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Saskatchewan Sport Awards Recipients and Finalists Announced

Olympic, Paralympic medal winners among finalists for Excellence Awards

A group of 26 outstanding athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and teams are finalists and recipients for the nine different categories at the 2022 Saskatchewan Sport Awards.

The annual program celebrates the success and dedication of those in the province’s amateur sport community through two categories – Excellence Awards and Recognition Awards. The Excellence Awards celebrate outstanding event performances or a series of performances by a Saskatchewan athlete, coach or team within a given calendar year, while the Recognition Awards include the Volunteer and Coach Dedication Awards which honour individuals who have devoted their time and effort to the growth of sport in Saskatchewan.

Paralympic swimmer Nikita Ens and adaptive waterski world-record holder Nolan Barnes are recipients of the Inspire Through Sport awards, while long-serving biathlon coach Doug Sylvester and volleyball coach Tracy Hazen were handed the Coach Dedication awards.  

For work in broomball, football, wheelchair rugby and Special Olympics, Leslie Bilodeau, Michelle Duchene, Ryan Gaudet and Tony Caissie were honoured with Volunteer Dedication awards.

The 18 finalists across the six Excellence categories includes Olympian and Paralympians, as well as national and international medallists.

“Saskatchewan is home to many outstanding and devoted individuals and teams who go to great lengths to excel at all levels of competition in amateur sport,” said Michael Rogers, Sask Sport Board of Directors Chair.

“Last year featured remarkable performances and contributions and those achievements deserve to be recognized. Without many of these devoted individuals, sport couldn’t happen in communities across the province. These individuals and teams continue to show that sport is truly more than a game.”

The 2022 Saskatchewan Sport Awards will be celebrated gala on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at TCU Place in Saskatoon. The gala will honour the eight Recognition Awards recipients, as well as announce the recipients of the six Excellence Awards and celebrate those named as finalists.

Tickets are available for purchase on the Sask Sport website.

The Saskatchewan Sport Awards will also be available for viewing live on Sask Sport’s YouTube and on SaskTel maxTV Local on Demand at a later date.




Nominated by the Saskatoon U18 AAA Stars and supported by Hockey Saskatchewan

  • Helped Canada win gold at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Olympics while also bringing home gold at the Women’s World Hockey Championships


Nominated by the Saskatoon Diving Club and Dive Sask

  • Commonwealth Games bronze medalist, Canada Cup gold medalist and winner of two medals at each of the summer and winter national championships


Nominated by Cross Country Saskatchewan and SASKI Skiing for Disabled

  • Winner of two bronze medals at the 2022 Beijing Paralympic Winter Games in the 15-kilometre cross country classic and the 12.5-kilometre biathlon, who also finished second at the Para Nordic World Cup


Nominated by Sask Snowboard and national team coach

  • Bronze medal winner in men’s slopestyle at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games, as well as Winter X Games gold medalist, where he set the record for most snowboarding medals all-time at the X Games


Nominated by Huskie Football Alumni and supported by the Canadian Sport Centre Saskatchewan

  • Bronze medal winner at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games in men’s bobsleigh, as well as a second-place finish on IBSF World Cup circuit


Nominated by the Saskatoon Diving Club and Dive Sask

  • Winner of two silver medals at the Commonwealth Games, a bronze at Worlds, and two gold medals at nationals, setting a 15-year-old Canadian record in the process


Nominated by Tennis Saskatchewan

  • Winner of an International Tennis Federation event and a competitor in more than four other major events on the junior and women’s circuits


Nominated by the Saskatoon Diving Club and Dive Sask

  • Gold medalist at the Junior National Diving Championships in the platform event and bronze medalist in the 3-metre, who went on to compete for Canada at the junior world championships


Nominated by Saskatchewan Athletics

  • A gold medalist in U20 women’s heptathlon at the Canadian Track and Field Championships, while also winning four provincial high school track and field medals, including three gold


Nominated by family and Sask Volleyball

  • Bronze medal winner with Team Canada at the men’s Junior Pan American Volleyball Cup, who also brought home gold from the Canada Summer Games and Canada Cup


Nominated by Tennis Saskatchewan

  • Winning a gold medal at 16-years-old in the Under-18 Outdoor Junior Nationals and winner of four other events on the International Tennis Federation’s junior circuit


Nominated by the Saskatoon Diving Club and Dive Sask

  • A three-time silver medal winner at the Age Group Nationals, silver medal winner at the Canada Games at just 12 years old, while winning thee provincial and three western gold medals in 2022


Nominated by Dive Sask

  • Guiding four different divers to nine national medals in 2022 and helping two divers bring home medals from Commonwealth Games


Nominated by Saskatchewan Baton Twirling

  • Coaching six athletes to numerous medals at the baton twirling national championships and leading Julee Stewart to a silver medal at the world championships


Nominated by Saskatchewan Athletics

  • Head coach for Canada at the World Athletics U20 Championship and the NACAC Track and Field Championship where Canada won 15 combined medals… Also, led the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Women’s Track and Field Team to a Canada West banner, while being named Coach of the Year


Nominated by Saskatchewan Cheerleading

  • The first ever team from Saskatchewan to win the World Cheerleading Championships to go along with a provincial title and a second place finish at the Best of the West competition


Nominated by Sask Volleyball

  • Gold medal winners at the Canada Summer Games, marking the first time a men’s volleyball team has won first-place at the event since 1987, along with gold medal winners at the Canada Cup


Nominated by football supporters and supported by Football Saskatchewan

  • An undefeated regular season, winning the Prairie Football Conference with 11 All-Canadian athletes and a Coach of the Year


Nikita Ens – Meadow Lake – Para swimming

Nominated by Swim Saskatchewan

A member of the national para swim team and national record holder, Nikita Ens has always been involved in sport. Along with being an active cyclist, Nikita completed triathlons, played volleyball and won a high school provincial shotput medal. In 2010, Nikita made it her mission to cycle across Canada from Whiterock, BC to Halifax in 32 days to raise money for Haitian earthquake victims. In 2014, a car accident changed her life and after an intensive healing journey, Nikita found swimming. In the five years since, Nikita has competed for Canada at the Paralympics in Tokyo and at the World Para Swimming Championships in 2019 and most recently in 2022, where she  . While striving for continuous personal improvement, Nikita always aims to be a strong community advocate and give back to fellow athletes. Nikita helps out at summer camps with Athletes-In-Action, teaches English to newcomers and gives presentations about her story to elementary schools, high schools and several western Canadian universities.

Nolan Barnes – Yorkton – Adaptive waterskiing

Nominated by Waterski and Wakeboard Saskatchewan

After a single vehicle collision in 2010 left him a paraplegic, Nolan Barnes made it his mission to inspire others. He’s not only overcome his injury, but he’s become a world-class athlete, motivational speaker and advocate against impaired driving. Starting from the grassroots level of adaptive waterskiing, Nolan worked his way up to become a member of the national team and went on to become a world champion and world record holder. He’s also developed into a coach, official and mentor, helping with various grassroots clinics and programs. Nolan started public speaking just five months after his injury and has since spoken to thousands across Western Canada. He has made it his mission to share the message of staying safe, the importance of decision making and helping people find fulfillment in their lives.


Doug Sylvester – North Battleford – Biathlon

Nominated by Biathlon Saskatchewan

For the past 27 years, Doug Sylvester has been a dedicated biathlon coach. His athletes have earned numerous medals at the Canada Winter Games and other national championships, with four of his athletes making it to the senior national team. Some of those athletes have competed in the Olympics, World Cups and World Championships. Doug has always stayed close with his athletes that move on to the national team, ensuring he is still supporting them. Along with coaching and mentoring his athletes, Doug encourages the next generation of coaches by regularly putting on coaching clinics and professional development sessions, as well as mentoring newer coaches in the province and across Canada. Doug has also served on the jury at national competitions for several years because of his impartialness and fair opinions. Doug has received Biathlon Canada’s Coach of the Year Award on two separate occasions. Prior to getting involved in biathlon, Doug spent 10 years coaching volleyball, soccer, high performance swimming and baseball.

