2017 Award Winners

November 30, 2018 – Special Olympics Canada is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Special Olympics Canada National Awards, which recognize the athletes, coaches and volunteers who have exemplified the spirit and essence of the Special Olympics movement throughout 2018, which was the 50th anniversary milestone year of the Special Olympics. Co-presented by The Charles E. Ring Foundation and The Harry E. Foster Foundation, the 2018 National Awards took place on Thursday, November 29 at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in Toronto.

Special Olympics Canada’s 2018 Award Winners:

  • Male athlete of the Year – Tyler Haddad, SK

Tyler has been involved in Special Olympics Saskatchewan for 14 years, competing in soccer and floor hockey. At the 2017 Special Olympics Saskatchewan Provincial Summer Games in Moose Jaw, his soccer team won the gold medal and qualified with his team to the Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games.

  • Female Athlete of the Year – Ellen MacNearney, PEI

Ellen has been an athlete with Special Olympics for 10 years, competing in swimming, cross-country ski and other community sports. Ellen is a force to be reckon with in the pool. At the last two Provincial Games she has come home with 12 gold medals.

  • Male Coach of the Year – Paul Turner, ON

Paul has been a member of the Special Olympics family for 40 years and has coached in floor hockey, softball and soccer. His most recent major game result was a silver medal in floor hockey at the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria.

  • Female Coach of the Year – Rosemary Ryan, NL

Rosemary has been a coach with Special Olympics Newfoundland & Labrador for 10 years, sharing her expertise in athletics, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and curling. Rosemary leads by example in whatever she does. She will always be the first one at a competition or practice and the last one to leave. She will also be representing Canada as an associate coach at The 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.

  • Team of the Year – Halifax Warriors, NS

The Halifax Warriors have been playing basketball together for the past 6 years and have had many successes over the years. The team went undefeated at the 2017 Special Olympics Nova Scotia Provincial Summer Games and qualified to represent Nova Scotia at the Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games.

  • Jim Thompson Award – John & Dorothy Wikstrom, SK

John & Dorothy have been involved with Special Olympics for almost 30 years. They have truly gone above and beyond as they are completely dedicated to the Special Olympics initiative in Saskatchewan. Whether it is in the capacity of being coaches, committee members, fundraisers, or community advocates, John & Dorothy have continued to support their athletes and the Special Olympics movement as a significant part of their lives.

  • Frank Selke Fundraising Volunteer of the Year – Mark Milliere, ON

Mark has been involved with Special Olympics for over 30 years and under his strong leadership, he has help drive SOC's signature fundraising event, LIMITLESS, to new heights. Under his leadership as Chair and then Co-Chair (2014 - present), the Gala was rebranded and enhanced and net fundraising results have improved more than 400% to $800k net in 2017 and continue to grow at an impressive rate.

  • Dr. Frank Hayden Athlete Lifetime Achievement Award – Wayne Morton, ON

For 36 years, Wayne Morton has dedicated his life to being an outstanding role model and advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. Wayne has participated in 11 different sports and has represented Canada at 4 World Summer Games in swimming. Wayne is also an avid fan of his fellow athletes when he is not competing himself and loves to help his teammates in need.

  • The Harry “Red” Foster Award – Mark, Paul and Sean Etherington, ON

The Etherington brothers have been advocates for Special Olympics for over 30 years. In 2002 they created Motionball, a National not-for-profit organization that raises funds and awareness for the Special Olympics Canada Foundation (SOCF). Since then, they have raised over $10M for Special Olympics Chapters, SOCF and in 2017, donated $1.5M to Special Olympics in Canada. Motionball is now in 20 cities within 8 Provinces and is showcased in 3 major events; Motionball gala, marathon of sport and MotionballU. They also work to drive attitudinal change and advocacy through the #nogoodway campaign to end the use of the ‘R’ word.

  • Rob Plunkett Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) Award – Barry Kross, BC

Interim Chief Officer Barry Kross has been a passionate and dedicated supporter of the British Columbia LETR and Special Olympics British Columbia for over 25 years where he has been on the British Columbia LETR Executive Council since 2013. Barry provides leadership with his organization (Metro Vancouver Transit Police) making the LETR a priority community organization. For the past 4 years, Barry has organized a golf tournament, which has raised more than $45,000 to date. In addition to the golf tournament, Barry personally champions and participates in other LETR fundraising events, including the Polar Plunge, Torch Run and Over-Time drive events.

Established in 1969, the Canadian chapter of this international movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through the transformative power and joy of sport. Operating out of sport clubs in 12 provincial and territorial Chapters, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sport to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, more than 42,000 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics year-round programs across Canada. They are supported by more than 20,000 volunteers, including more than 15,000 trained coaches.

For more information, visit www.specialolympics.ca or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @SpecialOCanada.

For more information, please contact:
Karen CinqMars, Director, Marketing & Communications, Special Olympics Canada
416-927-9050 ext. 4312