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Saskatchewan Sport Awards Recipients and Finalists Announced

Olympic, Paralympic athletes and international medallists among finalists for Excellence Awards

Olympians and Paralympians, international and national champions and the coaches and volunteers who have dedicated time behind the scenes, will all be honoured at the 2023 Saskatchewan Sport Awards.

The Saskatchewan Sport Awards will celebrate the 30 finalists and recipients of the event’s nine different categories on February 1 in Regina.

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.

2020 Paralympian Jessica Frotten, adaptive waterski world-record holder Blake Lamontagne and diverse gymnast group Team Saskatchewan Gymnaestrada are recipients of the Inspire Through Sport awards. While long-serving volunteers in adaptive ski, basketball and football, Pat Prokopchuk, Bob Coffin and Mike Tanton will be honoured with Volunteer Dedication awards.

“All finalists are a strong example of why Saskatchewan’s amateur sport community thrives locally, provincially, nationally and even, internationally. As a community, we can be very proud to celebrate their achievements.”

Bill Kinash, Volunteer Board Chair for Sask Sport

Six coaches all with at least 20 years of coaching experience will be handed Coach Dedication awards. The coaches are Don Larson (box lacrosse), Rob Sleeth (canoe/kayak), Pat Barry (football), Maureen Johnson (baton twirling), Hazem Hussein (swim) and Jason Cawkwell (swim).

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

“The dedication, perseverance and success that each award finalist and recipient share is remarkable,” said Bill Kinash, Volunteer Board Chair for Sask Sport. “All finalists are strong examples of why Saskatchewan’s amateur sport community thrives locally, provincially, nationally and even, internationally. As a community, we can be very proud to celebrate their achievements.”

The 2023 Saskatchewan Sport Awards will be celebrated with a gala on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Queensbury Convention Centre in Regina. The gala will honour the 12 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 here

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 Saskatchewan Artistic Swimming

  • Pan American Games bronze medalist, double medalist at the 2023 World Cup Superfinal in acrobatic and free routine, who also competed at the World Aquatics Championships in Japan


Nominated by Swim Saskatchewan

  • Set a new longcourse Canadian Para swimming record in women’s 100-metre back S6 at the Manchester 2023 Para Swimming World Championships and claimed three gold medals in national and international events


Nominated by Basketball Saskatchewan

  • Scoring on the buzzer at the 2023 FIBA 3X3 Women’s Series Ulaanbaatar Final to bring Team Canada the Series title after placing first in three back-to-back international tournaments 


Nominated by the University of Regina Cougars

  • Winner of three gold medals across the Canadian U20 Track and Field Championships and Canadian U20 Cross Country Championships, as well as two-time medallist at the 2023 Canada West Track and Field Championships


Nominated by Dive Sask

  • 2020 Olympian, who received a gold medal at the USA Diving International Invitational and silver at the Santiago Pan American Games in synchro 10-metre platform


Nominated by Special Olympics Saskatchewan

  • International gold medal recipient at the Berlin 2023 Special Olympics World Games in the ninehole Individual Stroke with 190 points


Nominated by Saskatchewan Athletics

  • The team broke a 12-year-old record, bringing Canada West it’s first-ever U SPORTS gold medal in the men’s 4X200-metre relay and were first place finishers in the event at the Canada West Track and Field Championships


Nominated by Football Saskatchewan

  • Undefeated, 12-0, in the 2023 season, winners of the Canadian Bowl Championship, while claiming their 23rd Canadian Bowl title


Nominated by North Regina Little League supported by Baseball Saskatchewan

  • Canadian Little League Championship winners and first team to hail from the prairies since 2002 to represent Canada at the Little League World Series


Nominated by Wascana Racing Canoe Club supported by Canoe/Kayak Saskatchewan

  • Coach of the Wascana Racing Canoe Club, who’s team returned with three gold, one silver and five bronze medals from the CKC National Sprint Championships in Nova Scotia


Nominated by Bowls Sask

  • Guided three different teams to national medals in 2023 and coached an athlete to claim two Canadian Championship gold medals, and grew the sport of lawn bowling by introducing it to new players

