Northerners recognized as Sport Manitoba hands out annual awards

The host society co-chairs for last year’s Manitoba Games in Thompson were recognized for organizing a successful event at Sport Manitoba’s Night of Champions awards gala in Winnipeg April 13.

Sandra Ross-Hitch and Murray Kissick, who led the efforts to put on the 2018 winter games after Virden bowed out and Thompson took over with only half the usual amount of time to make everything come together, received the Great-West Life Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award.

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“The 2018 Manitoba Winter Games in Thompson were a resounding success, and a huge part of that is thanks to host society co-chairs Murray Kissick and Sandra Ross-Hitch,” said the nominee introduction read out before the winner was announced. “Stepping in on short notice to host the games, their leadership was key to preparing the city for a massive undertaking, one that continues to pay dividends through a thriving sport community and legacy programming. Murray and Sandra were hard-working, determined, passionate, and proved to be incredible leaders for a city that shone come games time.”

One of the other nominees they beat out was Alex “Suds” Sutherland of Thompson, who was nominated for his contributions to curling.

“As an executive of the Burntwood Curling Club for over 25 years, Alex assumes responsibility for ensuring the facility is good to go each curling season,” said Sutherland’s introduction. “Whether he’s accessing funding to upgrade the facility, making the ice, and fulfilling the role of ‘handyman’ around the club, ‘Suds’ is a vital piece to the community club, and the curling community in general.”

A fourth person with a Thompson connection was also nominated for an award. National racquetball champion Jennifer Saunders, who grew up and took up the sport in Thompson, was one of the nominees for the female athlete of the year, which went to curler Kaitlyn Lawes.

Also walking away with an award on Saturday was Kennesha Miswaggon from Pimicikamak Cree Nation at Cross Lake, who received the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council’s (MASRC) female aboriginal athlete of the year award.

“Kennesha has had a long list of achievements under her belt already as a hockey athlete and 2018 was no surprise as that trend continued,” said her bio on the MASRC website. “Kennesha has played with Balmoral Hall Blazers for the last three years where she was unanimously voted as team captain by both her teammates and coaches for her Grade 12 year. Kennesha is commended as a natural-born leader both on and off the ice, a wonderful role model and as having a compassionate spirit. She has played on Team Manitoba for the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships every year for the last four years where her team took home the gold medal for both 2017 and 2018. She aims to have the same outcome this year as the team heads to Whitehorse, Yukon. In 2018 Kennesha was selected as part of the U18 Hockey Team Manitoba for the 2019 Canada Winter Games and was also invited to and attended the Hockey Canada U18 Canadian Women's National Training Camp.”

“Manitoba's sport community is stronger than ever and it's an honour to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of our athletes, coaches, volunteers, and officials at this prestigious event,” said Sport Manitoba CEO Jeff Hnatiuk in a press release.





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