The Aboriginal Sport Circle (ASC) has announced the national finalists for the 2006 Tom Longboat and National Aboriginal Coaching awards.
The ASC accepts nominations from the sport and recreation community to honour outstanding aboriginal athletes and coaches each year.
These prestigious awards honour the accomplishments of amateur athletes and coaches of aboriginal ancestry for 2006.
'To honour and recognize the excellent achievements of Aboriginal athletes and coaches from coast-to-coast is important to our people,' said Rod Jacobs, manager of aboriginal sport development at the ASC.
'Celebrating the successes of deserving sport leaders is a priority of the Aboriginal Sport Circle.'
Four Yukoners are among the national nominees, two athletes and two coaches.
Jessica Trotter, who represented the territory in female hockey at the 2007 Canada Winter Games, and Chris Vance, who plays on the Whitehorse Mustangs pee wee rep hockey team, are the regional athlete award winners.
Randy Merkel, who coaches the Yukon female hockey team, and Ann Jirousek, who coaches the F.H. Collins Warriors junior and senior female basketball teams, are the regional coaching award winners.
The regional winners are selected by the Aboriginal Sport Circle's regional office, after a province or territory-wide nomination process. Dean Mastrangelo, the aboriginal sport development officer with the regional office, said they national criteria in order to select the winners from the names they receive.
Winners of the awards demonstrate excellence in sport through athletic and coaching achievements and are embedded in community development through leadership and mentorship.
Athletes and coaches continue to develop holistically by giving back to their communities and ensuring youth have exposure to sports, recreation and physical activities.
This is the 100th anniversary of legendary marathon runner Tom Longboat's amazing Boston Marathon victory in 1907.
'It's a pretty big honour I think, especially when you look at the calibre of finalists nominated in each province and territory,' said Mastrangelo. 'And Tom Longboat ... it's a huge honour to get an award named after him.'
Mastrangelo recalled the last time a Yukon athlete went on to win the national award, which was former weightlifter Trina Irving, five or six years ago.
The national selection process is underway and will conclude on April 19, 2007.
The 2006 Tom Longboat and National Aboriginal Coaching Award winners will be announced at the 2007 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan at the Aboriginal Sports Excellence Awards Banquet.
This will take place on Thursday, May 3.
Here are the finalists for all categories in each province and territory:
2006 Regional Male Tom
Longboat Award Winners
Matthew Klein, Target Shooting, British Columbia
Ian Manyfingers, Track and Field, Alberta
Scott Mills, Swimming, Saskatchewan
Emory Wells, Volleyball, Manitoba
Sidney Smith, Lacrosse, Ontario
Josh Sacobie, Football,
Jonathon Rice, Wrestling, Eastern Door & North
Ashton Bernard, Hockey,
Atshapi Andrew, Hockey,
Newfoundland & Labrador
Chris Vance, Hockey, Yukon
Michael Putulik, Badminton, Nunavut
2006 Regional Female Tom Longboat Award Winners
Chelsie Mitchell, Snowboarding, British Columbia
Raven Shade, Rodeo Riding, Alberta
Shay-Anne Daniels, Swimming, Saskatchewan
Doris Jones, Archery, Manitoba
Tammy Cote, Hockey, Eastern Door & North
Ashley Julian, Hockey, Nova Scotia
Marie Penashue, Badminton,
Newfoundland & Labrador
Jessica Trotter, Hockey, Yukon
2006 Regional Male
Saw Seward, Lacrosse, British Columbia
Dexter Bruised, Head Boxing, Alberta
Omar Constant, Archery, Manitoba
Ryan White, Volleyball, Ontario
Dave Canadian, Wrestling, Eastern Door & North
Jason Peters, Basketball,
Randy Merkel, Hockey ,Yukon
2006 Regional Female
Leanne Wilkinson, Swimming, British Columbia
Natalie Lukiw, Volleyball, Saskatchewan
Trudy Jacobs, Eastern Door & North
Lorna Storr ,Soccer,
North West Territories
Ann Jirousek, Basketball, Yukon
The Aboriginal Sport Circle is Canada's voice for aboriginal sport and recreation, which brings together the interests of first nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
The Aboriginal Sport Circle was created through a national consensus-building process, in response to the need for more accessible and equitable sport and recreation opportunities for aboriginal peoples.