The Special Olympics Saskatchewan SaskTel Awards Banquet was held in conjunction with the 2017 Special Olympics Saskatchewan Leadership Conference. Special Olympics Saskatchewan awards are an exciting and important way to highlight the hard work and dedication of our athletes, volunteers, coaches, and sponsors. We are so proud of all the hard work and dedication put forward from each one of our nominees. Check out all the photos from our Award Banquet here

2017-2018 Provincial Award Winners

Male Coach of the Year:

Kurt Anthony - Regina, SK

Kurt has been involved with the Special Olympics Raiders Soccer Team in Regina for over 16 years. Kurt is an amazing coach who is incredibly supportive and encouraging to all of his athletes. He genuinely cares about each individual he coaches – both on and off the field. Kurt has touched the lives of many athletes, volunteers, and other coaches. He is highly respected and loved by his team. His passion for coaching is contagious to those around him, along with his positive attitude and encouragement for the athletes. Kurt is an incredible role model and truly embodies everything that a coach should be.

Female Coach of the Year:

Samantha Stom-Anthony - Regina, SK

Samantha is the head coach of the Regina Raiders soccer team. Sam is very enthusiastic, positive, organized, and dedicated to supporting Special Olympics Regina, all while growing the soccer program. She is a supporter of all of the programs within Special Olympics. Sam continually looks for opportunities to grow Special Olympics, and has inspired many by encouraging inclusivity by having her soccer team play in the generic soccer league. Samantha has successfully built a very talented coaching staff and team. She works to recruit, train, and support these coaches to ensure succession planning for the sport within the Special Olympics organization for the athletes.

Volunteer of the Year

Mike Penno - Regina, SK

Mike has been with Special Olympics for 7 years. He came to the Special Olympics board in Regina taking on the position of treasurer, where he still currently holds this position. He is always willing to help walk through all of the community processes with the coaches and supports them by answering any questions they may have. Mike is also the head coach for the Bocce program in Regina. When bocce was introduced as an official sport in Special Olympics, Mike dedicated his time to ensure he knew the rules, asked all of the questions and ensured his athletes were playing the sport the way it should be played.

Team of the Year:

Saskatoon Thunderhawks - Saskatoon, SK

The Saskatoon Thunderhawks Softball team have had a great year. The team recently competed at the 2017 Provincial Summer Games in Moose Jaw and came out victorious as the Gold Medal champions. The team is extremely hard working and is tirelessly dedicated to the sport. Each member gives it their all at all practices and tournaments, and will even push themselves to go that extra mile. Along with fellow Team Sask members, they work hard to prepare for National Games. Each team member dedicated time to completing their Athlete Leadership training in either Social Media and Media training or Athlete Speaker Training. The team works very well together and each individual brings something special to the group. They play with passion and always strive for excellence whether they are on the local, provincial, or national stage.

Male Athlete of the Year:

Tyler Haddad -  Regina, SK

Tyler excels in anything that he attempts. He works harder than anyone to learn new skills, new strategies, new plays, and new positions – anything to help make his team stronger. He trains diligently. He gives 150% in the 3-4 training sessions every week, works out at the fieldhouse and with a personal trainer when he can, and watches instructional videos to help him improve his own gameplay. His attitude, skill, people-skills, and work-ethic are second to none. Tyler continues to grow, day in and day out. In addition to being a great and hard-working athlete, Tyler also juggles a number of roles in his personal life. He has a beautiful daughter that he takes care of, works full time, volunteers, and helps to support and encourage his family. Tyler exemplifies wonderful sportsmanship and is a true leader to his fellow teammates – He wants to be everything to everyone.

Shining Star Award:

Kyle Froese - Swift Current, SK

Kyle has been involved with Special Olympics Swift Current over the past few years and has really found his place within the program. Kyle plays basketball, floor hockey, and softball. He gives it his all at every practice and always has a positive attitude. He is very friendly and patient with his coaches and teammates. Kyle’s self-confidence has grown a lot since joining SO. He treats everyone respectfully and is very supportive. Kyle is a great role model to his peers, tries everything his coaches ask him to and shows positive sportsmanship regardless of the outcome.

Unsung Hero:

Stephen Neiszner - Kindersley, SK


Stephen has been an instrumental leader since joining Special Olympics in the Kindersley area. Stephen hit the ground running and has been incredibly dedicated over the past 4 years. He has made it a priority to be fully trained as a coach and takes extreme pride in his role as the program coordinator for the community. Stephen started two new programs that are now flourishing in Kindersley and Kerrobert, where the athletes have also grown exponentially. Stephen never hesitates to add his name to a task or activity and often leads the group with great direction.

Community Excellence Award:

Special Olympics La Ronge & District

The Special Olympics program in the North truly hit the ground running with a number of dedicated volunteers that wanted to wholeheartedly support the members of their community. Special Olympics La Ronge & District is an extremely close-knit family, and the only community to have approximately twice as many volunteers as they do athletes. Since initiating Special Olympics in the community and surrounding area, Special Olympics La Ronge now runs 6 programs and includes snowshoeing, athletics, curling, and bowling. They are proud of their culture and heritage and are truly helping to change the ideals around people with intellectual disabilities.

Honorary Life Members:

Dorothy and John Wikstrom - Melfort, SK

Dorothy and John have been dedicated members of Special Olympics since 1988. They started the first curling program in the province in Melfort, SK and brought the sport of curling to our province for all of the athletes across the province. Together, they have spent countless hours fundraising, attending board meetings, and coaching teams at all levels of competition. Dorothy and John are compassionate, kind, and respected by all. They generously give their time and resources to make sure the programs and fundraising are successful and that everyone is having fun. This wonderful couple has truly made a difference in the lives of many, many athletes.

Bob Pedde Memorial Award

Mitch (Michelle) Hesson - Saskatoon, SK

Mitch has been a devoted volunteer, coach, and board member for Special Olympics Saskatoon for many years. She has worked tirelessly to raise funds for the athletes, help improve the quality of programming, and provide our members with an incredible SO experience. As a coach, Mitch is highly respected by everyone who works with her. She has attended every level of major games and continues to uphold a strong leadership position within Special Olympics. She is always there with a smile, a wonderful and contagious sense of humour, and a huge caring heart for her athletes all over the province.

President’s Citation Award:

Papp Signs and Exhibits Ltd. - Regina, SK

This award has been presented to one such individual, who has been an important part of the Special Olympics Saskatchewan family for over 30 years. Under his leadership, Papp Signs & Exhibits has provided countless signs, decals, banners and other promotional materials for the provincial office, special events and sporting events across the province. Wayne, along with his wife Dorothy, continues to support Special Olympics in other important ways as well. They are regular guests at annual events. Wayne has also volunteered his time at local and provincial events. Although modest, we hear that Wayne is glad to share his story of how he got first involved in Special Olympics. Wayne, you are a valued member of this community family.