Ottawa, Ont. – Softball Canada is pleased to announce the award recipients who will be recognized at the Softball Canada Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet on November 12th in Fredericton, N.B. The Banquet will be held in conjunction with the Softball Canada Congress and Annual General Meeting which will take place from November 10-12.
The Home Run Sports Coach of the Year award will be presented to Jeff Fraser of Upper Nine Mile River, N.S. Fraser has been coaching for over 20 years, most recently as the Head Coach with Team Nova Scotia for the 2022 Canada Summer Games. He has led many teams to Canadian Championship medals and has spearheaded the creation of the Shooter’s Fastpitch League in Central NS, and the Maritime League in NS, NB, and PEI.
Ron “Soupy” Campbell of Saint-John, N.B., has been selected as the Home Run Sports Fast Pitch Umpire of the Year. Campbell has been umpiring for 26 years and has the utmost respect from everyone involved in the game. He has a very approachable personality and has the ability to diffuse tense confrontations on the field with his calm demeanour. He promotes and is actively involved in New Brunswick’s Junior Development program and is always available to assist both on and off the field of play.
This year’s recipient of the Home Run Sports Slo-Pitch Umpire of the Year is Patrick Chiquette of St- Hyacinthe, Que. Chiquette has been umpiring since 2011 and has earned the respect of athletes, and his peers as a strong proponent for the development of Slo-Pitch in his province and nationally. He is constantly available and dedicates his time to developing officials of all ages, delivering clinics, and regularly supervising local tournaments in Quebec.
The Rose Hodgson Volunteer of the Year award will be presented to Brent Evans of Fredericton, N.B. Evans has invested a considerable amount of time volunteering with the Fredericton Fastpitch Association and Softball New Brunswick for the past 16 years after a lengthy and successful playing and coaching career.
This year’s recipients of the Claude Deschamps Memorial Fund are Belle Ashley of Alberton, P.E.I., and Evan Despres of Killarney Road, N.B.
Ashley recently began her second year at Dalhousie University in Health Science. She started all seven games in the leadoff spot and at second base while being a key leader for Team PEI at the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, batting .333 and leading her team with five runs scored.
Despres began a four-year program in Business Administration at the University of New Brunswick this fall. A member of Team New Brunswick at the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, Evan led his team with seven hits and had a .350 batting average and played with the Fredericton Intermediate Twins this summer.
The Ethel Boyce Memorial Award will be awarded to Sierra Jones of Calgary, Alta., and Tyler Branchaud of Metcalfe, Ont.
Jones is in her first year in Architecture at Bay Community College in Michigan, where she will begin her NJCAA softball career this Spring. She competed with the Calgary Kaizen Black team that won the Softball Alberta Provincial Championship and finished fourth at the U19 Women’s Canadian Championship this summer.
Branchaud recently began his first year of a Police Foundations degree at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ont. He represented Team Canada at the 2020 WBSC U18 Men’s Softball World Cup and was a member of Napanee Express that won a silver medal at the U20 Men’s Canadian Championship this summer, earning a spot on the tournament All-Star team.
Softball Canada and its partner Home Run Sports established the Athlete of the Year awards in 2019 to recognize the top Canadian Fast Pitch and Slo-Pitch athletes at the national and international level.
Kelsey Harshman of Delta, B.C., is this year’s recipient of the Women’s Fast Pitch Athlete of the Year. Harshman returned to the Canadian Women’s National Team after driving in the eventual winning run for Canada’s historic bronze-medal win at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games held in 2021 and has established herself as one of the World’s top hitters.
Sean Cleary of Harbour Main, N.L., is this year’s recipient of the Men’s Fast Pitch Athlete of the Year. Cleary has been a mainstay in the Team Canada pitching circle in the better part of the last decade and continues to perform as one of the World’s top pitchers in 2022. His season began with a masterful performance at the WBSC Americas Pan American Championship in Argentina, going 3-1 with 48 strikeouts and a 1.75 ERA over 28 innings, including a big opening game win over World No. 1 Argentina.
This year’s recipient of the Women’s Slo-Pitch Athlete of the Year is Melanie Gulbransen of Aldergrove, B.C. Gulbranson had an outstanding season in Women’s Slo-Pitch, earning the top Player of the Qualifying Round award with 27 hits and a 0.659 batting average to help lead the SIS Adrenaline to a Canadian Championship gold medal. She followed up that performance by making her first Border Battle appearance, registering five hits and a .455 average in three games for Team Canada.
This year’s recipient of the Men’s Slo-Pitch Athlete of the Year is Hunter Platten of Edmonton, Alta. Platten put up huge numbers at the Men’s Canadian Slo-Pitch Championship, registering 48 hits including 22 homeruns and 65 runs batted in 14 games to help lead Evolution Sports Cardinals to the gold medal. He continued to show he’s one of the top hitters in the world at the Border Battle, contributing 12 hits, a .857 batting average, 6 homeruns and 13 runs batted in through four games.
The Softball Canada Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet will be streamed on Softball Canada’s YouTube page starting at 7:00pm AST on Saturday, November 12 and will be available to be viewed later. A cocktail reception will begin at 6:00pm with the meal at 7:00pm.
Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners!