The Ontario Ball Hockey Association on Saturday, November 4 hosted the 2017 Annual Banquet and Awards of Excellence celebration. O.B.H.A. invited guests gathered under one roof to pay tribute and honor those who helped make the past year in ball hockey both a successful and memorable one for everyone involved.
The evening as it has for so many years has combined good company and classic cuisine with a coordinated list of presentations and accompanying commentary that left the semi-formal clad community of the sport appreciative of the evenings event and looking forward to yet another campaign in the spring of 2018.
These are the 2017 Awards of Excellence recipients in the O.B.H.A.
Mr. George Vadeboncoeur was the recipient of the Referee of the Year Award. He continually exemplified outstanding qualities and performance as an official of the game throughout the season.
Ms. Brianne Lesperance is the 2017 Minor Female Provincial Player of the Year. This young lady’s outstanding performance and accomplishments, which culminated at the provincial championships this past year and formally recognized at the awards banquet, were established back when she was very young. The rest, as they say, is history. Ball hockey was a natural fit for this very talented athlete.
Minor Male Provincial Player of the Year Award - This award is in recognition of a minor male athlete who has been outstanding as a player at the provincial level of competition in the O.B.H.A. Mr. Cole Leal competitive nature and skills in the game of ball hockey have set him apart from his contemporaries and afforded him the title of Minor Provincial Player of the Year. Congratulations to this fine young man who as a leader and well respected player in the Belleville Minor Ball Hockey League.
The Female Division Coach of the Year is presented annually to an individual in recognition of their outstanding level of excellence in Coaching at the league and provincial level of participation. Providing mentorship, direction and an example for players of all ages is critical to the overall growth and development of the individual, team and for the future of any sport. Individuals with such qualities are often few and far between. Nonetheless, the 2017 Female Division Coach of the Yearpossesses all of the above and more. Congratulations to Sue Shantz of the Oshawa Ball Hockey League.
Mr. Micheal Lynch has built a team to compete and challenge in every league and tournament the team enters. His unparalleled passion and love of the game helped him to achieve this goal as he led the Ottawa Ducks to the Provincial Championship. Hence, to Mr. Lynch goes the spoils and title of 2017 Male Coach of the Year.
Ms. Jalene McCulloch from the Oshawa Stampede is the 2017 Female Athlete of the Year. The award is presented annually to a player in recognition of their outstanding performance in league and provincial championship participation. This goaltender has a small frame but plays very big for her teams. She backstopped her teams to the Pre Season Tournament Championship, the Provincial Finals and was a key asset for Women’s Team Canada in their golden performance at the World Championships.
Mr. Jacob Robitaille of the Penetang Blazers is the 2017 Male Athlete of the Year. The ‘Natural’ has the smarts, speed, talent and determination have made Jacob the top player in the province and one of the finest players in the country today.
The 2017 Penny Meitz Memorial Award recognizes a female participant who exemplifies outstanding performance, exceptional qualities of leadership and dedication to the sport of ball hockey. What sets our honoured recipient apart is her drive to be the best that she can be and more importantly make those around her better not just as players, but as individuals. Melissa Miller has been active in the OBHA for the past fifteen years as a player and this past summer was on the Provincial and World Championship Team Canada.
The 2017 Steve Rumsey Volunteer of the Year, Sue Prior is a selfless worker who personifies commitment, dedication and contribution to the game of ball hockey in Ontario. She has a sincere passion and love of the game that is evident in her participation and overall involvement in everything that she does when it comes to the sport within the Oshawa Ball Hockey Leagues..
The 2017 League Executive of the Year Award recognizes Outstanding Leadership and Commitment to the Development and Administration of the Game as an Ontario Ball Hockey League Executive. This year’s recipient simply has a passion for the sport. She is dedicated, hard working, loyal and always puts the players first, from the Penetanguishene Women’s Ball Hockey League, Mrs. Sharon Graham.
International Official Recognition Awards – This year’s officials have the right attitude and approachability and are always first class. With their experience, passion and their understanding of the game both on and off the floor they have brought a wealth of knowledge to the international game. They show patience and fairness in dealing with all participants and interactions with players and other officials and are known for their hustle, calm demeanor and remarkable consistency. This year’s recipients were Jeff Lees, Patrick Myers and Jill Coombes
Also, recognized on this evening was the 2017 Men’s & Women’s Team Canada and the World Ball Hockey Federation Champions. These men and woman combine all the attributes you look for in a players and teammates. They combine the smarts, speed, agility, knowledge, passion and most importantly the willingness to do whatever it takes to win a game. Always striving to be the best and setting a tone during every team exercise, practice or before a game. Off the floor they show a positive attitude, respect for their teammates, friendly disposition and business like attitude, but confident approach to each game contributed to the team building process and the many friendships that they were able to establish amongst the players. You see leaders are not made they are born and they make those around them better.
Congratulations to the members of Gold Medal Team Canada and all the awards winners in 2017.