FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sport BC announces AWARD WINNERS in Amatuer Sport at 50th Anniversary
2016 Athlete of the Year Awards
presented by Canadian Direct Insurance
RICHMOND, BC (March 14 , 2016) — Sport BC is very proud to announce the athletes, coaches and officials who were the successful recipients of the 2016 Athlete of the Year Awards, hosted in Vancouver on March 10, 2016.
These extraordinary individuals were honoured for their excellence in and contribution to sport in front of 500 guests at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
The award recipients represented 13 different sports with individuals and team members representing 12 communities within British Columbia.
The recipient of the prestigious annual Best of BC award is the individual or team thought to have best represented BC, nationally or internationally, in either a professional or amateur sport.
RECIPIENT: Carey Price (Williams Lake, BC) – Hockey
Carey Price was born in Vancouver, and grew up in the village of Anahim Lake where he moved at the age of 2. After playing minor hockey in Williams Lake he played for seasons with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. During that time he won a gold medal representing Team Canada at the 2007 World Under 20 Championships in Sweden. Drafted 5th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2005, Carey is now in his 9th season with the team. In 2014 he won a gold medal with the Canadian Men’s Olympic hockey team in Sochi, Russia. Last season he was the recipient of 4 NHL Awards: Hart Memorial Trophy-given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. Vezina Trophy-given to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position. Ted Lindsay Award-presented to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA. William M. Jennings Trophy-given to the goalkeeper having played for the team with the fewest allowed.
This award recognizes an athlete with a disability who has demonstrated extraordinary athletic performance in provincial, national or international competitions in a team or individual sport in BC.
RECIPIENT: Trevor Hirschfield (Vancouver, BC) – Wheelchair Rugby
Trevor is the co-captain of Team Canada’s Wheelchair Rugby team. He has established himself as not just the best low-point player in the world, but one of the best players in the world with less physical function than others. He is ranked #1 internationally and nationally in Canada. Through hard-work and determination, he led Team Canada to being #1 ranked in Wheelchair Rugby for the first time in 13 years. Despite the fact that he is the best low-point player in the world, Trevor earned himself to be the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athlete of the Month in August 2015. In 2015, Trevor earned gold medals at the 2015 Parapan American Games and World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge where he was named Best 1.0.
*2002 BC SUMMER GAMES ALUMNI
This award recognizes an individual who competed in a sport, team or individual, and who represented a college, university/college, or institution in the province of British Columbia in the 2013-2014 academic year.
RECIPIENT: Graydon Robb (Nanaimo, BC) – Badminton
In 2014-15 Graydon Robb won a silver medal at CCAA National Badminton Championships, was awarded CCAA All-Canadian and the ultimate honour; CCAA Badminton Athlete of the Year. Badminton scores and statistics do not tell the tale of an athlete for badminton as 21-19 in a match does not reflect the caliber of the opponent. Graydon has the highest vertical in the league by far, and is top 3 for raw power which adds up to the most devastating jump-smash in his league Graydon also has an international caliber cross court slice – a dangerous weapon at any time but when you have both it is tough to defend against. In the PACWEST league this season he has finished first in Mens singles and in Mixed doubles in two of two tournaments. Deception is what separates the top players from the rest in badminton. Graydon is the most deceptive player in our league and has a unique and unpredictable style of play, which is believed to stem from his creative nature.
This award recognizes a female coach who has been responsible for coaching an amateur team(s) and/or individuals at any level of athletic competition in British Columbia.
RECIPIENT: Carolyn Murray (Victoria, BC) – Triathlon
Carolyn is a former Olympic Triathlete and Head Coach of the National Para triathlon Team. She is based out of Victoria and works with a small group of Junior Elite and development level athletes. Carolyn was a member of the Canadian National Triathlon Team from 2002-2008. In 2008 she represented Canada at the Beijing Olympics and was the top ranked female finisher for Canada. From 2009-2014 Carolyn acted as a National Triathlon Centre coach and coached at the Western Canada Summer Games in 2011. She also was a member of the World Championship coaching staff in 2009/2011/2012/2014/2015. Carolyn’s personal philosophy is that it is a privilege to guide the journey of motivated individuals. She constantly acknowledges that the process of “sport excellence is a great challenge and although it is not the path of least resistance and filled with obstacles [she] believe[s] the process can and should be enjoyed.”
