Lawrence Woytowich (North Saanich)
Burnaby, BC (June 1, 2015) – A team of national champions, a five-time Purple Heart recipient and a lifelong volunteer were among the recipients of the 2015 Curl BC Annual Awards.
Team Lepine, the Canadian Women’s Masters champion, Rick Sawatsky who plays lead on Team Cotter, and Bernice Mulock from North Shore Winter Club were all honoured at the awards ceremony which took place on Saturday.
Fifteen awards were handed out at the event which recognized the vital contribution that volunteers, coaches and athletes have made to the sport in curling in BC over the past year.
Team Lepine was named Masters Athlete / Team of the Year. Despite losing a player to injury just a few weeks before provincials, Team Lepine’s competitive spirit, excellent curling ability and determination helped them win not only the BC title but the national crown too. After receiving the award, skip Karen Lepine spoke of her joy at having secured a national title after experiencing numerous set-backs on previous occasions.
Sawatsky, who represented BC at the Brier for the fifth time this year, was crowned Male Athlete of the Year. The lead, who lives in Kelowna, has played a significant part in the rink’s continued success over the last twelve year and holds the record for both best percentage at a Brier and the most perfect games in a row. He was nominated by his skip Jim Cotter who described him as ‘the best team mate anyone could ask for, always putting the team ahead of himself.’
It was not just athletes that were honoured at the ceremony, the countless hours of hard work and dedication by volunteers like Bernice Mulock was recognized as well. Mulock, who received the Pat Kennedy Award for Long Service, was a founding member of the North Shore Winter Club and has devoted 56 years to developing curling at the venue. She has been Club President and organizing committee chair for several curling championships including the 1988 Pepsi Canadian Junior Championships.
The excellent achievements of BC’s juniors curlers in 2015 were also rewarded with several awards, including Team of the Year, being award to the provinces youth curlers.
Cody Tanaka, who lives in Delta, was named Young Male Athlete of the Year in recognition of a superb season which saw him win silver at the 2015 Tim Hortons BC Junior Championships and qualify for the AMJ Campbell BC Mixed Championship. As well as his success at provincial level, Cody played in four leagues this season and volunteers with young curlers across the lower mainland.
Speaking about the award, Tanaka said: “BC is full of amazing curlers and I am honoured to be awarded Junior Male Athlete of the Year. This award is also for my teammates, they deserve this as much as I do.”
“The awards ceremony was amazing as I’ve never been a part of something that big before so it was very exciting.”
Ron Phillips, the Chair of Curl BC’s Recognition and Awards Committee paid tribute to the winners, saying: “It has been a good year for curling in BC which made judging the nominations a very tough job. All of our award winners have made a great contribution to curling in our province and we’re pleased we can recognize their contribution in this way.”
All of the recipients received their awards at a banquet which included entertainment by BC comic John Cullen and photo booth fun courtesy of The Laugh Lounge.
Other winners included:
Team of the Year – Team Brown (Kamloops) and Team Tardi (Surrey, Fort St John, Coquitlam and Victoria)
Team Brown, who has curled together for nine years, won the BC Junior Women’s title for the second time in 2015. Under the guidance of their coach Allison MacInnes, the team of Corryn Brown, Erin Pincott, Samantha Fisher and Sydney Fraser then went on to win bronze at the Canadian Junior Championships and three of them also claimed silver at the CIS Championships.
Team Tardi won bronze at this year’s Canada Winter Games medal in Prince George. The team of Tyler Tardi, Sterling Middleton, Nicholas Umbach and Timothy Henderson overcame the minor issue of living 1,300 miles apart to win bronze for BC at the Games. On-route to the podium the boys topped their pool and achieved the highest team percentage to become the first BC Men’s team to win a medal since 1999. The team’s strong performance at the Games also attracted the attention of Curling Canada who has since selected Tyler and Sterling to represent Canada at the 2016 Youth Olympics.
