St. John’s – Sport Newfoundland and Labrador has announced the finalists for this year’s Provincial Annual Awards. Historically these awards are presented during the annual Stars and Legends Awards Gala, a night of celebrating the achievements of decorated athletes, volunteers and administrators.
Unfortunately, the Stars and Legends Awards Gala will not be going ahead as planned. In the interest of caution as the province works to navigate the challenges imposed by COVID-19, SportNL has determined that the presentation of these prestigious awards will be hosted virtually.
“These are unprecedented times, and we must make the safety of our community the main priority. While the formal Annual Awards will not be going ahead this year, we are still committed to celebrating the sporting achievements in NL by continuing to celebrate via social media and ensuring that these individuals are acknowledged and honored.” says Doug Fowler, President, Sport Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Provincial Annual Awards recognize the tremendous successes in athletic achievement this past year has brought. There are nine categories that encompass the Awards: Senior Male and Female Athlete of the Year, Junior Male and Female Athlete of the Year, Coach of the Year, Team of the Year, Executive of the Year, Official of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.
“As we finalize plans for our virtual Stars and Legends celebration, we will be sure to notify everyone of the details and when to expect the announcement of winners,” said Troy Croft, Executive Director, SportNL. “This event is extremely important to our sporting community and we are disappointed that we must cancel the Gala this year. However, we are confident that all Annual Award Winners will be recognized through our online initiative.”
Three finalists from each category have been selected by Sport Newfoundland and Labrador’s selections committee, extracted from a list of nominees compiled by 16 Provincial Sport Organizations across the province. The finalists and their biographies can be found below.
Junior Female Athlete of the Year
Jaida Lee (Baseball)
2019 was a banner season for Jaida Lee as she competed at three Provincial Championships, where she claimed Top Pitcher at all three of her tournaments, in addition to claiming a Provincial Championship and two silver medals. Jaida played at the Atlantic Level where she
earned a spot on Team NL Black at the Baseball Atlantic 14U Girls Championship where she represented the province. Jaida also represented the province at the National level where she was a core member of Team NL at the Baseball Canada 16U National Championships where she earned a .529 average, 2 HR, 11 RBI 7.2 IP allowing 5 hits and 1 ER with 17 K. At both tournaments Jaida proved her skillset on several levels and was able to cement herself as a core member of the Baseball NL Female program for many years to come. Jaida received numerous Top Pitcher awards at the 14U AA Provincials, 16U Provincials and 18U provincials. Additionally, Jaida is a member of the 2012 Canada Games training pool and in a position for a spot on the final roster for the 2021 Canada Games team.
Megan Skinner (Gymnastics)
Megan Skinner is a national level athlete with Cygnus Gymnastics, she was named to the Canada Winter Games team and competed in qualification where she aided her team to place 7th. At the provincial level, Megan earned the all-around gold medal in bars and beam, silver on floor and bronze on vault; additionally she was presented with the Redfern Trophy that is awarded to the National Athlete with the highest All Around score at Provincials. Megan earned her spot on the Gymnastics NL provincial team and competed at Eastern Canadian Championships as well as the Canadian National Championships. Megan had a great showing at Easterns that earned a team bronze, 5th All Around, Individual Silver on beam and bronze on bars and floor. The height of Megan’s gymnastics career was at the 2019 Nationals where, as a team, they placed 6th, with 8th place all-around in qualification, where they finished finals in 4th place with a bronze medal on bars and beam and an 8th place finish on floor. Megan was the only NL athlete to compete at Elite Canada, a competition used to identify potential athletes for carding and National team ranking, where she placed 10th in qualification. Megan moved on to finals where she finished with a 9th place on Floor. Additionally, Megan was invited to attend the Gymnastics Canada National Aspire Camp. Megan is a dedicated and hard-working athlete who is steadily making a name for herself and our Province on the National Stage.
