The 25th Annual Tim Hortons North Okanagan Athlete of the Year Awards goes Tuesday night at Lakers Clubhouse.
The athlete of the year trophy has been handed out since 1994, then under the auspices of the Funtastic Sports Society, and has tracked the progress of top athletes and teams for more than two decades. The awards selection also now includes a leadership/service trophy for a second straight year.
A world-class distance runner, a sweat-till-ya-drop football team and an octogenarian who volunteers with the energy of a teenager were winners in 2017. Hannah Bennison, a 17-year-old Grade 12 VSS student, the VSS Senior AA Panthers football team and longtime boxing and soccer supporter Ian Gibson collected huge trophies last year.
NHLer Brent Gilchrist took the first athlete of the year honour and other past winners include Olympic gymnast Camille Martens, speed skater Connie Kapak, Olympic snowboarder Kevin Hill, swimmer Savannah King, basketball star Diane Schuetze and Viper captain David Robinson.
The Panthers joined the likes of the national champion Vernon Vipers hockey team and Jim Cotter’s provincial curling foursome as Team of the Year. The Cats lost 35-15 to the Seaquam Seahawks of Delta in last year’s Subway Senior AA final at B.C. Place.
“There were many outstanding applications received and considered,” said committee chair Jack Gilroy, a retired city councillor, of this year’s nominees. “We had some tough choices to make.”
The Leadership in Sports award is for community leaders such as coaches or organizers.
Other directors on the Tim Hortons Sports Awards committee include retiree John Topping, who founded Funtastic, Dan Currie and Taylor MacInnis of Tim Hortons, radio personalities Betty Selin and Pete McIntyre, Josh Winquist of Castanet and Kevin Mitchell of The Morning Star.
Light refreshments will be provided and the event is open to the public, free of charge. The ceremony gets underway at 6 p.m.