Two-sport Paralympic star Liam Hickey won a third straight Sport Newfoundland and Labrador provincial senior male athlete of the year award, while newcomer Maria Htee of powerlifting won her first all-Newfoundland senior female athlete of the year honour Saturday night.
Normally, the Sport NL awards are presented at a Stars and Legends Gala in St. John’s, but that event was cancelled this year because of COVID-19. Instead, the awards were presented via video.
Sport NL will be celebrating this year’s provincial Sports Hall of Fame inductions at a later date. Kirk Howell, Anne Barrington-Johnston and Erin Woodrow (athletes), Gail Roberts (athlete-builder) and Doug Redmond (builder) are the newest Hall of Famers.
Hickey, who was the top senior male athlete in 2017 and 2018 as well, takes home the Ferd Hayward Memorial Award, while Htee wins the Elizabeth Swan Memorial Award.
Other award winners Saturday were hockey player Shailynn Snow of Bay Roberts (junior female athlete of the year, Margaret Davis Memorial Award); rugby player Campbell Clarke of St. John’s (junior male athlete of the year, Joseph P. Mullins Memorial Award); Bob Godden of St. John’s (gymnastics, volunteer of the year, Frank W. Graham Memorial Award); softball’s Gary Corbett of Holyrood (executive of the year, Graham Snow Memorial Award); curling’s Jeff Thomas of St. John’s (coach of the year, John Drinkwater Memorial Award); baseball’s Ryan Garland of St. John’s (official of the year) and Galway Hitmen softball team (team of the year, Edward P. Browne Memorial Award).
Hickey has been part of Team Canada's para hockey team since 2016. Last year, he was part of the national team which won a silver medal at the 2019 IPC World Para Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic, after losing 3-2 to the United States in the gold-medal game. He led Canada with eight goals at the world competition.
Hickey and Team Canada also won silver at the 2018 world championship and 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Korea.
In December, Canada had to settle for another second-place finish, this time at the 2019 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup at the Paradise Double Ice Complex, following a 2-1 loss to the U.S. in the tournament final.
Hickey was second in scoring on Canada in Paradise with two goals and four assists in five games.
He also played on the national Paralympic basketball team.
Htee has competed at regional, national, and international levels and is a current world record holder. Last June, she became an Open world champion at the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) Classic world championships, where she set a world record. She currently holds the national and world records in the 57kg weight class with a 178.5 kg squat and 473.5 kg total, as well as the national record with a 197.5 kg deadlift.
Following her world championship win, she finished first at the 2019 Commonwealth powerlifting championship for bench press and powerlifting in her weight class, and was also the third-best lifter overall. As a result of these placings, Htee has been invited to participate in the SBD Invitational Competition in Sheffield, England, this year.
Snow is currently playing NCAA women’s hockey at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., where she had six goals and 17 assists in 30 games last season. She also played for Canada’s Under-18 national women’s team, which won the gold medal at the 2019 World U18 Women’s Hockey Championship in Obihiro, Japan.
Clarke played rugby for Canada in two different age groups in 2019, first as an under-ager on a Canadian U20 European tour against Portugal, Spain and France, and then he started in all three of the U18 Summer Series Games in the United States.
He capped off 2019 by playing a pivotal role on the Atlantic Rock U19 team, which won the national championship in St. John’s.
Bob Godden currently sits on the Cygnus Gymnastics Club’s board of directors as vice-president and is a leader in policy development, human resources and facility planning.
Godden delivers on large-scale undertakings, including the 45th anniversary of Cygnus that took place in 2019.
Corbett has been involved in the sport of Softball for more than 30 years, at both the minor and adult levels.
President of Softball Newfoundland and Labrador, Corbett is committed to strengthening coaching and official development, committee development, human resources development and community organizational development.
He was a member of the coaching staff for the Galway women’s fastpitch team in 2019, the host team for the 2019 national women’s championship.
Coaching curling for over 35 years, Thomas has guided teams at the provincial, national and international levels. In April 2019, two of his athletes on Team Nathan Young were named to Canada's Youth Olympic Team for the Lausanne 2020 Youth Winter Olympic Games - Nathan Young as skip and Sam Follett as an alternate.
In February 2019, he coached Team NL to a fourth-place finish at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, their first national event.
Garland has been officiating baseball in Newfoundland for 15 years. In 2019, he umpired in excess of 90 games at the high school, club, and provincial levels. Starting his season in late May of 2019 and concluding in mid-October, Garland umpired all levels of baseball in the province.
He also represented the province at two Baseball Canada national championships, one as an on-field official, and the other as an off-field supervisor of umpires.
He was part of the umpire crew for the gold-medal game at the Baseball Canada 21U nationals last August.
The St. John's-based Hitmen claimed Newfoundland's seventh Canadian senior men's fastpitch softball championship in eight years in Grande Prairie, Alta., in 2019.
Overall, Galway was 10-1 in the tourney, with a .372 team batting average, while scoring 96 runs, or an average of almost nine per outing.
The Hitmen posted three straight wins on the final day of competition in Grande Prairie, including a 10-7 decision over the Sooke Loggers of British Columbia in the tournament final.
Both the defending champion Hitmen and Loggers had been undefeated in the round-robin portion of their schedules, but Galway lost 12-4 in its first game of Page playoffs Saturday to the Hill United Chiefs of Oshwekin, Ont., making its path to the final more difficult.