the Year comes from the women’s swimming program as breaststroke specialist Kelsey Wog earned U SPORTS and conference recognition in her first season at Manitoba in 2016-17.

  *   In her first season at the 2016-17 Canada West Swimming Championship, Wog was named Canada West Rookie of the Meet and earned a 2016-17 Canada West First Team All-Star recognition after three wins (women’s 50m, 100m breaststroke, and 100m freestyle) and set two new conference meet records.

  *   Won four medals including one gold and set a personal best in the 100m breaststroke at the 2017 USPORTS Swimming Championships. Gold (women’s 100m breaststroke); Silver (women’s 50m breaststroke); Bronze (women’s 200m. breaststroke, 200m IM); Earned 2016-17 U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian honour.

  *   The Winnipeg native won Canada West Female Three Star of the Week honours twice.

  *   Finished in second place in the women’s 200m breaststroke in December 2016 at the 13th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Windsor, Ontario (earned first medal and podium finish during her first senior international swim meet) and also part of Team Canada women’s 4x50m medley relay team that swam to a fourth place finish.

The Bison Male Rookie of the Year is men’s basketball forward James Wagner as he had made an immediate impact during his rookie campaign in 2016-17 at Manitoba.

  *   Wagner was selected to 2016-17 Canada West Men’s basketball All-Rookie Team.

  *   The Winnipeg native led the team and third in Canada West in field goal percentage with 56.8% in his rookie campaign.

  *   The Science student-athlete played in all 20 conference games averaging 17.9 minutes per game and also played in all eight playoff games (counting two national championship contests).

  *   In addition, he averaged 7.5 points per game, good for fifth on the team in scoring and was also part of 2016 U18 men’s basketball Canadian national team that will compete in U18 FIBA Americas in Chile from July 2016.

The Student-Athlete Leadership and Community Development Award were distributed for the 11th year to one female and two male recipients. Fifth-year women’s volleyball student-athlete Caleigh Dobie and fifth-year football student-athlete Cam Teschuk and fifth-year men’s volleyball student-athlete Ken Rooney were this season’s award winners, which highlight their leadership skills, community involvement and also academics and athletics.

Dobie has been a strong leader in the community and on the court in her career.

  *   Dobie has been heavily involved with U of M Athlete’s Council (UMAC) as a Team Representative as Volunteer Coordinator and as Co-Chair

  *   She has volunteered with Bison Book Buddies and Bisons Against Bullying programs

  *   In December 2016, she also led the volunteer effort for Bisons at Siloam Mission. She has been a leader in organizing numerous fundraising activities for her team over the years and served as the link between players and coaching staff.

  *   She was a team captain for a second consecutive year and finished with 1,004 digs and 12th overall in Canada West in that stats category.

  *   She is a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian and has is completing her Bachelor’s degree in Education.

Teschuk has been a major influence on campus and the community over his career.

  *   Teschuk has given over 100 hours to fundraising campaigns such as Sunerama, Siloam Mission, Winnipeg Jets Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity and the Cerebral Palsy Bike Race.

  *   In 2015-16, the Winnipeg native was External Promotions Coordinator on the Commerce Students Association. His roles were to promote the school to prospective students and also a resource for accepted students by performing campus tours and guest visits at local schools and trade shows.

  *   In 2016 he took part in Five Days for the Homeless, raising awareness and collecting donations for Resource Assistance for Youth.

  *   He has been a team captain for three consecutive years and finished his Bison career with 112 total tackles, tied for 15th in program’s history.

  *   The Management student-athlete earned 2016 Russ Jackson Award recognizing excellence in football, academics, and citizenship in U Sports and named as 2016 Canada West Student-Athlete Community Service Award winner. He has been a tour-time U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian.

Rooney has been a tireless leader on campus, on the court and in the community during his career.

  *   Rooney has been part of University of Manitoba Athletic Council (UMAC) for last four years, including the last two years as co-chair. He has worked to coordinate two key outreach initiatives for the Bisons, helping to lead the Bisons Against Bullying program, as well as the Bison Book Buddies Program.

  *   The Winnipeg native has also given time as a volunteer with the Province of Manitoba’s “I Love to Read” Month plus volunteer over the years at Siloam Mission and been a club volleyball coach for five years.

  *   The fifth year Management student-athlete has been a three-time U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian (2013-14 to ’15-16) and has been a team captain for the last four consecutive seasons.

  *   On the court, Rooney has been a two-time conference all-star (First Team All-Star: 2014-15; Second Team All-Star: 2015-16) while also being named to the U SPORTS All-Rookie Team and was Canada West Rookie of the Year in 2012-13.

  *   He is only the third Bison to be named as the U SPORTS Dale Iwanoczko Award (Student-Athlete Community Service) winner in 2016-17 and selected as 2016-17 Canada West Student-Athlete Community Service award winner.

In addition, the fifth year of the Pat Gill Legacy Award was handed out to long-serving Bison football coach and offensive coordinator Vaughan Mitchell. He has served 20 dedicated years as an assistant coach and coordinator plus he also played with the Bisons from 1989-93. This award is presented in the spirit of Pat Gill, a dedicated, long-serving staff member and volunteer in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management. Pat served as the Bison Football Team Manager for over 40 years before his passing in December 2011.

Along with the major awards, Bison Sports recognized team MVP from each team, each year.

Bison Sports Team MVPs for the 2016-17 season

Women’s Basketball – Emma Thompson

Men’s Basketball – Keith Omoerah

Women’s Cross Country – Rebekah Sass

Men’s Cross Country – Daniel Heschuk

Football – Evan Foster

Men’s Golf – Devon Schade

Women’s Hockey – Rachel Dyck

Men’s Hockey – Byron Spriggs

Women’s Soccer – Amanda Wong

Women’s Swimming – Kelsey Wog

Men’s Swimming – Alex Shogolev

Women’s Track & Field – Tegan Turner

Men’s Track & Field – Alhaji Mansaray

Women’s Volleyball – Kearley Abbott

Men’s Volleyball – Devren Dear

Bison Sports Major Awards for the 2016-17 season


Female: Lauryn Keen – Hockey

Male: Devren Dear – Volleyball


Garth Pischke – Men’s Volleyball


Female: Kelsey Wog – Swimming

Male: James Wagner – Basketball


Female: Caleigh Dobie – Volleyball

Male: Cam Teschuk – Football and Ken Rooney – Volleyball


Vaughan Mitchell – Football assistant coach and offensive coordinator

University of Manitoba 

Photo –

Kevin Klein is President and CEO of MyToba News. The former publisher and CEO of the Winnipeg Sun, Kevin has spent several years in Canadian media working in newspapers, radio and television. A proud and passionate citizen of Winnipeg and Manitoba, Kevin is excited to bring you news, pictures and information on the many wonderful charity groups in our province. If you have an event you want us to know about, email Kevin at and follow him on Twitter @kevinkleinwpg.
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