Cindy Klassen & Duff Gibson Among Winners at the 34th Annual Canadian Sport Awards



    Women's Olympic Gold Hockey take Female Team of the Year and Male Team of
    the Year goes to World Men's Curling Championship Team

    Beckie Scott takes Athlete Leadership Award

    TORONTO, March 23 /CNW/ - The True Sport Foundation officially announced
the winners of the 34th Annual Canadian Sport Awards (CSA), presented by
Investors Group, at an awards ceremony co-hosted by Sport Manitoba at the
University of Manitoba's Investors Group Athletic Centre in Winnipeg. Today's
awards event was a celebration honouring the athletes and leaders who competed
and inspired hope throughout the 2006 calendar year.
    Hosted by CBC Sportscaster, Mike Beaureguard and Team Canada Women's
Hockey Goaltender Sami Jo Small, the ceremony brought together leaders from
the sport and corporate communities who represent the pinnacle of commitment
and competition in the world of Canadian amateur sport. The show was open to
the public and spectators and sport lovers had a chance to watch/meet their
favourite athletes following the ceremony.
    2006 Olympic Skeleton Gold Medal Winner Duff Gibson took home honours for
Male Athlete of the Year, while Canada's Speed Skating sensation Cindy Klassen
was awarded Female Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row.
    Stefan Guay, Canadian Alpine Ski Team athlete and Kirsten Sweetland,
first ever Canadian female to win the Junior World Triathlon Championships
(2006), were named winners of the Junior Male and Female Athlete of the Year
categories respectively.
    Male Team of the Year went to World Men's Curling Championship Team (Team
Gushue) and Female Team of the Year to Canada's Women's Olympic Gold Medal
Hockey Team. The Partners of the Year Award went to Pierre Lueders and
Lascelles Brown for Bobsleigh.
    "It is an honour to congratulate these athletes and sport leaders, on
behalf of the True Sport Foundation, for their achievements and contribution
to Canadian amateur sport," said Victor Lachance, Chair of the Board, The True
Sport Foundation. "Their courage, perseverance and hard work is a shining
example for all of us."
    Continued Lachance: "We would also like to thank the fine city of
Winnipeg for its enthusiasm and for opening its doors to embrace this event
and Canada's athletic community."
    Among the winners today, Olympic Gold medalist Speedskater Clara Anne
Hughes was honoured for her contribution to the international humanitarian
organization Right to Play. Hughes was awarded the Investors Group Spirit of
Sport Story of the Year. This award recognizes a Canadian sporting hero or
group who, in the pursuit of sporting excellence, has demonstrated values such
as dedication, perseverance, sportsmanship, respect for others and a true love
of sport in 2006. Canada's most successful cross country skier and Right to
Play Ambassador Beckie Scott was honoured with the Athlete Leadership Award,
recognizing outstanding contribution to the betterment of sport in 2006.
    "Investors Group applauds the winners of The Canadian Sport Awards, as
well as all of the finalists, for their determination and contribution to
sport in Canada," said Richard Irish, Assistant Vice-President, Community
Affairs and Area Marketing, Investors Group. "It has been a true pleasure to
have the premier recognition event for sporting excellence in Winnipeg, our
corporate home city."
    The winners were chosen by an independent jury from among finalists in
the following categories: Athletic Performance, Leadership in Sport, Corporate
Excellence, Investors Group Spirit of Sport Story of the Year and True Sport
Community Award.

    Winners of the 34th Annual Canadian Sport Awards
    ------------------------------------------------

    ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE AWARDS:

    This year's winners in the Athletic Performance category for the 34th
Annual Canadian Sport Awards, recognizing and celebrating outstanding athletic
performance in 2006, are:

    Male Athlete of the Year

    Duff Gibson, Skeleton


    Female Athlete of the Year

    Cindy Klassen, Long Track Speed Skating


    Junior Male Athlete of the Year

    Stefan Guay, Alpine Ski


    Junior Female Athlete of the Year

    Kirsten Sweetland, Triathalon


    Male Team of the Year

    Men's Olympic Curling Team (Brad Gushue Rink)


    Female Team of the Year

    Women's National Hockey Team


    Partners of the Year

    Pierre Lueders/Lascelles Brown, Bobsleigh

    LEADERSHIP AWARDS:
    The winners in the Leadership Awards category for the 34th Annual
Canadian Annual Sport Awards, recognizing and celebrating an individual's
outstanding contribution to the betterment of sport in 2006, are:

    Athlete Leadership Award

    Beckie Scott, Vergreville, Alberta


    Volunteer Achievement Award

    Walter Sieber, Saint Julie, Quebec


    Leadership in Sport Award

    Victor Lachance, Navan, Ontario


    Coach of the Year

    Neal Marshall, Calgary, Alberta

    CORPORATE EXCELLENCE AWARDS:
    The winners of the Corporate Excellence Awards for the 34th Annual
Canadian Sport Awards, recognizing and celebrating corporations who provided
outstanding support to Canadian sport in 2006, are:

    National Team Support

    Pacific Custom Brokers


    Individual Athlete Support

    Hudson's Bay Company


    National Initiative Support

    BMO Financial Group


    True Sport Community Award

    Baker Lake, Nunavut
    Hamilton, Ontario
    Richmond, British Columbia


    INVESTORS GROUP SPIRIT OF SPORT STORY OF THE YEAR
    The winner of the Investors Group Spirit of Sport Story of the Year Award
for the 34th Annual Canadian Annual Sport Awards, recognizing a Canadian hero
who, in the pursuit of sporting excellence, has demonstrated values such as
dedication, perseverance, sportsmanship, respect for others and a true love of
sport in 2006, is:

    Clara Anne Hughes, Winnipeg, Manitoba

    The CSA brings together leaders from the sporting and corporate
communities who represent the pinnacle of commitment and competition: Canadian
amateur athletes, coaches, sport leaders and volunteers. The annual event
promotes sporting excellence across Canada, and reminds Canadians how sport
lifts the human spirit. It is a tribute to the hard work, the dedication and
the victories of our country's finest athletes.

    About the True Sport Foundation

    The True Sport Foundation is a charitable organization committed to
ensuring that sport makes a positive contribution to Canadian society,
athletes and the physical and moral development of Canada's youth. Managed by
the Foundation, the Canadian Sport Awards boasts a strong relationship with
its modern day founding partners, which include Athletes CAN, the Commonwealth
Games Association of Canada, the Canada Games and the Canadian Centre for
Ethics in Sport. For more information about the Canadian Sport Awards, please
visit www.canadiansportawards.ca.

    About Investors Group

    Investors Group Inc. is a Canadian leader in providing personal financial
planning services, and is dedicated to building lasting client relationships.
Their primary objective is to assist Canadians plan for financial security by
providing quality financial planning advice and products through a network of
Consultants. For more information, visit www.investorsgroup.com.

    About Sport Manitoba

    The home of amateur sport in the province of Manitoba, Sport Manitoba is
the lead planning, programming and funding agency for the development of
amateur sport in Manitoba. The primary focus of Sport Manitoba is on the
development of athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers. Visit the website
at www.sportmanitoba.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Robin Turnbull, Canadian Sport Awards, Program
Director, 1-800-672-7775 ext 4000, rtevent@sympatico.ca; Kim Browning,
Director of Marketing, Sport Manitoba, (204) 925-5606, browning@sport.mb.ca;
Christine Mulkins, Publicist, (416) 652-2544, Cell: (647) 242-3686,
cmulkins@rogers.com

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