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Traditional Territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples / Victoria B.C. (May 14, 2024) – The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I·SPARC) is pleased to announce the regional recipients of the 2023 Premier’s Awards for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport.

I·SPARC, in collaboration with the Province of British Columbia, launched the regional nomination process in late 2023, receiving nominations from each of I·SPARC’s six regions (Fraser, Interior, Northeast, Northwest, Vancouver Coastal, and Vancouver Island). Applications were open to Indigenous youth athletes 25 years and younger who are competing in performance sport and demonstrating a commitment to their education, culture, and promoting healthy and active lifestyles.

“This outstanding achievement highlights your accomplishments, both on and off the playing field,” said Hon. Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “You are an inspiration to young athletes everywhere! Sport has the power to change lives and our government is committed to ensuring everyone can experience the benefit of sport.”

“I would like to offer my heartiest congratulations to all 36 regional finalists for this year’s Premier’s Awards Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sports. You’ve worked hard, you’ve trained hard, and you’ve earned this recognition,” said Premier David Eby. “You’re the future leaders of your communities. I know you have great contributions to make on and off the field of play!”

“Congratulations to this year’s regional recipients. We are thrilled to be celebrating the outstanding achievements of Indigenous athletes from such a wide range of sports,” said Rick Brant, I·SPARC CEO. “The Premier’s Awards provide an important platform for us to share the inspirational stories of Indigenous athletes from across all six regions of the province. We look forward to following your growth as athletes and leaders within your communities!”

As a way of honouring the 2023 regional recipients, I·SPARC has produced a series of commemorative videos highlighting each of the region’s athletes and celebrating their outstanding achievements. These videos can be found on I·SPARC’s YouTube channel (), website, and social media channels.

These regional recipients automatically serve as nominees for the Provincial Awards, which will be announced later this year.

Fraser Region

  • Jolaine BolamLacrosse, Stó:lō Nation
  • Jordan BolamLacrosse, Stó:lō Nation
  • Cheyenne Simicak, Softball, Gitxsan Nation – Gitanmaax
  • Lincoln WallLacrosse, Métis Nation
  • Grant ReidHockey, Métis Nation (Surrey)
  • Gunner LeifssonLacrosse & Swimming, Golden Ears Métis

Interior Region

  • Meadow Arcand-Squakin, Lacrosse, Syilx and Nehiyaw
  • Danica Maynard, Hockey, Métis Nation
  • Preston Gabriel, Hockey, Okanagan Nation
  • Nicholas Lafontaine, Basketball, Métis
  • Robert Gerow, Lacrosse, Ts’il Kaz Koh – Burnslake
  • Akira Susanj, Karate, Métis Nation

Northwest

  • Tymeko CollinsonVolleyball, Skidegate – Haida Nation
  • Tatum JackHockey & Basketball, Gitxsan Nation – Gitanmaax
  • Presley KallioWrestling & Rugby, Old Massett, Haida Nation
  • Jared McMillan, Golf & Hockey, Nisga’a Nation – Gitlaxt’aamix    
  • Hunter MiersMartial Arts, Tkʼemlúps te Secwépemc
  • Wyatt MowattSoccer, Gitxsan Nation – Gitanmaa

Vancouver Coastal

  • Xavian WashingtonLacrosse & Football, Squamish Nation
  • Penelope SparrowSoccer, xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and We Wai Kai (Campbell River) 
  • Kashlyn MackBasketball, Nuxalk Nation
  • Eden JosephLacrosse, Discus & Soccer, Squamish, Haida, Cree, Southern Tutchone, and Métis 
  • Rexon Jacob-WallaceSoccer, Lil’wat Nation       
  • Ohiyesa Grandy BighornBasketball, Lakota

Vancouver Island

  • Carter BlaceLacrosse, Squamish Nation
  • Ben BrantHockey, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte
  • Blake SwanLacrosse, Tsawout First Nation
  • Breanna FaulknerSwimming, Métis Nation and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation
  • Ava Ocean JackSoccer, Basketball & War Canoe, Quw’utsun
  • Alexandra NelsonHockey & Lacrosse, Snuneymuxw First Nation

About the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council

The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (I·SPARC) is a provincial organization established with the purpose of improving the health outcomes of Indigenous peoples by supporting and encouraging physically active individuals, families, and communities. The programs and services delivered by I·SPARC are designed to build capacity and increase access to sport, recreation, and physical activity in First Nations communities, Métis Chartered Communities, Aboriginal Friendship Centres, schools, and other delivery agencies throughout British Columbia.

For more information, please visit: