By Elio Elia
The 67th annual Ottawa Sports Awards were held on Wednesday night, where the city’s top athletes and teams from across more than 65 sports were recognized for their accomplishments in amateur athletics in 2019.
Shot putter Tim Nedow and long-track speedskater Ivanie Blondin were the gala’s top honorees, winning the male and female Athlete of the Year awards.
Nedow, a 2016 Olympian, is planning on competing again in Tokyo at this year’s Olympics. He was celebrated Wednesday for a 2019 season that include a world championships trip in which he finished 9th in his event. Blondin, meanwhile, hit a new peak in her career last year by winning five gold medals and setting three track records in 2019 World Cup speedskating events. She also won a gold medal at last year’s Canadian Championships, where she set a personal best time.
Nedow emphasized the importance of hard work and keeping confidence in one’s self in his acceptance speech. Blondin was unable to attend.
What may age as the most memorable moment of the evening was when Mayor’s Cup winner L.A. Schmidt broke down in tears while describing the sense of community within the Ottawa River Canoe Club, which she was recognized, in part, for founding.
The theme of community appreciation was present throughout the night, with Penny Glover, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award for officiating, citing that it was the different volunteers throughout a range of sports in Ottawa that keep the love and passion of sport alive in the city.
Other major winners included the Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s soccer team, who won Female Team of the Year. They won a bronze medal at the OUA championships and were later crowned FISU World Cup Champions. They had an undefeated regular season as well. Gee-Gees women’s rugby coach Jen Boyd was named Female Coach of the Year, becoming one of just three people to win one of the event’s major ‘of the year’ awards a total of six times.
The Ottawa Junior Senators won Male Team of the Year, in recognition of their second-consecutive banner season in the Central Canada Hockey League. They also made it to the national semifinals before losing to the eventual national champions. Junior Senators head coach Martin Dagenais was also awarded Male Coach of the Year. Dagenais was also a silver medal-winning coach of Team Canada East in the 2019 World Junior A Challenge tournament.
Ottawa 67s super fan Stan Banville was also recognized with the Spirit of Sport Award, in honour of his 30 years of devout fandom of the team.
Visit the Ottawa Sports Awards’ website for info about all of this year’s winners.