Prince Albert’s own Darren Whitehead has been awarded a 2013 Saskatchewan Sport Award, Sask Sport Inc. announced on Wednesday.
Off a nomination by Special Olympics Saskatchewan, Whitehead was recognized for his more than 30 years of volunteer efforts with a “Volunteer” award, given to recipients who “have devoted their time and effort toward the development of sport,” according to the Sask Sport website.
On April 17, The Herald’s Dave Leaderhouse told the story of Whitehead, who in the early 1980s as a provincial government employee, was transferred to North Battleford, sparking his involvement with the Special Olympics.
“I got transferred to North Battleford and my boss had a son with an intellectual disability,” Whitehead told The Herald. “I was there by myself and he asked me if I wanted to come out one night and help out. I’ve been there ever since.”
Since becoming involved with the organization, Whitehead has contributed in a number of capacities, including coaching, fundraising, officiating and sitting as a committee member.
Most notably, Whitehead played a critical role in the development of the sport of floor hockey as a Special Olympics event.
Whitehead’s contributions have not gone unnoticed prior to receiving the 2013 award. In 1993, Whitehead was named the Special Olympics coach of the year and in 2010, he received the Prince Albert Sportsman of the Year award.
Most recently, Whitehead was named a 2013 Scotiabank Game Changer.
On the field of play, Whitehead won a gold medal as an assistant coach of the Special Olympics Canadian floor hockey team at the World Games in Korea.
Whitehead was one of two Prince Albert natives nominated for a Sport Award, the other being 18-year-old track and field athlete, Katelyn Lehner, who received a Youth Female Athlete of the Year award last year.
More information about the Saskatchewan Sport Award and a full list of award recipients and nominees can be found at www.sasksport.sk.ca.
2013 Saskatchewan Sport Award Recipients:
- Master Athlete of the Year -- Ted Rowan, Martensville, Track and Field
- Youth-Male Athlete of the Year -- Rylan Wiens, Saskatoon, Diving
- Youth-Female Athlete of the Year -- Kylie Zirk, Saskatoon, CanoeKayak
- Male Athlete of the Year -- Lyndon Rush, Humboldt, Bobsled
- Female Athlete of the Year -- Brianne Theisen Easton, Humboldt, Track and Field
- Team of the Year -- Regina Thunder Footbal Club, Regina, Football
- Coach of the Year -- Shane Bradley, Saskatoon, Wrestling
- Coach Dedication Award - Male -- Roger Anholt, Moose Jaw, Baseball
- Coach Dedication Award - Female -- Brenda Lyons, Estevan, Synchronized Swimming
- Volunteer Award -- Darren Whitehead, Prince Albert, Floor Hockey
- Volunteer Award --- Ellen Griffin, Saskatoon, Bowling
- Male Official Award -- Brent Chadwick, Assiniboia, Softball
- Female Official Award -- Kirsten Brough, Regina, Synchronized Swimming