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Sport Nova Scotia – Halifax (Saturday, May 28) – The winners of the Ricoh Sport Awards were unveiled tonight by Sport Nova Scotia. It was the year to remember for curling as they came out on top for three of the seven major categories: Ricoh Female Team Athlete of the Year, Ricoh Coach of the Year and Ricoh Team of the Year.  Mark de Jonge took top honours for the fourth consecutive year in the Male Individual Athlete of the Year category. For the Female Individual Athlete of the Year category, Ellie Black was the big winner, as she has been for three of the past four years.

Over 500 members of the Nova Scotia sport community gathered at the World Trade & Convention Centre to see Sport Nova Scotia present the annual Ricoh Sport Awards. The prestigious sport recognition event honoured the achievements of more than 180 athletes, coaches, officials, sponsors, sport associations, and volunteers from across the province.

“We run several athlete recognition programs, but this is probably our favourite because it is designed to honour individuals who epitomize all the qualities of sport that can have the greatest impact and, in some cases, change lives,” says Jamie Ferguson, CEO, Sport Nova Scotia. “Many of them are youth and it’s humbling to see what they’ve already achieved.”

Paul Murray, Director of Atlantic Canada for Ricoh Canada, the event’s title sponsor for 20 years, says, “Although this is our last year as title sponsor, Ricoh is honoured to have helped grow this event to what it is today. It fits well with our philosophy and other partnerships across Canada and around the world. Each of the nominees represent what our company believes in – hard work, dedication and excellence.”

The Ricoh award winners of the night are (bios at end):

The RICOH Team of the Year – Team Canada/Fay (Curling)

The RICOH Female Individual Athlete of the Year – Ellie Black from Halifax (Gymnastics)

The RICOH Male Individual Athlete of the Year – Mark de Jonge from Halifax (CanoeKayak)

The RICOH Female Team Athlete of the Year – Mary Fay from Chester (Curling)

The RICOH Male Team Athlete of the Year – Jason Sanford from Durham (Softball)

Coach of the Year  – Andrew Atherton from Chester (Curling)

The RICOH Official of the Year – Marie-Soleil Beaudoin from Halifax (Soccer)

The Ricoh Sport Makes a Difference Awards (two winners): Nova Scotia Challenger Baseball and the Antigonish Multisport Pilot

Sport Nova Scotia Chair Award: Rod Millarfrom St. Margaret’s Bay

Sport Nova Scotia members (the Provincial Sport Organizations) submit one nominee per category based on achievements over the past year (April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016). These are the sport-specific winners or “PSO winners”. Over 180 PSO winners were submitted by 39 different sports. Except the Sport Nova Scotia Chair Award, all overall winners (as above) were selected from this field. Two committees reviewed all the nominations. These volunteer committees were comprised of leaders of the Provincial Sport Organizations, representatives from the Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic, members of the media, and community sport stakeholders. The first committee looked at the nominee’s most outstanding performance of the past year. This is worth 60% of the nominee’s overall score. The top five candidates in each category advanced to the second committee. Members of the second selection committee were tasked with looking at “the whole picture” – the overall year, past successes, obstacles, the competitive field, and any other outstanding considerations. This mark was worth 40% of the nominee’s overall score.

About Ricoh Canada

Ricoh Canada Inc. is a leading provider of document solutions. Ricoh’s fully integrated hardware and software products help businesses share information efficiently and effectively by enabling customers to control the input, management and output of documents.

Ricoh Canada Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ricoh Corporation with its head office located in Toronto, employing over 2,100 employees nation-wide. We are pioneers in the development of computer-networked and digital multifunctional document systems and market leaders in colour and black & white digital imaging systems, facsimile products, printers, scanners, digital duplicators, document management and wide format engineering systems.

With their head office located in Japan, Ricoh employs over 108,000 people worldwide and has realized a steady growth in revenue and profits for almost a decade, generating sales in excess of $21 billion (U.S.) fiscal year 2009. Their history is 74 years old as the leading supplier of office automation equipment.

About Sport Nova Scotia

Sport Nova Scotia is a voice for amateur sport that promotes the benefits of health, personal development and achievement of all participants. Sport Nova Scotia is a non-profit, non-government federation representing over 55 Provincial Sport Organizations and more then 160,000 member Nova Scotians. 


