(CALGARY, AB) Over 25 years ago, Doug and Lois Mitchell had the foresight to celebrate and elevate the top student-athletes in Canada by showcasing them on a national stage.
Since 1993, the BLG Awards, formerly known as the Howard Mackie Awards, have been a staple celebration in the national sport community, recognizing Canada’s top athletes competing in university athletics within U SPORTS.
As the awards celebrate their 27th year in 2019, they will be relaunched as the U SPORTS Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards, and championed once again by His Honour Doug Mitchell and Her Honour, the Honourable Lois Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.
With a focus on creating a leadership legacy, the rebrand will broaden the scope of the event and provide nominees with a unique personal development experience.
“We are excited to introduce a new leadership summit to this year’s awards and are honoured to be able to bring in Dr. Cari Din, from the University of Calgary, to guide these remarkable student-athletes through an innovative learning workshop,” said Lieutenant Governor Mitchell. “This is a great way to continue preparing these talented young people for the real world when they leave school.”
Dr. Din, an Olympic silver medalist in synchronized swimming with a PhD in Leadership Behaviour, will lead sessions with this year’s nominees focusing on leadership development including values, communication and conflict management.
“Each year I am amazed by the quality of the student-athletes and their ability to combine excellence in their studies and in their chosen sport,” said Doug Mitchell. “When you can formalize the leadership skills that they’re learning from participating in sports and transition that into the professional world, it can enhance their careers dramatically.”
This year’s event will take place in Calgary on May 1 and 2, where eight finalists chosen from 56 U SPORTS universities and four conferences from across the nation will once again vie for the top prize. These athletes will have the opportunity to participate in both the leadership summit, a formal media conference held at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, and the official awards ceremony at the historic McDougall Centre.
“I want to thank Doug and Lois Mitchell for their continued involvement in celebrating the best of our student-athletes through BLG for the past 26 years,” said Graham Brown, President and CEO of U SPORTS. “We are proud to continue to work alongside them as we relaunch this prestigious event as the Lieutenant Governor Athletic Awards. We look forward to bringing an enhanced development experience to this year's finalists and continue the legacy that began in 1993.”
Click here for the Athletes of the Year from all 56 universities hoping to become one of the eight finalists.
UNB student-athletes have twice been named BLG Award winners, most recently in 2017, when Phil Maillet, of the men’s hockey team, won the prestigious award. Rob Hennigar, currently the associate coach of the men’s hockey team, won in 2008.
UNB athletes have been nominated in three consecutive years. Jordan Murray was the AUS male nominee in 2016, Maillet in 2017, and Javon Masters in 2018.