One, and possibly two, Comox Valley residents will be honoured at tonight’s Sport BC’s 49th annual Athlete of the Year Awards Banquet in Vancouver.
Brenda Dean, owner of In Your Court Tennis Academy, will receive one of 45 Presidents’ Awards. The awards are presented to volunteers from Sport BC member and partner organizations who represent the spirit of volunteerism, and whose dedication, energy and commitment contribute to develop of their sport or organization.
Tennis BC nominated Dean for the award, and Karen D. Clarke said there were numerous reasons why the board of directors enthusiastically did so.
“Last summer, Brenda was honoured on CTV’s Island MVP segment for her extensive community work in the Comox Valley,” Clarke noted.
Dean champions tennis in elementary schools, created a So You’ve Always Wanted to Play Tennis event and is spearheading efforts to build an indoor tennis facility in the Valley. She was instrumental in the Comox Valley being named Tennis Canada’s 2013 Tennis Friendly Community of the Year.
“Brenda’s greatest contribution to tennis, however, is her infectious enthusiasm and positive outlook,” Clarke said. “She is a tremendous role model for players young and old, and she embodies the very best qualities our sport fosters: integrity, community engagement, and passion. Tennis in our province is thriving because of the grassroots work promoted by community champions such as Brenda Dean,” Clarke said.
Brad Gunter Nominated
Meanwhile, Courtenay’s Brad Gunter is one of three finalists for University Athlete of the Year.
The fourth-year outside hitter with the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team in Kamloops is up against Coleman Allen (Vancouver-swimming) and Lisa Barclay (Vancouver-volleyball).
Despite missing most of the first half of the season with an injury, Gunter led Canada West and CIS in kills per set (4.57) and was second in Canada West and CIS in service aces per set (0.46). He appeared in 17 matches and had 2,976 kills. His points per set (5.3) was first in the nation.
“Proud of the effort Brad and our team put forth in the second semester,” said TRU head coach Pat Hennelly. “Brad has always represented TRU athletics on the court and in the community. He is our most awarded player and we look forward to his fifth year.”
Gunter is only the third WolfPack player ever to be named a first team CIS all-star. The G.P. Vanier grad was the 2014 CIS Player of the Year and Canada West MVP. He was with Canada’s national B team that finished seventh in the world championships last summer.