Four Olympians, a professional soccer star and a world champion rower top the list of nominees in the senior men’s and women’s categories for the Sport Nova Scotia Support4Sport awards announced Tuesday.
Ellie Black of Halifax, an eight-time winner in the senior women’s category, is the headliner of the finalists again after another strong Olympic performance at the 2021 Tokyo Games. Black placed fourth on balance beam, but had to withdraw from the all-around due to an ankle injury. Earlier in 2021, Black won her seventh Canadian Gymnastics All-Around Championship.
Blayre Turnbull (Stellarton) is nominated for her dominant game in helping Canada win gold medals at the 2021 Women’s Hockey World Championship and the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Turnbull scored four goals and three assists at the Olympics in February and played a key defensive role in the gold medal win over the United States.
Brienne Miller (Summerland) is the third runner-up based on her gold medal at the inaugural World Rowing Beach Sprint Women’s Solo (CW1x) Final in Portugal.
The senior male candidates are Liam Moffatt (Truro), Jacob Shaffelburg (Port Williams) and Connor Fitzpatrick (Dartmouth).
Moffatt’s season was highlighted by a ninth-place finish in the snowboard cross team event and a 19th-place finish in the individual competition at the Beijing Olympics in February.
Shaffelburg had a breakthrough season scoring three goals as part of Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC.
Fitzpatrick made an impressive Olympic debut in Tokyo with Roland Varga with a sixth-place finish in the C2 1000m and a 14th-place finish in the C1 1000m. Fitzpatrick also won a gold medal (C1, 500m) and a silver (C1 1000m) at the under-23 world championships last September.
Coach of the Year includes David Kikuchi (Fall River), Troy Ryan (Hubbards) and Mark Smith (Falmouth),
Ryan guided the Canadian women’s hockey team to gold at the Olympics and world championships, Smith helped her Canadian women’s softball team win a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, and Kikuchi played a key role in Black and the Canadian women’s gymnastics team has risen to the world stage.
The junior female finalists are golfer Abby Baker (Halifax), soccer player Annika Leslie (Halifax) and water skier Olivia Chute (Fall River).
Kayaker Ian Gaudet (Dartmouth), figure skater Jacob Cote (Dartmouth) and golfer Owen Mullen (Shortts Lake) are the junior male finalists for Athlete of the Year.
The nominees in the officials category are Thorne Sutherland (Lunenburg) in gymnastics and trampoline, Shauna Neary (Herring Cove) in hockey and Ben Hoskins (Lower Sackville) in soccer.
Other awards will be announced on Saturday, May 28 at the Halifax Convention Centre, including the Sport Makes a Difference Award, the Community Sport Organization Award and the Chair Award. Volunteers of the Year and Corporate Sponsors of the Year from each Provincial Sport Organization will also be recognized.
“We are thrilled to host this year’s Support4Sport Awards in person,” Sport Nova Scotia CEO Jamie Ferguson said in a press release. “Sport Nova Scotia is extremely proud to have all of the athletes and members of the amateur sport sector recognized at the event. It’s wonderful to see sporting programs and events regaining momentum after the past two years of challenges. The pandemic has shown very clearly how important sport is to all of us and how integral it is to our lives. These awards are a great way to celebrate all that Nova Scotians do in sports and sports themselves.
Each of the finalists was nominated by their provincial sports organization and their achievements were judged through a multi-tiered selection process that considers their all-round athletic performance throughout the year, as well as their best achievement of the season. .