For photos or more information, please contact:

Carolyn Townsend

Director, Communications and Public Relations

Sport Nova Scotia

Phone:  902-425-5454 ext.321

Cell: 902-830-7227



The 2016 RICOH Team of the Year

Team Canada/Fay

This curling team had about as good a year as you can imagine. They kicked things off by winning their third straight provincial junior title and earned a berth at the Canadian junior championship in late January. The rink rolled to a 9-1 record in round-robin play – the best at the event – to advance directly to the final. In that game, they beat the B.C. rink 9-5 to claim gold. After skip Mary Fay and second Karlee Burgess primed their game at the World Youth Olympics, they reunited with Kristin Clarke and Janique LeBlanc and got set to take on the world. The team went 9-0 in round-robin play but suffered a disappointing playoff loss to the U.S. Forced to regroup and play in the semifinal, they earned a rematch with the Americans in the final and won another gold. Fay won the sportsmanship award at the event, which along with their gold medal, was a first at this event for Nova Scotia.

The 2016 RICOH Female Individual Athlete of the Year

Ellie Black, Gymnastics

Ellie has been Nova Scotia’s top female individual athlete for the last three years and her performance just keeps getting better. Last year, she won five medals at the Pan American Games, including a gold in the all-around. Ellie captured the hearts of Canadians watching on TV and became the country’s sweetheart as she also won gold in the beam and floor exercise, a silver for the team’s second-place finish, and a bronze on the vault. Earlier in the spring, Ellie won her third straight Canadian championship. Other highlights of her year include setting Canadian records at the American Cup, where she finished third in the all-around, and the world championships, where she placed sixth in the all-around. That result helped Canada qualify a full team for the Rio Olympics, where she hopes to continue her upward trajectory.

The 2016 RICOH Male Individual Athlete of the Year

Mark de Jonge, CanoeKayak

Going into last year’s world championship, Mark faced the difficult task of defending his gold medal. Like he does every season, the preparation for that event began in the previous winter. It’s that kind of preparation that gives him such a solid foundation for success – one that has helped him steadily progress since winning a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics. It had been more than a decade since a paddler defended a world championship, though, and only three have ever done it in his event. In the final of the K1, 200-metre, he jumped out to a quick start and held off a tough field of challengers to win by 19 one-hundredths of a second. He added two golds with the K4 crew at the world cup races, and his K1 win qualified Canada for a spot in Rio this summer. Mark will be in that boat looking for his first Olympic gold.


The 2016 RICOH Female Team Athlete of the Year 

Mary Fay, Curling

After leading her Chester rink to its third straight junior provincial championship, Mary set out to continue her conquest at other levels. She led her team through a tough field at the Canadian championship where it beat B.C. in the final to claim gold. She continued to win at the Youth Olympics in Norway where she went undefeated in her first major international event and added another gold medal to her collection. Mary set out to complete the golden hat trick at the world junior championships in Denmark. There, she went undefeated in round-robin play before suffering a setback against the U.S. in the playoffs. Undaunted, she led her team to a semifinal win and eventually revenge over the Americans in the final to claim Nova Scotia’s first junior world title. Mary also won the sportsmanship award – the first time a Nova Scotian had won that honour at the world championship.

The 2016 RICOH Male Team Athlete of the Year 

Jason Sanford, Softball

Jason’s list of accomplishments in the summer of 2015 will surely go into the history books as one of the most impressive ever put up by a softball player. Jason won four gold medals and a silver at the world’s most prestigious tournaments. Years of practice and honing his skills gave him the opportunity to play for the national team at the Pan American Games and in the world championships – both of which Canada won. Jason’s defensive prowess as a catcher makes him a sought-after commodity by some of the world’s best pitchers. He suited up for the Hill United Chiefs in the Amateur Softball Association major men’s tournament and the International Softball Congress world championship and added to his collection with two more gold medals. He capped off his summer by helping the East Hants Mastodons win silver at the Canadian senior men’s championship.

