Title: Three ‘Birds named Canada West all-stars, Thomas named Coach of the Year
Date: February 27, 2013
Original Source: UBC Thunderbirds
Synopsis: This article was a feature on the UBC Thunderbirds receiving Canada West awards for the 2012-13 season.
Vancouver, BC – The accolades keep on adding up for the UBC Thunderbirds. Not only are the Thunderbirds headed to the Canada West final against Calgary this weekend and CIS Nationals in Toronto the weekend after, but four members of the team have been recognized for their excellence by Canada West.
Head Coach Graham Thomas has been voted as the Canada West’s Coach of the Year and is joined by Danielle Dube (Vancouver, BC), Tatiana Rafter (Winnipeg, MB) and Christi Capozzi (Kelowna, BC) on Canada West All-Star teams.
In his first year at the helm, Thomas led the UBC Thunderbirds to the greatest turnaround in CIS women’s hockey history. Thomas took over a team that finished with just one win in 2011-12 Canada West regular season and transformed the ‘Birds into one of the top teams in the conference.
UBC finished the regular season with a record of 17-7-4, good enough for third place in the conference standings and the first playoff home date in the program’s history.
Thomas, a Calgary native, came to UBC from Syracuse University where he had been with the women’s hockey team as an associate coach for four years helping to build the program from the ground up. Prior to that he was the head coach at Souther Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in 2007-08, leading the team to a first place tie in the regular season standings of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, with a record of 26-8-2.
“Being voted coach of the year by your peers is a wonderful honour,” said Associate Director of Intercollegiate & High Performance Sport Theresa Hanson. “Especially in a tough conference and in your first season as head coach. Graham has worked hard to turn our women’s hockey program around and I’m really proud of the entire team and coaching staff.”
Dube, meanwhile, is a 36-year old rookie who is playing a full season of women’s hockey for the first time. Having previously played in men’s leagues around the world and with the Canadian National team, Dube is trying her hand in CIS competition later than most.
The full-time firefighter and mother of two managed to balance a hectic schedule to post some of the top marks in the conference between the pipes. As such, she has been recognized as a First Team All-Star in net, marking UBC’s first First Team representative since Haleigh Callison in 2005-06.
Dube had the conference’s second best goals against average at 1.67 and its top save percentage at .943. Dube has maintained those stellar numbers through five playoff appearances. Her 11 wins in the regular season also set a program record.
Following Dube on the second team are Rafter and Capozzi, the first Second Team All-Stars from UBC since 2009-10.
Rafter finished tops on the team with 23 points in 28 regular season games, good for 12th in the conference. Her 13 goals were also tied for second. The third-year centre now has 49 points in 75 career games and has continued her strong season with seven points and a +6 rating through five playoff games.
Capozzi ranked second on the team in scoring for defenceman with 13 points, ranking sixth in Canada West. The fourth-year player set career highs with three goals and 10 assists and had a strong +7 rating. Capozzi has played in 97 regular season games and passed the 100-game mark this past weekend in a playoff game against Regina. She has been a major contributor through two rounds, tallying five points with a +6 rating in five games.
Thomas and his three All-Stars will look to continue to make history as they head into Calgary for the program’s first ever Canada West final battle.
Player of the Year: Hayley Wickenheiser, Calgary
Rookie of the Year: Jessica Kampjes, Alberta
Marion Hilliard CIS Student-Athlete Award nominee: Tanya Morgan, Calgary
Coach of the Year: Graham Thomas, UBC
First Team Second Team
G: Danielle Dube, UBC Amanda Tapp, Calgary
D: Caitlin Macdonald, Manitoba Christi Capozzi, UBC
D: Stephanie Ramsay, Calgary Riana Magee, Alberta
F: Iya Gavrilova, Calgary Nellie Minshull, Manitoba
F: Hayley Wickenheiser, Calgary Tatiana Rafter, UBC
F: Cara Wooster, Saskatchewan Rianne Wight, Regina