Prince Edward Island athletes have excelled provincially, regionally, nationally and internationally in their sports during the past year.
Tonight, they will be recognized for the accomplishments.
The 40th anniversary of the Sport P.E.I. awards will be presented during a banquet at the Rodd Royalty in Charlottetown.
“Until you sit down and reflect on all the accomplishments that our athletes have made over any given year, you don’t get a true appreciation for the incredible athletes that such a small place like P.E.I. produces,” said Sport P.E.I. president Ron Waite.
“It’s quite encouraging to see the quality of athletes that a place of 140,000 people is producing. It’s amazing.”
He said it is “unbelievably difficult” to select the winners each year from the cross-section of nominations received from across the province.
“Just trying to get down to three finalists can be extremely difficult.”
Waite said he is amazed and pleasantly surprised on an annual basis. One year there will be a crop of great athletes, who excelled and exceeded expectations.
“The next year rolls around and you’re equally as amazed,” he said.
Many of the athletes, teams, coaches, officials and administrators, who are among the finalists, competed outside the province, and are ambassadors for P.E.I.
While many leagues and sports have their own way of recognizing their stars, tonight provides a different way to recognize the athletic accomplishments.
“This is an opportunity to go and be compared to the best of the athletes that the Island produces,” Waite said. “I think there is something very special about that.”
On top of the awards highlighted in recent editions of The Guardian, a longtime volunteer will be recognized tonight with the President’s Award while the Premier’s Award will be presented to the sport organization of the year, as voted on the by the board of directors.
Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis will present the Lieutenant Governor’s Award to the top overall athlete while the Bill Halpenny Award, recognizing outstanding international achievement, is also expected to be awarded.
The banquet is sold out.
Sport P.E.I.'s awards finalists:
u Bell Aliant senior male athlete of the year - Mark Arendz (paranordic biathlon), Jared Connaughton (athletics), Jeff Ellsworth (softball).
u Bell Aliant senior female athlete of the year - Emily Cameron (rowing), Veronica Keefe (wrestling), Heather Moyse (bobsleigh and rugby).
u Rodd Hotels and Resorts junior male athlete of the year - Carsen Campbell (biathlon), J.P. Stevenson (baseball), Jeremy and Joel Watts (wheelchair basketball).
u Rodd Hotels and Resorts junior female athlete of the year - Quincy Beck (squash), Lorena Ellis (wrestling), Hannah Taylor (wrestling).
u Intercollegiate male athlete of the year - Andrew Costa (UNB, volleyball), Cole MacMillan (UPEI, soccer and hockey), James Profit (Dalhousie, swimming).
u Intercollegiate female athlete of the year - Jean Baker (SMU, rugby), Emily VanDiepen (Mount Allison, soccer and hockey), Molly Wedge (Dalhousie, swimming).
u SCORE! team of the year - Holland College men's basketball, Summerside Western Capitals (hockey), Holland College women's soccer.
u Masters athlete award - Michael Gaudet (long distance running), Ruth Stavert (stick curling), Paul Wright (cross-country skiing).
u P.E.I. Mutual Insurance Company official of the year - Mike Jones (rugby), Mandy Li (taekwondo), Cliff Poirier (curling).
u P.E.I. Mutual Insurance Company coach of the year - Colin MacDonald (wrestling, Canada Games), Forbes MacPherson (hockey, UPEI), Scott Morrison (basketball, Lakehead University).
u ADL administrator of the year - Derek MacEwen (curling), Stephen Murray (rowing), Gordon Rogers (speed skating).