Shailynn Snow (Hockey)
Shailynn Snow is a hard-working and inspirational female hockey player in Newfoundland and Labrador. Shailynn was named to the 2015 Canada Winter Games U18 WJC (W) as a double under-ager, where they won the gold medal, she was then later named captain at the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Her leadership serves as inspiration for young girls look up to. Shailynn is currently playing NCAA at St. Lawrence University, where she has tallied 13 Points (2 goals, 11 assists) in 18 games. In 2019, Shailynn was named to Team Canada U18 National Women’s team, who captured Gold in Obihiro, Japan. In her final year at Ridley College, Shailynn was named captain of her team picking up 35 points (26 goals, 9 assists) in 23 games. Shailynn has played at the provincial, national and international level, and her leadership serves as inspiration for young girls in the sport of hockey.
Junior Male Athlete of the Year
Campbell Clarke (Rugby)
Campbell Clarke is an esteemed rugby player from St. John’s, playing at the provincial, national and international level. 2019 earned Campbell a gold medal on his home field in the Canadian Rugby Championships, while on the Atlantic Rock U19 Team, where he represented the National team at two different age groups. In 2019 Campbell started playing as a double under-ager on the Canada U20 European tour against Portugal, Spain and France, where he then returned home and started in all three of the U18 Summer Series Games in the USA. Campbell capped off 2019 by playing a pivotal role in the Atlantic Rock U19 team, where they won a national title in St. John’s. Campbell was a Swilers FRC Senior team member in summer of 2019, and he earned the title of Captain of Rugby at St. George School in Ontario.
Joshua Kennedy (Softball)
Joshua Kennedy of Carbonear enjoyed a successful softball season at the local, provincial, Eastern Canadian and National levels in 2019. At the local level Joshua captured a silver medal in the U16 Boy’s Division of the Constable William Moss Memorial Tournament, where he participated in the Intermediate Men’s Fastpitch league and Senior Men’s Fastpitch League. Provincially, Joshua participated in four Fastpitch tournaments, the U16 boys, U19 men’s, Intermediate men’s and Senior men’s, earning a gold in U16 Boy’s, a silver in U19 Men’s and finished with an impressive .455 batting average (5-for-11) in Intermediate Men’s. At the Eastern Canadian level, Joshua aided in capturing a bronze medal at the U16 Boy’s Eastern Canadian Softball Championship and was named to the Tournament All-Star Team as an infielder named top 10 performer. Joshua represented Newfoundland and Labrador at the National level on the U16 Boy’s Canadian Fastpitch Championship, where he was named to the Tournament All-Star team as infielder. Joshua’s commitment, sportsmanship and skilled sporting abilities earned him the title of 2019 Softball NL Minor Male Player of the Year.
Dawson Mercer (Hockey)
Dawson Mercer is a hockey player hailing from Bay Roberts who has proven his sporting abilities as the first Newfoundlander selected to Team Canada’s World Junior Team since Luke Adam in 2010. Dawson has been part of Hockey Canada team blue U17 team, and was a member of the QMJHL all-star team, where they competed against Russia in the Canada vs. Russia series. Dawson had 3 points with two goals and one assist in two games. Dawson now plays in the QMJHL in the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, tallying 45 points, with 18 goals and 27 assists, in 28 games. Dawson is a hard-working and passionate athlete, who is proud to represent NL on the National stage.
Senior Female Athlete of the Year
Catherine Barrett (Artistic Swimming)
Catherine Barrett is an Artistic Swimmer on Team Canada and has competed at the national and international level. Catherine graduated from Malvern Collegiate Institute in 2018 and then began her bachelor of Kinesiology at the University of Toronto. Catherine is currently training full time and working towards her goal of competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Catherine won gold with Team Canada at the World Aquatics Championships (FINA) in 2019, and in the same year, competed at the Panam Games in the Free and Technical categories and won gold in both with Team Canada. Though Catherine left her home Province of NL as a teenager to train in Ontario, she maintains strong ties to her roots. Catherine visited Newfoundland in the fall of 2019 to help train and inspire the next generation of Artistic Swimmers in the province who will be competing on Team NL in the 2020 competitions.
