U SPORTS is proud to announce that its annual Athlete of the Year Awards will be renamed The Honourable Lois Mitchell and Doug Mitchell U SPORTS Athlete of the Year Awards Presented by Makadiff Sports, beginning in the 2021-22 season.

Following the cancellation of U SPORTS national championships as well as sanctioned conference regular season and playoff competition for the 2020-21 campaign, the top male and female Student-Athletes of the Year will not be honoured this season.

In its place, the Mitchells will instead offer 16 current U SPORTS student-athletes a dynamic leadership training session. Participants will be selected by the Canadian Athletic Foundation – a not-for-profit Board of Trustees from across Canada, formed by Chairman Doug Mitchell, for the purpose of providing more recognition for Canadian university student-athletes.

“We felt it was still important to offer the leadership training to student-athletes despite the difficulties they may be facing this year. We hope this will continue to inspire student-athletes and enable them to reflect on the skills and characteristics they develop through sports and carry them on to the next steps of their careers.”


The Honourable Lois and Doug Mitchell

The four-hour session will be led by the University of Calgary’s Dr. Cari Din – an Olympic silver medalist in synchronized swimming, with a PhD in Leadership Behaviour. Dr. Din’s seminar will focus on leadership development including values clarification, communication skills and conflict management.

Application forms can be downloaded here.

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Since 1993, the Athlete of the Year Awards (formerly known as the BLG Awards and Howard Mackie Awards) have been an annual celebration in the national sport community, recognizing Canada’s top athletes competing in university athletics within U SPORTS.

In 2019, the awards were relaunched as the U SPORTS Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards in honour of Lois Mitchell’s term as Lieutenant Governor of Alberta (2015-20). For the last two years, the awards added a focus on creating a leadership legacy delivered by Dr. Din, broadening the scope of the event and providing nominees with a unique personal development experience.

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The rebrand follows Thursday’s announcement of the newly-launched Mitchell Family Alumni of the Year Awards Presented by Makadiff Sports, celebrating former varsity athletes who have become leaders in their communities, and recognizing the continued contributions by each alumnus to their alma mater.