RYAN JONES – Saskatoon

Nominated by Swim Saskatchewan

  • Coached three Para swimmers to achieve the minimum qualifying standard for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games, while leading an athlete to break a Canadian and Championship record in the 100-metre backstroke even


Nominated by Tennis Saskatchewan

  • First place finisher at a Junior Cup and the only Canadian athlete to compete at the Junior Grand Slam in France, England and Australia, the highest junior competition in the world

LUCA VEEMAN – Saskatoon

Nominated by Speed Skating Saskatchewan

  • Flag bearer for Team Saskatchewan and winner of five medals at the 2023 Canada Winter Games, and silver and bronze medallist at the Canadian Junior Long Track Championship

STORM ZABLOCKI – Prince Albert

Nominated by Saskatchewan Athletics

  • Gold and bronze medal winner at the U SPORTS National Track and Field Championships, first place finisher at the Bell Canadian Track and Field Championship and 100-metre dash U20 Saskatchewan and open provincial record holder


Nominated by Lakeshore Tennis Club supported by Tennis Saskatchewan

  • Second place finisher in two events at the J200 Woodbridge Advantage Tennis International and at the 2023 Under-18 Fischer Indoor National Championship


Nominated by Dive Sask

  • Three-time gold medalist and two-time Saskatchewan record breaker at the Junior National Championships, who also claimed three medals at the Junior Pan American Games

SOPHIA MAGUS – Saskatoon

Nominated by the University of Saskatchewan Huskies

  • Team captain at the U19 World Championship and a first-place finisher at the U18 Provincial Championships


Team Saskatchewan Gymnaestrada – Provincial – Gymnastics

Nominated by Gymnastics Saskatchewan

Team Saskatchewan Gymnaestrada (TSG) is a unique group of athletes who use their various artistic abilities to perform acts of reconciliation. The group was established in 2022 and consists of members with various backgrounds and ages, ranging from 11 to over 60. The collaboration between gymnasts and powwow dancers has led the athletes to actively practice reconciliation on and off the world stage, by participating in Indigenous workshops and lessons to form a better understanding of the negative impacts of colonization. TSG traveled to Amsterdam for the World Gymnaestrada in August of 2023. The team’s performance at the event caused a wave of motion to take place within the realm of sport and reconciliation. “Re-Creating Community,” and provided insight to the positive impact of inclusion. The group’s performance used music, drumming and regalia from Indigenous artists to depict their theme of a shared vision for a harmonious future in Canada. The routine received critical acclaim at World Gymnaestrada as the first performance incorporating traditional Indigenous culture and inspired people from across the province and around the world to collaborate and celebrate sport together.

Jessica Frotten – Regina – Para Athletics

Nominated by Saskatchewan Wheelchair Sports Association

As a Paralympian, Jessica Frotten has taken her passion for sport to encourage others. After sustaining a spinal cord injury, Jessica moved from the Yukon to Regina to participate in the First Steps Wellness Program in 2011. Through the program, she found Para athletics and won her first gold at the Canada Summer Games in 2013. Jessica competed at Tokyo 2020, where she set a personal best in the 4×100-metre relay. Last summer, she was named Team Captain for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and won four gold medals at the 2022 Bell Canadian Track and Field Championships. She now takes her experiences and leadership forward to help mentor others who have recently sustained a spinal cord injury. She introduces adaptive sport to those who are interested and encourages all to pursue what they are passionate about. Jessica helps with the development of the community by mentoring and making the community more accessible, such as mapping the accessibility of Wascana Valley Trails.

Blake Lamontagne – Wawota – Adpative Waterskiing

Nominated by friends and supported by Waterski Wakeboard Saskatchewan

Sixteen years ago, Blake Lamontagne became a T4 paraplegic and was introduced to the world of waterskiing by another adaptive athlete. Blake leads his life with an optimistic perspective, knowing no obstacle is too big to overcome. He has developed into a successful athlete in waterski, shattering the MP3 Men’s Trick World Record at the recent 2023 IWWF Disabled World Waterski Championships. Blake has received the honour of being Waterski Wakeboard Canada Male Adaptive Athlete of the Year for three straight years from 2019 to 2022. On three occasions, he has attended the World Disabled Waterski Championships and continues to excel in all events offered in waterski. His performance at Worlds brought Team Canada a silver medal, the first team medal ever awarded to Canada at a World Disabled Waterski Championship. Blake uses his time outside of training and competing to demonstrate that there are various opportunities for people with a disability to engage in life.


