2021-22 Griffins Awards: Introducing our Female Rookie of the Year finalists

2021-22 Griffins Awards: Introducing our Female Rookie of the Year finalists

MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Another season of Griffins Athletics is in the books with big wins and great memories to cherish.

Excellence was evident on the field, court and ice as MacEwan student-athletes displayed character, commitment and talent throughout the 2021-22 season.

As we count down to our annual MacEwan Griffins' Awards Banquet on Saturday, April 2 when the winners will be revealed, we will be announcing the finalists for our major awards in the following order: 

Today: Female Rookie of the Year

Tuesday: Male Rookie of the Year

Wednesday: Male Athlete of the Year

Thursday: Female Athlete of the Year

Friday: Academic Team of the Year and Team of the Year

Here are the three finalists for our 2021-22 Female Rookie of the Year award (in alphabetical order by last name):

Aryn Chambers, women's hockey


MacEwan Athletics' First Star (Feb. 8)


Not only were the Griffins in their inaugural Canada West season, so was Chambers, but that didn't stop the defenceman from playing in all situations, regularly shutting down the conference's top forwards.

She also excelled at the offensive end, tying for second on the team in points with three goals and seven points in 20 games. Her biggest output of the season came in a big 4-3 win over Calgary on Nov. 6 when Chambers had two assists, including a helper on Chantal Ricker's game-winning goal.

Her seven points placed her in the top-10 in defencemen scoring in Canada West.

Chambers is an emerging leader with the Griffins and will look to step into a bigger role with the team in her second season in 2022-23.

Aryn Chambers played in all situations for the Griffins and finished in the top 10 in scoring amongst defencemen across Canada West (Joel Kingston photo).

Grace Mwasalla, women's soccer


U SPORTS nationals All-Star

U SPORTS nationals semifinal Nike Player of the Game

Canada West All-Rookie team

Canada West Player of the Week (Oct. 26, 2021)

MacEwan's Sandman Player of the Month (November 2021)

Two-time MacEwan Athletics' First Star (Oct. 26, Nov. 9)

MacEwan Athletics' Second Star (Oct. 19)


Playing with a poise beyond her years, Mwasalla was a major reason why the Griffins won the first U SPORTS national championship in MacEwan Athletics history. She finished the national championship with two assists in three games and also scored the winning penalty kick goal in a 3-2 victory over Trinity Western in the final for the U SPORTS crown.

This came after a terrific regular season for Mwasalla, who led the Griffins in scoring with five goals and eight points in 12 games (on just seven starts) – most memorably scoring the game-winner in a 3-0 win over Calgary on Oct. 24 that clinched the division title for MacEwan.

That output tied the program's rookie single-season CW points record. Finding another gear in the playoffs, Mwasalla was the driving force behind MacEwan clinching a U SPORTS nationals berth for the first time.

Needing a win over Saskatchewan in the bronze-medal match in order to do so, she set up Nikki Brodeur's game-winner and scored the insurance marker. 

Grace Mwasalla looks for an opening against Queen's during the U SPORTS nationals. She was a big reason why the Griffins won the national championship (Vaughn Merchant photo)

Payton Shimoda, women's volleyball


MacEwan Athletics First Star (Dec. 7)


Undaunted that the Griffins already had two setters in their first year of eligibility in 2021-22, Shimoda charged head-first into the battle for the starting job left by graduated star Kylie Schubert.

Over the season, she won the trust of her coaches and started more than any other setter on the roster, leading the Griffins with 307 assists – the most by a rookie in the program's Canada West history.

Her 5.20 assists/set average is also a new program rookie record.

Shimoda displayed poise and a high volleyball IQ during a promising first Canada West season. 

Payton Shimoda established a Griffins women's volleyball program record for the most assists by a rookie in a Canada West season with 307 (Robert Antoniuk photo)