Wilfrid Laurier has a lot of important history, especially when it comes to its accomplishments in sports. There have been a lot of students who have played for Laurier and then went on to accomplish even greater things in sports. Here is a look at some of Laurier’s biggest star athletes so far.
Paul Bennett attended Wilfrid Laurier University and played for the football team in 1975 and 1976. He was a hard-hitting and fierce punt returner and the Toronto Argonauts saw his potential when they drafted him in the 1977 CFL draft. He is currently a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and won a Grey Cup with Hamilton in 1986. He won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian Award in 1983 and 1985 and the James P. McCaffrey Trophy in 1985.
Bennett would play for Toronto from 1977-1979 and then again in 1984 after playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1980-1983. In 1984 Bennett was traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats where he would play till he retired in 1987. When he retired he had the CFL record in return yards, punt return carries, and interception return yards.
Connop played for the Laurier Men’s football team in 1981 and was drafted 9th overall in the 1982 CFL daft. He spent his whole career with the Edmonton Eskimos as an offensive lineman and retired in 1997. He won the Grey Cup with the Eskimos in 1982, 1987, and 1983 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2005. Connop was named a CFL All-Star six times and won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award in 1989.
Laurier alumnus Jenna Lambert was the first female with a physical disability to swim across Lake Ontario. She was only 15 at the time. She started in Baird Point, New York on July 18th and ended in Lake Ontario Park in Kingston Ontario, a total of 34 kilometers. Jenna suffers from cerebral palsy, which made it impossible to use her legs during the swim. On top of this, she faced strong winds that made the swim take an extra 8 hours than expected. She is also a marathon swimmer and is swimming as part of Team Canada.
Cheryl was the captain of the Wilfrid Laurier ice hockey team and later went on to play defence of the Mississauga Chiefs. Cheryl represented Canada in the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympic Games where she won gold both times in Women’s ice hockey. She also competed for Canada in the IIHF World Women’s Championships, where she won 6 gold medals and 1 silver medal from 1994 to 2005. She then went on to be a colour commentator for CBC for the women’s hockey at the 2014 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games.