As time marches toward the end of another year, it’s time to nominate worthy candidates for Orillia’s coveted Athlete of the Year Award.
The city’s top athletic prize has been awarded annually, with a few interruptions, since 1952. But this year, for the first time, the municipality is not organizing the process.
Earlier this year, city council agreed to allow the Orillia Sport Council to shepherd the process as part of a one-year pilot project aimed at reinvigorating interest in the award. The hope is the local volunteer organization will take on the award permanently.
“We are excited to be organizing the Athlete of the Year process and will work hard to reignite interest in this coveted award,” said Roy Micks, chair of the Orillia Sport Council, which will be proactive in seeking out nominations.
While the council members will be researching candidates and working with local sports groups and others to ensure local athletes are considered, nominations are also being sought from the public.
The nomination process has been streamlined. A simpler nomination form is available online, on the Orillia Sport Council website. You can fill out the form and email it to email@example.com or mail it to 4174 Forestwood Dr., Severn, Ont., L3V 7E1.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to nominate someone,” said Micks, who noted nominations must be received by Jan. 6, 2023 at 4 p.m.
The criteria to win the Athlete of the Year trophy, donated by Norm Davis of the Davis Trophy Co. in 1952, remains the same. The winner must have demonstrated athletic accomplishment that is based on individual ability, dedication to training and good sportsmanship.
The competition is open to anyone whose principal residence is encompassed by the Orillia school district — essentially those who live in Orillia, Oro-Medonte, Ramara, Severn or Rama First Nation.
The 12-member Orillia Sport Council will be joined by a member of the City of Orillia Recreation Advisory Committee in evaluating the nominees and determining a winner.
In previous years, the award was presented at a city council meeting in the New Year. The Orillia Sport Council has decided to present the award at a special ceremony in the Hall of Fame Lounge at the Orillia Recreation Centre. Details will be announced closer to the date.