Unfortunately, John and I were unable to use my passes last night so I asked someone to go in our place and write a recap post for my site. As a result Richard Loat (Canucks blogger, fellow Fan Zone blogger, and avid users of Twitter) attended the Sport BC Athlete of the Year Awards and has graciously written the following about the evening:
In one of the longest recurring awards ceremonies in British Columbia, the 43rd edition of the Annual Sport BC Athlete of the Year Awards ceremony did not disappoint. On a night that saw British Columbians showcased for their sporting achievements there was representation from over 18 sports and on a night filled with as many star studded award presenters as there were award nominees the lineup did not disappoint. Amongst some of the presenters were some top brass including Head Coach of the BC Lions Wally Buono, as well as the NHL Players Association Executive Director Paul Kelly. The event sponsored by and hosted by CTV saw everything from an outstanding musical performance to start the evening, hip hop dancers mid event, the sometimes hilarious comments of the MC du jour and a fantastic closing performance by none other than Colin James, renowned rhythm and blues guitarist and singer.
The largest sport present amongst the nominees was by far swimming having Swimmer Savannah King up for Junior Female Athlete of the Year, Ryan Cochrane (Olympic Bronze Medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics) up for Male Athlete of the Year, Randy Bennett (Cochraneâ€™s coach) up for coach of the Year, and Donovan Tildsley up for Athlete with a Disability of the Year.
Surprisingly not a single swimmer made it up there this year to take home an Athlete of the Year award as the night belonged to Canadaâ€™s Olympic medal winning rowing team. The menâ€™s rowing team took home the Team of the Year Award and saw their coach take top spot away from Island Swimmingâ€™s Randy Bennett in the Coach of the Year award. Overnight Olympic hero Ryan Cochrane lost Male Athlete of the Year honors to Victoriaâ€™s own Simon Whitfield, Tildsley lost Athlete with a Disability honors to Nanoose Bayâ€™s Wheelchair Track star Michelle Stilwell and King lost Junior Female Athlete of the Year honors to Tennis star Rebecca Marino.
Golf also had a strong presence on the night seeing three golfers up for Athlete of the Year Awards. Unlike swimming however, the sport of golf did not leave the Sport BC Awards empty handed. Two of the three candidates up for awards: Jackie Little was up for Masters Athlete of the Year, Eugene Wong was up for Junior Male Athlete of the Year, and Soo Bin Kim was up for Junior Female Athlete of the Year. Both Little, and Wong left with an award in what was an exciting awards night at the River Rock Casino Resort.
The night though belonged to the rowers, as this countryâ€™s heroes-in-a row-boat stood tall and proud, clearly head and shoulders above the crowd (except the coax man, he looked like a small child next to those guys) alongside their coach as they took two of the 17 awards up for grabs on the night and were the largest presence (quite literally in both size and numbers) on the night. The other big winner was for Senior Female Athlete of the Year as SFUâ€™s own Carol Huynh who won the award for her gutsy gold medal performance at the Beijing Olympics.
Lui Passaglia who was on hand to present an award walked out to chants of â€œLuuuuuuuuuuuuâ€ Only to retort, â€œThanks â€“ for allowing me to walk out to Roberto Luongoâ€™s theme song!â€
Steve Nash beat out Colorado Avalanche captain â€œBurnabyâ€ Joe Sakic and several others including former wrestling gold medalist Daniel Igali to win the BC Sports Funder Community Champion Award for the work heâ€™s done in Vancouver (an award Trevor Linden won last year) and New Westminsterâ€™s own Justin Morneau, 1st baseman for the Minnesota Twins won BC Athlete of the Year for the 2nd year in a row.
On a night filled with the sport future of this nation, NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly also announced that the NHLPA was going to donate a further $50,000 towards buying 100 new sets of hockey equipment for financially challenged families to allow their children to play hockey. On top of that BC SportsFunder also presented a cheque of $10,000 towards KidSport BC.
To cap off a night pack with present and past stars acknowledging everyoneâ€™s accomplishments the night was capped off by an energetic performance by surprise guest Colin James who wrapped up the night of festivities in style!
Athlete with a Disability:
Michelle Stilwell – Athletics – Wheelchair Track – Nanoose Bay
Coach of the Year:
Mike Spracklen – Rowing – Victoria
College Athlete of the Year More:
Virginia Watson – Langara – Women’s Basketball – Richmond
High School Female Athlete of the Year:
Alyxandria Treasure – DP Todd – Athletics – Victoria
High School Male Athlete of the Year:
Keynan Parker – St. Thomas Moore – Football/Athletics – Vancouver
Junior Female Athlete of the Year:
Rebecca Marino – Tennis – Vancouver
Junior Male Athlete of the Year:
Eugene Wong – Golf – North Vancouver
Master Athlete of the Year:
Jackie Little â€“ Golf – Port Alberni
Official of the Year:
Wayne Pomario – Cycling – Vancouver
Senior Female Athlete of the Year:
Carol Huynh â€“ Wrestling – Calgary
Senior Male Athlete of the Year:
Simon Whitfield – Triathlon – Victoria
Team of the Year:
Canadian Olympic Rowing Mens 8 – Rowing – Richmond
University Athlete of the Year:
Nikki Wright – Trinity Western Soccer â€“ Surrey
Harry Jerome Comeback Award:
Christopher Vanjoff – Waterpolo