For 44 years Sport Yukon has been handing out awards to the Yukon’s top athletes, coaches and sport administrators. The 2019 crop of honourees continues this trend, despite COVID-19 necessitating the distribution of the awards to take place at a distance.

“We are very proud of this year’s winners,” said Sandra Soares, Program and Events Coordinator for Sport Yukon, “They are all so dedicated to their sports and well deserving of the recognition.” 

Sean McCarron (pictured above) was awarded Coach of the Year for his work coaching basketball at the senior girls and boys high school level and the under-18 major games level. McCarron has been a passionate coach for the past twenty-seven years. He started coaching grade seven players when he was in grade twelve and has been coaching ever since. In recognizing McCarron’s achievement, the Sport Yukon Awards Board noted, “he has the ability to make the whole team greater than the sum of its parts. His energy and level of engagement with athletes is incredible, he knows how to inspire players to push themselves. He creates a team environment where the players all fit together as one and collectively perform past their individual abilities.”

Leslie Raenden was awarded Administrator of the Year for her work as a board member of Cross-Country Yukon throughout the last decade. The Awards Board highlighted, “Leslie has displayed a calm and rational approach to any challenges Cross-Country Yukon encounters. She has greatly helped lead the way through any muddy waters. Staff often go to her when faced with challenges because of her ability to look at situations from many angles and give perspective in a concise manner.”

The PeeWee Mustangs are the recipients of Team of the Year. The PeeWee Mustangs had an impressive year, finishing the year with a 36-7-3 record for the season while topping the podium at two tournaments and the Tier 3 Provincials. Their coaches spoke about the players dedication. “As coaches we were inspired by how the players always wanted to come to the rink ready and willing to work hard at practice, dry-land training or games. The team as a unit stayed committed to the goal and continually got better throughout the year always wanting to be challenged in some way.”

Ameila Barrault was honoured as the National/Territorial Female Athlete of the Year. At the beginning of 2018-2019 season Barrault started to become a contender at the provincial level, ultimately earning herself her first ever Canadian Junior National qualifying time. She finished the 2019 season medaling at Western Canada Summer Games, some of the only medals brought home from Yukon. Barrault hasn’t slowed down since these successes, recently earning her first Canadian Olympic Trial time. She is currently the only Whitehorse Glacier Bears athlete who holds a qualifying standard. Barrault has qualified for Olympic Trials 2020 in Toronto (rescheduled until April 2021 due to COVID-19), the Junior Nationals 2020 in Montreal and the Western Canadian Swimming Championships in Saskatoon.

Derek Deuling was awarded the National/Territorial Male Athlete of the Year. Deuling ranked 2nd nationally in his age group at the 2019 Nationals and was one of four Canadian cross-country skiers to attend the Youth Olympic Games in January 2020 in Switzerland.  He was scheduled to return to the Canadian Nationals in March 2020 but this event was cancelled due to COVID-19.  He has accepted a ski scholarship at University of Alaska in Anchorage in 2020 where he will be pursuing skiing and studies in the sciences.

Dahria Beatty was named International Female Athlete of the Year. Beatty has consistently been the strongest Canadian female cross-country ski sprinter in the last few years. She spent four years on the Junior National Team and the last six years on the Senior National Team and represented Canada at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Having one first-place finish and two second-place finishes at the 2019 Canadian National championships, she also had a third-place finish at the US Super Tour in Maine along with four top-20 finishes and one top-30 finish at international World Cup events. Beatty is continuing to train as a member of the Senior National Nordic Team in Canmore, Alberta.  She works with a number of organizations to try to inspire the next generation of youth and has been working as an Athlete Ambassador for Sport North and Fast and Female.

Dylan Cozens was awarded International Male Athlete of the Year. Cozens played for Team Canada in the U-18 World Championship in Sweden in April 2019. Then in January 2020 he was part of the gold medal winning Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. He tied for 6th overall in scoring and third for Team Canada, including a goal in the gold medal game that saw Canada defeat Russia 4-3. Cozens was drafted 7th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL entry draft in June 2019.

Olympic dreams