The Labatt Female Athlete of the Year is swimmer Chantal Van Landeghem. With her three teammates, she won the first medal for Canada in last summer’s Rio Olympics, a bronze in the 4 x 100 metre medley relay. She was the first Manitoba swimmer to medal at an Olympic Games. She added to that Olympic success by swimming Canada's anchor leg in a fifth place finish in the 4 x 100 metre freestyle relay in Canadian record time.
The Nott Autocorp Male Athlete of the Year is football player David Onyemata. In his first season with New Orleans Saints of the NFL he had 18 combined tackles in playing in all 16 regular season games; he had at least one tackle in 10 of those games; he was the first ever Manitoba Bisons player selected in the NFL draft, taken by New Orleans in the fourth round.
The Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team won the Maurice Smith Memorial Award as the Winnipeg Free Press Team of the Year. The Goldeyes became 2016 American Association champions after clinching their playoff berth on the final day of the season.
In the junior category, rower Emma Gray was named Manitoba Chicken Junior Female Athlete of the Year while Brandon Wheat Kings hockey player Nolan Patrick took home the award as Manitoba Chicken Junior Male Athlete of the Year. Patrick’s team won the 2016 award as Calm Air Junior Team of the Year.
Gray won Junior national trials in single, double and quad races, and is ranked first nationally in both Junior and Under-23 divisions. She is the record holder in both divisions in 2km and 6km races. She was first in the Henley International Regatta in Junior and Under-23 singles, and added two gold and two silver medals in the same categories in the Canadian Rowing Championships.
Nolan was the Western Hockey League's playoff MVP in 2016 and he led the Brandon Wheat Kings to the Memorial Cup with 41 goals and 102 points, fifth in scoring. He led in playoff scoring with 13 goals and 30 points in 21 games. He won the Turk Broda Memorial trophy as Brandon's top Manitoba player, and is the consensus No. 1 pick for the 2017 NHL draft.
In 2016, the Brandon Wheat Kings won their second straight Eastern Conference WHL title with a 48-18-4-2 record. The team went on to a 16-5 record in post-season play, capturing its first league title in 20 years, beating Seattle Thunderbirds 4-1 in the final playoff series to earn a berth in Junior hockey's Memorial Cup tournament.
The 2016 Cactus Jack Wells Impact Award went to the 2016 NHL Heritage Classic, which saw the Winnipeg Jets take on the Edmonton Oilers at Investors Group Field last October.
The MSSA linked up with Sport Manitoba to present the awards for 2016 at Sport Manitoba’s annual Night of Champions on April 22, 2017, at Club Regent Casino Event Centre.
After 60 editions, the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association has suspended its annual Athletes of the Year dinner. The MSSA now will link with Sport Manitoba for the presentation of awards at the Night of Champions reception, to be held April 22, 2017, at Club Regent Casino.
The MSSA will continue to co-ordinate voting by the Manitoba Sports Media for the selection of the provincial 2016 adult team and athletes of the Year, and will expand its awards to include voting for the 2016 youth team and athletes of the year. Voting will be conducted in February and early March.
The selection of the Cactus Jack Wells Sports Impact of the Year award and inductions into the Manitoba Media Roll of Honour also will continue, and the application period now is open for the Jack Matheson Memorial Awards (established to provide financial support to post-secondary students looking to pursue a career in sports journalism or public relations) with a deadline of Feb. 28, 2017. The MSSA Ron Meyers Memorial Awards will continue to be presented in April, co-ordinated by Basketball Manitoba.
After three years as president of the MSSA, Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun has been succeeded for 2017 by Terry Frey of the Steinbach Carillon. Frey will be supported by vice-presidents Ted Holland and Judy Owen. Bob Picken and Glen Dawkins have been re-elected as secretary-treasurer and assistant secretary-treasurer, and Kirk Penton, Ernie Nairn and Ashley Prest will serve as directors on the executive committee.
Manitoba has a five-time winner of the Male Athlete of the Year award in the province. Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Black Hawks was selected for the third straight year in 2015, and for the fifth time in his outstanding career.
