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Carol Anne Chénard, Eric Loucks, Dean Sherratt, and the Takahashi family are the 2020 recipients of the Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Awards and Mayor’s Cup. In a year which saw remarkable challenges for many in the sporting community, the Ottawa Sports Awards is proud to highlight the years of commitment and excellence that these recipients have shown to sport in Ottawa and as representatives of Ottawa on the international scene.
Lifetime Award – Technical Official: Carol Anne Chénard
The resumé of Carol Anne Chénard travels through the international age ranks and zone qualifiers to the premier global events of the beautiful game. The highly respected Chénard is one of just four Canadians to have served 15 or more years as a FIFA referee and she retired this fall at the height of her profession. The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup would have been her third, as would the 2020 Olympic Games – she was a member of the officiating crew for the gold medal match at the Rio 2016 Olympic tournament. Ottawa soccer fans may remember that her first game of the 2015 World Cup was on the pitch at TD Place in front of her family and friends.
She has refereed the FIFA Men’s U17 World Cup and the Canadian Premier League in 2019 in addition to MLS and USL matches. Remarkably, Chénard was also a member of Canada’s national short track speed skating team before beginning her international officiating career, and holds a PhD in microbiology and immunology. Already an important role model for Canadian officials, Chénard is looking forward to opportunities to stay in the game by mentoring and training future referees. Her mother, Sandra Chénard, is also an Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Award winner, in 2010, for her distinguished work as a speed skating official.
Lifetime Award – Coach: Eric Loucks
It has been nearly 50 years since Eric Loucks became a coach at The Minto Skating Club and in that time he has taken athletes to Olympic Games and World Championships, mentored Canadian champions, and taught countless others the discipline and joy to be found in skating. Prior to joining the club as a coach Loucks represented Minto as a skater; he is truly an excellent representative of Ottawa’s proud figure skating history.
Loucks has coached medal winners at Sectional, Eastern Challenge, Canadians, Junior Nationals, Senior Nationals, StarSkate Nationals and Adult National competitions. He was a member of Team Canada’s coaching staff at the 1998 Olympic Games. In addition to his many accomplishments with athletes on the ice, Loucks has been a leader in coaching education. He achieved Level 5 NCCP certification in 2010, becoming just the third skating coach in Canada to do so. He is also a Skate Canada Master learning facilitator.
Lifetime Award – Volunteer/Administrator: Dean Sherratt
The National Capital Wrestling Club can mark its history in the pre-Dean Sherratt era and the present – such has been his impact on the club since his involvement began. As club president he has enhanced the opportunities for athletes and coaches alike, ensuring a thriving club which is open to all. Sherratt is credited with working to provide the club with facility space, equipment, and a variety of development programs. He has developed close relationships with school board officials, high school coaches and teachers throughout the city and beyond in order to grow the sport and encourage participation. He was a driving force in establishing tournaments and greater access to competition, leading to success for athletes on the provincial and national levels.
A recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for his work at Foreign Affairs Canada, Sherratt takes great pride in welcoming new members to the club. More than 600 wrestlers have benefitted from his programs to distribute low-cost equipment, providing many youth an opportunity to stay in the sport. Known as a thoughtful and selfless person, a resourceful problem solver who looks for every opportunity to help, Dean Sherratt has shown incredible drive and commitment in growing the NCWC.
Mayor’s Cup for Outstanding Contribution to Sport in Ottawa: The Takahashi Family
There are many famous families in sport, and for judo in Ottawa there is the Takahashi Family. Masao and June and their children Phil, Allyn, Ray, and Tina have created an inspiring legacy of excellence and community. Sadly, both Masao and Phil passed away in 2020. Our thoughts are with the family, including the eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, as we recognize their accomplishments and celebrate their stories.
The Takahashi Dojo was named the Club of the Year by Judo Ontario in 2018, nearly fifty years after Masao and June founded the judo school in Ottawa in 1969. Takahashi Dojo follows the traditions and principles of Jigoro Kano’s Kodokan Judo, including the idea that “Judo is a teaching for life itself and with it we learn to overcome the pitfalls and obstacles of everyday living.”
At the time of the dojo’s founding, Masao was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force. He had enlisted in the Air Force in 1949 as a twenty-year-old after his family was relocated from British Columbia during the Japanese internment of World War Two. In addition to all of the athletic success which would follow, the Takahashi Dojo would come to play an important role in promoting Japanese culture in Ottawa.
Masao, an eighth degree black belt, was a judo official at the 1976 Olympic Games and the family would return to the Olympics many times. Joining him at the 1976 Games was Ray, a wrestler who also placed fourth at the 1984 Games. Phil competed in judo at the 1984 and 1988 Games, Tina was Canada’s first women’s Olympic judo coach in 1988, and many years later matriarch June coached a Cameroonian judoka, Françoise Nguele, at the 2000 Olympic Games.
Ray collected 16 national championships as a wrestler, won gold at the Commonwealth Games, and is in the Canadian Wrestling Hall of Fame. Tina was a nine-time national champion, a World University Games gold medallist, a World Champion in Sambo, and is in the Judo Canada Hall of Fame. Phil won ten Canadian championships, bronze at the World Championships, and is a member of the Judo Canada Hall of Fame. Allyn was on the podium most recently, winning gold at the 2019 Judo Kata Pan American Championship and a Canadian Championship in Goshin Jutsu in 2018. June, also a national champion in kata, became a seventh degree black belt in January, 2020.
The next generation of Takahashis are already well on their way: Ray’s son Steven is a U SPORTS wrestling champion and represented Canada at the 2017 World University Championships where he won a bronze medal.
Clearly there has been an intergenerational commitment to high performance sport. But the family’s reach extends well beyond their own accomplishments. Through the Takahashi Dojo, hundreds of students have earned their black belts and learned valuable life skills. The school is a landmark of Melrose Avenue, and an important part of sport in our city.