UNB's George named AUS Women's Hockey MVP

UNB's George named AUS Women's Hockey MVP

2023-24 AUS women’s hockey major awards and all-stars announced 

(HALIFAX, N.S.) - Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2023-24 AUS women's hockey all-stars and major award winners, as selected by the conference's eight head coaches. 

Fifth-year UNB forward Lillian George (Nipissing First Nation) has been chosen as the AUS Most Valuable Player.

Other AUS women’s hockey major awards announced today were STFX’s Ireland McCloskey (Barrie, Ont.) who was named both Rookie of the Year and Most Sportsmanlike Player; Saint Mary’s Miranda Hatt (Regina, Sask.) who was named the Top Defensive Player; UPEI’s Shaylin McFarlane (Miramichi, N.B.) who was awarded Student Athlete and Community Service honours; and Saint Mary’s head coach Chris Larade as the AUS Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year.

The 2023-24 AUS Women’s Hockey Most Valuable Player is fifth-year forward Lillian George of the UNB Reds.

A Recreation and Sports Studies student from Nipissing First Nation, George led the AUS in scoring with 36 points and a +27 plus/minus rating in 28 games. Her play led UNB to a 21-6-0-1 record – good enough for second place in the regular season and a first-round bye in the post-season.

George’s 18 goals placed in a three-way tie among all AUS skaters, and her 18 assists placed her third.

In addition to this award, George was also named an AUS First-Team All-Star.

She becomes the second player from the UNB Reds to win the conference MVP award, joining teammate Kendra Woodland who won the honour last season.

Now, George becomes the AUS nominee for the Brodrick Trophy for U SPORTS player of the year. The last AUS student-athlete to be named best in the country was Woodland in 2022-23.  

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:Ireland McCloskey, STFX X-Women 
Ireland McCloskey from the STFX X-Women is the 2023-24 AUS Women’s Hockey Rookie of the Year.

A Bachelor of Arts student from Barrie, Ont., McCloskey was also named to the AUS All-Rookie Team.

She played in 28 games this season, recording 26 points (13 goals, 13 assists) and a +21 plus/minus rating. McCloskey helped the X-Women to a league-best 21-5-2-0 record and a first-round bye in the post-season.

She becomes the sixth STFX player to be named Rookie of the Year, following in the footsteps of Rebecca Davies (2003-04), Abygail Laking (2009-10), Alex Normore (2010-11), Emerson Elliott (2017-18) and Abby Lewis (2021-22).

With this win, McCloskey will be the conference nominee for the U SPORTS rookie of the year award.

Past AUS winners include Abby Lewis of STFX (2021-22), Alex Normore of STFX (2010-11) and Courtney Schriver of Saint Mary’s (2004-05). 

MOST SPORTSMANLIKE: Ireland McCloskey, STFX X-Women 
This season’s AUS Women’s Hockey Most Sportsmanlike Player is Ireland McCloskey of the STFX X-Women.

This award recognizes an individual who maintains the standards of fair play and treats those around her with respect at all times. 

A first-year forward from Barrie, Ont., McCloskey suited up in all 28 regular season games for the X-Women, recording 26 points (13 goals, 13 assists). STFX finished atop the regular season standings with a 21-5-2-0 record, earning themselves a first-round bye in the playoffs.

In those 28 games played, McCloskey took just one minor penalty.

McCloskey’s win is the first for an X-Woman since Taylor Dale won the award in both 2014-15 and 2015-16. 


Miranda Hatt of the SMU Huskies has been named the 2023-24 AUS Women’s Hockey Top Defensive Player.

This award, established in 2016-17, is given annually to a skater who consistently excels in defensive aspects of the game and displays strong play in all areas of the ice individually and as part of their team's defensive tactics.  

Hatt was selected as the winner of this award based on criteria such as faceoffs, blocked shots, forechecking, rush-zone defending, penalty killing and shutting down the opposition's top players. 

A fifth-year forward from Regina, Sask., Hatt skated in all 28 games this season for the Huskies. Her play helped SMU to a third-place finish in the regular season standings (17-7-1-3). Hatt registered 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) and a +4 plus/minus rating.

