Lyric Atchison,Image Credit – Wilson Wong/UBC Thunderbirds

BC Provincial player and UBC Back Row Lyric Atchison was honoured as the 2019 winner of the prestigious Tom Longboat Award, recognized as the female Aboriginal athlete of the year from the Aboriginal Sports Circle at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Wednesday night at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The Tom Longboat Awards were established in 1951 to recognize Aboriginal athletes for their outstanding contributions to sport in Canada. The Awards provide a forum for acknowledging the growth and strength of the Aboriginal sport movement in Canada and its tremendous impact on sport development from community level participation to elite level competition.

2019 Canada West women's rugby championship

Lyric is a First Nation athlete from the Squamish Nation and made early impacts in the rugby world playing for Carson Graham Eagles and Capilano RFC before joining UBC Thunderbirds.  A regular feature of BC Provincial Age-Grade XVs teams, she as part of the undefeated BC U18 Tour of Ireland in 2017, progressing on to the U20 and Senior Women’s XVs.  Her tireless work ethic and dedication to the sport saw her rewarded with inclusion in National programs as well, playing for Canada U20 in the Tri-Nations Cup in July of this year.  Never one to rest on her laurels, Lyric was part of the UBC Thunderbirds Team that claimed this year’s CanadaWest Championship.

“Lyric has true commitment to bettering herself and the others around her and sees sport as a vehicle to do so,” said Darcy Patterson, Rugby Development Manager for Women & Girls at BC Rugby. “Lyric’s ambition to pursue higher level sport are also accompanied by her drive and dedication to excel academically.”

Legends Cup women's rugby - UBC victory celebration vs. Victoria, Lyric Atchison (left) - Sept. 8, 2018

“It is an honour for the Aboriginal Sport Circle to celebrate the achievements of both national winners Lyric Atchison and Cameron Gayleard (male Aboriginal athlete of the year) through the National Tom Longboard Award” reflected Carey Calder, CEO Aboriginal Sport Circle. “This is a remarkable example of Indigenous participation in sport and provides both athletes with a tremendous opportunity to reflect positive role modeling throughout Turtle Island.”