Time management isn’t easy for university students who play varsity sports. But Shae Demale and Alex Carson seem to have mastered it. They’re among the top eight U Sports student athletes for the 2021-22 season, and they’ll be honoured in Ottawa on Thursday.
Nearly 5,000 student-athletes took part in U Sports events in 2021-22. Demale and Carson were selected as the top female and male student athletes from the Atlantic conference.
Demale is a forward from Red Deer, Alta., who plays for the Saint Mary’s University’s women’s hockey team. She was named conference MVP last year when she led the Atlantic conference in scoring while recording a perfect 4.30 grade point average.
“It’s been five years of hard work playing hockey, so it’s a pretty unreal feeling to be rewarded for that,” said Demale.
A biology major, Demale won the Saint Mary’s president’s award in 2020 for top academic and athletic performance, and was named to the dean’s list in 2018-19 and 2020-21. She is a four-time U Sports Academic All-Canadian.
This week she returned from Lake Placid, N.Y., where she was a key player for Canada as they won gold at the 2023 World University Games. Demale finished second on the team in scoring.
The trip to Ottawa will be sandwiched around SMU hockey games. The Huskies play Wednesday night and Demale will fly to Ottawa early Thursday morning. She’ll fly back in time for another game on Friday.
She said life as a student athlete can be challenging.
“It takes a lot of time management and sometimes you have to make sacrifices,” said Demale. “Taking care of yourself can sometimes be the hardest part, making sure you are eating properly, drinking enough water, getting your sleep, all on top of your vigorous schedule.”
Demale is hoping to continue her hockey career playing professionally next season. She is also a volunteer hockey coach with the Metro West Force girl’s hockey team in Halifax, and volunteers in the emergency department at the IWK children’s hospital as well.
On campus, she is a member of the Saint Mary’s Athletic Council, volunteers as a peer tutor, and has been involved in planning the annual Motionball Special Olympics fundraiser.
Alex Carson of Lower Sackville, N.S., graduated from Dalhousie University last year.
He was a four-time Atlantic University Sport all-star on the basketball court and led the Tigers to three straight Atlantic titles.
“It was a real honour to get that call when I was named as a top-eight student athlete,” said Carson, shortly after arriving in the nation’s capital.
He attributes some of his success as a student athlete to a former teammate at Dalhousie. He said he learned a lot from Sven Stammberger.
“When I came to Dal as a high school student I was fortunate enough to play with Sven, who also won this award,” said Carson. “I looked up to him as a role model, both on the court as a player and in the way he excelled in the classroom and in his community involvement.”
Carson is one of the co-founders of the 4AM basketball camp. The camp is held in Halifax each summer in honour of one of Carson’s former provincial team mates who passed away in 2019. Andrew Milner of Antigonish, N.S., who wore the number 4, was canoeing in Moyie Lake near Cranbrook B.C., when the boat capsized in frigid water. The camp provides funding for scholarships for younger players.
Carson graduated with a bachelor of science degree in recreation management last spring and was a dean’s list student with a 4.24 grade point average last season. He’s now working full time for Sport Nova Scotia’s equestrian division.