Sport North recognizes top NWT athletes of 2014 Tuesday May 26 2015 15 SPORTS RECREATION AWARDS Minimum wage rate in the NWT The Honourable Jackson Lafferty Minister of Education Culture and Employment is pleased to announce that effective June 1 2015 the minimum wage rate in the NWT will be 12.50 per hour. For more information please visit www.ece.gov.nt.ca. By DALI CARMICHAEL The territorys best performing athletes of the year along with their coaches and support systems were recognized for their hard work and dedication to their respective sports at a banquet held in Yellowknife this weekend. Shedding their gear for a more formal uni- form the athletes gathered at the Explorer Hotel on Saturday evening where they were addressed by keynote speaker and Canadian Olympic volleyball player Michelle Sawatzky before receiving their awards. Since playing in the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta Georgia Sawatzky has encouraged youth to fight to achieve their goals against all odds a message that Northern athletes live out with every competition they attend. This years Mary Beth Miller Memorial award for senior athlete of the year went to cross country runner Alea Stockton who has carried her athletic career from the NWT to Kelowna where she competes for his school at UBC Okanagan. Hockey player Johnnie Bowden from Yellowknife was also recognized as a senior athlete of the year while Fort McPhersons Rayna Vittrekwa was named junior athlete for her curling skills. After years of rising through the ranks judo came out as one of the big winners this year with multiple awards going towards the sport. Ndilos Brent Betsina who nabbed the NWTs only medal at this years Canada Winter Games was honoured with the title of male junior athlete of the year. His coach Mario Desforges was also recognized as the territorys top coach of 2015. NorthAmericanIndigenousGamesveteran Darius Andre of Tsiigehchic was awarded for his efforts as a top canoeist at the 2014 sum- mer games where he captured medals and glory for his team. He and Madison McPhee of Hay River a star track runner both took homeyouthathleteoftheyearawardsfortheir amazing performances. Yellowknifes NWT Rebels Broomball cel- ebrated being named team of the year after both the mens and womens teams swept gold at the 2014 World Broomball Champi- onships in Japan. Softball enthusiast Paul Gard based in Yellowknife was given this years Ruth Inch Memorial award for his years of contribution to the sport. Roslyn Firth of Fort Liard who organizes the communitys fledging snowboarding pro- gramming as well as cross country skiing and soccer was given the Delma Kisoun Me- morial award for her work as an outstanding community contributor. You cant officially play a sport without an official and anyone will tell you that some are better at making calls than oth- ers. Yellowknifes Glen Meehan a softball shot caller took home the Dennis Crane Memorial award for being the official of the year. Its also tough to play organized sports without funding. This years top corporate contributor to sport was Yellowknifes Ca- nadian Tire Store 453. PhotoDaliCarmichael Cancer survivors and their supporters gather for a Cancer Survivors Lunch at the Northern Lights Special Care Home in Fort Smith on May 23. By DALI CARMICHAEL The organizers behind Fort Smiths bian- nual Relay for Life fundraising event took a break from their preparation duties for an afternoon to host a Cancer Survivors Lunch. Rather than focusing on the often devas- tating impacts of the disease the mood was light and fun as the survivors current pa- tients and their caregivers nibbled on cake and enjoyed a cool glass of punch. WewantyoutofeelsupportedShariOlsen theRelayeventcoordinatortoldthegroup.We want you to be successful in your journeys. The 2015 Relay for Life event will take place on June 13 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Already 14 teams have signed up to walk for the cause. Thisyearorganizershopetoraise150000. About 48 per cent of the funds raised will go towards programming and services to help people with cancer. Another 27 per cent will go towards cancer research and 20 per cent towards cancer advocacy. Cancer survivors convene in Smith PhotosDarrenHornPhotography Canadian volleyball Olympian Michelle Sawatzky gives a keynote address at the Sport North awards banquet. Athletes of the NWT gather in Yellowknife on May 23 for the 2015 Sport North awards banquet. Pictured here are the evenings winners. MLA Alfred Moses left Premier Bob McLeod senior athlete winner Rayna Vittrekwa and NWT commissioner George Tuccaro meet at the celebration.