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Richmond, BC (ISN)
 – Wheelchair Basketball Canada proudly announced the names of its major award winners and inducted coaching legend Tim Frick into the Hall of Fame Sunday evening at its 2012 annual awards banquet as part of the festivities of the 2012 National Championship in Richmond, BC.

Canadian Sr. National Team athletes Cindy Ouellet and David Eng were named Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s Athletes of the Year, Alarissa Haak was awarded the Junior Athlete of the Year, while Karla Tritten was honoured with the Leadership Excellence Award and Frances McLean received the True Sport Award.

Former Sr. Women’s National Team head coach Tim Frick was inducted into the Wheelchair Basketball Canada Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding achievements on and off the court within the wheelchair basketball community.

The nominees for all of the award categories align with the values of Wheelchair Basketball Canada. The individuals exemplify fair play and sportsmanship while committing to values of inclusion. They are leaders in their communities; positive role models and they displaay superior performance in their respective disciplines. These awards are the membership’s opportunity to nominate and recognize individuals for their contributions within their respective communities.

Female Athlete of the Year: Cindy Ouellet – Quebec

A year of exciting “firsts” gave Ouellet the chance to develop and grow into a dynamic leader both on and off the court. As a veteran amongst a young U25 Women’s National Team at the U25 World Championships, Ouellet was tasked with adopting a leadership role, that she both welcomed and excelled in. Adopting positive values and ethics of the game, she understood that she had a responsibility to not only develop herself, but that as a key player on the team, she had the added task of helping those around her reach their potential. As a result of her hard work and drive, she was named to the U25 tournament all-star team.

Ouellet is someone who gives 100% of herself every time she hits the court, wanting the best out of herself and the best out of everyone around her. She has a tenacious work ethic day in and day out.

Domestically, Ouellet was also a key part of Quebec’s first CWBL’s Women’s National Championships and consequently was named the tournament MVP.

She is a truly exceptional athlete deserving of the 2012 Canadian Female Athlete of the Year – congratulations to Cindy Ouellet.

· Gold medal – 2011 Women’s CWBL National Championships (Team Quebec) & named MVP

· 4th Place – 2011 U25 Women’s World Championships (Team Canada – captain) & named all-star

· Named to 2012 Canadian Senior Women’s Team preliminary roster

· Silver medal – 2011 Parapan American Games (Team Canada)

Male Athlete of the Year: David Eng – Quebec

As an elite athlete with an unwavering work ethic, Eng has been a force in wheelchair basketball internationally and at home. He is a permanent fixture with the Senior Men’s National Team, where his on court skill and leadership are essential to the team’s success. He is a respected and reliable leader at the provincial and club levels as well and he is renowned for setting the example through hard work and resolve on and off the court.

Eng’s mental and physical training is second to none. He is well known for his vocal, aggressive style of play, as well as his ability to make the players around him better.

Beyond his on court accomplishments, Eng is an athlete without equal when it comes to giving back to his sport. He is extremely active and involved in the community as a mentor, public speaker, and advocate of Paralympic sport and physical fitness. He is highly respected by his peers for his work in schools and as a spokesperson for the Canadian Paralympic Committee at various events and demonstrations.

The wheelchair basketball community in Canada benefits greatly from his passion and commitment – congratulations to David Eng the 2012 Canadian Male Athlete of the Year.

· Bronze medal – 2011 National Championships (Team Quebec) & named all-star

· Holds an unofficial Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League record for scoring 50+ plus points in three consecutive games – Jan. 29, 2012

· Bronze medal – 2011 Parapan American Games (Team Canada)

· Gold medal – 2011 BT Paralympic Cup (Team Canada)

· 2012 Quebec Conference CWBL all-star (Laval Gladiateurs)

· Bronze medal – 2012 International Tournament of Champions (Team Canada)

Junior Athlete of the Year: Alarissa Haak – Alberta

Often described as a natural leader, Haak has earned the respect of her teammates at both the senior and junior levels. Her infectious positive attitude and ability to have and create a fun environment make her an invaluable member of every team she is on.

As a full-time university student, her commitment to the sport of wheelchair basketball is unwavering. She competes in both A and B divisions of the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) AB/SK conference, for the Alberta Junior team, the Edmonton Senior Women’s team as well as with Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team.