Sharing the honours with Toews is swimming star Chantal Van Landeghem, who won her second Manitoba Female Athlete of the Year award, and the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, named the 2015 Manitoba Team of the Year for their RBC Cup victory as Canadian Junior A hockey champions.
Members of the Manitoba sports media voted for their choices of five finalists in the three categories, and the winners were announced by the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association at the 60th annual awards dinner Jan. 22, 2016, at the Delta Winnipeg Hotel.
Toews had 66 points, scoring 28 goals along with 38 assists in the 2014-15 NHL regular season. The captain of the Stanley Cup champions added 10 goals and 11 assists in 23 playoff games, including the game's first two goals in Chicago's 5-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in the seventh game of the Western Conference final. He also won the league's Mark Messier leadership award. His previous selections as Manitoba's top male athlete came in 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2014.
In the voting, Toews was selected first on 22 of the 34 sports media final ballots, and had a decisive total of 148 points on the one-to-five point voting process. Manitoba Bison David Onyemata, who won the J.P. Metras trophy as the most most outstanding down lineman of the year in CIS football, was the runner-up with eight first place votes and 117 points. Other finalists for the Nott Autocorp Award were Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings, archery's Jay Lyon, and Manitoba amateur golfer of the year Devon Schade.
Van Landeghem was a double gold medallist in the Pan American Games last year, setting a personal best and a Games swimming record while upsetting American legend Janet Evans in the 100 metre freestyle event. She also led the Canadian team to an unexpected victory in the 4x100 freestyle relay. At the world championships, she was a bronze medallist in the mixed 4x100 relay and finished fifth in Canadian record time in the individual 50 metre freestyle.
Van Landeghem, a previous Female Athlete of the Year winner in 2011, had 24 first place votes and a runaway total of 154 points. Manitoba Bison Rachel Cockrell, selected as CIS volleyball's player of the year, was second with 104 points. Other finalists for the Labatt award were soccer star Desiree Scott, cyclist Leah Kirchmann, and excellent Bison hockey rookie Alanna Sharman.
The Portage Terriers won the RBC Cup with playoff wins over Melfort and 5-2 over Carleton Place in the national Junior A tournament final. Earlier, the team dominated the regular season in the MJHL with 53 wins, the third-highest total in league history.
The Terriers won a close race over Braden Calvert's world junior curling champions for the Winnipeg Free Press Maurice Smith Memorial Award in the team category. Portage received 19 first place votes and 154 points, to 13 and 137 points for Calvert. Other finalists were the WHL regular season leading Brandon Wheat Kings, the Manitoba ringette Canada Games gold medallists, and the WinMan Wesmen, 18 and under boys national volleyball champions.
In other presentation features at the MSSA dinner, the drive to an NHL playoff position by the Winnipeg Jets was the selection for the 2015 Cactus Jack Wells Memorial Award for the premier impact on the provincial sports scene, and "Dancing Gabe" Langlois received the Winnipeg Free Press Dallis Beck Memorial Good Guy Award for his promotional efforts in the sports community.
The MSSA also inducted CTV sports director Shawn Churchill, and former Winnipeg Sun sports editor Dave Komosky into the Manitoba Media Roll of Honour for their dedicated service in sports journalism.
The Jack Matheson Memorial Award, established to provide financial support to sports media aspirants, honours the memory of the former Winnipeg Tribune and CJOB commentator. This year's recipient is Danielle Doiron, a student in the joint Creative Communications program at Red River College and the University of Winnipeg.
Dennis Beyak, the television play-by-play voice of the Winnipeg Jets, was the dinner emcee, and the headline guest was Jets owner Mark Chipman on the night when Manitoba paid tribute to its outstanding athletes and teams for the 60th time.
The spotlight focussed on achievements at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, last February in the selections by the Manitoba sports media of the Athletes and Team of the Year for 2014.
The Jennifer Jones curling team, gold medallists in Sochi, repeated as Manitoba's Team of the Year, coming close to a unanimous first place vote on the final ballot from 36 members of the sports media in the province. The team's undefeated performance in Russia also was chosen as the headline event having the largest impact in 2014 on the Manitoba sports scene.
