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Jan. 15, 2019
The Ottawa Sports Awards committee has released the identities of its annual major award winners for 2018, including 2018 Canadian Olympic Team member Isabelle Weidemann and World Championship bronze medallist Mike Woods as the city’s Athletes of the Year. uOttawa women’s soccer head coach Steve Johnson and Cassandra Smith of The Akademy Snowboard Programs are the 2018 Coach of the Year honourees, and a pair of national championship-winning basketball teams – the Carleton Ravens women and the Canada Top Flight Academy senior men will take home the Team of the Year awards.
The winners, in addition to the Lifetime Award recipients which were announced in December, will be celebrated at the 2018 Ottawa Sports Awards Dinner, January 30, 2019 at Algonquin College on Woodroffe Avenue.
Tickets for the Ottawa Sports Awards Dinner are on sale at https://ottawasportsawards.ca/buy-2018-gala-tickets/ – UPDATE – Tickets are now sold out.
The Ottawa Sports Awards is the largest and most inclusive amateur sport recognition event in Canada and will mark its 66th anniversary this year. Winners of the 65 individual sport awards and team recognition awards will be announced shortly.
Female Athlete of the Year: Isabelle WeidemannIn her Olympic debut at PyeongChang 2018, Isabelle Weidemann skated to a seventh-place finish in the 3000m. She continued her Olympics with even stronger results, placing sixth in the 5000m before helping Canada to a fourth-place finish in team pursuit. She captured her first ISU World Cup win in November, claiming gold in the 3000m, and then set a personal best time in the same event at the World Cup event in the Netherlands in December where she finished second. Weidemann also placed first in the event at the Canadian Single Distances Championships this fall, alongside a win in the 5000m and third place in the 1500m. Weidemann finished 2018 ranked 1st in the world for long-distance events. A member of the Gloucester Concordes Speed Skating club, Isabelle first represented Canada as a junior in 2014 and now trains with the national team in Calgary, Alta. Isabelle is a mentor and role model to younger skaters and has no hesitation in volunteering to share her knowledge and lead training sessions when she is visiting Ottawa.
Male Athlete of the Year: Mike Woods
Two years after being named Ottawa’s top athlete in cycling Mike Woods had a career year in 2018. The year of successes was topped by a bronze medal performance in the road race at the 2018 World Road Cycling Championship. That was Canada’s first podium finish at that event since 1984. Other 2018 highlights for Woods include winning stage 17 at the Vuelta a Espana, and a second-place finish in Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia, finishing the Giro nineteenth overall. Woods also raced to second place in the prestigious Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day race. The leader of the EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale team is the top Canadian in the world rankings, in 37th place, and was named Canadian Male Cyclist of the Year.
Male Coach of the Year: Steve Johnson
2018 marked Johnson’s 25th season as head coach of the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s soccer team and will be one of the most memorable. Johnson’s squad captured the 2018 U SPORTS national championship on home field, capping a dominant season which also featured Johnson’s ninth OUA conference championship win. Johnson has coached the Garnet and Grey to the playoffs in all 25 seasons that he has been at the helm of the program but brought the team back to the national championship tournament for the first time since 2014, posting a 20-1-1 record and averaging 2.56 goals per game to just 0.47 against.
Female Coach of the Year: Cassandra Smith
Cassandra Smith is a high performance coach and leader in snowboarding, and founded The Ottawa Akademy Snowboard Program. In 2018, the level 4/5 certified coach saw her team of 15-17-year-old snowboard cross athletes claim 13 podium finishes and six other top five finishes at regional events in Ontario and Quebec, and three podiums at provincial events. Smith’s team finished the year with four top ten finishes at nationals, and one of her athletes captured a bronze medal at the Ontario Winter Games. At the U16 level Cassandra’s athletes are ranked first and second in Ontario, and she will see one of her athletes represent Canada at the 2019 Universiade. Smith has been successful in creating a remarkable snowboard program in the Ottawa area despite there being no permanent snowboard cross racing track at any of the local mountains.
Female Team of the Year: Carleton Ravens Women’s Basketball
The Carleton Ravens women’s basketball team made history with its first national championship in 2018, claiming the U SPORTS banner to cap an undefeated season. The team won 23 straight regular season games, captured the OUA conference championship for the second straight season, and entered the national championship as the top-ranked team in the nation. A close win in the semifinal was followed by a dominant performance in the national final. Following the historic win, the Ravens players ensured that their story was told – sparking an important dialogue about the media coverage devoted to women’s sport.
Male Team of the Year: Canada Top Flight Academy Senior Men
In its first two years of operation, the Top Flight Academy senior men’s team has won back-to-back national championships. The team defended its National Preparatory Association title in the spring of 2018 and is currently enjoying another successful season. With a league record of 4-0 and an overall mark of 17-2 heading into 2019, the team is the number one ranked high school team in Canada. Some of Canada’s top high school basketball players are members of Top Flight, and are developing their skills among and against the nation’s elite.