Local athletes honoured at awards banquet

It was a packed house down at Capri Centre this past Saturday as the City of Red Deer hosted its annual Community Sport Awards banquet.

The awards, sponsored this year by the Red Deer Primary Care Network, are meant to highlight and honour the achievements of local athletes, coaches and volunteers.

The event also had some star power as Innisfail native and St.Louis Blues assistant coach Ray Bennett delivered the keynote address.

Harley MacKnight, who wears the stripes at soccer games around Central Alberta, won for Youth Official of the Year, while Paul Coad, who referees between 70-90 bantam and midget games a month while scheduling another 60 games per month, took home the Official of the Year award.

The Kendle Dunkle Minor Coach of the Year went to football mentor Rob Willms, while Doug Quinn, who took Red Deer’s midget AAA Optimist Rebels to the Telus Cup last season, won for Coach of the Year.

The Red Deer Steelers, who won their second consecutive Tier III Pee Wee provincial championship this season, were named the Team of the Year, and local oilfield company Quinn Pumps was recognized as the Business Contributor of the Year.

The Junior Male Athlete of the Year honours went to Red Deer Gymnastics star Mark Armstrong, while Karis Langvand, from the Red Deer Fencing Club, won the Junior Female award.

Olympic bobsledder Lyndon Rush, who won bronze at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, was named the Open Male Athlete of the Year, while Whitney More, who represented Alberta at last year’s National Womens Curling Championship, took home the Open Female Athlete of the Year honours.

The Spirit of Sport Award, handed out to both a coach and an athlete, went to sledge hockey player Tanner Fandrey and football coach Dr.Stacy Larsen.

Several volunteer recognition certificates were also handed out and long time Red Deerian Hugh McPherson was awarded the Lifetime Sport Achievement Award.