Erin Daly (Ultimate Frisbee)
Erin Daly is an Ultimate Frisbee athlete from St. John’s, NL. In 2019, Erin became the first NL female Ultimate Frisbee athlete to win a medal at the Canadian National Championships, where she was the highest scoring female in the competition. Erin then became the first athlete from NL to ever compete at the USA Ultimate National Championship with the Quebec team, where she was awarded Most Valuable Player by her team and finished top 10 in number of goals for the tournament. In the fall of 2019, Erin was selected to represent Canada as a member of both the Canadian National Mixed and Women’s Masters teams at the World Ultimate and WUGC World Championships in 2020. She is the first Ultimate Frisbee athlete from NL to ever make a senior national team. Erin was named Ultimate NL’s 2019 Female Athlete of the Year and was awarded League MVP of the St. John’s Women’s Ultimate Recreation League (SWURL).
Maria Htee (Powerlifting)
Maria Htee is a personal trainer, coach, and athlete who has competed at regional, national, and international level and is a current world record holder. In June of 2019, Maria became an Open World Champion at the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) Classic World Championships, where she claimed a world record. Maria currently holds the world record in her 57kg weight class for a 178.5 kg squat and 473.5 kg total and holds the national record for the previously mentioned categories in her weight class, plus the national record for a 197.5 kg deadlift. Following her World Championship win, Maria won first place at the 2019 Commonwealth Powering Lifting Championships for bench press and powerlifting in her category and was awarded third best lifter overall. As a result of these great achievements, Maria has been invited to participate in the SBD Invitational Competition in Sheffield, England, in 2020. Only eight women worldwide are invited to participate. To top it off, Maria is currently ranked as Best Classic Female Lifter of all-time in Canada
Senior Male Athlete of the Year:
Noah Cumby (Swimming)
Noah Cumby made a breakthrough in the summer of 2019 by becoming a first-time medalist at the Canadian Swimming Championships in Winnipeg. Noah broke the provincial record in the 100m Freestyle and finished with a Silver medal at the National Championships, with a time of 50.70. Noah is the second male swimmer, representing Newfoundland, to win a Canadian National Championship medal. Noah was awarded with a four-year athletic scholarship at Texas Christian University (TCU) where he set four school records and was named rookie of the year for TCU Swimming. In 2019, Noah found great success in many competitions. Noah placed first in the Pepperdine University Invitational, third in the Texas Longhorns 2019 Big 12 Championship, fifth in the Speedo Southern Sectionals Championship, and fifth against 600 swimmers at the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America National Championships.
Liam Hickey (ParaSport)
Liam Hickey is a leader in Para Hockey on and off the ice. This past December, the 2019 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup was hosted in Paradise, NL. Liam was the star player for the event. This event drew record numbers in the history of the Cup. Liam was one of the two assistant Captains on the team. Liam tallied 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) during the tournament, helping lead Team Canada to a silver medal finish. During the 2019 IPC World Para Hockey Championship, Liam recorded 28 Points (15 Goals, 13 assists) in 12 games. Back in 2018, Liam competed in the Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang and won silver with Team Canada. Liam is one of the top Para Hockey players, not only in Canada, but in the world.
Michael McCarthy (Rugby)
2019 was an incredible year for Michael McCarthy. Michael played for his country at the World Rugby U20 Championship and won a National Gold Medal at the U19 Canadian Rugby Championship as Captain of the Atlantic Rock team. Based on his performances and leadership skills, he was selected to the Rugby Canada Pacific Pride program in BC. This program develops the best young talent across the Country, with the primary goal of producing Senior Men’s Internationals of the future. In 2019, Michael received the Newfoundland Premier’s Athletic Award, which recognizes athletic excellence and provides financial support to help offset costs incurred through training and competition.
Coach of the Year
Allison Kirby (Gymnastics)
Allison Kirby is the Head Coach of Cygnus Gymnastics in St. John’s, and sits as a member of the Gymnastics Newfoundland and Labrador Technical Committee. In 2019, Allison facilitated a number of Club camps and took her athletes on a tour of clubs in Ontario to give them
experience with a variety of training aids not available at their home club. Allison took part in many professional development opportunities in 2019 and is currently the highest level gymnastics trained coach in our province, holding Competition 4 (High Performance) Status. As head coach, Allison is hands-on with a number of athletes in the gym, the highlights being a fourth place All Around finish at Nationals, Silver medal on Beam, Bronze medal on Bars and Beam, as well as an athlete competing at Elite Canada, which is a competition used to identify potential athletes for carding and national team ranking. Allison also had four of her athletes invited to attend Gymnastics Canada’s National Aspire Camp. In 2019, Allison was awarded Coach of The Year by Gymnastics Newfoundland and Labrador.
Mike Oliver (Soccer)
Mike Oliver has been coaching Soccer for 10 years and has coached in Provincial and National competitions. Mike has worked extremely hard to enhance the quality of training for the young women’s soccer Feildians Jubilee Trophy Team. At the Canada Soccer Toyota Jubilee Trophy Nationals, the Feildians Jubilee Team finished fourth overall. This finish included beating the Newfoundland and Labrador Champions and tying the Ontario Champions.
Jeff Thomas (Curling)
Jeff Thomas has been coaching curling for over 35 years. Jeff has given a lifetime of commitment to the sport of curling and has been the common denominator of the best curling teams this Province has produced. He has coached curling teams at the provincial, national, and international level. In April 2019, two of Jeff’s athletes on Team Nathan Young were named to Canada’s Youth Olympic Team for the Lausanne 2020 Youth Winter Olympic Games – Nathan Young as Skip and Sam Follett as Alternate. In February 2019, he coached Team NL to a fourth-place finish at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, their first ever national event. Jeff is part of the 2019-2020 coaching team of Team Brad Gushue and coached them at the Boost National Grand Slam of Curling event in December. Jeff shares his knowledge and experience with curling coaches on a regular basis and attends clinics and webinars to enhance his own coaching skills.
Official of the Year
Ryan Garland (Baseball)
Ryan Garland has been officiating Baseball in Newfoundland for 15 years. In 2019, Ryan umpired in excess of 90 games at the high school, club, and provincial level. Starting his season in late May of 2019 and concluding in mid-October, Ryan umpired all levels of baseball in the province. In addition, Ryan represented the province at two Baseball Canada National Championships, one as an on-field official, and the other as an off-field supervisor of umpires. At both National Championships, Ryan was awarded the highest promotions possible under the Baseball Canada Umpire Development Program. Ryan also serves as one of the main clinicians in the Province, often starting his true season in mid-April with various umpire clinics across the province. Ryan has completed the Baseball Canada Senior Course Conductor Pathway, which
certified him to supervise officials at Baseball Canada National Championships. At the Baseball Canada 21U National Championships in August 2019, Ryan was chosen as a member of the umpire crew for the gold medal game. Ryan topped off a successful 2019 season by being named the Baseball NL Senior/Junior Official of the Year.
Tara Jensen (Artistic Swimming)
Tara Jensen has been a dedicated official for Newfoundland’s artistic swimming community since 2013, as an accredited level 2 referee at the Regional, Provincial and Atlantic level. Tara has been a leader aiding in the implementation of Long-Term Athlete Development Framework (LTAD) in the province, paying personal attention to athlete development while possessing a nurturing presence as she guided young athletes through competition procedures. Tara’s passion for artistic swimming is evident through her extensive knowledge of the rulebook, and her ability to make athletes feel prepared in high-stress situations, while taking the mental health of athletes seriously. Tara has recently been selected by Canada Artistic Swimming to be evaluated for the upgrade to a level 3 referee, making her eligible to referee at National events as the only level 3 referee in the province. Tara’s position as a volunteer on the NLAS Board of Directors as Chief Referee aids her in supporting the artistic swimming community while supporting other board members in their roles.
Catherine (Kay) Thompson (Golf)
Catherine (Kay) Thompson has been officiating golf events for more than 25 years, as Head Rules Official at the Provincial, Atlantic, National and Amateur level. Kay has been a Golf Canada Governor since 2007, and in 2017 Kay was inducted into the GolfNL Hall of Fame. In 2019 Kay was presented with the “Official of the Year” by Golf NL’s Awards Committee, and has obtained her National Level III certification with the new rules of golf launched in January 2019. Kay’s significant contributions to the sport of golf in the province is evident through her involvement as co-contributor to the Rules & Etiquette section of the provincial weekly golf report, participant and volunteering her time in the annual online rules education program, while being a mentor for numerous female officials throughout the years. In addition to this, Kay is an active member of the national sport governing body for golf as Governor, while exemplifying what it means to be an official both on and off the field, and devoting her officiating career to being fair and unbiased while adhering to the code of officials throughout her lengthy career.
