Hard work and dedication came to fruition for athletes of the North as the Sport North Federation announced their 2020 awards Friday.
Thirteen were named winners of categories recognizing coaches, corporations, and athletes ranging from 14 to over 55 years old.
In announcing the recipients, Sport North communications officer Whitney Weaver acknowledged “all Northern athletes have been showing dedication and resilience in the face of adversity this year.”
She said training can be challenging at the best of times, and the obstacles overcome throughout 2020 have especially highlighted the athletes that “love the sport they’re in.”
The Sport North awards, first launched in 1977, continue to grow each year to showcase the coaches, referees, and athletes themselves that contribute to Northern sports.
This year, the organization renamed the Junior Female athlete of the year award to the Robin Mercer-Sproule Award.
Sproule, who died earlier this year, was induced in the NWT sport hall of fame in 2018. She represented the NWT in the Arctic Winter Games in figure skating, basketball, broomball, hockey, and volleyball.
“We believe (Sproule) was a very big contributor to sports in the North, so we wanted to honour her memory,” Weaver said. Speed-skater Wren Acorn is the first to receive the award in Sproule’s name.
“We believe she’s a good representative of what Robin Sproule believed in and how dedicated she was,” Weaver said.
The 2020 winners of the Sport North awards are as follows:
Youth Male athlete of the year: Nikki Gohil – Tennis
Youth Female athlete of the year: Emma Carey – Hockey
Junior Male athlete of the year: Josh Boudreau – Speedskating Special Olympics
Robin Mercer-Sproule Junior Female athlete of the year: Wren Acorn – Speed Skating
Senior Male athlete of the year: Devin Madsen – Squash
Senior Female athlete of the year: Shona Barbour – Curling
Team: Team Koe – Curling
Coach: Mario Desforges – Judo
Dennis Crane Memorial – Official of the Year Award: Rob Johnson – Softball
Delma Kisoun Community Contributor: Chuck Lirette – Biathlon
Ruth Inch – Contributor to Sport: Desiree Gautreau – Gymnastics
Corporate Contributor: Corothers’ Home Building Centre – Owner Charles Corothers
Active for Life: Bernie Bennett – Tennis