Veteran victors and breakout brass meet as major awards finalists for Jan. 27 Ottawa Sports Awards
Ottawa Sports Awards – OTTAWA — A very well-decorated bunch will soon add even more hardware to their collection as an impressive group of finalists for major trophies were unveiled today in advance of the Jan. 27 Ottawa Sports Awards banquet at Algonquin College.
Also officially released were the athletes selected as the city’s best in over 60 individual sports and the local teams that will be honoured for winning a provincial championship or higher at the largest and longest-running civic amateur sports recognition program in the country. For the full list, see: https://www.ottawasportsawards.ca/node/1767
“You can see from this group that there were an extraordinary number of great achievements by Ottawa athletes, teams and coaches in 2015,” highlights Ottawa Sports Awards board of directors Chair Doug Scorrar. “That may not make our jobs of selecting award winners any easier, but all the success is certainly a fantastic feather in the cap for our community and speaks volumes about those involved in sport locally.”
The finalists for the Male Athlete of the Year Award includes two past recipients. Five-time Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s basketball champion and 2015 Final-8 Tournament MVP Phil Scrubb of the Carleton Ravens was the 2013 winner, while International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships silver medallist and Parapan American Games gold and silver medallist Jason Dunkerley of the Ottawa Lions took the prize in 2004. Pan Am Games silver medallists Cameron Smedley (canoe slalom) and Andrew D’Souza (badminton) are also in the running along with World Alpine Ski Championships silver medallist and World Cup circuit gold and bronze medallist Dustin Cook.
Recognized as the city’s top speed skater in either short-track or long-track for a 10th consecutive time this year, Ivanie Blondin is in contention for back-to-back Kristina Groves Female Athlete of the Year Awards thanks to an exceptional year highlighted by a World Cup overall title in the mass start event. Her challengers bring a host of international success of their own. Wrestler Erica Wiebe reached a #2 world ranking and became Canada’s Olympic qualification representative, Emma Miskew helped Team Homan to multiple Grand Slam and major international curling bonspiel victories, runner Melissa Bishop won Pan Am Games gold and World Championships silver in setting a Canadian women’s 800 metres record, and national silver medallist figure skater Alaine Chartrand made her World Championships debut in 2015.
The Carleton Ravens men’s basketball team’s streak of national titles hit five in 2015 and they’ll now get the chance to run their stranglehold on the Ottawa Sports Awards Male Team of the Year trophy to an equal length. Offering competition are the Canadian Little League Championships-host and runner-up East Nepean Eagles Majors, the Ontario Varsity Football League-champion Myers Riders Junior Varsity team, the Quebec-champion and national silver-medallist Capital Region Axemen men’s lacrosse team, and a trio of Carleton Ravens Ontario-champion clubs in men’s fencing, nordic skiingand water polo.
The Rachel Homan curling rink has taken four of the past five Female Team of the Year honours and will have an excellent shot at their sixth award overall this year. Standing in their way are the six-time Canadian Championships gold-medallist Rideau Canoe Club under-19 women’s kayak team, the national bronze medallist University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s rugby team, the under-19 national-champion Nepean Ravens Belle ‘AA’ ringette team, and the dominant provincial high school-champion Glebe Gryphons girls’ cross-country running team.
A very deep Male Coach of the Year field is headlined by the architect of the Ravens men’s basketball dynasty, Dave Smart, who has received the honour six times since its inception in 2003. Glenroy Gilbert, relay coach for Canada’s World Championships bronze medallist men’s 4×100-metre team, is up for what would be his third such award. Ottawa Rowing Club coach Ed Fournier, who guided athletes to a number of club and university provincial titles, is also in the mix. The remaining two candidates are both younger in their coaching careers – Myers Riders OVFL-champion coach Matt Kassner, and RA Centre badminton coach Andrew Dabeka, whose athletes collected three Pan Am Games medals.
Recently-revealed 2015 Lifetime Coaching Achievement Award winner Tobie Gorman could make it a unique double in the Female Coach of the Year race. In the final year of 40+ in coaching, Gorman sent the most athletes ever from her Ottawa Gymnastics Centre women’s team to the Eastern Canadian Championships in 2015. The Quebec conference’s top women’s rugby coach, Jen Boyd, is also in contention after leading her Gee-Gees to their first national medal in program history this past fall, while West Ottawa Soccer Club head coach Kristina Kiss, Special Olympics curling coach Cathy Croteau and Algonquin Thunder women’s basketball coach Laura Bond round out the finalists.
The reception for the Jan. 27 banquet begins at 6 p.m., dinner is at 7 p.m. and award presentations begin at 8 p.m., running through to approximately 10 p.m. The deadline for online ticket sales has been extended through to Jan. 24 at ottawasportsawards.ca, where directions and further information is also available.
Chair, Ottawa Sports Awards
Director, Ottawa Sports Awards