Prince Albert sports fans and supporters gathered to honour Bruce Vance, Taz Smith-Windsor, and Gage Grassick at the Ches Leach Lounge on Saturday at the annual Kinsmen Sportsman’s Dinner.
Vance, the longtime marketing and business manager for the Prince Albert Raiders, has volunteered his time with numerous programs and boards like the Esso Cup hosting committee. In a pre-taped video, Vance said he was humbled to win an award given out to so many hard-working community members.
“It’s an incredible honour to be named the PA Kinsmen Club Sportsman of the Year,” Vance said in the video. “Thank you very much. Prince Albert has such a rich sports history, and to be named Sportsman of the Year besides such people as Jim Bristow, Jim Scarrow, Zenon Markowsky, Mark Nagy, and many others, it is a truly humbling moment.”
University of Saskatchewan third-year basketball player Gage Grassick also provided pre-taped remarks, and had her brother and sister on hand to accept the award as Kinsmen Female Athlete of the Year.
The Carlton alumnus was out of the province due to commitments with the Huskies women’s basketball team, but said in a video she was honoured and grateful for the award. She also said she was thankful for friends, family, and community members who helped her on and off the basketball court.
“I’ve been so fortunate to live in Prince Albert where sports are so prevalent due to the generosity of many community members, local businesses, and the City of Prince Albert. It is because of their vision to provide first rate facilities … that allow athletes like myself to dedicate time and love to our sports.”
Fellow Huskies athlete Taz Smith-Windsor was on hand to accept the Kinsmen Male Athlete of the Year trophy. Smith-Windsor, another Carlton alumnus, spent the past season with the University of Saskatchewan football team, but prior to that represented Saskatchewan at the U18 Football Canada Cup where he won Defensive MVP in the gold medal game.
Like Grassick, Smith-Windsor credited family and friends for his success, since improving as a football player meant long drives south for only a few hours of practice.
“I am beyond grateful to receive this award,” he said.
“This award is meaningful to me in so many ways. Many great athletes have come out of Prince Albert in recent years, and I am honoured to be among them.”
NHL legend and Stanley Cup Champion Chris Chelios was the guest of honour for Saturday’s dinner. All funds raised from the event will go towards the Grand Slam Rebuild Project organized by the Prince Albert Minor Baseball Association.