Team of the Year
St. John’s Legends Swim Club
The St. John’s Legends Swim Club have had numerous top achievements during their 2019 season, further solidifying their success over the last 42 years. The Legends won their SwimNL Provincial Championships and travelled to win gold at Swim Nova Scotia Provincials Championships and at the Top Men’s team recognitions. The Legends remained victorious
throughout their season, as they broke 74 Provincial records in addition to having four swimmers attend the World Swimming Championship Trials in Toronto.
The Galway Hitmen
The Galway Hitmen defended the 2019 Men’s Canadian Fastpitch Championship with a 10-7 win over their opponents the BC1 Sooke Loggers in Grande Prairie, AB. The Galway Hitmen entered the tournament as the defending champions and finished the tournament with their national crown intact, capturing an overall tournament record of 10 wins and 1 loss, and outscored the opposition with a final score of 96-36 (+30). With team success comes individual success and the Galway Hitmen earned 2 all-star team selections; Brad Ezekiel (outfield) and Colin Walsh (utility), noting that Walsh was also named top player of the championship round. This is the 7th Men’s Canadian Fastpitch Championship that the Galway Hitmen have won in the last eight years.
Fieldians Jubilee Trophy
The Fieldians Jubilee Trophy Team is an excellent young team made up of decorated athletes. In 2019, they battled perennial champs, the Holy Cross Avalon Ford for every inch of the field. The Fieldians Jubilee Trophy Team lost narrowly in the Provincial Jubilee Team Championships yet remained victorious in beating NL Champs and tied Ontario Champs at National Competitions. The team lost to BC in the Bronze Medal Match at the 2019 Jubilee Trophy Nationals, finishing 4th out of 8 teams at the tournament.
Executive of the Year
Gary Corbett (Softball)
Gary Corbett has been involved in the sport of Softball for more than 30 years, at both the minor and adult levels; from minor teams at the local, provincial, eastern Canadian and National and Canada Games level, as well as the local, provincial, and national levels for adult teams. Gary has served on the Softball NL Board of Directors from 1998 to 2001, and during the 2017 Softball NL AGM & Election of Officer he decided to run for President. He proved successful in this endeavor, as he was elected for a 2-year term in 2017-2019 and was recently re-elected to serve an additional 2-year term from 2019 until 2021. Gary has held the position of Vice-President on the Softball NL Board of Directors from 1996-2001; and he has been affiliated with numerous committees since 1988, including the 1994 Women’s Worlds, 1995 Senior Men’s Nationals (chair), chaired a Senior/Intermediate League Committee to Review Constitution & By-laws, apart from many other impressive positions. Gary is committed to strengthening coaching development, official’s development, committee development, human resources development and community organizational development. Gary is known for his meticulous attention to detail and his ability to get tasks and goals accomplished, while maintaining an inclusive and welcoming environment. In addition to all of these contributions,
Gary was a member of the coaching staff for the Galway Women’s Fastpitch Team in 2019, the host team for the 2019 Women’s Canadian Fastpitch Championships.
Nick House (Ultimate)
Nick House has been an instrumental part in the successful launch of ultimate frisbee as a Foundational Sport with School Sports NL (SSNL). In its inaugural 2018-2019 season this initiative nearly tripled the number of high schools playing ultimate frisbee, with 27 high schools from all over the island participating, which has been deemed by the SSNL as the most successful Foundational Sport in the province. Nick is a dedicated and enthusiastic player, captain, and volunteer; evident through his work as president of Ultimate Newfoundland and Labrador and the Men’s Avalon Ultimate League (MAUL). Nick has been a founding member and captain of two competitive club teams that regularly compete at the national level and founded the province’s most successful single-day tournament, the Salmon Cove Sands Beach Ultimate Tournament. Nick received national coaching certification for ultimate, of which fewer than 20 people in the country possess. Nick is committed to advancing the quantity and quality of those participating in ultimate across the province, as he championed the launch of Discs for Schools program which provides free regulation discs to any school that are in need. Nick’s role as MAUL president allows him to focus on offering playing opportunities for young players and mentoring their transition from high school ultimate to adult leagues.
