Supina wins inaugural Griffins Leadership Award, Abel, Bereziuk named Griffins Athletes of Year

Hannah Supina poses with MacEwan Provost and Vice President Academic Dr. Craig Monk after receiving the inaugural Griffins Leadership Award as the top overall Griffins student-athlete (Rebecca Chelmick photo).
Hannah Supina poses with MacEwan Provost and Vice President Academic Dr. Craig Monk after receiving the inaugural Griffins Leadership Award as the top overall Griffins student-athlete (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Jefferson Hagen 
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Women's soccer captain Hannah Supina was named the inaugural winner of the Griffins' Leadership Award, which recognizes the top overall student-athlete in athletics, academics and community service, highlighting the MacEwan Athletics department's annual Awards banquet on Saturday night.

Men's hockey goaltender Ashton Abel was named the first repeat winner of the Griffins' Male Athlete of the Year in nine years, while women's volleyball outside hitter Mariah Bereziuk earned MacEwan's Female Athlete of the Year honour.

Sabrina Alexander (women's soccer) and Phil Masri (men's soccer) won the Female and Male Rookie of the Year awards, respectively.

And the Murray Orvis Team of the Year award went to men's hockey, who qualified for the Canada West playoffs for the first time in program history.

Supina recorded a 4.0 GPA in 2023-24 and is soon to be a five-time U SPORTS Academic All Canadian. On the field, she earned a Canada West second-team all-star after superstar defending and her offensive punch that included leading the conference in goals and points by defenders. 

As team captain, she set the standard for community service, creating a spreadsheet to track team volunteer opportunities and hours, while giving of her time selflessly to help others.

"It's a huge honour," she said. "I honestly didn't think I would get this. I've been here for six years, and it's been a crazy ride. I'm super thankful for everything. 

"I couldn't have gotten this award without my teammates. It's the commitment they've given to the team that's played off to me committing to the team. It's a domino effect."

Ashton Abel, left, and Mariah Bereziuk, right, flank MacEwan Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Chandelle Rimmer after winning the Griffins athletes of the year awards (Rebecca Chelmick photo)

Abel, who was also named Male Athlete of the Year in 2022-23, set 10 program single season and career records in his final season, leading the Griffins to their first playoff berth.

He's the first repeat winner of the award since curler Jordan Steinke won it three years in a row from 2012-15.

"It's cool, for sure," he said of winning it for a second-straight year. "Obviously as a goalie, I couldn't do it without my team playing in front of me, so a lot of the credit goes to them. I appreciate everything they do in front of me.

"I thought I just tried to have a little bit of fun and be more consistent this year. I thought I'd try to improve that and enjoy my time. Obviously it was my last (season), so I had fun with it."

Bereziuk is the first women's volleyball player in six years to be named Female Athlete of the Year after Cassidy Kinsella last won the honour in 2017-18. 

"It's really cool," she said. "It kind of puts a capstone to the end of my career."

Bereziuk's the first in program history to crack a U SPORTS all-star (second) and also made the Canada West first all-star team after a prolific season break five program records and tie another.

"It's exciting," she said. "It's something that I've worked for all my career and with the help of my team I was able to get there."

Sabrina Alexander, left, and Phil Masri, right, flank MacEwan Vice President of University Relations Lara McClelland after receiving the Griffins' rookie of the year awards (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Alexander broke four program rookie records that had stood for eight years and was named to the Canada West All-Rookie team. She continued a clean sweep for women's soccer in winning this award – six times in a row – since it was first introduced in 2018.

"I just appreciate that others recognized the work I put in," she said. "I really appreciate this award. I couldn't have done it without my teammates. The team morale was high, and I couldn't have done it without my teammates."

Masri had one of the best seasons in Griffins men's soccer history and was the rare winner of both of his team's awards – Most Oustanding Player and Top Rookie. After making the U SPORTS and Canada West All-Rookie teams, along with the Canada West second all-star team, he becomes the third Griffins soccer player to win MacEwan's Male Rookie of the Year, following Everett Orgnero (2018-19) and Alvin Mazaheri (2021-22).

"It's a blessing," he said. "I'm very grateful. We had a great staff, a great team behind me.

"It was definitely a great season. We are still striving to do better, still growing. But you know there's a lot of progress and it was a great season."

Men's hockey won the Murray Orvis Team of the Year award (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Men's hockey emerged out of a tight battle for the Murray Orvis Team of the Year Award, beating out worthy finalists women's soccer and women's volleyball, both of whom also went to the playoffs.

"These guys have put in a lot of work, not just this year but in previous years, to solidify ourselves in U SPORTS," said men's hockey head coach Zack Dailey. "So, I'm super happy to see their work get rewarded. As you can tell. Our group was ecstatic about that. 
"Obviously, congratulations to the other teams – they had fantastic years. It's great to see Griffins Athletics doing well, but we're definitely very pleased and happy to win that award."

The individual team awards now include Most Outstanding and Top Rookie, the latter replacing the previously-awarded Most Improved honour. Here are the winners by team:

Women's Basketball

MOP – Noelle Kilbreath

Rookie – Unity Obasuyi

Unity Obasuyi, left, and Noelle Kilbreath pose alongside head coach Katherine Adams (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Men's Basketball

MOP – Milan Jaksic

Rookie – Joel Seke

Head coach Mike Connolly poses with Joel Seke, left, and Milan Jaksic (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Women's Hockey

MOP – Jesse Jack

Rookie – Maria Ayre

Head coach Chris Leeming poses with Maria Ayre, left, and Jesse Jack (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Men's Hockey

MOP – Ashton Abel

Rookie – Kadyn Chabot

Ashton Abel, left, and Kadyn Chabot, right, flank head coach Zack Dailey (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Women's Soccer

MOP – Grace Mwasalla

Rookie – Sabrina Alexander

Head coach Dean Cordeiro is flanked by Grace Mwasalla, left, and Sabrina Alexander, right (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Men's Soccer 

MOP – Phil Masri

Rookie – Phil Masri

Phil Masri, a rare double winner of the Griffins men's soccer awards, poses with head coach Adam Loga (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Women's Volleyball

MOP – Mariah Bereziuk

Rookie – Ella Black

Head coach Chris Wandler is flanked by Mariah Bereziuk, left, and Ella Black, right (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Men's Volleyball

MOP – Alex Lyndon

Rookie – Sawyer Cousins

Sawyer Cousins, left, and Alex Lyndon, right, pose with head coach Brad Poplawski (Rebecca Chelmick photo).