The 2016 RICOH Coach of the Year 

Andrew Atherton, Curling

As coach of the Canadian team skipped by Mary Fay at the World Junior Curling Championships in Taarnby, Denmark, Andrew had to regroup his team after an upset loss in the playoffs. They had gone 9-0 in round-robin play, but lost to Team USA in the playoff game. Given a chance to redeem themselves, they rebounded with a 9-4 win over Hungary in the semifinal. That set up a rematch against the Americans in the final and Atherton was able to prepare his athletes to play their best, and they did as they claimed gold with a 7-4 victory. Andrew is the first coach from Nova Scotia to lead a junior women’s team to the top of the podium. He did so despite the challenge presented by a line-up change at the start of the season; but with solid planning, the team had great training sessions and was able to peak for key competitions.

The 2016 RICOH Official of the Year 

Marie-Soleil Beaudoin, Soccer

Marie-Soleil is active in the referee community and gives back whenever she can. In 2015, she had a year to remember as she participated in a medal game at every major event she attended. Despite not being able to win a medal, she strives for excellence in every aspect of officiating the game of soccer. She is one of only four female referees in Canada that has been appointed to the FIFA referee list. Last summer, she refereed in the Nova Scotia Soccer League’s men’s and women’s Premiership finals. In the fall, she worked the AUS gold-medal game and the bronze-medal game at the CIS championship. Moving up to the international level, she officiated at the U17 and U20 CONCACAF events while getting the assignment to do the U17 final. To top it off, she took her whistle to Toronto for the Pan American Games and earned the honour of refereeing in the bronze-medal match.

The 2016 RICOH Sport Makes a Difference Award (two winners)

Nova Scotia Challenger Baseball

Nova Scotia Challenger Baseball provides an opportunity for children with cognitive and/or physical special needs to enjoy the full benefits of participating in baseball at a level structured to their abilities. Games are played in a non-competitive environment that focuses on fun – not the score. Buddies are assigned to each participant and assist players with their involvement in the game. Buddies create a safe environment and help participants with catching, throwing, batting and getting around the bases.

The program is aimed at helping children develop physical and social skills, build self-esteem, make new friends, meet other children and families in the community, and become part of a team. In 2015, four communities provided Challenger Baseball programs in Nova Scotia They included Antigonish, Glace Bay, Hammonds Plains and Pictou County. In two years, enrolment has doubled to over 100 children and two new programs will be added soon: one this summer in Inverness/Richmond and another in Halifax in 2017.

Antigonish Multisport Pilot

The Antigonish Multisport Pilot is a collaborative project that is the first of its kind in Canada. The Pilot has been designed to help children grow through sport by exposing them to benefits of multiple sport opportunities.  Children participate in and learn 12 different sports over 10 months, with all sessions delivered by community sport organizations and by facilitated by recreation coordinators. It was launched in September 2015 and provides a quality year-long active start program to expose children to the key fundamental movement skills needed to be active for life. The program is focused solely on fun and skill development, setting the groundwork for a love of sport and an ‘I can play anything!’ attitude. Antigonish Multisport wants to help kids reach their potential by focusing on the development of physical literacy through sport. Physical literacy comes from developing a wide variety of fundamental movement skills such as running, throwing, catching and jumping. To develop these skills, our kids need to play different sports and activities from an early age. Physical literacy makes better athletes and helps kids stay active, happy and healthy – it’s a win-win!

2016 Sport Nova Scotia Chair’s Award

Rod Millar

After graduating from London University, Rod spent many years in the (then) rapidly growing information technology industry, working on projects in the US, Europe and, in 1974, a move to Toronto where he became a Canadian citizen. In 1984 the family moved again to Nova Scotia where they settled permanently.

Rod’s sailing career spans 40 years as a competitor, race official, and event organizer. At St. Margaret Sailing Club he helped to develop and grow the annual “The Bay, The Wind, The Regatta”, particularly after the club moved to its new permanent facility in the mid 1990s.  St. Margaret’s Bay has become a premier location for national and international championships while at the same time giving the opportunity to local and developing sailors to compete against the best.

In 2009 SMSC was privileged to host its most prestigious event, the Laser Worlds and World Masters Championships, which Rod co-chaired. While he looks forward to continuing an active role in developing youth oriented high performance events, Rod also welcomes the opportunity to pass the baton to new and younger leadership!