LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western men’s volleyball star Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) is the 2016-17 Canada West Male Athlete of the Year and the conference’s nominee for the annual BLG Awards.
Sclater, who helped lead TWU to its second straight U SPORTS championship this year, will now move forward as the conference’s male nominee for the BLG Awards, which have honoured the top U SPORTS athletes for the past 24 years. Winners will receive a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship, while all finalists will return home with a commemorative gold ring from Jostens and a watch from Timex – official suppliers for U SPORTS.
ALL-TIME CW ATHLETES OF THE YEAR/BLG NOMINEES
Sclater had a remarkable season for the Spartans, earning the Canada West and U SPORTS Player of the Year awards for men’s volleyball after posting the ninth highest single-season kills total in conference history (369). See below for a short feature on Sclater.
Sclater is looking to become the second athlete in TWU history to claim a BLG Award, as fellow volleyball player Josh Howatson was honoured in 2007. The outside hitter is also looking to become the 10th Canada West male athlete overall to win the nation’s top honour, and second consecutive winner from the conference after Calgary football star Andrew Buckley earned the award in 2016.
Sclater is the fifth BLG Award nominee in TWU’s history, following Jessica King (Women’s Soccer – 2015) and Ben Ball (Men’s Volleyball – 2012), Josh Howatson (Men’s Volleyball – 2007) and Chris Meehan (Men’s Volleyball – 2006).
The BLG Awards will be handed out Monday, May 1 at the Martha Cohen Theatre in Calgary, where Scalter will be joined by the rest of the nation's top student-athletes. The ceremony will air nationally later in May on Sportsnet.
Although the 2017 recipients will be determined by the Canadian Athletic Foundation – a not-for-profit board which has selected the winners for the past 24 years – the general public is once again invited to vote online for the third straight season at www.USPORTS.ca.
RYAN SCLATER FEATURE
You could call it a Hollywood script. Or a perfect ending. Those who have witnessed Ryan Sclater’s exploits on the volleyball court over the past five years simply call it the fitting conclusion to a special university career.
Born and raised in Port Coquitlam, B.C., just a short drive away from Langley, where Trinity Western University is located, Sclater excelled in many sports growing up. In basketball, he captained his high school, Terry Fox Secondary, to the AAA BC championship in 2012, meriting tournament MVP honours in the process. He played Metro soccer until he was 16 and was a three-time school MVP in that sport. For good measure, he also played one year of high school tennis.
“Choosing volleyball over basketball for my university career was not an easy choice,” says Sclater. “But I felt that I would be able to go further with the sport in the long-term and I was excited about the opportunity to play at TWU since they were back-to-back national champions and close to home as well.”
After playing in the shadows of more veteran stars in his first two seasons with the Spartans, the 6-foot-6 outside hitter became a full-time starter in the fall of 2014 and success quickly followed in his third and fourth campaigns, including back-to-back Canada West All-Star nods, a first trip to the national final (2015) and the first conference and U SPORTS titles of his career (2016). And then came a senior season for the ages.
The English student was simply dominant in his farewell tour in 2016-17. Individually, he finished fifth in the country in both kills (4.29) and points (5.0) per set, helping him set single-season and career school records in both statistical categories. To no one’s surprise, he became the fourth TWU men’s volleyball standout to be named U SPORTS Player of the Year. But more importantly, he helped the Spartans repeat as conference and national champions, a fitting end for a humble athlete who has always put team success ahead of his own.
“Sport has taught me that unrelenting hard work, self-sacrifice and teamwork are massively important, but what is most important in life is not winning or losing or even trying your best in sports, but laying down your life to help others,” says Sclater, whose wife Amy is also passionate about volleyball and coaches a high-performance team. “If I do win the BLG Award, I will be honoured beyond belief but I will not forget that my identity will not change and my purpose in life remains the same: love God and love others.”
“Ryan’s amazing year continues to amaze me,” says Trinity Western head coach Ben Josephson. “Ryan truly is one of those special athletes and men that you rarely get to coach and play with. He is a champion on the court, in the classroom, in the locker room and every other room he happens to be in.”
2017 Female BLG Award Nominees (Jim Thompson Trophy):
AUS: Sarah Bujold, hockey, StFX (Riverview, N.B.)
RSEQ: Arielle Roy-Petitclerc, soccer, Laval (St. Nicolas, Que.)
OUA: Claire Sumner, cross country, Queen’s (Calgary, Alta.)
CWUAA: Danielle Brisebois, volleyball, UBC (Caledon, Ont.)
2017 Male BLG Award Nominees (Doug Mitchell Trophy):
AUS: Philippe Maillet, hockey, UNB (Terrebonne, Que.)
RSEQ: Mathieu Betts, football, Laval (Montreal, Que.)
OUA: Jonathan Lao, soccer, York (Unionville, Ont.)
CWUAA: Ryan Sclater, volleyball, Trinity Western (Port Coquitlam, B.C.)
About the BLG Awards
The BLG Awards were established in 1993 to recognize the top female and male athletes from universities affiliated with U SPORTS. The Awards are based on athletic accomplishments, outstanding sportsmanship and leadership. Each of the 56 U SPORTS schools nominates one female and one male athlete of the year. From these nominees, one female and one male athlete are chosen within each of the four conferences: Atlantic University Sport (AUS), Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ), Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CWUAA). To be eligible, a student-athlete must have competed in a U SPORTS-sanctioned sport for a minimum of two years and cannot be a previous recipient of a BLG Award.
All nominees receive a commemorative gold ring and winners are presented with a trophy and a $10,000 scholarship to attend a Canadian university graduate school. Winners are selected by the Canadian Athletic Foundation (CAF), a not-for-profit board established for the purpose of administering the BLG Awards and protecting the integrity of the selection process. The CAF Board of Trustees consists of 19 members from five Canadian cities representing major corporations from across the country who are committed to ensuring that Canadian university athletes receive the recognition they deserve.
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About U SPORTS
U SPORTS is the national brand for University Sports in Canada. Every year, over 12,000 student-athletes and 500 coaches from 56 universities vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. U SPORTS also provides higher performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships.
About Canada West
Canada West is the leading university athletic conference in the country and is home to champion student-athletes that excel in the classroom and their communities. Canada West and our 17 members from across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba collectively carry on a legacy of competitive excellence, as our champions proudly go on to represent the conference at U SPORTS national championships.
Canada West – training leaders, building champions