*2011 WESTERN CANADA SUMMER GAMES (MANAGER)
This award recognizes a male coach who has been responsible for coaching an amateur team(s) and/or individuals at any level of athletic competition in British Columbia
RECIPIENT: Randy Bennett (Victoria, BC) – Swimming
Randy Bennett was the most relentless and passionate coach that I ever worked with. These qualities made him Canada’s top swim coach. His swimmers wanted to swim for him because they knew he would do everything possible to help them reach their goals. They also knew that with Randy every single day would be about pushing to be better than anyone else in the world at that moment. Canada benefitted when Randy was the head coach because we strove to not only compete with the best in the world but to win. Randy has coached Ryan Cochrane to medals at both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. He was Canada’s Head Coach at every major International meet between 2009 and 2014. He has numerous international medals on his resume. However the true measure of Randy’s legacy is not only what he accomplished at International competitions. His daily passion and tenacity inspired countless coaches and athletes in ways that we will benefit for years to come but may never be able to truly measure.
*1997 CANADA SUMMER GAMES ALUMNI
This award recognizes a female athlete who was enrolled in a secondary school in the province of BC and who competed in a sport or sports, team or individual, representing her school in the 2013-2014 school year.
RECIPIENT: Emma Johnson (Kelowna, BC) – Basketball/Soccer/Volleyball
If you want to see the effect that Emma Johnson had on the small Kelowna school of Immaculata High School, all that you have to do to is walk into the gym and look around at the walls. What you will find are walls adorned with banners. Emma was a top-level multi-sport athlete throughout her five years at Immaculata. By the time she graduated, Emma was an integral part of 12 BC Provincial Championship or BC Catholic Schools Championship teams in volleyball, basketball, and soccer. Foremost of these were the school’s first ‘AA’ basketball championship, a huge success for little Immaculata High School. Through her five years, Emma also received numerous individual awards including Top Defensive Player at the 2015 AA BC Basketball Championships, Golden Boot at the 2015 BC Soccer Championships, All-Star at the 2014 BC Volleyball Championships, MVP at the BC Catholic Schools Basketball Championships, Immaculata Female Athlete of the Year, and many more. Away from her impressive athletic career, Emma was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout her five years at Immaculata while also being placed on the Principal’s List and Special Merit List for her academic achievement in every semester. For all of her success on and off the field of play Emma was honoured with the Augie Ciancone award, a prestigious award in Kelowna awarded annually to the Top Female High School Athlete in the Central Okanagan. Since her high school career, Emma has moved on to begin a degree in the Bachelor of Science Nursing and a successful career with the UBC-Okanagan Heat Women’s Basketball team. Immaculata High School is very proud of Emma and all that she has accomplished.
*2008 BC SUMMER GAMES ALUMNI
This award recognizes a male athlete who was enrolled in a secondary school in the province of British Columbia and who competed in a sport, team or individual, representing his school in the 2013-2014 academic year.
RECIPIENT: Graeme Hyde-Lay (Victoria, BC) – Soccer/Basketball/Rugby
Graeme attended St. Michaels University School (SMUS) from Kindergarten to grade 12. He has always been a multi-sport athlete, representing the school with distinction in soccer, rugby and basketball.
2014-2015 was particularly memorable, as Graeme played an integral role in SMUS capturing three BC AA titles in the same school year. As a centre back in soccer, fly half in rugby and point guard in basketball, his leadership, and team based approach, all round skill and toughness were notable. In particular, Graeme was named the 2015 BC AA Basketball Most Valuable Player. He then captained the 1st XV on a successful tour of Spain and Portugal, before further directing the squad to significant wins over Mexico U19 and then Rockridge in the provincial AA final. Graeme has always demonstrated humility, a strong work ethic and competitive spirit, as well as a calm manner when under pressure. He was recruited by a number of Canada West universities for basketball and is now, while studying Sciences, part of the Vikes program at the University of Victoria. Away from the athletic arena, Graeme capped an outstanding senior high career by fulfilling a demanding role as SMUS Head Boy. A two time SMUS Athlete of the Year and winner of the prestigious Ker Cup for all round contributions to the school, he is honored to have been nominated for a Sport BC award.
This award recognizes extraordinary athletic performance by a female junior athlete who is competing on a team or in an individual sport in British Columbia.
