Becoming a Varsity Blue takes a tremendous amount of effort and dedication, and every single athlete who competes with the T Leaf on their uniform is worth appreciating.
Two athletes this year, however, particularly exemplified the excellence that comes with being a Varsity Blue. The Varsity recognizes Alex Bishop of the Varsity Blues men’s hockey team and Jazz Shukla of the Varsity Blues women’s track and field as its athletes of the year for 2021–2022.
Alex Bishop is no stranger to headlines. The Rotman student went from studying for a midterm to suiting up as an emergency backup goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Speaking on that experience and how it has impacted him, Bishop wrote in an email to The Varsity: “I’ve come to appreciate the uniqueness of my experience and have tried to apply the mindset of simply living in the moment and enjoying what’s in front of me in my everyday life.”
Bishop has also been named the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Far West/West goaltender of the year, as well as an OUA West second-team All Star, after helping the Varsity Blues men’s hockey team reach a massive five-game winning streak to finish the season. With a save percentage of 0.920 and a goals-against-average of 2.54, Bishop was a wall in front of the net.
“Being named OUA goaltender of the year is a true honour and an award I’ve had my eye on for the past 4 years. Being recognized to that extent is more than just a reflection on my individual play, but a reflection on the team in front of me as a whole,” wrote Bishop.
Off the ice, Bishop is proud of achieving the dean’s list and maintaining a GPA of above 3.5 while balancing extracurriculars and goaltending.
“Being named one of The Varsity’s athletes of the year is another award I don’t take lightly. There are thousands of incredible athletes at U of T, so being recognized for my contributions to my sport and my team is a privilege and a tribute to the greater Varsity Blues program,” Bishop wrote.
Jazz Shukla, a fifth-year neuroscience student, has dominated the competition on the track this year. There is no question that her competition was absolutely left in the dust after Shukla laced up her cleats.
Shukla finished the 2022 season having collected two gold medals in the 1000m and 1500m events and a bronze medal in the 4x200m event, and having been named the Wendy Jerome outstanding female performer and the female track MVP. Shukla is used to this level of success; she has been named an OUA all-star three times in the past, as well as an All-Canadian in 2017 for excellence on the track.
Shukla competed last weekend at the 2022 U Sports Championships and returned with even more success, adding to an already impressive trophy cabinet; she won the silver medal in both the 1000m and 1500m races at the U Sports Championships.
Any track-and-field star would dream of taking home a single medal in a season, but Shukla aims for the stars, and her success surely inspires countless others to perform to the best of their abilities.
The Varsity is proud to name these two brilliant stars our athletes of the year. We wish Alex Bishop and Jazz Shukla nothing but the best in their future endeavours and athletic pursuits.
The Varsity has reached out to Jazz Shukla for comment.