Hatt becomes the first player from SMU to win the award since Nicole Blanche went back-to-back in 2016-17 and 2017-18.


UPEI goaltender Shaylin McFarlane has been awarded this year’s Student-Athlete Community Service Award for her academic, athletic and community contributions.

A fourth-year Nursing student from Miramichi, N.B., McFarlane strapped on the pads for two games this season, recording a 2.93 goals against average and a .900 save percentage.

McFarlane has achieved Academic All-Canadian status in all four seasons of her post-secondary athletic career and earned a 4.5 GPA in the fall semester.

Her care for others does not stop at nursing. In the fall of 2023, she introduced UPEI to the ‘Cub Club’ – a unique game day experience for a PEI U11 or U13 female hockey player. Selected participants can come to the game and take part in activities such as: meeting the team, meeting the coaches, participating in warm-up, taking photos with players, reading coaches game cards, being introduced in the starting lineup, conducting an interview on AUStv and more.

“Shay is an incredible student-athlete,” said Panthers head coach, Sean Fisher. “She is wildly unselfish, loved by her teammates and an academic role model. She has created a lasting legacy at UPEI with her development of the ‘Cub Club’, which is the first of its kind in PEI. It has received outstanding positive feedback and it is all driven, organized and supported by Shay.”

McFarlane is just the second player in UPEI history to win this award since its inception in 2002-03, joining Ferran Brown (2013-14). She will now represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the U SPORTS Marion Hilliard Award. The last AUS student-athlete to take home the national honour was SMU’s Eve LeBlanc in 2022-23. 

COACH OF THE YEAR: Chris Larade, SMU Huskies 
Saint Mary’s University head coach Chris Larade has been selected by his peers as the 2023-24 AUS Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year.

Larade’s Huskies finished the regular season with a 17-7-1-3 record, which earned them the No. 3 seed going into the playoffs.

The Huskies tied for the league lead in short-handed goals (4); placed second in power play goals (25) and power play percentage (25%); and third in goals for (84) and goals against (61) this season.

Larade also won the AUS Coach of the Year Award in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2019-20. This fourth win ties him with STFX’s David Synishin (2003-04, 2004-05, 2007-08, 2012-13) for most Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year Awards in AUS history.

He’ll now be the conference nominee for the U SPORTS coach of the year award. The most recent AUS winner was himself, who took home the honour in both 2015-16 and 2016-17.  


First Team All-Stars 
Goaltender: Grace Beer, Dalhousie (2nd year – Oakville, Ont.)
Defence: Mackenzie Keenan, UNB (2nd year – Midhurst, Ont.) 
Defence: Abigail MacKenzie, SMU (2nd year – Stellarton, N.S.) 
Forward: Lillian George, UNB (5th year – Nipissing First Nation)  
Forward: Erica Plourde, Université de Moncton (3rd year – Pigeon Hill, N.B.) 
Forward: Payton Hargreaves (4th year – Whitby, Ont.) 

Second Team All-Stars 
Goaltender: Katie Sweeney, STU (3rd year – Tecumseh, Ont.)
Defence: Aislynn Byers, STU (4th year – Melancthon, Ont.)
Defence: Cassandra Call, Université de Moncton (5th year - Navan, Ont.)
Forward: Maggy Burbidge, STFX (4th year – Falmouth, N.S.)
Forward: Miranda Hatt, SMU (5th year – Regina, Sask.) 
Forward: Olivia Eustace, Dalhousie (3rd year – Riverview, N.B.)

All-Rookie Team 
Goaltender: Erin Cabaday, UPEI (Oakville, Ont.)
Defence: Mackenzie Lothian, STFX (Alliston, Ont.)
Defence: Robyn Brokenshire, UNB (St. Albert, Alta.)  
Forward: Ireland McCloskey, STFX (Barrie, Ont.) 
Forward: Avery Cant, SMU (Waterloo, Ont.)  
Forward: Katelyn Scott, UNB (Almonte, Ont.)


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