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I·SPARC – The 2017 Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport were presented to eight outstanding Aboriginal athletes from British Columbia’s Northeast Region during a formal celebration held today at Nusdeh Yoh Elementary School in Prince George, B.C. The Northeast is the first of six regions to honour Aboriginal athletes through this unique province-wide awards program.

“This is an important evening for the Northeast,” said Ken Edzerza, Northeast Regional Lead for the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council. “We have gathered our communities to honour our youth athletes and celebrate their successes. The Premier’s Awards recognize our young people who are leading by example and giving back in a big way to their sport and communities.”

The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (I·SPARC), in collaboration with the Province of British Columbia, launched the Regional nomination process in August 2017, receiving 141 nominations from across the province for Aboriginal athletes under 25 years of age who are competing in performance sport and committed to living healthy, active lifestyles. 

“Congratulations to the Northeast regional recipients of the 2017 Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport,” said the  Honourable Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “These young athletes have distinguished themselves through their skill, dedication and commitment on the field and in their communities.”

A total of 48 recipients have been chosen within I·SPARC’s six regions – Northeast, Northwest, Interior, Fraser, Vancouver Coastal and Vancouver Island. Recipients were selected based on their achievements in performance sport, commitment to pursuing a higher education, demonstrable leadership qualities, volunteerism, and connection to culture.

“The recipients recognized today are the mentors, heroes and leaders of the next generation of Indigenous athletes,” said Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary of Sport and Multiculturalism. “It is important to recognize and celebrate these athletes for their commitment to sport, education and culture”.

The recipients of the 2017 Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport – Northeast Region are:
•    Alison Desmarais, 20, Speed Skating, Métis Nation BC
•    Camryn Scully, 16, Hockey, Softball, Métis Nation BC
•    Garnet Currie, 17, Swimming, Métis  Nation BC
•    Kristen Gauthier, 16, Volleyball, Métis  Nation BC
•    Logan Hladchuk, 16, Volleyball, Stellat’en First Nation
•    Nicholas Potskin, 20, Fastball, Driftpile First Nation
•    Tessa Erickson, 15, Volleyball, Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation
•    William Swyers, 14, Swimming, Qualipu Mi’kmaq First Nation
These recipients automatically serve as nominees for the Provincial Awards. A total of 12 Provincial Awards (six male and six female) will be selected in February 2018.  Provincial recipients will receive an invitation to attend a special Aboriginal Youth Sport Leadership Forum, held at the Gathering our Voices National Aboriginal Youth Conference in Richmond from March 20-23, 2018.

Throughout the month of November, the five remaining regions will host formal celebrations to honour their 2017 Premier’s Awards recipients.
About the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council

I·SPARC is a consortium of the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, the First Nations Health Authority, and Métis Nation BC. As the stewards of BC’s Aboriginal Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity Strategy, I·SPARC works with First Nations, Indigenous communities and other sport and physical activity stakeholders to deliver community-based programs designed to promote active lifestyles and support the desire for transformative change in the health and well-being of Indigenous communities, families and individuals across BC. For more information, please visit

Interim Manager, Premier’s Awards and Communications
Deanna Nicolson