2022-23 Griffins Awards: Introducing our Male Rookie of the Year finalists

2022-23 Griffins Awards: Introducing our Male 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 2022-23 season.

As we count down to the our annual MacEwan Griffins' Awards Banquet this Saturday we will be revealing the finalists for our major awards in the following order:

Today: Male Rookie of the Year

Tuesday: Female Rookie of the Year

Wednesday: Female Athlete of the Year

Thursday: Male Athlete of the Year

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

Here are the three finalists for Male Rookie of the Year (in alphabetical order by last name):

Seth Birkholz, men's volleyball

Mixing in with starting middles Carsten Bergeron and Jonah Karsten, Birkholz held his own against the top big men in the conference in his first season. Among seven starts were four on the final two weekends of the season as the 6-foot-7 Edmontonian really put his stamp on a solid rookie campaign with 13 blocks and 14 kills combined in four contests against UBC Okanagan and Mount Royal University.

Notable 2022-23 stats:

22 kills (7th MacEwan)

.179 hitting percentage (5th MacEwan)

25 blocks (5th MacEwan)

0.57 blocks/set (1st MacEwan, 33rd CW, 79th U SPORTS)

Notable accomplishments:

• Led the Griffins in blocks/set in 2022-23 with a 0.57 average 

• Tied for second-most blocks in a match by a Griffin this season when he had five at Alberta on Jan. 20, 2023

Seth Birkholz had a big impact in the middle for the Griffins men's volleyball team in 2022-23 (Robert Antoniuk photo).

Egzon Jeteshi, men's soccer

Not many rookies earn a starting spot in their first Canada West game, but Jeteshi instantly showed his incredible ball control skills and speed, which made the electric midfielder fun to watch in 2022. The former FC Edmonton product scored his first Canada West goal in his third game, helping lift the Griffins to a 3-2 win over Lethbridge, and continued to play valuable minutes in MacEwan's attack throughout the season.

Notable 2022-23 stats:

1 goal (T4th MacEwan)

1 assist (T3rd MacEwan)

2 points (T4th MacEwan)

14 shots (5th MacEwan)

5 shots on goal (T5th MacEwan)

Notable accomplishments:

• Led the Griffins in corner kicks (24) in 2022, which is the fourth-most by a MacEwan player in a Canada West season 

• Tied for the most corner kicks in a game in 2022 by a Griffin (5 vs. Mount Royal on Aug. 27), which is tie for the fifth-most in a CW game by a MacEwan player

Egzon Jeteshi used his speed and creative ball skills to constantly put pressure on opposing defences for the Griffins men's soccer team in 2022 (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Ethan Strang, men's hockey

Despite being a first-year forward, Strang led the Griffins in goals (9) and finished tied for second on the team in points (15). He finished in the top 10 in Canada West for rookie scoring. Beyond the stats, he showed incredible growth in his game in 2022-23 as the coaching staff challenged him to work on his all-around game and become better in his defensive zone. By the end of the year, he was trusted in all zones and earned a spot on the powerplay. Five of his nine goals came during the team's final eight games of the season, including an overtime winner against the nationally-ranked Mount Royal University Cougars.

Notable 2022-23 stats:

9 goals (1st MacEwan, T28th CW)

6 assists (8th MacEwan, T95th CW)
15 points (T2nd MacEwan, T66th CW)

3 PPG (T2nd MacEwan, T21st CW)

55 shots (4th MacEwan, 48th CW)

16.4 shooting percentage (1st MacEwan, 31st CW)

Awards & Honours: 

Named to the MacEwan Three Stars list once during the 2022-23 season (2nd star – Dec. 6). 

Records broken:

• Broke the program's rookie record for most goals in a Canada West season (9)  

• Tied the rookie record for most points in a season (15) 

• Set a new record for most powerplay goals by a rookie (3) 

• Tied the program's CW record for most game-winning goals by a rookie (1) 

• Broke the program's rookie CW record for shooting percentage (16.4) 

• Tied the program record and rookie record for most goals in a game (2 – accomplished three times in 2022-23) 

• Tied the program's rookie record for most powerplay goals in a game (1 – accomplished twice) 

• Tied program rookie record for most shots in a CW game (6 at Alberta on Dec. 3, 2022)

Notable accomplishments:

• Produced the fourth-most shots by a Griffin in the program's Canada West history (55) 

• Recorded the sixth-best plus/minus by a Griffin in a CW season (-3)

Ethan Strang led the Griffins men's hockey team in goals, en route to breaking three records and tying five others in a memorable rookie season (Joel Kingston photo).