Coach and Rookie of the Year for Bisons Women’s Hockey

Laura ManningSports

WINNIPEG, MB – A big honour today for two individuals from the Manitoba Bisons Women’s Hockey team as they received Canada West recognition for their efforts in the 2017 – 18 season.

Bison goalie Lauren Taraschuk was selected as Canada West Women’s Hockey Rookie of the Year and head coach Jon Rempel was named the Canada West Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year.

Taraschuk, 18, had an impressive rookie campaign with the Bisons in 2017-18. The Winnipeg native was first in Canada West Goals Against Average with a 0.71 and also second in conference Save Percentage at .961 while sporting a 10-2-0 record and tied for fourth most conference wins at 10 while playing in 12 of 28 conference regular season games in 2017-18. The 6’0” goaltender was also tied for fourth with five shutouts in Canada West play and had a five game conference winning streak (Oct. 27/17-Nov. 25/17).

Taraschuk split duties this season in Manitoba with Rachel Dyck, as the Herd’s two-headed brick wall helped the team to a 19-5-3-1 record. Taraschuk was also named to the Canada West All-Rookie Team at the goaltender position.

The rookie netminder came to Manitoba from playing with the Manitoba Female Midget Hockey League Winnipeg Avros and high school at J. H. Bruns Collegiate. She has continued her stellar play in first post-season at university level. She backstopped the Bisons to a come-from-behind 2-1 series win over No. 2 and defending champion Alberta in 2018 CW semi-final with a 2-1 win in OT and epic 1-0 shutout win in quadruple overtime.

“Lauren had a tremendous first year in our program. To post the numbers she did as a first year goaltender in this league speaks to her ability, talent and perseverance,” stated Bison women’s hockey head coach Jon Rempel. “She is a determined player who has had an immediate impact on our team and has a very bright future”

Rempel, in his 14th season at Manitoba, is recognized as conference women’s hockey coach of the year for the fifth time and back-to-back seasons. He guided the squad to an first place conference regular season record of 19-5-3-1 in 2017-18 and first ever time in the 21 year program’s history to end a regular season at the top of the CW standings. Manitoba improved from last season’s third place regular season finish plus increased point total in standings by eight points and three regulation wins. In addition, the Herd registered the second most points (three points for a regulation win) in CW history with 64 and tied for second most wins (regulation and overtime/shootout combined) with 22.

Manitoba had one of the best seasons during the 21 year’s program history in 2017-18 as coach Rempel kept the team focused despite a tough schedule to start the season as they never suffered a losing streak of more than two conference games throughout this season plus even more impressive, had two different winning streaks of nine games. The Bisons also had five players, tied for the most in Canada West, honoured with all-stars and all-rookie honours.

The Bisons reached the number one ranking in the U SPORTS Top 10 poll for the first time in program’s history. And have now been No. 1 for six weeks in two different stints at the top of the country while being ranked whole season (17 weeks) after starting the season at number eight.

Rempel molded a balanced attack for the 2017-18 season as they boasted the conference third leading scoring with third year Jordan Zacharias plus the tandem of fifth year goaltender Rachel Dyck and Rookie of the Year Lauren Taraschuk leading goalie stats in wins, save percentage, goals against and shutout categories. They team is now poised to host the Canada West Final for the first time ever and earned a berth into the U SPORTS Championships for the first time since 2010-11.

“Jon Rempel being named Canada West Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year is a special accolade for Bison Sports and our women’s hockey program. As the leader of our women’s hockey team, Jon is fully absorbed in the role and the responsibilities that it entails. He is dedicated to the achievement of our student-athletes in all facets of their lives. Bison Sports recognizes and values his effort, energy and time. Jon’s award is thoroughly deserved.” – Gene Muller, University of Manitoba Director of Athletics and Recreation.

Over his 14 year tenure, Rempel, 46, has been named Canada West Coach of the Year five times (2004-05), (2006-07), (2014-15), (2016-17) and (2017-18) and has led the Bisons to 214 career conference regular season wins (CW coaching record: 214-132-6) along with two conference championships (2008-09, 2010-11) plus ten Canada West Finals appearances and now six trips to the National Championships as the Head Coach at Manitoba. In those five trips so far to the Nationals, the Bisons have won bronze three times, finished fourth once and fifth once.

With files from the University of Manitoba’s Chris Zuk.