Winners of the 2014 Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association Awards Announced

(Vancouver, BC) – The winners of the 2014 Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association Awards were announced at a banquet in Vancouver today following the CWSA AGM. The awards recognize the best and brightest of the wheelchair sports community in Canada.

“This year, we had a particularly strong group of nominees,” said CWSA Executive Director Cathy Cadieux. “Between the Canadian women’s gold medal at the 2014 IWBF Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championships and Team Canada’s silver medal at the 2014 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, the Canadian wheelchair sport community has a lot to celebrate.”

Congratulations to:

2014 Stan Stronge Memorial Award: Katie Harnock:  Katie Harnock was crucial to Team Canada’s gold medal victory at the 2014 IWBF Women’s World Championships. Both on and off the court, she displayed the skill, composure and leadership of a veteran player and was a strong mentor to her younger teammates. During the 2014WWBC, Harnock averaged 15.8 points and more than 34 minutes per game, earning herself an All Star award. She was also named by her teammates as the recipient of the True Sport Award, which rewards an athlete who engages in healthy, fair, inclusive and fun sport.

2014 Dr. Robert W. Jackson Memorial Award: Pat Harris: For over 30 years, Pat Harris has been an active athlete, coach, mentor and administrator. Along with his wife Nancy, he has fought for the rights of people with disabilities using sport as a vehicle for social change. While Harris is a long-time board member for BC Wheelchair Sports Association and a coach of several Canada Games and CWBL teams, his biggest impact has been felt in Northern BC. Pat has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people with disabilities living in the North by founding (and coaching) the Prince George Titans wheelchair basketball equipment, conducting wheelchair basketball demonstrations, recruiting wheelchair basketball players (including mentoring Paralympians Bo Hedges and Elisha Williams), and developing several accessibility councils and initiatives, including Measuring Up the North.

2014 Rick Hansen Award: Christina Jones: As a player, coach, volunteer and one of the founding board members of Wheelchair Basketball Canada, Christina Jones’ twenty-year contributions to the domestic development of the sport in Canada will leave a lasting legacy. Jones has served as the vice-president of the domestic portfolio on the Wheelchair Basketball Canada Board of Directors since 1994 and was instrumental in creating the women’s division of the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League. She also helped to develop wheelchair basketball junior programs across the country and assisted in strategic planning at the provincial and national level. Most recently, she was the leading architect behind the Wheelchair Basketball Canada Schools Program.

2014 CWSA Barb Montemurro Award: Kathy Newman: Kathy Newman has long been known as one of the brightest lights in the Canadian parasport system. Since retiring as Executive Director of BC Wheelchair Sports Association, however, she has escalated her volunteer involvement. This year, she was a key force on the Wheelchair Basketball Canada and CWSA board of directors, served as the Sport Chair for Wheelchair Rugby at the 2015 Para Pan Am Games and was also an important member of the 2014 Women’s Wheelchair Basketball World Championship organizing committee.

2014 Doug Grant Memorial Award: Senior Women’s Wheelchair Basketball National Team: This June, Bill Johnson led the Canadian Senior Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team to accomplishing the once-in-a-lifetime feat of winning a gold medal on home soil at the IWBF Women’s World Championships in Toronto, Ontario. Not only did Team Canada greatly improve upon its sixth-place finish at the London 2012 Paralympics, but it also bested the reigning gold, silver and bronze medalists on its way to the top of the podium. This impressive result was thanks to Johnson’s refocusing of the program following the London 2012 Paralympics.

2014 Stephan Dubuc Memorial Award: Bill Johnson: In June 2014, Johnson led the underdog Canadian team to a gold medal on home soil at the IWBF Women’s World Championship in Toronto, Ontario. Canada went 4-1 through preliminary round play and went on to defeat reigning Paralympic silver medalist Australia 63-47 in the quarter finals, reigning Paralympic bronze medalist the Netherlands 75-74 in the semi-finals, and reigning Paralympic champion Germany 54-50 in the finals. The triumph marked the fifth world championship title for the Canadian women and was a significant improvement from the disappointing sixth place finish at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

2014 CWSA Male Athlete of the Year: Zak Madell: Since starting wheelchair rugby in 2011, 20-year-old Zak Madell has risen quickly in the wheelchair rugby community. This year, he solidified himself as one of the best wheelchair rugby players in the world. At the 2014 Canada Cup International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament, Zak won both a Canada Cup All Star Award and was also named MVP. At the 2014 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, he scored over 60% of the team’s points in important games and led in minutes played. He was once again selected tournament MVP and named to the All Star team. For these many honours, he was a finalist for the International Paralympic Committee Athlete of the Month.

2014 CWSA Female Athlete of the Year: Janet McLachlan: Vancouver native Janet McLachlan is arguably the best female wheelchair basketball player in the world. This June, she proved it by leading Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2014 IWBF Women’s World Championships. Mclachlan led Team Canada in minutes played (more than 36 minutes per game), had a double-double in points and rebounds in all games, averaged 21.5 points per game and collected 133 rebounds (40 more than her next closest competitor). She also sunk the game-winning shot in the semi-finals against the Netherlands while being double-teamed with 0.9 seconds on the clock. For her performance, McLachlan was named to the World Championship All Star team. This year, she also steered the BC Breakers to a gold medal performance with a game-high 33 points in the final game and was once again named to the All Star team.

For more information, or to schedule an interview, contact:
Arley McNeney
Communications & Marketing Manager
Cell: 778-788-9091