The Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards honoured the city’s good sports.
Friday’s awards gala recognized some of Nanaimo’s top athletes and teams, and acknowledged some other individuals for their contributions to the local sports community.
The 11th annual sport achievement awards were held at the Coast Bastion Hotel, and brought together athletes, coaches and officials from across the sports spectrum.
Nanaimo Clippers star Sheldon Rempal was one of the major award winners, honoured as Male Team Athlete of the Year. Vancouver Island University Mariners basketball grad Jenna Carver was chosen Female Team Athlete of the Year. The Nanaimo Timbermen senior B lacrosse squad took Team of the Year.
Male Individual Athlete of the Year was grappler Cal McDonald of Island Top Team, while runner Erin Burrett was selected Female Individual Athlete of the Year.
Amongst younger athletes, Nanaimo District Secondary School basketball grad Tyus Barfoot was chosen Junior Male Team Athlete of the Year, with Dover Bay volleyball player Samantha Chwelos recognized as Junior Female Athlete of the Year.
Junior Individual Athlete of the Year awards went to Nanaimo Track and Field Club members, with pole vaulter Jason Clare and runner Alyssa Mousseau winning their respective categories.
Junior Team of the Year was the Nanaimo White Rapids Summer Swim Club.
Lawn bowler Hirendra Bhartu was honoured as Masters Athlete of the Year. VIU badminton mixed pair Melissa Liew and Graydon Robb were chosen Partners of the Year.
Matt Kuzminski of VIU men’s basketball was selected High-Performance Coach of the Year, while Gareth Saunders of the White Rapids was named Grassroots Coach of the Year.
Official of the Year went to lacrosse referee Sean Lehman and Sport Administrator of the Year was awarded to Tyler Heisterman of the Nanaimo Track and Field Club. Sports Story of the Year was the Nanaimo Clippers’ playoff run to the B.C. Hockey League finals last spring.
The evening concluded with the presentation of two special awards. Gary Dorland, tireless 50/50 volunteer for hockey, football and lacrosse, was presented with the Michael Rhode Memorial Award for longtime dedication to sport.
“The Nanaimo sports community is lucky to have him,” said Scott McKenzie, former Nanaimo Daily News sports editor, who presented the award.
Andy Reynolds received the Hero In You Award for his contribution to local sport, including as a lacrosse coach and executive and as a special-needs hockey coach.
“He thrives from the adrenaline, competition and challenge, but most importantly the sportsmanship and team spirit that comes from sport…” said Brande Terris, lacrosse director, who presented the award. “He has given so much.”
The awards raise money for local high-calibre athletes through the Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards Athlete Assistance Program.