Higgins named CIS Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year

Grace Chung // Special to Western News

The Mustangs women’s hockey team added a bit of gold to their purple and white ensembles last weekend as they hoisted the Judy McCaw Memorial Cup for the first time in the program’s history with a 2-0 shutout win over the Guelph Gryphons at the OUA Championship hosted at Thompson Arena. “I don’t know if you can put that into words,” said Sydney Kidd, a Biology and Global Development student and fifth-year player. “It’s kind of like Christmas, winning the lottery and finding out that you’re getting a puppy – all in one.”

CALGARY – Just days after winning their first OUA Championship, the Western Mustangs women’s hockey team continues to make history as Chris Higgins became the first Western women’s hockey coach to be named TIMEX Coach of the Year tonight at the Sun Life Financial All-Canadian Banquet.

Along with Higgins, goaltender Kelly Campbell and defenceman Katelyn Gosling were also honoured with Campbell being named a CIS First Team All-Canadian, while Gosling earned a spot on the Second Team.

After sharing the OUA award with co-head coach Dave Barrett, Higgins became the first Western bench boss to be named CIS coach of the year.

In his fifth campaign at the helm, Higgins has transformed the Mustangs program, leading the team to their best season in history with a 20-1-3 record, good for first place in the OUA. Suffering only one regulation-time loss all season, Western was especially good on defence, finishing third in the country in goals against per game (1.30) and fourth in penalty killing efficiency (89.2 per cent). The Mustangs also recorded their best-ever placement in the national rankings, reaching No. 3 on Dec. 2 and holding that position for the rest of the season.

“Chris has built our women’s hockey program to a new level and has completely transformed our program since he became head coach in 2010,” said Thérèse Quigley, director of Sport and Recreation Services. “In his five seasons as head coach, he has made a significant impact at Western and in CIS women’s hockey as a whole. His knowledge of the game, his ability to inspire and mentor young talented student-athletes is incredible.”