RECIPIENT: Emily Overholt (West Vancouver, BC) – Swimming
Emily won the silver medal in the 200 free, and after what Team Canada thought was a gold in the 400 individual medley, only to learn Emily was disqualified in the event, she re-grouped and the next day won the gold in the 400 freestyle, with the home town crowd cheering for her. Emily capped off her Pan Am Games, as an instrumental part in the women’s 4×200 free relay winning bronze at the games. Departing directly from Toronto to the next competition, Emily finished off her season becoming the fastest Canadian female 400 individual medley swimmer ever and won the bronze medal at the World Championships. Emily has also re-written the record books walking away from the 2015 season with 7 new BC records and 2 new Canadian records. One of Emily’s World Champ races was the 4×200 free relay, which placed 11th in the World, thus earning the Canadian relay team a spot to compete at the Olympics in Rio. To finish off her competition, Emily’s Bronze medal in the event on the last day not only capped of an amazing season, but has put Emily into top World Rankings leading into the Olympic season.
*2010 BC SUMMER GAMES ALUMNI
*2013 CANADA SUMMER GAMES ALUMNI
This award recognizes extraordinary athletic performance by a male junior athlete who is competing on a team or in an individual sport in British Columbia.
RECIPIENT: Markus Thormeyer (Delta, BC) – Swimming
Earning a silver medal on his first International Senior Team, Markus’s performance at Pan American Games proved he’s ready to be competing against the best in the world. As a relay member for the prelims, he helped earn a spot through to the finals, where the men’s 4×100 free relay placed second in the race and Markus’s lead out in the morning session gave him a Pan Am Silver medal! After a short struggle will an illness in the village, 3 days later Markus bounced back to a top 8 finish in the 100 backstroke, placing 7th against some of the best backstroke swimmers in the world. The World Junior Championships was a packed competition for Markus racing 3 individual events and 4 relays. With a packed schedule, every time Markus raced he put together a performance that moved him or his team up in the rankings. Racing more than 15 times over the competition in preliminaries, semi-finals and finals, Markus completed all him events with a top 10 finish and capped off the meet with a Junior World Record and Gold Medal in the mixed 4×100 free relay.
*2013 CANADA SUMMER GAMES ALUMNI
This award recognizes an athlete competing in a Masters division as defined as defined by his or her sport, taking part on a team or individual sport in the province of British Columbia.
RECIPIENT: Siew Har Hong (North Vancouver, BC) – Badminton
A long-time member of the Vancouver Racquets Club, Siew Har has been an enthusiastic badminton competitor for more than 45 years. In 2014 and 2015 she was ranked the #1 Women’s Singles 60 Plus badminton athlete in the world, after having won gold at the World Badminton Federation finals in Ankara, Turkey in 2013. At the 2015 world event, held in Helsingborg, Sweden, with over 1600 competitors in 40 events, Siew Har won bronze in her event, losing to the ultimate champion from England. This event attracts the top Masters Badminton players in the world, including past Olympic players. Over the past years, Siew Har has won more than 30 gold medals at the highly competitive Canadian Masters National Badminton Championships which yearly attracts the top players from Canada and the U.S. In 2015, Siew Har won gold medals in both women’s doubles and mixed doubles, and a silver medal in singles. At the provincial level, Siew Har is the top player in all three events in her age category. Siew Har is an intense competitor and always strives to improve her skills. She is a tireless ambassador for the sport, is well respected and admired, and will continue to excel in the coming years.
*1992 BC WINTER GAMES ALUMNI (ATHLETE)
*2000 BC WINTER GAMES ALUMNI (MANAGER)
RECIPIENT: Michelle Pye (North Vancouver, BC) – Soccer
Michelle Pye began her referee career in Kamloops, BC at the age of 13 in 1991. She is currently only one of seven international level soccer referees in Canada, earning her FIFA Referee badge in 2007. 2015 was an exceptionally impressive year for Michelle as she refereed in five matches at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015, as well as being one of the referees to work the final match at the U17 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica. Michelle also refereed Whitecaps FC 2 matches in the USL (United Soccer League) and is the head referee for the Metro Women’s Soccer League in Vancouver. On top of her incredible referee successes, Michelle is also the mother of two twins (age 3), which is incredible astounding considering the work and fitness required to be a FIFA level referee. Michelle also mentored and spoke as a keynote speaker at various BC Soccer events across the province that were designed to help inspire females to develop and continue to work in sport.
*2000 BC SUMMER GAMES ALUMNI
This award recognizes extraordinary athletic performance by a female athlete who is competing on a team or as an individual sport in BC.
