It was a great night for the Team PEI Special Olympics curlers, who won the ADL/Sport PEI “Team of the Year” honours at the annual awards ceremony, which took place tonight at the Charlottetown Curling Club, following the PEI Curling Association’s Annual General Meeting. The team, which is skipped by Greg St. John, and includes Phillip Chugg, John Anthony Laybolt, Monique Gauthier and Chris MacPherson, with head coach Dick St. John, assistant coach Ann Doucette, and team manager Paula Gauthier, won gold at the Special Olympics National Winter Games in February in St. Albert, Alberta. They were against some tough competition for tonight’s honours, namely the three-time PEI junior women’s champion Sarah Fullerton rink, and the Suzanne Birt team, winners of the Curl Atlantic Championship, and third place finishers at the International Bernese Ladies Cup in Switzerland.
Photo (L-R): Ann Doucette (Asst. Coach), John Anthony Laybolt, David Docherty (representing sponsor ADL), Chris MacPherson, Greg St. John, Monique Gauthier, Dick St. John (Head Coach). Missing from photo: Phillip Chugg
Other winners tonight were World Youth Olympics bronze medallist Emily Gray for Junior Female Athlete of the Year, Atlantic University champ, CIS/CCA All Canadian second team member, and PEI Curling Association executive member Connor MacPhee, Senior (Adult) Female Athlete of the Year Rebecca Jean MacDonald, who played third for both the PEI Women’s and Mixed championship teams this season, and Brett Gallant, who won the Senior (Adult) Athlete of the Year award, after a great season, finishing as runner-up in the PEI men’s championship, winning a World Curling Tour event in Quebec, and capturing the Atlantic Curling Tour championship. He also competed in the Player’ Championship Grand Slam event in Summerside, playing on the Brad Gushue rink, and plans to join that team next season in St. John’s.
Also in the winners’ circle tonight was Brett’s father, Peter Gallant, as Coach of the Year, after a busy season coaching the Suzanne Birt rink to a win in the inaugural Curl Atlantic Championship, and a third place finish at the International Bernese Ladies Cup in Bern, Switzerland. He also coached the Mike Gaudet rink at the Brier, and the Alex Matters team, which includes his son Chris, to a provincial Junior title. Amanda Bulger and Derek MacEwen were co-winners of the Administrator of the Year awards, for Bulger’s work updating website scores at many provincial championships and cashspiels, and MacEwen’s volunteer work at the Cornwall Curling Club, where he has been the webmaster and content provider for the club website for the past 12 years, and runs one of the leagues. The Official of the Year award went to Charlottetown’s Kay Atkinson, a long-time curling head official, who also helps mentor new officials.
At the awards ceremonies, MC’d by Sean Ledgerwood, Sport PEI’s Nick Murray congratulated Amalgamated Dairies Ltd. for over twenty years of sponsoring annual awards for many sports.