List of 2021-2022 recipients for the Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation

Shae Demale
Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia

Shae Demale was named the most valuable player in AUS women’s hockey last season, as she led the conference with 25 points (13 goals and 12 assists) in 21 games played. Demale, who is originally from Red Deer, Alberta, was also named a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian, and was named an AUS First Team All-Star for the third straight season, as the Huskies finished second in their conference.

She has just returned from Lake Placid, New York, where she was a member of Team Canada at the 2023 World University Games.

Academically, Ms. Demale registered a perfect 4.30 GPA in both 2020-21 and 2021-22. A biology major, she won the Saint Mary’s President’s Award for top academic and athletic performance in 2020, and was named to the Dean’s List in 2018-19 and 2020-21. She is a four-time U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian, and a four-time Saint Mary’s Academic Achievement Winner (2019-22). She has also won the Dr. John C. O’C. Young Award for having the highest grade in chemistry, along with several other awards from Saint Mary’s for her academic standing and community involvement.

In the community, the 22-year-old is a volunteer hockey coach with the Metro West Force Female Hockey Club in Halifax. She also volunteers in the emergency department at the IWK Health Centre.

Alex Carson
Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia

Alex Carson is a four-time AUS All-Star and was Dalhousie University’s Male Athlete of the Year last season. He averaged 18.5 points per game during the regular season and was named a U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian. Over the course of his five seasons, he led the Tigers to four conference championships and four trips to the U SPORTS Final 8. At the 2020 event, which was highlighted by a silver medal, he was named championship all-star.

Mr. Carson graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation management last spring. A Dean’s List student, he posted a 4.24 GPA last season. He won Varsity Athletic Awards in both 2017 and 2022, the John C. Pooley Sportsperson Award in 2022, and held several other university scholarships.

Originally from Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, Mr. Carson is passionate about giving back to the community. He is the co-founder, director and coach of the 4AM Basketball Camp program that funds a scholarship for young basketball players in Nova Scotia. He has also volunteered with the Special Tigers Sports program, and has been an assistant coach with the Nova Scotia provincial Under-16 boys basketball team.

Jade Downie-Landry
McGill University, Quebec

Jade Downie-Landry capped her storied career at McGill by winning the Brodrick Trophy as the U SPORTS Women’s Hockey Player of the Year. A two-time U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian, she led the country in scoring last year, amassing 27 points on 14 goals and 13 assists, and won the Gladys Bean Trophy as the McGill Female Athlete of the Year. She has been a league all-star three times and was the most valuable player of the 2019 U SPORTS national championship.

Ms. Downie-Landry, who hails from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, achieved a GPA of 3.93 last year and earned a spot on the Faculty of Education Dean’s Honour List. She is majoring in physical and health education, and already holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, which she earned in 2020. She won the A. S. Lamb Scholarship from the Faculty of Education, as well as a scholarship for future teachers from the Quebec Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale.

In the community, she has volunteered for various causes, including The Shoebox Project, a non-profit organization that collects donations and health care items for women’s shelters in the Montréal area. She has also been involved in campaigns to raise mental health awareness, as well as the team’s annual Pink in the Rink Game, in support of breast cancer research.

Jean-Simon Desgagnés
Université Laval, Quebec

Jean-Simon Desgagnés was named the Track Athlete of the Year at the U SPORTS national championships last March, after winning gold in the 1500 metres and silver in the 3000 metres, and being named a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian. In January 2022, he became one of the few Quebeckers to run a four-minute mile when he completed a race in Boston with a time of 3 minutes 58.60 seconds.

Earlier in the year, Mr. Desgagnés won an individual bronze medal at the U SPORTS cross country championships, and led his Rouge et Or team to victory on home soil. Originally from the City of Québec, he was a dual winner at Université Laval’s annual sports awards, where he was named both the male Athlete of the Year and male Individual Sport Athlete of the Year.

Mr. Desgagnés has represented Canada at the international level, as he won a bronze medal at the 2019 World University Games in Italy. Last summer, he took a bronze medal in the 3000-metre steeplechase at the NACAC Championships in the Bahamas.

Academically, Mr. Desgagnés is studying medicine, and has posted a perfect 4.33 GPA since entering graduate studies in the fall of 2021, after maintaining a 3.99 average throughout his undergraduate studies.