RECIPIENT: Christabel Nettey (Surrey, BC) – Athletics
In 2015 Christabel Nettey leapt her way to 4th place in the World in Women’s Long Jump. A resident of Surrey who trains full time at the Altis World Training Centre in Phoenix, Arizona, Christabel set and reset the Canadian and BC Records for Women’s Long Jump almost every time she compete this past year. When the sand finally settled the Canadian Record stood at 6.99m, with Christabel having the 8 leading jumps in all of Canada in 2015. An outstanding season with Gold Medals at the Canadian Track & Field Championships and the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games. Her commitment to training and being able to perform when it counts almost resulted in a Hat-Trick of International Competition Medals when she finish 4th at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing. A solid candidate and medal hopeful for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games, Christabel is focused, training hard and currently competing Indoors and the opportunity to represent Canada at the World Indoor Track & Field Championships March 17th to 20th in Portland, Oregon.
*2006 BC SUMMER GAMES ALUMNI
This award recognizes extraordinary athletic performance by a male athlete who is competing on a team or individual sport in BC.
RECIPIENT: Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, BC) – Speed Skating
With 3 Olympics under his belt, and lessons learned recovering from a leg fracture during his preparation for Sochi, Denny approached 2014 15 season on fire! He ended the season as ISU’s 1500M World Champion, an impressive improvement from a 7th place finish the season prior. On the 2014-15 World Cup circuit, Denny medaled 7 times – 3 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze. He is Speed Skating Canada’s 2015 Skater of the Year – a title he has held 8 times since 2006. Was also named to Speed Skating Canada’s Honour Roll of Achievement for the 8th time in 9 seasons; & is BC Speed Skating Nation Skater of the Year for the 9th consecutive season. In March 2015 Denny was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame. With 11 years on the National Speed Skating Team, he continues to hold the National 1500M record. He is a Kids Sport Ambassador and the “Hometown Hero” of Ft. St. John BC, where he spends time with developing athletes whenever he visits. A motorcycle crash and another leg fracture at the end of the 2015 season have Denny is using the lessons he learned before Sochi & he is on track for a 4th Olympic Games in 2018.
*2000 BC WINTER GAMES ALUMNI
This award recognizes an athlete enrolled in a recognized degree-granting university in the province of British Columbia, and who competed in a recognized Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) or National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) sport or sports, team or individual, representing his or her school in the 2014-2015 season.
RECIPIENT: Maria Bernard (Vancouver, BC) – UBC Cross Country
Maria Bernard was a superstar for UBC in both women’s cross country and track field during the 2014-15 school year. The UBC Science student won the individual title at the 2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Championship in Lawrence, Kansas, crossing the finish line of the five-kilometre race triumphantly in 17 minutes and 3.80 seconds. Her performance helped the Thunderbirds to their third consecutive national banner. In track and field, Bernard won two events, the 3,000-metre steeplechase and the 5,000 metres at the NAIA Outdoor Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala., in May. She set a new national meet record in the steeplechase preliminaries and repeated as the national champion in the event final. At the conclusion of the meet, Bernard was named the NAIA’s Herbert B. Marett Outstanding Performer award, the first UBC female athlete to achieve the feat. In July, she represented Canada at the 2015 Summer Universiade / World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea. Bernard was the top Canadian in the women’s 3,000-metre steeplechase, placing sixth with a time of nine minutes and 57.70 seconds.
This award recognizes an amateur team competing in a sanctioned league in the province of British Columbia.
RECIPIENT: UBC Men’s Football (University of British Columbia) – Football
When the UBC Thunderbirds brought in Blake Nill as their new head coach in the off-season, coming off a campaign in which they finished dead last in the Canada West, it was supposed to mark the turning point for the football program on the Point Grey campus. Few expected that turnaround would be instantaneous. After compiling a 6-2 regular season record, the Thunderbirds would go on to knock off the defending Hardy Cup champion Manitoba Bisons in the Hardy Cup semi-final, then the number-one ranked Calgary Dinos in the Hardy Cup game, then the St. Francis Xavier X-Men in the Uteck Bowl, before completing their Cinderella season by defeating the defending national champion, Montreal Carabins, to capture the fourth Vanier Cup title in school history and their first since 1997.
The KidSport Community Champion Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant and meaningful contribution to KidSport over the past year.
RECIPIENT: Perry Solkowski (Port Moody, BC)
During his 17 year career at CTV, Perry Solkowski regularly displayed his passion for amateur sport, both on and off air. His Perry’s Prospects segment became a much loved feature of the 6 p.m. Thursday sportscast and featured the human interest stories about young athletes that rarely receive any coverage. Perry parlayed that segment into an event called Perry’s Prospects Supercamp that, for two years, gave over 400 KidSport kids the opportunity to experience a variety of sports and to be coached by Olympians in a fantastic one day sport camp.