Anita Cochrane Award for Coach of the Year – Ernie Daniels (Delta)
Ernie Daniels, from Delta Thistle Curling Club, not only guided his daughters’ team to silver at the BC Junior Championships but also coached the Canada Winter Games Women’s team who finished fifth with a 6-2 record. He was described by his nominator as a knowledgeable, innovative compassionate and inspirational leader.
Wally M’Lot Award for Official of the Year – Garnet Boese (Prince George)
Garnet was instrumental in managing the officiating for all of the 27 draws at this year’s Canada Winter Games. Garnet not only worked on the ice but also had sole responsibility for the scheduling and training of all of the timing officials. The success of the Canada Winter Games curling event was, in large parts, due to Garnet’s level of commitment and devotion to the sport.
Junior Female Athlete of the Year – Dezaray Hawes (Port Moody)
Dezaray Hawes started her season by taking silver at the BC Juniors, she then won the BC Mixed Doubles title and made the page playoffs at nationals where they lost to Glen Howard and his daughter. Dezaray’s busy season continued when she represented BC at the Canada Winter Games before going on to become both Royal City Club Champion winner and Grand Aggregate Winner.
Athlete with a Disability Award – Samantha Siu (Richmond)
Having won a bronze medal at the BC Championships in 2014, Samantha upgraded it to gold this year as part of Team Austgarden. As well as her provincial success, Samantha also won the Wednesday evening mixed curling league at Richmond.
Sponsor of the Year – Berwick Retirement Communities (sponsor of the BC Masters)
Berwick Retirement Communities has been a long-time supporter of Nanaimo Curling Centre and has sponsored several events held there. As soon as Nanaimo was named as the host for the 2015 BC Masters, Berwick Retirement Communities stepped forward and offered to be title sponsor. They were an integral part of the Championships; providing competition prizes, offering tours of their facilities and having representatives on hand throughout the event.
Janette Robbins Award (Builder) – Lawrence Woytowich (North Saanich)
During his time at Glen Meadows Curling Club, Lawrence has instigated a number of ideas that have helped grow the sport of curling including introducing world class coaches, organizing and overseeing the strategic plan and launching new leagues. Outside of Glen Meadows, Lawrence is a Curl BC regional representative and is heavily involved in both the BC 55+ Games and the Pacific Coast Masters Association.
Elsie MacKenzie Youth/Junior Curling Award – Brenda Nordin (Kamloops)
Brenda has been coaching juvenile and junior teams for over a decade. This season she provided unwavering support and guidance to both of the BC Canada Winter Games teams, as well as coaching Team Brown who won silver at the Canadian University Championships. She is described as positive, generous with her time and devoted to the teams that she supports. Her longstanding volunteer commitments to both her community and the province she supports are commendable.
Customer Service Award – Peace Arch Curling Club
Peace Arch Curling Club has increased their membership by over 20% in the last two years. This is the result of hard work by management and volunteers who have run open house days and learn to curl clinics. Peace Arch was also an excellent host of the recent BC Mixed Doubles Championship, providing the competitors with a great experience.
Curling Centre of the Year – Prince George Golf and Curling Club
To start the season without an ice plant is one of the worst things that could happen to a centre but it did not hold back the winner of this next award.
Despite being shut for the first half of the season, Prince George Golf and Curling Club managed to retain most of their members, host the highly successful Canada Winter Games curling event and be home to several provincial championship participants, including Team Knezevic who won the BC Scotties.
Volunteer of the Year – Cathy Pidduck (Oliver)
Cathy Pidduck is described as the mainstay of Oliver Curling Club’s school and junior program. Over the last three years she has coordinated and coached every school class that has come to try the sport, and this year every elementary school aged child in Oliver had the chance to curl at the club. She also manages the junior program and takes youth teams to compete in other towns. On top of all this, she organized numerous events and somehow still found time to curl on three different teams. She is an inspiration to everyone at Oliver Curling Club and is devoted to the sport.