An event was held on the evening of May 31 at the Sport Yukon foyer in Whitehorse to acknowledge athletes, coaches and administrators for their contributions to the sport community.
Nominated by Elder Active, a non-profit dedicated to keeping people ages 55 and up active, Brenda Dion was honoured with the administrator of the year award.
“It’s still about being part of something, belonging to a group and being included,” she said.
“We all know it takes a team to make a team, to organize a team, and I’m standing up here because of the tremendous support I’ve received.”
Dion has been involved in sport in the territory for 20 years and has served on boards including Athletics Yukon, Canada Senior Games Association and the Yukon Pickleball Association.
In a June 1 release from Sport Yukon, Dion’s enthusiasm for sport is described as “infectious and inspirational, and her impact on our community can be measured in many ways: in building senior participation in sport, in promoting healthy active living and in leading sport organizations and initiatives with compassion, vision and fairness.”
The coach of the year award recognized the exceptional effort and impact of Geremy Newbury in honour of his dedication to the Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association.
Newbury has been involved with minor hockey for the past five seasons in the capacity of head or assistant coach of a number of teams, including the under-13 Mustangs A Team. The release indicates he is known for creating a culture of respect and hard work, and his commitment extends to his dynamic practice plans, the development and mentorship of his athletes and a belief in leading by example.
Judo and wrestling competitor Jaymi Hinchey received the female athlete of the year award. She podiumed in six separate regional, provincial and international events, and became the highest-ranked Yukon athlete in the first week of the Canada Summer Games, per the release.
“In all facets of her involvement in sport, Jaymi acquits herself with respect, passion and tenacity,” reads the release.
Hinchey thanked the sport governing body and her funders for making it possible to travel and train to achieve her goals.
“A big thanks to my parents, my coaches and my teammates that made the rest of it possible,” she told the crowd.
The male athlete of the year award was given to Callum Weir, who competed in the 2022 Canada Summer Games for the Yukon’s men’s soccer team and was named to the games’ men’s soccer all-star team. He has represented the territory as goalkeeper in soccer and futsal.
“What allowed me to do that was the work that I put in growing up in the Yukon,” he told the room via videoconference.
“Growing up in Haines Junction, I was blessed with the most supportive parents anyone could ask for.”
Weir attributed the award to having an “incredible group of boys” to grow up with since he was seven years old and the “best coaches” in Canada.
The Canada Summer Games men’s soccer team finished with the team of the year award. The team made its best-ever performance at the 2022 games with a seventh-place finish.
“The Yukon is home to exceptional talent and a deep well of committed, promising athleticism, and this team showcased the incredible potential of the Yukon on the national stage,” reads the release.
Coach Sean Fleming addressed the room.
“This team didn’t make Yukon history. This is Canadian history,” he said.
During and after the games, Fleming said coaches and colleagues from across the country have commented on this “great group of athletes.”
“It’s not about the results. It’s about the process and how they played, and every single one of them deserves so, so much credit,” he said.
“Your dedication, your commitment, it’s not easy.”
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