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Brantford recognizes youth sports in the community

Local NewsBrantford recognizes youth sports in the community

Brantford Sports Council hosted its 18th annual Youth Sports Awards and Recognition ceremony at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Research and Academic Building, on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Bill Harding, Chair of the Brantford Sports Council (BSC), kicked off the event by welcoming attendees and thanking the local sport community for all that they do.

“Today is for all of those who are finalists representing their sport and for all those who contribute to the social fabric of our sports and of our community,” he said. “Today is truly a community engagement that represents all the many accomplishments that have taken place during the past year for all those that are here. I wanted to say thank you for being that, and for doing what you do in our community.”

Peter Lovett, winner of the John Macklin Memorial Award, poses for a photo with Andrew Macklin (left) during the 18th annual Youth Sports Awards on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Following the singing of the national anthem and David McKee’s official town crier declaration, the BSC played a video message from Neil Lumsden, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

“First off, congratulations to the nominees and the award winners. It’s terrific that you have the opportunity to celebrate these remarkable achievements. Your dedication and commitment contribute to the success of sport in Brantford, and frankly, across the province of Ontario,” said Lumsden. “We know that sport has the ability to unite the community and by getting involved, you’re setting an awesome example and demonstrating that we can make a difference. …Thank you to all the athletes, parents, coaches and official volunteers and to everyone who gives their time to keep the community alive.”

Lauren Cohoon shows off her Phyllis Gretzky Memorial Award during the 18th annual Youth Sports Awards on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Joseph Costantini, master of ceremonies, then welcomed Larry Brock, MP for Brantford-Brant, his provincial counterpart, Will Bouma, and Kevin Davis, Mayor for the City of Brantford, to offer their congratulations to the nominees.

“What I like about this event is not only the focus on the athletes, but the people behind the scenes,” said Davis. “It’s about the organizers, volunteers, coaches, and sponsors that make all of the sporting world that we have in this community possible because without them, it wouldn’t happen. …Why is that so important? Because while sports are important in every community, it is particularly important in ours; with our history and culture, sports are an important component in who we are and in our identity.”

Ross Enslev, winner of the George Jones Memorial Award, and Dave McLean, pose for a photo during the 18th annual Youth Sports Awards on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Before announcing the winners, Constantini began the official ceremony by welcoming up the presenter of each award, as well as the finalists.

Kevin Finney Memorial Award – Sportsmanship and Dedication, Mason Steedman, Swimming.

Phyllis Gretzky Memorial Award – Female Youth Leadership, Lauren Cohoon, Multi-sports.

Frank Bricker Memorial Award – Male Youth Leadership, Jackson Smiley, Multi-sports.

Dave Levac Award – The Award of Excellence for Sports Officiating, Dennis Brayshaw, Hockey.

John Macklin Memorial Award – Coach of the Year, Peter Lovett, Multi-Sport.

George Churchill Memorial Award – Sports Volunteer of the Year, Tina Hedley, Volleyball.

John Calbeck Memorial Award – Lifetime Sports Sponsorship, Bernie and Keri Korfmann (Tim Hortons).

George Jones Memorial Award – Lifetime Sports Volunteerism, Ross Enslev, Multi-sports.

Jimmy Wilkes Memorial Award – Team of the Year, Brantford Bobcats U15 Tier 2 Fastpitch.

Community Ambassador Award – Doug Hunt, Guinness World Record Stilt Walker.

Doug Hunt accepts the 2023 Community Ambassador Award during the 18th annual Youth Sports Awards on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

As well, both Jackson Smiley and Jessica La Ronde were the male and female recipients of the new $1,000 Domino’s bursary.

Jessica LaRonde accepts the $1,000 Domino’s bursary during the 18th annual Youth Sports Awards on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Towards the end of the ceremony, it was announced that Michael Andlauer, owner of the Brantford Bulldogs, was the recipient of the 2023 Frank Tomlin Memorial Award – Sportsperson of the Year. Peggy Chapman, Executive Director of the Bulldogs Foundation, accepted the award on his behalf.

“The Bulldogs Hockey Club represents more than just a hockey team, while winning on the ice is obviously very important to me, we’re also very proud of what we accomplish off the ice and we want to be part of the community,” said Andlauer, in a video message.

Dennis Brayshaw and Dave Levac, pose for a photo during the 18th annual Youth Sports Awards on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Harding wrapped up the event by once again thanking the City staff and the BSC for all of the hard work and recognition, and congratulated those who were both nominated and awarded for their excellence.

Peggy Chapman, Executive Director of the Bulldogs Foundation, accepts the Frank Tomlin Memorial Award on behalf of Michael Andlauer, owner of the Branford Bulldogs, during the 18th annual Youth Sports Awards on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

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