Friday, November 25, 2011

Article from today's Whitehorse Star

Athletes honoured by Sport Yukon

It was a capacity crowd Thursday night at the Westmark Whitehorse Ballroom for the annual Sport Yukon Awards Ceremony.

By Sam Riches on November 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm

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Photo by Max Leighton

SKIING SENSATION – Cross country skier John Parry accepts his award for National/Territorial Male Athlete of the Year at the Sport Yukon Awards held last night.
It was a capacity crowd Thursday night at the Westmark Whitehorse Ballroom for the annual Sport Yukon Awards Ceremony.
The event, hosted by former CBC radio broadcaster Ron McFadyen, recognized the accomplishments and contributions from over 100 athletes and volunteers within the territory. 
The major award winners included Mary Anne Myers for National/Territorial Female Athlete of the Year, John Parry for National/Territorial Male Athlete of the Year, Emily Nishikawa for International Female Athlete of the Year, Graham Nishikawa for International Male Athlete of the Year, Danielle and Kyley Marcotte for Team of the Year, Louis Bouchard for Coach of the Year, Stacey Lewis for Administrator of the Year, and a Hall of Fame induction for the late Suzanne Bertrand.
The ceremony allowed the athletes, volunteers, family members and fans to look back and reflect on what was a great year for sports in the Yukon.
Bouchard, head coach of the Northern Avalanche Hockey Club, recalled one of his fondest memories of the year, which came in a losing effort.
“At the Canada Games we were down 12-0 with a few seconds left,” he said. “But our girls never gave up and we finally got one. They had the energy and the guts to fight to the last second.
“To me that shows that whatever I said in the change room, or for the past two years, plays an important role.”
Bouchard also pointed out the significance of the award for the attention it brings to female hockey.
“It’s always rewarding to see that female hockey is getting recognized,” he said.
“We don’t always get the results that some of the other sports get but that doesn’t stop us from working hard.”
Parry, who was awarded for his accomplishments in cross country skiing, also looked back at the past season with a broad focus.
“The highs were winning my first collegiate race, my first season at the University of Alaska, competing at the Canada Winter Games, and transitioning back onto the Canadian scene,” he said, before highlighting the challenges that all athletes face in the temperamental world of sports.
“You might be good one day but the next you’re back at the bottom of the heap.
“But in general you just have to keep going with it and try to forget the bad days and look forward to the next.”
Tracy Bilsky, Sport Yukon executive director, came away from the ceremony impressed with the accomplishments of the athletes and the support of the community.
“We had a great crowd, like we always do,” she said. “These are some of the healthiest and most vibrant people in the community and they are all here to support one another.”
The evening was punctuated by the posthumous Hall of Fame induction of local curling coach and volunteer, Suzanne Bertrand.
“It was emotional inducting Suzanne,” said Bilsky. “She did so much before her death and we’re very grateful for everything she accomplished.”
The award recipients ranged widely in age and sport but were quick to congratulate one another and offer words of encouragement.
Myers, a veteran athlete recognized for her accomplishments in swimming, praised the next generation of talent.
“I just hope it’s inspiring for the young kids that they can still do it when they get to my age,” she said. “And you can carry on right until you’re as old as you go.”

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