Raphaël Garcia
Carleton University, Ontario

Raphaël Garcia is one of the country’s top soccer defenders. After joining the Carleton Ravens in 2021, he helped lift the team to a U SPORTS silver medal with his overall defensive efforts, falling just short of the championship on penalty kicks. Last year, he contributed two goals and four assists in nine regular-season games with the Carleton Ravens. He was also recognized as an OUA East Division All-Star and a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian, as well as Ottawa’s Top Soccer Player of 2021, at the annual Ottawa Sports Awards.

He is in his second year of an undergraduate law program in the Faculty of Public Affairs at Carleton. Earning a GPA of 11.11 out of 12, Mr. Garcia was a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian and a member of the Dean’s Honours List last year.

Mr. Garcia is also a youth coach in Gloucester, Ontario, where he grew up before joining the former Montreal Impact Academy. He also teaches and mentors young soccer players through Carleton’s Junior Ravens Program.

Kate Current
Western University, Ontario

Kate Current is a two-sport athlete at Western, competing in both cross country and track. Since joining Western in 2016, Ms. Current has represented the university at 10 U SPORTS championships, earning six OUA All-Star awards and four U SPORTS All-Canadian awards. She is the school record holder in both the 3000 metres and 1500 metres, having broken records in both events that stood for 37 years. She also achieved a double-gold performance in both events at the U SPORTS Championships last March.

Ms. Current is in her second year of graduate studies in civil engineering. She has been on the Dean’s Honour List every year since 2017, and completed her graduate studies with an average of 94 per cent. In 2022, she was awarded the Alan G. Davenport Memorial Scholarship, based on academic achievement and contributions to the wind engineering community.

Ms. Current is a three-time recipient of the D. C. Buck Engineering Award, given to a student in civil engineering who demonstrates leadership in extracurricular activities. She was a member of Western’s Women in Engineering club throughout her undergraduate degree, where she focused on creating an inclusive environment for women in the industry. She also volunteered with Discovery Western’s Go Eng Girl and Go CODE Girl programs, which introduce high school students to engineering through games, activities, presentations and workshops.

Eric Lutz
University of Calgary, Alberta

A three-time Canada West and five-time U SPORTS champion, Eric Lutz ended a stellar university career last year by being named the Canada West Track and Field Athlete of the Year and University of Calgary’s Male Athlete of the Year. At the Canada West championship, he was the winner of 1000-metre and the 1500-metre events, and broke the old record by 2.53 seconds. At the U SPORTS championship, he won gold in the 1000-metre event and bronze in the 1500. Also a cross country runner, Mr. Lutz was the bronze medallist at last year’s Canada West championship and was eighth at the U SPORTS championship.

Mr. Lutz has been an important example of how high-level athletics can be married with significant involvement in one’s community. In 2021-22, he was given the Canada West and U SPORTS Student-Athlete Community Service awards in both track and field and cross country for his work. He works as a child and youth care counsellor in Calgary, and is a volunteer athletic coordinator for the Calgary Spartans Track and Field Club.

He graduated with distinction in 2022, with a Bachelor of Social Work degree, and ranked in the top 10 per cent of his entire graduating class. He is a four-time U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian, having earned a 3.9 GPA during his studies. In 2020, he was recognized with the ii’taa’poh’to’p Excellence Award, an award given annually to Indigenous students at the University of Calgary for academic merit.

Rebecca Smith
University of Calgary, Alberta

Coming out of a silver-medal performance at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Rebecca Smith was a standout performer in U SPORTS swimming last year. She led her Calgary Dinos to the Canada West championship in late 2021, earning first-place results in six individual and team relay events, and was named the Canada West Female Swimmer of the Year. She then followed this up with a stellar national championship. Ms. Smith set a new U SPORTS record in the 200-metre butterfly, as well as picking up three more first-place finishes in the 50-metre butterfly, the 100-metre butterfly and 100-metre freestyle, as well as a silver in the 400-metre medley relay and two bronzes in the 400- and 800-metre freestyle relays. The 2019 U SPORTS Rookie of the Year for swimming, and a 10-time U SPORTS champion, Ms. Smith also has four Commonwealth Games medals to her name.

Outside of the pool, Ms. Smith holds a 4.0 GPA in her nursing program at the University of Calgary, and earned both a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian and Dean’s List distinction last year. The Red Deer, Alberta, native also volunteers her time coaching young children enrolled in the University of Calgary swim club, and mentors developing swimmers through the Head-to-Head program.