City Skater Is Canada West's Player of Year

Winnipeg Free Press, February 27, 2014 | Go to article overview

City Skater Is Canada West's Player of Year


After a monster season, Winnipeg's Tatiana Rafter scooped up one of Canadian university hockey's top honours, earning the award for Canada West player of the year.

Just minutes after learning of the award on Wednesday, the fourth-year University of British Columbia Thunderbirds forward was buzzing.

"One of my teammates told me, 'Hey, go check on Twitter,' " Rafter said from Vancouver. "I logged on and saw it, and I was like, 'Oh my God.' It means a lot to me, just because I know I worked so hard this past year. It's pretty validating to all the hard work I've done."

Rafter, who grew up in Winnipeg and now studies gender, race and international relations at UBC, was also named to the Canada West first all-star team.

The selection was something of a no-brainer. Rafter exploded offensively this season, hammering opponents to the tune of 20 goals and 18 assists in just 28 games.

She opened a vast lead in the Canada West scoring race, finishing seven points ahead of second-place finisher Cami Wooster of the Saskatchewan Huskies. More, she led the conference in power-play goals with nine, tied for first with two shorthanded strikes, and six of her 20 goals were game-winners.

It was a heck of a season, and it started in the summer. That's when Rafter, a Balmoral Hall alumna, decided to stay in Vancouver to train harder than she ever had before.

"I wanted to leave no doubt that I put in all the effort that I could," Rafter said. "And trust in my preparation, I think that was a huge thing. I felt prepared going into every game and every series, more than I ever have. It was a mental and a physical thing that I was able to accomplish."

Boeing Indoor Classic coming up

THOUGH the snow is still on the ground, the indoor tracks are about to heat up in Winnipeg this weekend as the Boeing Indoor Classic track meet gets underway.

Now in its 33rd year, the two-day event kicks off on Friday and runs through Saturday at the Max Bell Field House at the University of Manitoba. The event will pit top athletes from Manitoba against competitors from Saskatchewan and Ontario. There will be events for athletes of all ages, from entry-level participants right up to national team athletes.

The Boeing Indoor Classic has a long history in Manitoba. It was launched in 1981, when there was no permanent indoor running facility, so organizers set up an indoor wooden track in a Gimli airport hangar. Since then, as many as 23,000 medals have been awarded, and tens of thousands of athletes have participated.

Bison hockey gals earn honours

FIVE University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey players were awarded conference honours on Wednesday, with four getting a nod to the all-star teams.

Defender Caitlin MacDonald and forward Kyleigh Palmer were selected as Canada West first-team all-stars, while forward Meagan Vestby was named to the second all-star team. It was a perfect note to go out on for MacDonald and Palmer, who are both closing their university hockey careers as fifth-year Bisons. MacDonald tied for the league lead in goals by a blue-liner, with six, and Palmer's 29 points led the Bisons in scoring and ranked third in all of Canada West. …

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