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Two Ontario wrestling coaches among 2022 Coaching Excellence Award recipients

September 21, 2022

TORONTO – To celebrate National Coaches Week, September 17-25, the Coaches Association of Ontario (CAO) and Hydro One are excited to present 10 coaches from across the province with the Ontario Coaching Excellence Award. Among the 10 recipients are a pair of wrestling coaches: Ahmed Shamiya and Shane Verbiski. Each recipient will receive funding to purchase sporting goods from local Canadian retailers of their choice.

“We are thrilled to recognize this year’s award winners for their dedication and support of athlete development on and off the playing field. Community volunteerism will play a vital role as we continue to recover from the pandemic, and as coaches we can be leaders in creating safe, fun, and positive spaces for youth to grow as athletes and leaders,” said CAO’s Executive Director, Jeremy Cross. “Congratulations and #ThanksCoach to all the recipients and for the impact you are having in your community.”

“Coaches are a crucial part of any community, volunteering their time to support young athletes as they learn and grow on and off the field,” said Jay Armitage, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Hydro One. “Hydro One is proud to support local coaches and their athletes as they return to in-person sports and safe play. Our partnership with the Coaches Association of Ontario will help make the return to sports safe, fun, and inclusive for all.”

The 10 Coaching Excellence Award recipients were selected from numerous nominations received annually by the CAO for each of their unique commitments to inspire, innovate and share knowledge of sport with others. The awards recognize the importance of leadership, performance and the value of human insight which are all integral to great coaching.

The 2022 Ontario Coaching Excellence Award winners are:

Larissa Byckalo, Mountain Volleyball Club, Burlington

Kevin Bomberry, Hamilton Bengals Lacrosse, Hamilton

Christian Hawn, Mississauga South Baseball Association, Mississauga, Hydro One Safe Play Award

Aga Kurpaska, Mississauga Monarchs Basketball, Mississauga

Ahmed Shamiya, McMaster University Wrestling, Hamilton

Linda Tracey, Loyalist College and Vocational Institute, Kingston

Taryn Turnbull, Kingston Impact Basketball, Inverary

Shane Verbiski, St. David’s Catholic Secondary School Wrestling, Petersburg, Andy Higgins Lifetime Achievement Award

John Watkins, Durham College, Oshawa Vikings Rugby Club, Oshawa, Susan Kitchen Trailblazer Award

Greg White, Jacob Hespeler Secondary School, Cambridge

Verbiski was the Andy Higgins Lifetime Achievement Award winner. The award recognizes a coach who has made a sustained and lasting impact to coaching in Ontario. A coach who instills positive values, citizen development and making a difference in people’s lives through sport.

“The CAO would like to thank the Ontario Government and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for their continued investment in National Coaches Week, which allows us to recognize and support Ontario’s most valuable volunteers: our coaches,” said Cross.

This year marks the 8th annual National Coaches Week, when Canadians say #ThanksCoach for the role coaches play in building safe communities and the positive impact they have on all participants. Ontario is home to more than 150,000 active coaches across more than 70 sports, many of whom volunteer their services. For more information about National Coaches Week across Ontario, visit www.coachesontario.ca/events/coachesweek.

Through the Safe Sport 101 partnership between the CAO and Hydro One, 32 coaches from 20 communities across the province were also selected to receive the Return to Coaching Community Grant to help them return to sports safely after COVID-19. The Safe Sport 101 partnership between the CAO and Hydro One gives coaches the tools they need to make sports safe, fun, and inclusive for all. For more information about Safe Sport 101 and the full list of the Return to Coaching Community Grant recipients, visit www.safesport101.coachesontario.ca.