CALGARY â€” Philippe Maillet had to receive special permission from Ontario Reign coach Mike Stothers to attend the 25th annual BLG Awards.
The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds forward, who signed an amateur tryout agreement with the Los Angeles Kings' AHL affiliate after the season, and Arielle Roy-Petitclerc of the Laval University Rouge et Or were named the winners of the U Sports male and female athletes of the year for the 2016-17 season on Monday night.
"I asked my coach and he was really supportive right from the beginning," said Maillet, who helped the Varsity Reds win their second straight national championship on home ice in March. "He told me that I better win it â€¦ in a laughing way. He understood right away that it was a unique opportunity."
There were eight total nominees for the award including one female and one male from each of the four U Sports conferences. Roy-Petitclerc and Maillet each received a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship and a unique custom-made sculptured fossil-stone trophy.
Maillet had 23 goals and 32 assists to lead the nation in scoring this season for the Varsity Reds before adding four goals and six assists at the men's hockey national championship to win tournament MVP honours.
The Terrebonne, Que., native is also a two-time AUS MVP, a three-time AUS first team all-star and a two-time U Sports first team All-Canadian. He's the second hockey player from UNB to win the award after Rob Hennigar accomplished the feat in 2008.
"He's my assistant coach at UNB, so we share the two national championships in the last two years and now we share the BLG Award," said Maillet.
The 24-year-old will rejoin the Reign on Tuesday for their first-round playoff series against the San Diego Gulls.
"It's obviously a higher level of hockey, but I feel like I can fit in and I'm looking forward to the next games in the playoffs and the next season also."
Maillet claimed the Doug Mitchell Trophy award ahead of Laval football player Mathieu Betts of Montreal, York University soccer player Jonathan Lao from Unionville, Ont., and Trinity Western University volleyball player Ryan Sclater from Port Coquitlam, B.C.
Roy-Petitclerc, from St. Nicolas, Que., was the cornerstone of Laval's women's soccer team as the Rouge et Or won their second title in three years. She finished tied for first place in the RSEQ with 18 points in 14 games while being named to the U Sports championship all-star team at nationals.
"I feel very great," said Roy-Petitclerc. "I'm excited about what happened. It was just a fun moment with all the nominees. I was a little bit nervous, of course, but it was just a great moment to be here."
Roy-Petitclerc, who followed Marylene Laplante (2006) as the only other female winner of the BLG Award from Laval, will join the Calgary Foothills FC next Saturday to prepare for the team's inaugural United Women's Soccer season.
"I want to play professional and maybe I'll have contact with the national team after that," said Roy-Petitclerc, who has aspirations of playing for the Canadian women's national team in the future.
Other finalists for the Jim Thompson Trophy were St. Francis Xavier University hockey player Sarah Bujold from Rivierview, N.B., Queen's University cross-country runner Claire Sumner from Calgary and University of British Columbia volleyball player Danielle Brisebois from Caledon, Ont.
Laurence Heinen, The Canadian Press