KAMSACK — A Kamsack student attending the University of Regina, was recently recognized for her academic as well as her athletic abilities.
Hannah Pennell, daughter of Kim and Colleen of Kamsack, was named the Canada West Women’s Hockey Player of the Week on Oct. 4 and on Sept. 26 she was told that she was named to the 2021-22 Academic All-Canadian List.
Pennell was named Player of the Week after having collected four points in the U of R Cougars' three-point season-opening weekend against MacEwan University in Edmonton.
“Pennell had her first career Canada West goal and an assist on Sept. 30, then again collected a goal and a helper on Oct. 1,” said information on the Canada West website. “Both of her goals and one of her assists came with the U of R on the power play.”
“It was great to see Hannah create some offence for us this weekend," said Sarah Hodges, Cougars’ head coach. “It was great to see her break through and we think there's lots of good things to come from her this year."
Two games into the season, Pennell's four points already stands as a career high for the third-year defender, the information said. She collected three assists in both of her first two years with the U of R.
Pennell and the Cougars came out firing in the season opener, appearing set on proving wrong the CW coaches who voted Regina last in the pre-season polls, it said.
The defenceman first assisted on the team's second goal before unleashing a shot from the point to put Regina up three in the third period over the visiting MacEwan Griffins.
“The third-year Kamsack product continued her strong play Oct. 1, getting her team on the board late in the game. She wound up for a missile from the point, firing it past the Griffins' goaltender.
“Her goal cued a comeback for the Cougars, who tied it up before ultimately losing in overtime.”
Pennell and the Cougars were off for a week before travelling to Manitoba on Oct. 14 for a 7 p.m. game, which can be watched on Canada West TV.
This is Hannah’s fourth year in education at the U of R, her mother, Colleen, said last week. After playing her second year of peewee hockey with Kamsack Minor Hockey, Pennell played for the Melville Prairie Fire team for two years, collecting 17 points in 53 Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA HL (SFMAAAHL) regular season games. She then attended the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, B.C., from where she graduated Grade 12 before enrolling at the U of R.
“She was proud of herself,” Colleen said of her daughter upon hearing the news that she had been selected the Canada West Hockey Player of the Week. “It’s a big deal. Canada West includes teams from all across Western Canada.
“She’s a hard worker,” Colleen said, adding that her daughter has said that she wants to continue playing hockey for as long as she can.
“Good show,” Harold Riemer, Dean of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the U of R, said in a letter to Pennell dated Sept. 26 as he congratulated her for being named to the Academic All-Canadian List for having achieved an overall GPA (Grade Point Average) of 84.81 per cent in the faculty of education while competing as a member of the U of R hockey team.
“We are proud of you and appreciate your demonstrated dedication, hard work and perseverance. Well done,” Riemer said.
After explaining that it has been wonderful entering the new academic and competitive season where activities have “that pre-pandemic feel,” Riemer said that the hustle and bustle of the campus, the full athletic schedule and the unfettered opportunity to watch student athletes compete has been wonderful.
“Most universities celebrate individual (as well as group) skill, ability and accomplishments,” he said. "The University of Regina is no exception; academic excellence and achievement are central to our mission. Varsity sport is, at its core, concerned with the pursuit of excellence, both on and off the field of play.”
He said that varsity athletes who achieved academic All-Canadian status are those who were full time-students and who achieved an overall GPA of at least 80 per cent over the course of the academic year.
“This, along with a monetary award for those who have returned to their team are tangible ways the University recognizes those students who have achieved excellence in their academic work, while also contributing to the fabric of the institution by competing as a member of a varsity sport program,” Riemer said.
Canada West is one of four conferences within U SPORTS, the others being Ontario University Athletics (OUA), Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) and Atlantic University Sport (AUS). Schools representing each conference compete annually for national supremacy, the website says. Schools, team officials and individual student-athletes must abide by posted Canada West and U SPORTS policies, including bylaws, regulations and eligibility requirements.
Canada West (CW) is the leading university athletic conference in the country and is home to champion student-athletes that excel in the classroom and their communities, it says. “Canada West and our 17 members from across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba collectively carry on a legacy of competitive excellence, as our champions proudly go on to represent the conference at U SPORTS national championships.”