Goaltender Camryn Drever is seen in mid-game action, defending against the opposing hockey team at Merlis Belsher Place. Several other hockey players can be seen attempting to gain control of the puck in front of the net.
Camryn Drever of the University of Saskatchewan Huskie women’s hockey team has been named the 2024 Canada West Women's Hockey Player of the Year. (Photo: Huskie Athletics)

Huskies’ Drever named Canada West player of the year

A remarkable record-setting season to remember has earned Camryn Drever an award that she will never forget.

By James Shewaga

The all-star netminder with the University of Saskatchewan (USask) Huskie women’s hockey team has been named the Canada West conference player of the year and goaltender of the year in her fifth and final season with the Huskies, who will be the host team in the national championship from March 14-17 at Merlis Belsher Place.

Drever was honoured to be recognized for her performance and for her team’s superb season.

“I am shocked, to be honest, and I wasn’t expecting to get two Canada West major awards and I am feeling quite honoured,” said Drever, who is originally from Edmonton. “I think I had a good year individually, but I think that this comes down to my teammates helping me out each and every night and both of these awards are a credit to my teammates.”

Drever’s sensational season included leading the country with a remarkable .954 save percentage while also posting an impressive 1.33 goals-against average and setting a new Huskies Athletics women’s hockey record for wins in a season with 15, including five shutouts, to help the Huskies post a 19-7-1-1 record to finish fourth in the nine-team Canada West conference.

Huskies head coach Steve Kook said Drever’s season was one of the best ever in Huskie hockey history.

“She really has had an outstanding season,” said Kook. “We have had some pretty good seasons in the past with (former Huskie goaltenders) Vanessa Frederick and Jessica Vance, who was our last conference MVP. But for Camryn to break that record for wins in a season is something else, especially in this day and age when our conference is so tight. One thing that we know, game in and game out, is that she is going to be one of the best goalies in the country every time she steps on the ice. I am just so proud of her accomplishments.”

Drever broke the team record of 14 wins in a season, previously shared by Frederick and Vance, and posted the second-best save percentage ever in a Huskie season, behind Vance, and the fourth-best goals-against average. Drever has also excelled off the ice, earning Academic All-Canadian honours five years in a row for posting an overall average of better than 80 per cent, while completing a full course load. She is set to graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Education degree.

“First and foremost, she is one of the best teammates that we have ever had in our program,” said Kook, noting that Drever is hoping to play professionally next season in the new Professional Women’s Hockey League. “She is so humble and quick to deflect praise and take on responsibility, so that is one of her biggest attributes as a player and as a person.

“She has had lots of success. She has won two Esso Cup national championships as a Midget AAA player, and after this year she will have gone to two national championships at the U SPORTS level. And after being named conference MVP she is now up for the national award, and she also got selected to represent Canada at the FISU World University Games this year. I think what makes her such a great goalie for us is just the type of person she is.”

Drever was a member of Canada’s gold-medal winning team at the 2023 World University Games, and helped the Huskies earn a bronze medal in their last trip to the U SPORTS national championship in Charlottetown in 2022. In that championship, Drever recorded shutouts in two of the three games that she played, including a 17-save shutout performance in the Huskies’ 2-0 victory over the University of New Brunswick in the bronze-medal game, helping USask earn its second ever medal at nationals.

“One of the reasons we were so successful when we won bronze in Charlottetown was because of her,” said Kook, who is in his 19th season as coach of the Huskies. “That was really when Drever Fever started, after her great regular season and then she was the game MVP in two out of the three games at nationals.”

Drever now has a chance to chase another medal as she closes out her career with the Huskies by hosting the 2024 GFL U SPORTS Women’s Hockey Championship presented by Connect Energy, starting Thursday, March 14 at Merlis Belsher Place in the quarter-finals at 7 pm. For Drever, capping her career with another medal at nationals would be a dream ending to a record-setting season and career with the Huskies.

“There would be no better way to end it off than with a national championship,” said Drever. “It would mean everything to us. We have put in the work all year and in the last couple of years we have seen what it takes to earn a medal, winning bronze in 2022. So everyone is excited to get back to the national stage and to have this opportunity. We are focused on that first game and hopefully we can set ourselves up for success from there. We are just so excited.”

ICINGS: Huskies scoring leader Sophie Lalor has also earned the Canada West conference’s Sportsmanship and Athletic Ability Award and was named a second-team women’s hockey all-star. Lalor led the Huskies in scoring with 12 goals and 22 points in 28 games, while receiving only four minor penalties all season. “We have a really special group of girls this year and I think what is amazing is that it is not just one or two players, but everyone contributes,” said Lalor … Tickets for the national women’s hockey championship are available online here ... Drever and Lalor are two of seven seniors who will be closing out their careers with the Huskies at nationals, along with fifth-year captain Kennedy Brown and World University Games bronze medallist Isabella Pozzi, as well as Kara Kondrat, Kenzie Lausberg, and Kate Ball … The fourth-place Huskies fell 2-1 to the fifth-place Calgary Dinos in the best-of-three conference quarter-finals … The Huskies were ranked in the national Top 10 seven times this season, reaching a high of ninth in the country ... Huskie men's hockey player Dawson Holt has been awarded the Canada West conference Student-Athlete Community Service Award for his tremendous leadership and volunteer work on campus and in the community.

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