Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – For the third-straight season, MacEwan Griffins women's hockey head coach Lindsay McAlpine has been named coach of the year in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women's hockey ranks.
"I'm honestly quite shocked," said McAlpine following her team's 1-0 Game 1 win over the NAIT Ooks in the ACAC final on Friday night. "Wow. Again, it was really, really great of my colleagues to acknowledge that, but this league is filled with awesome coaches on every team. Stef (Thomson) stepped into a role at NAIT and took them to first place – has done excellent with their team. Chris Leeming is another coach I'd like to mention. With Olds College, two years back to back he has brought them into the playoffs.
"I think it could have gone to anyone out of our group of five."
McAlpine also thanked her coaching staff, which includes longtime assistants Danielle Bourgeois, Katie Stewart and Lindsay Inglis and goaltending coach Blair Faulker.
"I am so thankful for my amazing coaching staff that has been with me for so many years," she said. "It's rare to have that consistency and I just appreciate everything they bring to the team."
Together, they led the Griffins to a second-place finish in the ACAC standings (17-5-2-0). They're now searching for MacEwan's third-straight ACAC title.
Through nine seasons with her at the helm, McAlpine's teams have a combined 106-80-24 regular season record and a 19-18 playoff record, including Friday's victory.
This is the fourth time she has earned the coach of the year award.
"An honour like this is really representative of a cohesive team, which is emblematic of the culture and environment that Lindsay creates for the Griffins to perform," said MacEwan Director of Athletics Ken Schildroth. "We're honoured that she has received this recognition for her performance by her peers."
It was a solid night at the awards table for the Griffins on Friday as they saw four players make the ACAC's All Conference teams.
Captain Nikki Reimer was named to the first team all-stars, while goalie Sandy Heim, and forwards Chantal Ricker and Dominique Scheurer earned second team honours. Scheurer was also named to the list of Academic All Canadians.
All five of MacEwan's awards winners will officially be recognized prior to Game 3 of the ACAC final March 14 at NAIT Arena.
"What a great way to go out and end her career in our fifth year, captaining our team and getting recognized for the things she does," said McAlpine of Reimer. "The strength of Nikki is her emotional investment and her drive to be better in everything that she does and her drive to win. She's exceptional in that."
On Ricker: "Ricker's one of the best forwards at hounding the puck low in corners and getting in the faces of opponents," said McAlpine. "She's always in the hard areas of the ice. She puts pucks in the net when we need her, too. She had an exceptional season. In her third year, she's just continuing to grow in the direction that we want."
On Heim: "Sandy has been anywhere from a first team goalie to a second team goalie to a player of the year," she said. "Again, arguably could be in any of those positions. She's been massive for us and I expect nothing different to close out her collegiate career in a huge series against NAIT."
On Scheurer: "Domi is one of the most deceptive, dangerous players in our league if you give her some time and space," noted McAlpine. "She heads up our first powerplay unit. Most of the opportunities we get there start from her tape. She's going to be a player that we miss massively in that role."