Sharing the honours with Jones and her team of Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, and Dawn McEwen, was another repeat winner in hockey star Jonathan Toews, who won his fourth Manitoba Male Athlete of the Year award for his leading role in Canada's gold medal victory at the Olympic games, along with Jocelyne Larocque of Ste. Anne, whose outstanding defensive play in the women's gold medal hockey triumph for Canada in Sochi earned her the province's Female Athlete of the Year award.
Members of the Manitoba media voted for their choices of five finalists in the three categories, and the winners were announced by the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association at the 59th annual awards dinner on Jan. 25, 2015, at the Delta Winnipeg Hotel.
The Jones foursome had a perfect 9-0 record in cruising to curling's Olympic gold, earning the top of the podium with a 6-3 victory in the final over Margaretha Sigfridsson of Sweden. It was the first unbeaten run to the gold medal for a team in Olympic curling competition.
The team was selected first on 34 of the 36 final sports media ballots, and had a runaway total of 173 points on the one-to-five point voting process. The University of Manitoba national champion women's volleyball team received the other two first-place votes, and was the runner-up with a distant 129 points. Other finalists for the Maurice Smith Memorial trophy were the Mike McEwen curling team, the Team Manitoba Under-17 national champion basketball team, and the Canadian champion University of Manitoba men's golf team.
Toews won the male athlete award previously for 2007, 2010 and 2013. The Chicago Blackhawks captain scored the winning goal in Canada's 3-0 gold medal victory over Sweden in the Olympic final. He became the third player in Blackhawks history to record more than 20 goals and 40 assists in each of his first seven NHL seasons. He had 68 points in 76 regular season games, plus a career-high nine goals and eight assists in last season's playoffs including four game-winning goals.
In the voting, Toews won a narrow decision over Olympic gold medallist curler Ryan Fry, who sparkled at the third position on the Brad Jacobs team, and Manitoba Bison all-Canadian football star Nic Demski. Toews had 12 first place votes and 142 points, Fry had 11 firsts and 136 points, while Demski was third with 13 first choices and 135 points. Other male finalists were William Kohler, who led the Manitoba Under-17 basketball team to the Canadian title, and Manitoba's golfer-of-the-year Bret Thompson.
Hockey's Jocelyne Larocque was named to the Canadian women's Olympic team for the first time, and boosted the team to the gold medal in Sochi. She anchored the defensive corps, scored Canada's first goal in the tournament, had more than 25 minutes of ice time in the team's thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over the United States in the final, and assisted on the goal that started a late Canadian comeback in the game.
Larocque received 14 first place votes and 132 points, topping Brandon's UBC volleyballer Lisa Barclay with 123, and outstanding Manitoba Bison volleyball player Taylor Pischke at 110 points. It was the second straight year for Barclay, the CIS women's volleyball Player of the Year, to finish second in the Manitoba voting. Jennifer Saunders, who won her eighth national women's singles championship to become the most winning female player in Canadian racquetball history, and rugby's Mandy Marchak, a member of Canada's World Cup runner-up team, were the other finalists for the provincial female athlete award.
The fallout recognition for the Jones team's impressive march to gold in the Olympics continued all year, and was an obvious choice for the 2014 Cactus Jack Wells Memorial Award for major impact on the provincial sports scene.
In other presentation features at the MSSA dinner, Bison football coach Brian Dobie received the Dallis Beck Memorial Good Guy Award for his exceptional multi-year relationship with the Manitoba sports media. Bison volleyball coaches Garth Pischke and Ken Bentley received special recognition for their longtime dedication and commitment, and retired CBC sportscaster Ernie Nairn was saluted for his excellent contributions to sport over many years in Manitoba.
The MSSA also inducted Brandon Wheat Kings play-by-play voice Bruce Luebke of CKLQ, and former Winnipeg Tribune and Winnipeg Sun sportswriter Patti Dawn Swansson into the Manitoba Media Roll of Honour for their dedicated service in sports journalism.
The MSSA Jack Matheson Memorial Awards, established to provide financial funding to sports media aspirants, honour the memory of the former Winnipeg Tribune sports editor and CJOB commentator. Two were presented at the dinner to Zach Peters and Scott Billeck, who are students in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.
Paul Edmonds of TSN 1290 radio was the emcee, and former Blue Bomber Troy Westwood was the guest speaker on the night when Manitoba paid tribute to its outstanding athletes and teams for the 59th time.
The Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association handed out awards for the province’s top athletes and team of 2013 on Jan. 26., 2014.
The Jennifer Jones curling team, including Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, and Dawn McEwen, was named Manitoba's Team of the Year for 2013. Jonathan Toews of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks is Male Athlete of the Year, and swimming star Breanne Siwicki, was selected as the Manitoba Female Athlete of the Year.
Provincial media members voted for the winners announced by the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association at the 58th annual awards dinner at the Delta Winnipeg Hotel.
The Jones team won the Roar of the Rings women's berth in the Sochi Olympics at the national trials at Winnipeg's MTS Centre in December. The Jones crew, affiliated at the St. Vital Curling Club, led the round robin in the Canadian trials with a 6-1 record, and won the playoff final 8-4 over Sherry Middaugh's Ontario team. Earlier, Jones won a record sixth Manitoba women's title, and the team was the runner-up in the 2013 Canadian Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Jones received 25 first place votes and 156 points in the voting on the finalists by 35 media members throughout the province. Another curling team, the Matt Dunstone Canadian Junior men's champions, was a distant second with 116 points.
Toews won his third Manitoba male athlete honour (previously in 2007 and 2010) by capturing the Frank Selke trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward in leading the Blackhawks to their second Stanley Cup championship in four years. He ranked second in scoring on his team with 48 points in 2012-13, and shared the Chicago team lead in goals with 23. He was third in the NHL with a +28 plus-minus rating, and became the third Blackhawks player in history to record more than 20 goals and 40 points in each of his first six seasons.
A total of 25 first place votes and 156 points for Toews led the male balloting, well in front of the 121 points received by runner-up Anthony Coombs, the outstanding running back of the Manitoba Bisons football team.
Siwicki earned the provincial female award based on her gold medal performance in swimming's 1,500 metres at the Canada Summer Games, breaking the Games record by more than 11.5 seconds. She added silver medals in the 200- and 400-metre women's butterfly events, plus three bronze medals. She also won gold medals in the Canadian Age Group Championships and at swimming's Summer Nationals. Her swimming efforts now are at the University of Minnesota.
Siwicki won the closest race in the three categories, with 14 first place votes and 126 points, closely followed by UBC volleyball star Lisa Barclay at 118. Other contending female finalists were biathlon's Megan Imrie, standout Manitoba Bisons volleyballer Taylor Pischke, and Softball Manitoba's top senior player Hailey Unger.
In addition to the Jones and Dunstone curling teams, other finalists in the team division for the Maurice Smith Memorial trophy were the Steinbach Pistons, who won the Turnbull Cup as MJHL champions, the Hannah Guttormson-Stephanie Lowry Canada Games gold medal winners in Canoe-Kayak paddling, and the Hardy Cup finalist Manitoba Bison football team.
Toews and Coombs were followed in voting for the male athlete award by the Western Hockey League's top scorer Brendan Leipsic of the Portland Winter Hawks, light-heavyweight boxing contender Andrew Gardiner, and Josh Wytinck, the co-winner of the Manitoba Amateur Golfer of the Year award, who was a finalist for the second straight year.
In another feature at the MSSA dinner, Andrew Konowalchuk of BBB Inc. accepted the Cactus Jack Wells Memorial Award for the opening of Investors Group Field, selected as the event with the largest impact on the Manitoba sports scene in 2013.
The Dallis Beck Memorial Good Guy Award was a posthumous choice of the late Don Baizley, the renowned player representative who earned distinction as one of hockey's most influential figures before he passed away last summer. Baizley was an excellent supporter and guiding light for the Manitoba media for many years.
Two very notable sports journalists, freelancer Judy Owen and Daren Millard of Rogers Sportsnet, were inducted into the Manitoba Media Roll Of Honour at the dinner, recognizing their exceptional contributions in the coverage of professional and amateur sport.
The MSSA Jack Matheson Award, established to provide financial funding to sports media aspirants, perpetuates the memory of the former Winnipeg Tribune sports editor and CJOB commentator. It was presented to the 2014 recipient Marc Lagace, who is a first year student in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.