By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
WELLAND – The spotlight shines on Welland’s sports community Friday, April 5 when awards in 12 categories will be presented along with handshakes and warm congratulations during the city’s 47th annual Sports Awards Night.
The hardware includes the H. L. Cudney Memorial Award. It is being presented to Michele O’Keefe, a former president and CEO of Canada Basketball for her contributions to basketball in Canada, specifically for elevating the sport on a national level. O’Keefe is being recognized as a Builder. The Cudney Award was last presented in 2015.
O’Keefe stepped down from Canada Basketball and returned to Welland in 2018 to accept the position of Associate Director of Athletics and Recreation at Niagara College.
The other categories on tap for recognition include:
High School Junior Team Achievement (Sports Promotion Committee Trophy);
High School Senior Team Achievement (Gerard Tanguay Memorial Trophy);
Team Achievement – Junior (Bobby Langel Memorial Trophy);
Grassroots Coaching (Gord Sykes Memorial Award);
Outstanding Sport Volunteer (Doc Brauweiler Memorial Trophy);
Outstanding Sport Executive (Aurel Gervais Memorial Trophy);
Outstanding Coach (Gil Beaulieu Memorial Trophy);
Female Athlete – Masters (MT Bellies Trophy);
Female Athlete (Welland Sports Council Trophy)
Male Athlete (Earl Leonard Memorial Trophy).
Recipients of the above awards are not announced prior to the awards banquet.
Nine participants in two sports (boxing and pickle ball) will be honored for Outstanding Achievement. They are: Ivan Burgus, Paul Reid and Simon Romero (boxing) and Fred Farnham, Miriam Gibbons, Liz MacDonald, Ron Larouche, Karl Eliason and Peggie Allwell (pickle ball).
A special one-time recognition by the host Welland Sports Promotion Committee is a plaque to Napper’s Boxing Club for 100 years of dedication to the sport of boxing in Welland. The club had its start here in 1919.
The awards night is being held at Casa Dante on Lincoln Street. Doors open at 6pm, dinner is at 6:45pm and is followed by the presentations. Tickets are $20, check for availability at the Welland Community Wellness Complex, 145 Lincoln Street.