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Nominees for the 2018 and 2019 Athlete of the Year Awards

[KITCHENER, ON, June 1, 2020—] The Athlete of the Year Kitchener-Waterloo, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich Nomination Committee is proud to announce the list of nominees for both 2018 and 2019.    Following months of dedicated effort to research and vet over 1,000 potential nominees, the following names were presented to the Selection Committee to determine one recipient for each year.


2018 Nominees

  • Howard Armitage, Squash – achieved Gold medals at the club, Provincial and World Masters Championship for Singles in the 75+ Age category
  • Murphy Burnatowski, Basketball – was a leader for both the Professional International Basketball Champions, Fribourg Olympic, LNA and the Professional Canadian Basketball League St John’s Edge
  • Ben Flanagan, Track & Field – won the prestigious 10,000 meters race at the 2018 NCAA Track and Field Championship
  • Tyler Miller, Basketball – led the Toronto Rollin Raptors and proudly represented Canada at the World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Germany
  • Andrew Poje and Kaitlyn Weaver, Figure Skating – achieved Bronze Medals at both the Canadian and ISU World Championships and placed 7th at the Olympic Games
  • Garret Rank, Golf – placed 1st at both the Provincial and Canadian Amateur Golf Tournaments and qualified for the US Open


2019 Nominees

  • Drew Becker, Horseshoe Pitching – Club, Provincial and Canadian National Champion placed first or second in 6 events
  • Alec Elliot, Swimming – Bronze medalist at the 2019 World Swimming Championship, also won 2 Gold medals at the Canadian Trials earning a spot with Team Canada.
  • Loren Gabel, Ice Hockey – led her team to Bronze at the NCAA Championship with 69 points in 40 games, played for Team Canada and won Patty Kazmaier Award
  • Foster Malleck, Track & Field – achieved Gold at the Pan-Am U20 Championships and medaled at the Patriot League Championship for Boston College
  • Alyssa Mason, Ultimate – a leader on Team Canada who achieved Bronze at the U24, also led Toronto 6ixers to Gold at both Canadian and USA Northeast Championships
  • Samantha McCrory, Field Hockey – A leader on the Canadian U21 National Team and selected as an underage member of the National Senior Field Hockey Team
  • Mike Poulin, Lacrosse – All Star Professional Lacrosse Goalie led teams to Championships in the National Lacrosse League, World Indoor Lacrosse Championship and the Mann Cup
  • Pat Pytlik, Martial Arts – with a Unified MMA record of 7-1-0, he has set the stage to compete at the UFC


These athletes have achieved success in their chosen sports and are being recognized for the hard work and dedication it takes to rise to a level where they represent our region at the highest levels in their sports. With such an array of outstanding athletes, it will be challenging for the volunteers on the Selection Committee to decide on an Athlete of the Year recipient for each year.


The Organizing Committee is monitoring the pandemic situation and meeting regularly to establish plans for an event to recognize all of these athletes and announce the recipients.  In the meantime, each Nominee will be showcased in a series of social media releases over the coming weeks.


Chair John Thompson stated “The Athlete of the Year program is appreciative of the 30 dedicated community sports volunteers who have been enthusiastically fulfilling their commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, we’re optimistic that a public recognition event will be scheduled within the next few months to celebrate the achievements of these amazing local athletes.”


Athlete of the Year Kitchener-Waterloo, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich was initially established in in 1997 with a goal to recognize Athletic excellence in a meaningful way.



If you would like more information about this topic, please call Bob Stebbings at 519-241-8295, or email bob.stebbings@rogers.com