Three student-athletes nominated for York's Heart of a Lion award

Three York University Lions student-athletes have been nominated for York's Charles Saundercook Memorial Trophy. The winner will be announced at the online varsity banquet on Thursday, April 8.

Also known as the Heart of a Lion Award, this trophy will be given to a student-athlete within the varsity sport program who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, enthusiasm for life and the consideration of others. Both male and female student-athletes are eligible for the award.

This year's nominees for the Charles Saundercook Memorial Trophy are men's hockey player Kaleb Dahlgren, women's track and field athlete Simone Da Silva and women's hockey player Kelsey McHolm.

An image of the Heart of a Lion award nominees: Kaleb Dahlgren, Simone Da Silva and Kelsey McHolm

Heart of a Lion award nominees: Kaleb Dahlgren, Simone Da Silva and Kelsey McHolm

Kaleb Dahlgren – Men's Hockey

  • Type 1 diabetic since the age of four
  • Humboldt bus crash survivor
  • Spent three years with the Lions while recovering from a significant brain injury that he still lives with today; he has yet to receive medical clearance to play but is an active member of all other aspects of the team
  • Overcame the physical, emotional and mental challenges that have come with being a survivor of the accident and will successfully complete his degree in commerce this year
  • Three-time U SPORTS academic all-Canadian
  • A JDRF ambassador for many years and has made many appearances as a motivational speaker
  • Recently completed a memoir Crossroads that was released internationally in March

Simone Da Silva – Women's Track & Field

  • OUA silver medallist (4 x 400m), sixth at U SPORTS championships
  • Two-time U SPORTS academic all-Canadian
  • Had three back surgeries to eliminate a tumor that caused consistent pain, stiffness and limited movement
  • Never lost faith in the training and rehabilitation throughout the process
  • Gave her full effort regardless of her circumstances, even when limited by medical modifications
  • Never missed a home meet even when she was recovering from surgery and couldn't compete herself
  • Works at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Clinic, where she helps children with brain injuries transition back into their "regular" life, and continued to do so throughout the pandemic

Kelsey McHolm – Women's Hockey

  • Key player of the team's first OUA finals appearance in 20 years and first trip to nationals in program history
  • Suffered a major knee injury in the 2018-19 season and chose extensive rehab instead of surgery so she could be ready for the 2019-20 season
  • Dealt with constant rehab but still posted career-best numbers in 2019-20 season
  • Suffered serious health issues this past summer that resulted in hearing loss but did not let any of it impact her leadership, dedication or enthusiasm
  • Two-time U SPORTS academic all-Canadian

Stay tuned to over the coming days as more of the major award nominees are announced ahead of the April 8 banquet.

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