Bison year-end awards recognize talent, volunteers and community leadership
More than 350 student-athletes, coaches and special guests gathered in the Manitoba Room on Saturday, March 24 for the annual Brown and Gold Awards Banquet to recognize the achievements of the University of Manitoba Bisons during the 2017-18 season.
The program was packed with brown and gold content. Emceed by University of Manitoba and Bison alumna, Michelle Sawatzky-Koop [B.Mus. (Perf)/93], the audience was treated to welcomes from government officials including Manitoba’s Minister of Education and Training Ian Wishart, federal MP for Winnipeg South Terry Duguid and Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, who shared his own pride of his days as Bison student-athlete (swimming).
U of M President David Barnard and Canadian Football League (CFL) Commissioner, Randy Ambrosie [BComm(Hons)/87] capped off the formal program with their address to student-athletes, appealing for them to invest in their roles not only as athletes but also as future leaders in the community.
It was only appropriate then that the first award presented Saturday afternoon was for Leadership and Community Development. Three student-athletes, Alana Serhan (hockey), Brett Stovin (hockey) and Gee-ef Nkwonta (track and field), all members of the University of Manitoba Athletic Council, were recognized for their leadership qualities and community impact of their efforts.
Among the major awards, Venla Hovi (hockey) was presented as the Bison Female Athlete of the Year. Hovi, in her fourth year as a Bison, won an Olympic bronze medal with Team Finland at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang and later became a key contributor that led her team to the U SPORTS Women’s Hockey National Championship.
Justus Alleyn (basketball) earned the Bison Male Athlete of the Year honour after finishing his fifth and final year of eligibility as the Canada West scoring leader. Alleyn was also selected as his team’s Most Valuable Player. In April, Alleyn will represent Canada at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Volunteers were honoured through two major awards. The Pat Gill Legacy Award, given in memory of the former Bison Football Manager was awarded to Dr. Mike McKay for his long-standing service to the men’s hockey team since 1986.
Alanna Boudreau, recipient of the newly added Assistant Coach of the Year has provided her expertise and service to the Bison Track and Field team as a jumps coach. Two athletes under her tutelage earned medals at the 2018 U SPORTS Track and Field Championships.
Full list of Brown and Gold award winners
2017-18 BISON SPORTS ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
Female: Venla Hovi – Hockey
Male: Justus Alleyn – Basketball
2017-18 BISON SPORTS COACH OF THE YEAR
Jon Rempel – Hockey (women’s)
2017-18 BISON SPORTS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Female: Lauren Taraschuk – Hockey
Male: Brendan Warren – Volleyball
2017-18 BISON SPORTS STUDENT-ATHLETE LEADERSHIP & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AWARD
Female: Alana Serhan – Hockey
Male: Gee-ef Nkwonta – Track and Field and Brett Stovin – Hockey
2017-18 BISON SPORTS PAT GILL LEGACY AWARD
Dr. Mike McKay – Team physician for Bison men’s hockey
2017-18 BISON SPORTS ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR
Alanna Boudreau – Track and Field
Bison Sports Team MVPs for the 2017-18 season
Women’s Basketball – Taylor Randall
Men’s Basketball – Justus Alleyn
Women’s Cross Country – Rebekah Sass
Men’s Cross Country – Abduselam Yussuf
Football – Jamel Lyles
Men’s Golf – Devon Schade
Women’s Golf – Marissa Naylor
Women’s Hockey – Jordyn Zacharias
Men’s Hockey – Byron Spriggs
Women’s Soccer – Hailey Lavarias
Women’s Swimming – Kelsey Wog
Men’s Swimming – Anthony Iliouchetchev
Women’s Track & Field – Tegan Turner
Men’s Track & Field – Oyinko Akinola
Women’s Volleyball – Cassie Bujan
Men’s Volleyball – Adam DeJonckheere