Kadre Gray, Marie-Alex Belanger named U Sports athletes of the year

VANCOUVER — Laurentian Voyageurs basketball star Kadre Gray and Montreal Carabins volleyball veteran Marie-Alex Belanger were named Canada’s top university athletes Monday night at the 2018 U Sports BLG Awards.

Gray received the Doug Mitchell Trophy as male athlete of the year after leading the country in assists (141), while being second in total points (488), points per game (24.4) and free throws made (140). The Toronto native was the Ontario University Athletics MVP and the U Sports Basketball Player of the Year.

Belanger received the Jim Thompson Trophy presented to the best female athlete. The Joliette, Que., native led the nation with 3.98 kills per set, the fourth time she has recorded the top average in five seasons. She also was named U Sports women’s volleyball player of the year.

The BLG Awards were established in 1993 by U Sports and the national law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP to recognize the top male and female athletes from U Sports-affiliated universities. One male and female nominee was chosen to represent each of the four conferences: Canada West (CW), Ontario University Athletics (OUA), Reseau du sport etudiant du Quebec (RSEQ) and Atlantic University Sport (AUS). All finalists receive a commemorative gold ring.

Also honoured were University of Toronto swimming coach Byron MacDonald, reporter Jason Hills, and long-time University of Regina athletic director Dick White.

MacDonald, the head coach at the Toronto Varsity Blues swimming program since 1978-79 received the Jean-Marie De Koninck Coaching Excellence Award.

Hills, who works for Post Media in Edmonton, received the Fred Sgambati Media Award presented to a member of the media in recognition of major contributions to the development and growth of Canadian university sport.

White, who recently announced his retirement after 20 years as the University of Regina’s director of athletics, received the Austin-Matthews Award, given to the person who has made an outstanding contribution to interuniversity sport.

The awards were presented at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts as part of the 2018 U Sports conference and annual meeting.

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