October 1, 2018
From 1975 through 2001, the CCAA Championship Bowl was raised on 22 occasions and the CCAA Challenge Cup was hoisted in 1992. In five of the events, a goaltender was named CCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player. Of the five, one set the standard.
Born in Macklin, Saskatchewan, Cleo Rowein joined the NAIT Ooks in the fall of 1982. A few months earlier, the Ooks won their first national championship while Rowein donned a Lethbridge Broncos (WHL) jersey for the final time.
Rowein was NAIT's number one goaltender for three seasons from 1982‐83 through 1984‐85 backstopping the men's hockey team to one gold medal (1984‐85) and a fourth place finish (1983‐84) at the national level and two gold medals (1983‐84, 1984‐85) at the conference level. He returned to the Ooks as an assistant coach for four seasons from 1988‐89 through 1991‐92. The hockey team won three conference championships (1989‐90, 1990‐91, 1991‐92) and three national titles (1988‐89, 1989‐90, 1991‐92).
Of the 107 hockey players in the nation to be honoured as a CCAA All Canadian, only 11 received the award more than once. Of the 11, only Rowein was named CCAA Tournament MVP. WIth the honour, he became the first hockey player in the nation to be selected as a CCAA All Canadian and CCAA Tournament MVP in the same season.
Rowein was the first athlete in the nation in any sport to be a three‐time CCAA All Canadian (1982-83, 1983-84, 1984-85). No hockey player has been a four-time CCAA All Canadian. He is also the lone male athlete from the ACAC participating in a team sport (basketball, hockey, soccer or volleyball) to be a CCAA All Canadian more than twice.
Rowein is the lone athlete from NAIT in any sport and the lone hockey player in the nation to compete more than two seasons and to be honoured as a CCAA All Canadian in every season of participation. He is also the first NAIT athlete in any sport and the first hockey player (and one of six men's hockey players) in the ACAC to be a three time first team all conference selection.
In addition to three CCAA All Canadian Awards and a CCAA Tournament MVP honour in 1985, Rowein was selected as a CCAA Tournament All Star in 1984. Cleo was the first goaltender in the nation to be recognized with tournament awards in multiple seasons. He was also the first ACAC athlete in any sport and the first hockey player in the nation to receive five individual awards from the CCAA. No hockey player received more than five individual CCAA awards.
Of the two hockey goaltenders in the nation to be honoured as a CCAA All Canadian on multiple occasions, only Rowein played on a CCAA national champion. His record of 57 wins and 16 losses included 16 wins and no losses in the 1984‐85 campaign when NAIT won all their regular season and post season games en route to a national title. The 1984-85 Ooks became the first CCAA hockey team to enter a provincial sports hall of fame when they were inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
Rowein was also the first goaltender and first Canadian to be selected as the most valuable player of the Viking Cup International Hockey Tournament in 1984. The two previous recipients, Hannu Virta and Petr Klima, went on to play in the NHL.