Achievement awards celebrate city's sports stars
Nanaimo's sports community gave a resounding cheer to some of its very best representatives.
Worthy winners were named Saturday at the ninth annual Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards at the Coast Bastion Hotel.
Vancouver Island University's men's basketball team, national champions in 2013, was a big winner at awards night, earning Team of the Year honours as well as nods for MVP guard Brandon Jones as Male Team Athlete of the Year and Matt Kuzminski as High-Performance Coach of the Year.
Also from VIU, basketball MVP Jocelyn Jones was chosen Female Team Athlete of the Year and badminton standout Melissa Liew was selected Female Individual Athlete of the Year.
The award for Male Individual Athlete of the Year went to mixed martial arts champion Graham Spencer.
Brandon Parker, running back for the Barsby Bulldogs football team, was chosen Junior Male Athlete of the Year, while volleyball MVP Victoria Behie was picked as Junior Female Athlete of the Year.
Swimmer Samira Rusman is Masters Athlete of the Year and beach volleyball players Riley Kazanowski and Caleb Harder teamed up as Partners of the Year.
Nanaimo District Secondary School's senior AAA girls' volleyball team, provincial champions, earned the nod as Junior Team of the Year.
Sean Roden of the Nanaimo Redmen midget football team was the choice for Grassroots Coach of the Year, Phil and Brenda Levesque of the Nanaimo Buccaneers junior B hockey club were Sport Administrators of the Year and badminton ref Mike Walker was Official of the Year.
Sports Story of the Year was the World's Longest Indoor Hockey Game. Dave Forrester, coach of the B.C. Special Olympics Nanaimo Tigers floor hockey team, won the Hero In You award and the night's other major award winner was former V.I. Raiders coach Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, chosen as the Michael Rhode Memorial Award winner for longtime dedication to sport.