For the past 10 years, Perry has been our de facto master of ceremonies at the KidSport annual golf tournament and is legendary for his ability to milk the room at dinner for auction bids, all the while keeping everyone laughing. He has donated speaking fees from various engagements to KidSport and never failed to give air time to KidSport events or campaigns. He appeared in and scripted several PSAs for KidSport over the years and was a tireless champion for the cause.
As a soccer coach for his daughter’s Metro team in Burnaby, Perry was instrumental in having the KidSport logo placed strategically on the team uniforms to show support for the cause. This gesture has sparked similar support from other teams across the province in a variety of sports and is being promoted by KidSport chapters across the country as a way to show support. KidSport is proud to award the 2016 KidSport Community Champion to Perry Solkowski.
This award recognizes an athlete who competed in a sport, individual or team, in 2014 after having suffered an unusual setback (i.e. illness, injury, etc.)
RECIPIENT: Tory Nyhaug (Coquitlam, BC) – BMX Cycling
Tory’s story is one that no one could forget easily – and that includes rupturing his spleen twice while competing on the world stage. Tory has returned to the top of his sport internationally after recovering from injury last year at the World Championships in Zolder, Belgium and is well on his way to representing Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Despite being at the top of his sport internationally since he emerged on the international scene, Tory continues to inspire kids at the local level, helping out with coaching young riders at the local tracks. He is an inspiration for riders in BC who dream of representing Canada at Olympic Games, while still remain accessible and humble, in wanting to help others realize these dreams as well. Tory’s love of cycling has never waned, even though he has been in the sport for nearly two decades. He is focused and determined even when faced with injury, encourages young athletes, and always has something positive to say about his fellow competitors.
This award is named in honour of the late Daryl Thompson, former chair of Sport BC. Daryl’s contributions to sport as an athlete, coach and executive officer were exemplary. This prestigious award recognizes an individual who has contributed their time in an extraordinary way to sport over a long period of time or has made a major contribution to amateur sport in British Columbia.
RECIPIENT: Hugh Wong (Kelowna, BC) – Volleyball
Hugh Wong is a shining example of the true spirit and intent of this prestigious SportBC award. Over the past 40 years, Hugh’s leadership contribution to growing the sport(s) of indoor and beach volleyball at the local, regional, provincial, national and international levels is exemplary. In 2015, Hugh was inducted into the Volleyball BC Hall of Fame (BUILDER).
Hugh was born in China, immigrating to BC with his family when he was five years old. Raised on farms in Richmond and Vancouver, Hugh graduated from Britannia Secondary School and obtained his teaching certification (BEd) from UBC. He accepted a teaching position and settled in Kelowna – his first foray into coaching was at the helm of a junior boys’ volleyball team. The experience proved positive, sparking a life-long passion for coaching and sport leadership.
In the early 1980’s, in addition to raising a young family and teaching full time in the public school system, Hugh traveled throughout BC helping to organize and coach youth volleyball camps. He is a founding member of the Kelowna Volleyball Club (KVC) and served in a variety of leadership roles with the BC Volleyball Association (Volleyball BC), including Vice-President and President.
After retiring from teaching, Hugh took on challenging sport leadership roles nationally and internationally. As President, Volleyball Canada (2007-13), Hugh’s focus on strategic leadership was pivotal in turning Volleyball Canada into a financially sustainable organization earning him the respect of international organizations. Hugh served six years as a Vice-President (2009 – 2015), of The North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) and is a Board of Administration Member (2012-present), Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB).
Hugh Wong is a visionary leader and mentor who gives selflessly of his time and expertise. Hugh’s ongoing contribution to growing and building amateur sport in British Columbia serves as a stellar example for future leaders to follow.
The incredible contributions from our corporate partners in recognizing the exceptional accomplishments of our athletes, coaches and officials demonstrates the community support for sport in British Columbia. On behalf of our Board of Directors, Sport BC recognizes the following sponsors of the 50th Athlete of the Year Awards, presented by Canadian Direct Insurance.
Canadian Direct Insurance
Sports with Balls
Government of British Columbia
Special T Group Events
Americas Masters Games
KidSport – Ritchie Brothers
Canadian Sport Institute
Sport Hosting Vancouver
Richmond Sport Hosting
BC Games Society
RYU Athletic Apparal
For additional information, please contact:
Christine Wong, Athlete of the Year Coordinator
Email: email@example.com Tel: 604-647-7442 Website: www.sportbc.com