UOIT hockey retires two jerseys

Photo by Alex Debets

Jill Morillo (left) and Nathan Spaling (right) had their jerseys retired over alumni weekend.

Two numbers are now hanging inside the Campus Ice Centre. Numbers 11 and 12 have been retired for both the men’s and women’s hockey programs. These numbers honour Jill Morillo and Nathan Spaling, two all-time greats for the school’s hockey programs.

They  are the first to be honoured at UOIT, and among the few honoured jerseys throughout the Ontario University Athletics (OUA).

Morillo, who wore number 12, played 130 OUA games in five seasons. She scored 64 goals and put up 47 assists in that time, all while completing a Nuclear Engineering degree. She is UOIT’s only two-time female athlete of the year, and was also named freshman of the year in 2009.

Morillo won awards outside of the university as well. She was the first UOIT player to be named a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) All-Canadian, and won the CIS Marion Hilliard award for success in academics, athletics and community involvement.

“It’s such an honour,” said Morillo. “My time at UOIT means so much to me, it was a very exciting five years.”

Morillo now works as an engineer at OPG’s Darlington nuclear plant.

Nathan Spaling’s jersey was hung before the Ridgebacks’ game against Queen’s.  He played in the first four seasons for the UOIT men’s hockey program, and scored 30 goals and 61 assists in 112 games.

Spaling was the first Ridgeback to earn three CIS All-Canadian awards.

Spaling was also male athlete of the year two years in a row, and earned the top GPA for a student athlete for two years in a row.

He graduated from the Criminology program and is now a lawyer with Giffen LLP in Kitchener.  Spaling also received the CIS Randy Gregg award for excellence in academics, athletics and community involvement.

He is humbled by the experience. He says it is “amazing” to be mentioned on the same weekend as Morillo.

“There are so many of my teammates that could have had this honour and are definitely sharing this award with me,” said Spaling.

Numbers 11 and 12 will be taken out of circulation after Loren Ulett (#11 on the men’s Ridgebacks), and Mariah Wilson (#12 on the women’s team) leave the OUA.

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Alex Debets is a second-year journalism student at Durham College. He enjoys writing about music, sports, and politics. His work can be seen on Riot Radio, and The Chronicle. Alex is a music lover, who spends his time collecting vinyl. He hopes to work at CBC Radio one day.