Jason Mosher (Baseball)
Jason Mosher has been a dedicated member of the baseball community, as he has held his position as an executive member at the local level in Corner Brook for the past five years. He served the Corner Brook Baseball Association in a number of capacities and he now serves as President. Jason recently began his involvement at the provincial level, where he serves the Baseball NL Board of Directors as the Western Director, he works as a liaison between western associations and Baseball NL where he can aid in improving the quality of baseball in the province. In 2019, his most impactful accomplishment has been establishing a Challenger Baseball Program on the West Coast. This program provides disabled athletes with the chance to be involved in the sport of baseball, signifying his dedication to increasing inclusivity in the sport of baseball so that more people are able to get involved. Jason has been a vital part in the successful announcement of the construction of the new clubhouse at Jubilee Field. This establishment will give players, officials and administrative staff a modernized location to continue their programming.
Volunteer of the Year
Joe Fowler (Baseball)
Joe Fowler is a dedicated and passionate member of the baseball community in Newfoundland and Labrador, evident through the number of roles he has served. Locally, Joe is a member of Mount Pearl Minor Baseball, where he holds the position as treasurer in addition to his role as a
coach. Joe coached the 13U AAA Blazers in the 2019 season, culminating at the Baseball NL Provincial Championships, in addition to coaching the 15U AA Blazers in the late 2019 season, coaching them at their Atlantic Championships after they qualified to attend. Provincially, Joe serves on the Baseball NL Board of Directors as treasurer and is a newly acquitted member of Minor Committee which aims to make the minor-division baseball at the Provincial level the best experience possible for players, parents, coaches and other volunteers. Joe’s commitment to volunteerism through his administrative, coaching and player development responsibilities makes him a shining light for sport in this province, which led him to be the recipient of the 2019 Baseball Canada-MLB Volunteer of the Year Award for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Robert (Bob) Godden (Gymnastics)
Bob Godden is an ambassador for the sport of gymnastics both provincially and nationally, as Bob currently sits on the Cygnus Gymnastics Board of Directors as Vice President. Bob is a leader in policy development, human resources, and facility planning; he makes significant contributions to the execution of competitions and is a role model in the gymnastics community. Bob has spent the last 45 years relentlessly using his time and resources to aid in molding the success and development of gymnastics through mentorship. Bob orients the next generation for gymnastics trajectory and succession planning through human resources and the facility, ultimately leading to the optimum experience for athletes. Bob’s insight and guidance promotes leadership, inclusivity and completion-oriented mindsets in challenging situations that creates a motivated and united team. Bob premediates and delivers on large-scale undertakings including the 45th anniversary of Cygnus that took place in 2019, through the creation of a weekend-long event as a celebration of the facilities success. Bob is a supporter, fan and ambassador for Cygnus and the sport of gymnastics, where he embraces the true spirit of the sport.
Marc Pittman (Soccer)
Marc Pittman has been a dedicated volunteer to the game of soccer in the province. Marc’s contributions to the soccer community is apparent through his most recent endeavor as he championed the re-establishment of the BPSA presence in Newfoundland and Labrador. When it became apparent that the game of soccer was in a state of decline on the Burin Peninsula the only way back to its former self was to establish a youth movement whereby Marc would be the leader. Marc began a two-year long quest to re-establish the presence of soccer, as Marc discovered that the fundamental issue was a lack of competition for players to get involved, he quickly realized that expansion was the solution. Marc championed the expansion of soccer in the Avalon Metro and the Provincial Youth League Programs, which has proven to be successful as an increase in players has made the game of soccer a thriving recreational activity in the region.
Sport Newfoundland and Labrador is a volunteer organization committed to the promotion and advancement of amateur sport throughout the province in Newfoundland and Labrador