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Mills to be honoured as Lions Woman of Influence

TORONTO – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) announced on Tuesday, January 27 that Canadian Women’s National Baseball Team member and York Lions women’s hockey player Autumn Mills (London, ON) will be recognized as one of the top female scholar-athletes from across the province at the sixth annual Women of Influence Luncheon.

The event, which takes place on Tuesday, February 10, honours female-student athletes who have excelled in their chosen sports and fields of study.

Mills has been a member of the Women’s National Team since 2005 and has been to two IBAF Women’s Baseball World Cup tournaments, earning a bronze medal in 2006 and a silver medal in 2008.  Also on her mantle is a Women’s National Championship with Team Ontario.

In addition to her baseball prowess, Mills, a third-year right winger, has been an integral part of the Lions women’s hockey team over the past few years. Last season, she helped the Lions advance to the playoffs for the first time in five years as she finished fifth in team scoring with 11 points (six goals, five assists). She has already passed that mark this year and is currently fourth in team scoring with 14 points (eight goals, six assists).

Away from athletics, she is an exceptional student and a dedicated instructor and volunteer. A member of the CIS Academic all-Canadian honour roll last season, Mills is in the concurrent education program at York and as part of her course load she has a teaching placement in an elementary school.

“There are numerous other athletes at York that are eligible for this and I am honoured to be chosen for the award,” said Mills. “I’m really excited to be a part of something like this and I’m glad that my athletic and academic participation is being noticed.”

When she isn’t studying or training, Mills volunteers her time to coaching a men’s baseball team and working as a skill coach with a youth squad. This past summer she conducted a girls baseball camp called All Girls Baseball Day in Nova Scotia, where she and Melanie Harwood (Thornhill, ON), another member of the national baseball team, led over 80 girls between the ages of five and 13 through drills and then acted as an umpire for some of their games. She has also been an instructor at Frozen Ropes Canada, a popular baseball and softball training centre.

As if being in a highly demanding educational program, maintaining academic all-Canadian status, participating in two sports at a high level and volunteering were not enough, Mills holds down two part-time jobs to support herself while she attends school.

The guest speaker at this year’s luncheon is two-time Olympic medalist Tonya Verbeek.  Verbeek became the first female wrestler to win An Olympic medal, claiming silver in 55 kg freestyle at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Four years later in Beijing, Verbeek won a bronze medal to become the most decorated Canadian wrestler at the Olympic Games.

Tickets to the luncheon are $88.20 each (taxes included) and can be purchased by calling Lisa Constanzo at 416-923-1688 ext. 23 or via e-mail at The event will be held from 12pm to 2pm at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (North Building), 255 Front Street West in Toronto, Ontario.