It is just over a month until the city’s top male and female athletes, along with the top sportsman, are honoured at the annual banquet hosted by the Kinsmen Club and 900 CKBI Radio and with nominations being accepted for each category I thought I would offer my perspective on who the honourees should be.
Having spent a considerable amount of time in hockey arenas, at soccer pitches, ball diamonds and golf courses in the last year, I have been fortunate to write about a lot of very special people. After giving it a lot of thought, here are who I feel have warranted consideration for this very special honour.
The female athlete of the year, in my opinion, is a no-brainer. Prince Albert is blessed with an extremely gifted 14-year-old girl who has excelled at not just one sport, but two.
Brooke Hobson won almost everything she entered this year in golf as she successfully defended her provincial junior golf title, became the youngest winner of the annual Ladies Lobstick tournament at Waskesiu Lake, captured the women’s title at the City Open tournament at Cooke Muncipal Golf Course and represented Saskatchewan at the Canada Summer Games in Quebec. Hobson also just missed the cut at the national junior girl’s tournament in Ontario by a single shot.
She still has four years of junior golf eligibility remaining.
On the ice, Hobson cracked the lineup of the Prince Albert A&W Bears of the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League as a 13-year-old and this year, before the first puck is even dropped, has been selected to the provincial under-18 girl’s team that will play at the national tournament in Calgary in November.
The sky is the limited for this gifted athlete and what makes her even more impressive is she is incredibly humble.
The sportsman of the year selection could go to any one of 20 different people, but in my books it has to be presented to Bruce Vance.
Best known as the business manager and director of marketing for the Prince Albert Raiders, Vance, along with his wife Liane, also manages the A&W Bears and he is the commissioner of the Girls Prairie Softball League.
Vance was instrumental in bringing the first-ever Outdoor Classic to Prince Albert last January and despite some frigid weather the event was a huge success as fans got to watch hockey on an outdoor rink from noon until 9 p.m.
Vance is also a director for the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame and I’m sure he has his fingerprints on a number of other things as well.
The male athlete of the year is a tough one because there are just so many talented young men in this city.
Sawyer Lange from the Prince Albert Raiders has to be considered because not only is he in his third year with the Western Hockey League club, he is also a gifted lacrosse player. There are a number of young golfers in the city who have gained attention at the provincial level, but for me the most impressive young man is Lukas McConechy.
A senior at Carlton Comprehensive High School, McConechy is a leader on the Sask. Rivers Dragons rugby team and is also a key part of the Crusaders’ football team.
McConechy was also very instrumental in spearheading the Friday Night Lights campaign in memory of his friend Max Clunie.
I have had an opportunity to meet McConechy on a couple of occasions, and like Hobson, is just a real treat to talk to. The city should be very proud to have these two exceptional athletes in their midst.
The banquet is Nov. 2 with former Prince Albert Raider Mike Modano scheduled to be the keynote speaker. It will be interesting to see who joins him at the head table.
Dave Leaderhouse is a reporter with the Prince Albert Daily Herald.