Maureen Johnson – Regina – Baton Twirling

Nominated by Saskatchewan Baton Twirling Association

Maureen Johnson has guided innumerable athletes to success at the local, provincial, national, and international level. She takes her 70 years of coaching experience to help athletes and develop coaches through the learning process. Maureen has coached at every WBTF World Championships Event since the inception in 1980, apart from 1981. She leads with the philosophy “every elite athlete was once a beginner,” a belief that has guided her athletes to claim multiple world medals. Apart from her time coaching, Maureen prioritizes her own growth by attending workshops, courses and clinics. Stepping in as an educator to other coaches, she has presented at various webinars hosted by Canadian Baton Twirling Federation.

Don Larson – Regina – Box Lacrosse

Nominated by Queen City Minor Box Lacrosse and supported by Saskatchewan Lacrosse Association 

Don Larson became an essential part of the lacrosse community in 2000 when his son was introduced to the sport. Since first joining, Don has coached 65 different teams over 20 years, from novice to senior levels. He has coached numerous teams to reach provincial and national medals, valuing his time with each group of athletes. Don coached the Saskatchewan U16 North American Indigenous Games team in 2014. Apart from prioritizing the success of his athletes, Don has reached his own success over the years. In 2009, he was the SLA Volunteer of the Year recipient and has received the SLA Coaches award on multiple occasions. More recently, Don was awarded The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee medal for 30 years of Volunteer Service for sport in the community, province and Canada.

Hazem Hussein – Saskatoon – Swim


Nominated by Prince Albert Sharks Swim Club and YMCA and supported by Swim Saskatchewan

Guiding his athletes to numerous medals, Hazem Hussein has led individuals and teams to achieve success in Canada and the UK. In recent competitions, Hazem guided a para-athlete to achieve exceptional growth in the last year, receiving four medals in the Canadian Western Championships and qualifying for finals at nationals. In 2013, Hazem’s Prince Albert Sharks Swim Club earned the prestigious title of the Top Club at the Junior Provincial Championship, highlighting the collective achievement of the entire team while under the guidance of Hazem. In addition to his coaching, Hazem seeks to educate others and has acted as keynote speaker at various facilities including, Canadian Swimming Coaches Association, the University of Saskatchewan, Sports Medicine & Science Council of Saskatchewan and Terry Fox College. Hazem has a PhD in Sport Physiology and obtained a Post Doctorate in molecular exercise physiology. He can pull from his academic achievements when guiding his athletes and other aspiring coaches.

Pat Barry – Saskatoon – Football

Nominated by Football Saskatchewan

Over the past 33 years, Pat Barry has dedicated himself as a positional coach, coordinator and head coach of football. His athletes have attended various levels of championships and found success under his guidance. Pat coached the first all Indigenous team that attended the 6 Nations Challenge as a regular coach and at the Northern League Jamboree, acting as a positional and safe contact leader. In recent years, Pat took on the role as head coach of the Saskatoon Valkyries, bringing the team to the win the last three titles. He has watched members of the Saskatoon Valkyries develop from young athletes into veterans, becoming close to many of the athletes. Pat’s ability to guide his athletes goes beyond the field, he helped his team through the loss of an assistant coach midseason. Along with coaching, he attends various camps and coaching clinics, both as the attendee and as the educator.

Jason Cawkwell – Regina – Swim

Nominated by Regina Piranhas Summer Swim Club and supported by Swim Saskatchewan

Over 37 years of coaching, Jason Cawkwell has worked to better athletes and coaches alike. He has led numerous athletes to success in the pool, while keeping the sport fun. Along with leading the Regina Piranhas to success at provincial championships, Jason has guided Regina Master athletes to claim Canadian and provincial records. He has worked with the Regina Dolphins and University of Regina athletes as an assistant coach, assisting them throughout finals. Mentoring more than just his athletes, Jason recruits new coaches and teaches them how to foster a team environment. Jason has received the Recreation Coach of the Year award in 2022 from Regina Artistic Swimming and was recognized by the Regina Piranhas for his years of service.