Most recently, as a member of Canada’s U25 Team at the inaugural World Championships, Haak was awarded with the True Sport award. The award recognized the member of Team Canada who best emphasizes the principles of True Sport.

She is highly respected athlete amongst the entire wheelchair basketball community. Congratulations to Alarissa Haak, the 2012 Canadian Junior Athlete of the Year.

· 4th Place – 2011 U25 Women’s World Championships (Team Canada) & named True Sport Award recipient

· Named to 2012 Canadian Senior Women’s Team preliminary roster

· Gold medal – 2012 Jr. West Regional Championships (Team Alberta)

Leadership Excellence Award: Karla Tritten – Alberta

As a long-standing member of the Wheelchair Basketball community, Tritten has been exemplifying leadership excellence from the beginning.

Always at the gym, competing or coaching, she is able to recognize just how far to push both her peers and her younger athletes. She possesses the ability to lead the mini program with an eye to the youngest players having fun and at the same time developing strong fundamental wheelchair basketball skills. She easily then switches gears and increases intensity for the developing junior men and women who are asking to be pushed harder for the challenge. And to challenge these juniors even further, she is teaching them about the fundamentals of mentoring with the minis.

Provincially and nationally, Tritten has embraced a coaching and mentorship role that has enabled the growth and value of the sport at various levels. The young athletes have learned to be respectful, strong, committed and determined – just as their coach has taught them.

Truly demonstrating leadership excellence, Karla Tritten is a well deserving, long awaited recipient of the 2012 Canadian Leadership Excellence Award.

True Sport Award: Frances McLean – British Columbia

The True Sport Award is granted to an individual who exemplifies all that is positive about sport and competition; McLean goes above and beyond in this category. An athlete who earns the immediate respect of both her teammates and her competitors, McLean plays fair, respects others and keeps it fun.

Described as possessing an exceptional spirit, and a passion for her new sport of wheelchair basketball, she has made the transition from stand-up basketball and brought her talents with her.

She rarely misses her weekly practices, but when she does, McLean has been found to work even harder the next time out, thus ensuring that she is constantly contributing to her team.

McLean sits as a director on the Board of Directors for the Comox Valley Wheelchair Sports Society, and has proven that she is always willing to help.

At 79 years young, McLean has been, and continues to be, an inspiration to everyone within the sport and organization. Her spirit, dedication and contributions make Frances McLean a deserving Canadian True Sport Award winner for 2012.

Hall of Fame Inductee: Tim Frick – British Columbia

For over 30 years, Frick has made an extraordinary impact on the lives of wheelchair basketball athletes, coaches and fans at all levels. He will forever be known as one of Canada’s, and one of the world’s best wheelchair basketball coaches of all-time.

When Frick took over as head coach of the Canadian Women’s National Team in 1990, he began one of Canada’s longest winning streaks (in any sport). The team captured a bronze medal at the 1990 World Championships, then went on to win an astounding six consecutive Paralympic and World Championship gold medals from 1992 – 2002, making Frick the “winningest” coach in wheelchair basketball history. Following a bronze medal performance at the 2004 Paralympics, Frick brought his team back to the top of the podium by winning gold at the 2006 World Championships.

Due to Frick’s constant efforts to promote and professionalize the sport, wheelchair basketball has emerged as the flagship sport at the Paralympic Games. During his career, he constantly sought to better the sport through advanced sport science, mentorship of other coaches, and liaising with other sport organizations.

His scope and influence as a leader go far beyond the basketball court where he has consistently demonstrated an ability to push competitors to new levels and peak performance. Athletes of all ages, skills, and backgrounds respect Frick as a tireless teacher, an esteemed mentor, a great motivator, and a generous promoter of the game.

Frick believes in affecting the process and not the outcome, meaning focus is placed on the preparation of the athlete, not the defeat of the opponent or achieving medals. His positive influence of people on and off the basketball court has resulted in Canada earning the respect and admiration of athletes and audiences worldwide. Not only is Frick a great ambassador for Canada and for the sport of wheelchair basketball, but the sum of his accomplishments can be measured in the sheer numbers of others who have learned from him how to do the same.

Through his outstanding coaching career Frick has proven to be an invaluable resource for Canadian athletes in the sport of wheelchair basketball and is beyond a deserving member of the Wheelchair Basketball Canada Hall of Fame.

For more information visit: www.wheelchairbasketball.ca