York University Lions men’s hockey player Kaleb Dahlgren and women’s track and field athlete Monique Simon-Tucker were named York’s top graduating student-athletes at the 53rd annual Varsity Athletics Banquet on Thursday night.
For the second straight year, the banquet took place online due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. With the absence of sport this season, only a handful of awards were presented; however, York Athletics honoured the tremendous accomplishments of some of the top student-athletes.
Dahlgren received the Outstanding Male Graduate Award, the first men’s hockey player to do so, while Simon-Tucker was named the recipient of the Bryce M. Taylor Award, the first track and field athlete since 2016 and the fifth overall.
Both were recognized for their outstanding contributions to varsity athletics over their careers at York and were also named recipients of Lions Legacy Awards earlier this week. Joining them as recipients of a Lions Legacy Award are women’s hockey player Lauren Dubie and women’s soccer player Teni Odetoyinbo.
Dahlgren was also named the recipient of the Charles Saundercook Memorial Trophy for exemplifying the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, enthusiasm for life and the consideration of others.
This year’s award recipients are:
Outstanding Male Graduate Award: Kaleb Dahlgren, hockey
The personification of positivity, Dahlgren has left an indelible mark on the York community in his three years as a Lion. He has been a very engaged member of the York Sport Council throughout his career and was part of BIVSAA this year, as well as previously serving as a regular volunteer at Hockey HEROS skates and the Shoreham school clinics. He is a Type 1 diabetic and set up his own foundation called Dahlgren’s Diabeauties to connect with children who have Type 1 diabetes, running annual events for his foundation while at York. He has also helped other schools within the OUA host diabetes awareness events and is a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) ambassador. Dahlgren never got to step on the ice in a game due to a lack of medical clearance, but he remained an active participant in all team activities and took on a leadership role in recruiting future Lions. He has also excelled in the classroom, earning U SPORTS academic all-Canadian honours in each of his years while completing his degree in commerce.
Bryce M. Taylor Award: Monique Simon-Tucker, track and field
A track and field team captain, Simon-Tucker led in multiple different ways throughout her five-year career with the Lions. She has medalled in multiple events on the track, taking home silver in the 60m and the bronze as a member of the 4x200m relay team. She was also an OUA second-team all-star in 2019-20 and has competed at two national championships. Away from the track, Simon-Tucker is heavily involved as a proponent for BIPOC rights. She is the co-founder and co-president of BIVSAA, is a member of the executive team for the York Sport Council, serves as the community navigator coordinator for the York University social work student’s association, and is a program developer for One Kenton Place. She also previously travelled to the Dominican Republic to build houses and teach English to primary school students. She will graduate with her degree in social work.
Charles Saundercook Memorial Trophy: Kaleb Dahlgren, hockey
A Type 1 diabetic from the age of four, Dahlgren has needed perseverance his entire life to remain in the game he loves. Then, he became a survivor of one of the most infamous disasters in Canadian history, the Humboldt Broncos bus accident. He spent three years here at York while recovering from a severe brain injury that prevented him from receiving medical clearance to play, but is still an active member of the men’s hockey team. He has worked hard to overcome the physical, emotional, and mental challenges that have come with surviving a traumatic incident and will graduate as a three-time U SPORTS academic all-Canadian with a degree in commerce. He recently completed a memoir, Crossroads, that has been nationally published and has received critical acclaim.
Student Therapist of the Year: Skyler Moss
Roar Cup: Women’s Hockey Team