Rob Sleeth – Saskatoon – Canoe

Nominated by Saskatoon Racing Canoe Club and supported by Canoe/Kayak Saskatchewan

Rob Sleeth has taken a unique approach to coaching, stepping outside of the average expectations and encouraging current athletes to explore the realm of coaching. Rob was an Olympic coach for five teams between the years of 1980 and 1996. The K2 team claimed an Olympic gold and bronze medal in 1984 under his guidance. Rob led Canada’s National Team program from 1985 to 1999 and in 2016, he prepared the women’s kayak team for their appearance in the Rio Olympics. Recently, Rob coached a SRCC athlete to win three silver and one bronze in the canoe kayak events at the 2023 North American Indigenous Games. He has taken his abilities and applied them in the community and worked with CNIB to offer “Learn to Paddle” initiatives for athletes with visual impairments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rob advocated for the importance of athletes having access to canoe/kayaking and developed a protocol for the safe return, which served as a model for several clubs across Canada.


Bob Coffin – Prince Albert – Football

Nominated by Football Saskatchewan

After being a part of football in Saskatchewan for over 50 years, Bob Coffin continues to involve himself in sport in various capacities. From 1975 to 2011, Bob coached high school football teams in Saskatoon and Prince Albert and was attentive to each athlete he led. He follows his core value that collaboration will mean greater success in the future, exemplified through his dedication to various programs. Bob has been involved in the volunteer community as a coach, administrator and official. In 2010, he became a member of officiating crews doing six, nine- and 12-player football games for high school, peewee and Kinsmen Football League bantam level. Among many other accomplishments, Bob received the Bronze Award from Saskatchewan Amateur Wrestling Association for his contributions to amateur wrestling in the province and in 2017 was inducted into the Prince Albert Hall of Fame in the Builder category.

Pat Prokopchuk – Saskatoon – Adaptive Ski

Nominated by Saski Skiing for Disabled supported by Saskatchewan Ski Association

For over four decades, Pat Prokopchuk has served the skiing community as a coach, ski patroller, aid in the production of sit skis for athletes and administration. Pat finds a way to make sure all individuals interested in pursuing adaptive ski have the opportunity. Around 1978, Pat was a CANSI-qualified ski instructor and spoke with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) to discuss opportunities for visually impaired individuals to get involved in skiing. Pat charted a provincial program that embraced the aspirations of all adaptive skiers and people who wanted to get involved as aids. In addition to her volunteer work, she prioritized the goals of others, helping competitive adaptive skiers qualify for national teams and high-profile competitions such as the Special Olympics and World Disabled Ski Championships . After getting involved in skiing, Pat spent a term as president of the non-profit group Dance Saskatchewan and founded the inclusive Oriental Dance Arts of Saskatoon school. In an act to expand inclusion in skiing, Pat sold sit ski equipment throughout North America and as far as Korea.

Mike Tanton – Saskatoon – Basketball

Nominated by Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and supported by Basketball Saskatchewan

Starting his volunteer journey in 2002 at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), Mike Tanton has attended the Games on five occasions, volunteering as a basketball coach in 2002, 2005, 2008 and as Chef de Mission in 2017 and 2023. With a passion for basketball, Mike continues to partake in events surrounding the sport, working as a community engagement advisor for Wakeride Saskatoon for four years. In 2016, Mike helped co-found One Love Basketball and in 2019 co-founded Living Skies Basketball League, he continues to coach teams and youth camps to this day for both foundations. Mike is also a basketball official and board member of Basketball Saskatchewan. His dedication to basketball was recognized in 2023 through the Role Model Campaign for the Toronto Raptors, celebrating his advocacy and support for the sport over the last 30 years. Mike has a passion for sport, especially basketball, and continues to make sure all individuals can enjoy the sport he has put his heart into for decades. If the community requires an extra hand, Mike is there to help in any way possible.

Nominations were made for 49 athletes, coaches and teams for the 2023 Saskatchewan Sport Awards in the Excellence categories. A full nomination list can be found here.