Tracy Hazen – Saskatoon – Volleyball

Nominated by the Thunder Creek Volleyball Club and supported by Saskatchewan Volleyball Association

Guiding her teams to numerous medals and championships, Tracy Hazen has a knack for empowering her volleyball athletes. Along with leading the St. Joseph High School’s women’s volleyball team to several provincial medals, Tracy has won many club medals in age groups from . She coached Team Sask at the Canada Summer Games and in 2018, guided the Team Sask 18U group to the gold medal at the Canada Cup. It was the first 18U Saskatchewan team to win the gold medal in 21 years of the Canada Cup. After the win, the head of Volleyball Canada praised the team for being the first to achieve this title and Tracy for her coaching ethics, mentorship and leadership as a strong female in sport. In 2022, Tracy guided the Saskatchewan women’s volleyball team to a fourth-place finish at the Canada Summer Games, which was the best finish by a provincial team in more than 30 years.


Leslie Bilodeau – Debden – Broomball

Nominated by the Debden Speedballs Boys Minor Broomball and supported by Saskatchewan Broomball Association

Volunteering to coach four broomball teams, Leslie Bilodeau has made a major impact in the community of Debden and is always doing so with a smile on his face. Since 2014, Leslie has served as head coach for the U14 boys’ broomball team and during that time has added the U16, U20 and men’s teams to his resume as well as national team championships appearances. Leslie first got involved in 2012 when he put together an adult mixed team, organizing an adult and mixed provincial tournament that same year. In 2021, he developed and started a provincial men’s league. He’s currently on the organizing committee for the 2023 national championship that will be hosted in Saskatoon.

Michelle Duchene – Saskatoon – Football

Nominated by the Saskatoon Valkyries and supported by Football Saskatchewan

After first getting involved in football as a volunteer trainer with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in 1997, Michelle Duchene has given back countless hours to the sport. In 2010, a trip to the world championship as a trainer with the national women’s tackle football team sparked her interest in creating a women’s tackle football program in Saskatchewan. In 2011, thanks in large part to the dedication of Michelle, the Western Women’s Canadian Football League was born. Michelle co-founded the Saskatoon Valkyries and has continued to work with them since 2011. She also established the Rush girls’ flag football league in Saskatoon in 2014 and is now heading the creation of a girls tackle football team in Saskatoon to join the Prairie Girls Football League. While doing all of that, Michelle has managed touch and flag football teams for 23 years and served as a flag coach for the past 18 seasons. Outside of football, Michelle volunteers in minor hockey, sits on various councils and boards and always gives her time during major events happening in Saskatoon

Ryan Gaudet – Bellevue – Wheelchair Rugby

Nominated by the Saskatchewan Wheelchair Sports Association

For more than 20 years, Ryan Gaudet has been a key figure of the wheelchair rugby officiating crew in Saskatchewan. He has officiated in all levels of the sport and also plays a hand in developing the next generation of officials. Ryan started officiating wheelchair rugby in 2002 and from his first year until 2022, he worked every national championship. In 2012, he began to oversee all officiating development in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, helping newer officials rise to the ranks. His career highlight came in 2021 at the Tokyo Paralympics, when Ryan was selected to work the bronze medal game. Ryan recently retired from international officiating after working the 2022 World Championships in Denmark to spend more time with his five kids. Ryan is still involved provincially and nationally in a developmental role.

Tony Caissie – Melfort – Special Olympics

Nominated by Special Olympics Saskatchewan

A crucial part of the Special Olympics Melfort Committee, Tony Caissie has been volunteering with the organization for more than 10 years, currently serving as the program coordinator. Going above and beyond the regular call of duty, Tony helps organize meetings, apply for grants, assist with registration, community accreditation, as well as volunteer and athlete recruitment and facility booking. In 2020-21, Tony was named the Special Olympics Saskatchewan Bob Peddie Memorial Award Winner, which is given to a long-standing volunteer, for his dedication to Special Olympics in the province.