Photos: 2015 Sport North award winners revealed

Rayna Vittrekwa
Rayna Vittrekwa, centre, accepts an award from Premier Bob McLeod and Commissioner George Tuccaro.
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Sport North handed out its annual awards to 12 recipients at a banquet in Yellowknife on Saturday.

Top athletes were celebrated alongside coaches, teams, officials, and contributors from across the Northwest Territories.

On this page, take a look through photos of the award winners and find out more about why they were recognized. Credit for all images: Darren Horn Photography.


Madison McPhee

Young female athlete of the year

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Madison, from Hay River, set new territorial records over 100m and 200m at last year’s NWT track and field championships, alongside top-five finishes at events in Alberta.

Madison McPhee
Madison McPhee, right, thanks her family with the help of guest speaker Michelle Sawatzy-Koop, a 1996 volleyball Olympian for Canada.

Darius Andre

Young male athlete of the year

Darius, from Tsiigehtchic, won four gold medals in canoeing at the 2014 North American Indigenous Games. He’s also an accomplished hockey player.

Darius Andre
Darius Andre, right.

Mario Desforges

Coach of the year

Mario helped N’Dilo’s Brent Betsina to silver at the Canada Winter Games in February, then watched another of his athletes, Mason Bruneau, pick up bronze at Canadian juniors earlier this month. Mario was unable to attend Saturday’s ceremony.

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Glen Meehan

Official of the year

Glen is a certified level-two fastpitch and slopitch official, working many a summer night at Yellowknife’s Tommy Forrest ballpark. At Saturday’s ceremony, Glen was commended for “finishing every game with a smile” despite his “thankless job”.

Glen Meehan
Glen Meehan, right.

Rayna Vittrekwa

Junior female athlete of the year

Rayna, from Fort McPherson, took mixed curling gold at last year’s Canadian juniors. We asked her how she got into curling: “When I was younger, I watched TV with my dad and this sport had a hammer, and ice, so what the heck, you know? It was the curiosity – and a team sport, and I wanted that kind of membership of something.”

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Rayna Vittrekwa
Rayna Vittrekwa, right.

Brent Betsina

Junior male athlete of the year

Brent, from N’Dilo, won the NWT’s first Canada Winter Games medal since 2007 when he picked up silver in judo three months ago. He had planned on retiring from the sport after that event, but has since returned with an ambition to make his mark on national senior level. Brent was unable to attend Saturday’s ceremony.

Roslyn Firth

Community contributor

Roslyn has spent the past eight years building sports programs in the hamlet of Fort Liard, which now boasts strong soccer and snowboarding teams. “I want the children to start paying that forward, so when they are in their 20s, 30s or 40s, they will think about the young people in Fort Liard and help them to have the same experiences,” she told us.

Roslyn Firth, left
Roslyn Firth, left.

Canadian Tire

Corporate contributor

Yellowknife’s Canadian Tire, store number 453, received praise for “understanding the importance of sport in a child’s life”. The store’s contributions include funding soccer team uniforms, sponsoring a “fan zone” at the Yellowknife Multiplex, and directing all funds from skate sharpening directly back to the Yellowknife Minor Hockey League.

Canadian Tire representatives
Sky McKiel, centre, and Richard Kresky, right, accept the corporate contributor award on behalf of Canadian Tire store number 453.

Paul Gard

Contributor to sport

Paul, from Yellowknife, has spent four decades in northern softball as a player, coach, and administrator. As a result of his tireless work, he was recently inducted into Softball Canada’s hall of fame.

Paul Gard
Paul Gard, right.

Alea Stockton

Senior female athlete of the year

Alea gained her love of distance running in the Northwest Territories, where she is a reigning territorial champion, and now competes on the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Heat cross-country team. “This award means so much. The NWT has done a lot for me and I’m proud of my northern background,” she told us.

Alea Stockton
Alea Stockton, right.

Johnnie Bowden

Senior male athlete of the year

Johnnie, who recently retired from the Yellowknife Rec Hockey League after decades of service, was described as the “heart and soul” of hockey in the city and the “go-to guy in the dressing room with his inspirational speches”.

Johnnie Bowden
Johnnie Bowden, right, accepts his award from Premier Bob McLeod.

NWT Rebels

Team of the yar

The territory’s women’s broomball team took gold at last year’s world championships, in Japan, defeating the Australia Dingos in the final. Player-coach Tina Locke-Setter and captain Jenny Crawford were named to the tournament’s all-star team.

NWT Rebels
NWT Rebels members receive awards from minister David Ramsay.
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