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Athlete of the Year

Presented by


Award Sponsor

20th Celebration Sponsor


Each year it is the privilege of a dedicated group of volunteers to research and select athletes who are making a mark at local, national and international levels in order to identify the nominees for the honour of Athlete of the Year. We are pleased to confirm that the Athlete of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2021 were presented on June 15, 2022.

23rd/24th Annual Athlete of the Year Program
There was a public invitation to attend this event in person. Those who didn't book a spot were able to view the proceedings via live Zoom broadcast. The proceedings were also recorded and can be viewed via the following links:   

Video of the 2020 Nominees (by 519 Sports OnLine) - https://youtu.be/mB85fR75byA

Video of 2020 Recipient Shelina Zadorsky - https://youtu.be/WPh0HfhSg_w


Video of the 2021 Nominees by 519 Online Sports - https://youtu.be/EYarMcaQESI

Video of 2021 Recipient Ben Flanagan - https://youtu.be/eOHTW1RXPF4



Wednesday June 15, 2022
Ken Seiling Region of Waterloo Museum
10 Huron Road, Kitchener
5:30 - Doors opened with a reception in the lobby --- a mix & mingle social!  
6:30 - Program in Christie Digital Theatre (reserved seating)
2020 Nominees - introductions, profiles and responses

Mandy Bujold, Boxing — Represented Canada at the 2020 Olympic Games and finished 17th.

Mark Scheifele, Hockey — Led the Winnipeg Jets in scoring, averaging over a point per game in the regular season and playoffs, and was named to the 2020 NHL all-star team.

Alec Elliot, Swimming — Represented Canada at the 2020 Paralympic Games, placing fifth in the 200-metre medley and ninth in the 50-metre freestyle

Ryan Benesch, Lacrosse — Led the National Lacrosse League’s Halifax Thunderbirds in scoring with 18 goals and 33 assists in a shortened 12-game season

Athlete of the Year Award Recipient for 2020: Shelina Zadorsky, Soccer — Captain of the Football Association Women’s Super League Tottenham Hotspur and Olympic gold medalist.

David Edgar, Soccer — Team leader on the Hamilton Forge, which won the Canadian Premier League championship

Maya Zonneveld, Gymnastics — Maya, a member of Team Canada, won silver / bronze medals at the Women's Artistic Gymnastics Elite competition and was named all-round champion. 

  Naming of the 2020 Athlete of the Year

John Thompson (Co-Chair) presenting the Athlete of the Year Award for 2020 to Shelina Zadosrsky (June 15, 2022)

          2021 Nominees - introductions, profiles and responses

Keith Priestman, Badminton — Won gold in the men’s doubles 60 and silver in men’s single 60 at the Badminton World Federation senior championships

Garrett Rank, Golf — Placed second at both the Porter Cup and Dogwood International amateur tournaments and ninth at the Canadian mid-amateur championship

Kelly Rudney, Long Drive — Won the women’s amateur long drive championship with a 263-yard effort. Also had drives of 283, 337 and 355 at other ALDC events

Alyssa Lagonia, Soccer — Leader on the Swiss Women’s Super League champions, Servette Chênois

Keira Hickox, Squash — Ranked as the top U15 player in 2021 after placing third at the U15 junior nationals and second at both the adult provincial and U15 Canadian junior open

Athlete of the Year Award Recipient for 2021: Ben Flanagan, Track and Field — Canadian 10-kilometre champion after placing first in five races in 2021 in a variety of distance events

Lauryn Hovey, Volleyball — Led Canada in scoring at the 2021 Fédération internationale de volleyball Girls’ U18 world championship

Dhane Smith, Lacrosse — National Lacrosse League MVP, scored 135 points in 18 regular-season games for the Buffalo Bandits, two short of the record he set in 2016

Tyler Pasher, Soccer — A leader on the MLS Houston Dynamo, and played for Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup

Trinity Shadd-Ceres, Track and Field — At 14 years old, placed first in three provincial-level U20 championships

Mike Daly, Football — A defensive leader with the Grey Cup finalist Hamilton Tiger-Cats


Naming of the 2021 Athlete of the Year


Ron and Michelle Flanagan, Ben's parents, accepted the award on Ben's behalf as he was competing at a meet in British Columbia. Ben did make a "live" appearance by Skype!
8:30 - Closing Remarks, acknowledgements, appreciation, photos and adjournment.

The Athlete of the Year Program for Kitchener-Waterloo, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich recognized nominees' athletic achievements for both 2018 and 2019 at our



Mike Poulin

Named 2019 Athlete of the Year

Video of the announcement



Howard Armitage 

Named 2018 Athlete of the Year

Video of the announcement



News articles:

The Waterloo Region Record

Kitchener Today

CTV News 


Organizing Committee Co-Chairs
John Thompson  sstj99@gmail.com  519-884-4050
Oliver Gidden     olivergidden@gmail.com

Communications: Bob Stebbings - bob.stebbings@rogers.com     (519-241-8295)