(Toronto, Ont.) Wheelchair Basketball Canada proudly announced the names of its major award winners on Saturday evening at its 2015 annual awards banquet as part of the festivities of the 2015 Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) National Championship in Scarborough, Ont.
The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team that captured the gold medal on home soil at the world championship in 2014 was also inducted into the Wheelchair Basketball Canada Hall of Fame last week.
The award winners each exemplify fair play and sportsmanship while committing to values of inclusion. They are leaders in their communities, positive role models, and they display superior performance in their respective disciplines.
The 2015 Wheelchair Basketball Canada award winners are as follows:
Junior Athlete of the Year: Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L.)
At the age of 16 years old, he became one of the youngest players ever to earn a roster spot on the Canadian Senior Men’s National Team. His game-breaking talent was on full display at the 2015 Canada Winter Games, where he helped an underdog Prince Edward Island team to a best-ever fourth place finish.
Female Athlete of the Year: Janet McLachlan (Vancouver, B.C.)
As a leader with the Canadian Senior Women’s National Team, she played a pivotal role in Team Canada’s successful quest to capture the gold medal on home soil at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship in Toronto. McLachlan earned a tournament all-star award after she led all players at the world championship in rebounding, while finishing second in overall scoring and third in average points per game.
Male Athlete of the Year: David Eng (Montreal, Que.)
David Eng is a natural leader whose dedication to his sport rivals that of any elite athlete. As a respected co-captain of the Canadian senior men’s national team, David leads by example both on and off the basketball court. He is actively involved in raising awareness for the sport and the greater Paralympic movement.
True Sport Award: Melanie Hawtin (Oakville, Ont.)
Rising star Melanie Hawtin excels on the hardcourt with a combination of fair play, respect and a competitive spirit that are at the very core of the True Sport movement. A dedicated athlete, she plays the game with passion and poise. She is a role model and gives back by graciously volunteering her time at community outreach initiatives as an ambassador for the sport.
Leadership Excellence Award: Sabrina Durepos (Fredericton, N.B.)
Paralympic gold medallist Sabrina Durepos has embraced the role of a coach and mentor who focuses on giving back to the sport by empowering the next generation of athletes. She is a great communicator who has the ability to instill confidence in others. She has become the driving force behind the junior development program in New Brunswick and was at the helm of the team that placed sixth at the 2015 Canada Games.
Hall of Fame Inductee: 2014 Canadian Women’s World Championship Team
The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team accomplished the once-in-a-lifetime feat of winning a gold medal on home soil at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship in Toronto. Not only did Team Canada greatly improve upon its sixth place finish at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, but it also bested the reigning Paralympic gold, silver and bronze medalists on its way to the top of the podium. With the win, Canada captured its fifth gold medal in team history and seventh consecutive podium finish at the world championship.
The members of the 2014 Canadian Women’s World Championship Team were as follows:
- Elaine Allard (St. Eustache, Que.)
- Tracey Ferguson (Richmond Hill, Ont.)
- Katie Harnock (Elmira, Ont.)
- Melanie Hawtin (Oakville, Ont.)
- Maude Jacques (Lac-Beauport, Que.)
- Jamey Jewells (Donkin, N.S.)
- Janet McLachlan (Vancouver, B.C.)
- Cindy Ouellet (Quebec, Que.)
- Darda Sales (London, Ont.)
- Tamara Steeves (Mississauga, Ont.)
- Amanda Yan (Burnaby, B.C.)
- Arinn Young (Legal, Alta.)
Head Coach: Bill Johnson (Winnipeg, Man.)
About Wheelchair Basketball Canada
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sports governing body responsible for the organization of the sport in Canada. It is a non-profit, charitable organization that is committed to excellence in the development, support and promotion of wheelchair basketball programs and services for all Canadians from grassroots to high performance. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport in which Canada is held in high esteem around the world for winning a combined six gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the last six Paralympic Games.