2016 CAF Sports Day Awards

News Article / February 7, 2017

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By Second Lieutenant Kurtis McConnell

Physical fitness is a core requirement of military service and a number of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) personnel showed they “have what it takes” when they received top awards at the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Sports Awards ceremony.

Corporal Kerry Burrows, Captain Caitlin Clapp, Sergeant Paula Hickey, Master Corporal Amanda Jardine, Major Cameron Lowdon, Master Corporal Giancarlo Pavone, Captain Jacklyn Zacher, Master Corporal Robert Jackson, Master Warrant Officer Richard Amos and Warrant Officer Paul Murphy were recognized last October for their outstanding performances in or contributions to sports in the Canadian Armed Forces.

“Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Sports Day is about strengthening our military culture of fitness,” Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance said. “It helps us to recognize the value that sports participation can bring to novice and elite athletes of all ages. Sports not only help prepare us for the physical demands we may face on operations, but can also help us manage stress, build better connections with friends and colleagues, and make healthy lifestyle choices for our whole family.

“Capping the day, the 28th Annual CAF Sports Awards Ceremony will provide the perfect finale by formally recognizing this year’s most extraordinary sports accomplishments. These athletes, coaches and officials prove that the CAF provides great opportunities to excel in the field of sports, as well as in the profession of arms. I offer my heartiest congratulations to each of those who will be recognized at the ceremony. On and off of the playing field, your leadership and commitment sets an outstanding example for all of us.”

Honour Roll inductees

Lieutenant-Commander (retired) Ivor Axford

Lieutenant-Commander (retired) Ivor Axford was inducted into the Sports Honour Roll as a key member of the storied RCAF Shearwater Flyers Football Team from 1952–1957. Lieutenant-Commander Axford’s team won a string of Nova Scotia and Maritime Championships, culminating in victory at the 1957 Canadian Intermediate Football Championship.

Major Cameron Lowdon

Major Cameron Lowdon has, over the past 15 years, compiled the best golf record in the CAF. He has won nine CAF Regional Golf Championships, and has won one gold and three silver medals at the CAF National Golf Championships. With his competitive drive and dignified play, Major Lowdon is also an excellent leader on the CISM Golf Team. He has won five team medals, and an individual silver medal in the Senior Category. While the team missed the podium at the 2015 Military World Games, Major Lowdon shot an unbelievable 68, the lowest score ever posted by a CAF player in military competition. In civilian competition, Major Lowdon is the first military golfer to win a recognized Golf Canada Provincial Championship, proudly claiming victory at the 2014 Manitoba Mid-Amateur Championship.

Dedication to Canadian Armed Forces Sports Award

Athletes, coaches and officials

Master Corporal Amanda Jardine

Athlete – Rugby

Master Corporal Amanda Jardine is immensely dedicated to her rugby team and to fitness and sports across the CAF. Although she is posted to Ottawa, Master Corporal Jardine is so committed to her Nova Scotia-based rugby team that she travels back and forth to compete with the team throughout the summer. Playing with the Valley Bulldogs, she won bronze at the 2015 Nova Scotia Provincials Championship, and, playing with the Nova Scotia Women’s Team, she won gold at the 2015 Eastern Canadian Championship. Master Corporal Jardine also promotes the CAF culture of fitness by playing an active role on her unit Health and Fitness Committee.

Major Cameron Lowdon

Athlete – Golf

In 2015, Major Cameron Lowdon won his ninth career Regional Championship, and followed up that success with his first CAF National Championship. His final round score of 70 included an impressive eight birdies. Maj Lowdon’s success continued as the top player on the Canadian Golf Team at the CISM Military World Games. He hit a 3rd round score of 68, the lowest competitive round in CAF golf history, and led the team to a 4th place finish against a top-notch field with many professional golfers. In civilian competition, Maj Lowdon also distinguished himself with a 16th place finish at the Manitoba Amateur Golf Championships in a field of 120 competitors.

Master Corporal Giancarlo Pavone

Official of the Year – Soccer

With two international appointments, three national appointments, and a host of provincial tournaments under his belt, Master Corporal Pavone had a tremendous 2015 soccer refereeing season. He officiated at the Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup, an elite international youth tournament, and was honoured to represent the CAF as an official at the CISM Military World Games. Other highlights of Master Corporal Pavone’s year included refereeing during the Canadian Interuniversity Sport season, refereeing at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Soccer Championships, acting as referee and mentor at the Western Canada Summer Games, and acting as Chief Official at the CAF Prairie Regional Championship.

Captain Jacklyn Zacher

Coach – Hockey

Captain Zacher absolutely loves her sport, and is the undeniable driving force behind women’s hockey at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta. The seasoned player and referee added Head Coach to her résumé in 2015 when pregnancy took her from leading on the ice to guiding others from the bench. Her leadership saw 4 Wing take home the CAF Prairie Regional Championship. Win or lose, throughout the season Captain Zacher demonstrated a passionate love for the game, a great sense of humour, and a dedication to helping both novice and highly skilled athletes succeed.

Master Warrant Officer Richard Amos

Coach – Volleyball

Thanks to Master Warrant Officer Richard Amos’s excellent coaching, the CFB Kingston, Ontario, Women’s Volleyball Team was the one to beat in 2015. The team finished the season undefeated, taking home the gold at both the CAF Regional and CAF National Championships. In a field of tough competition, it was the team’s fourth straight regional title, and second straight nationals win. Master Warrant Officer Amos’s wealth of knowledge on the court and dedication to his players’ success also led to his selection as Assistant Coach of the Royal Military College of Canada varsity teams, and Assistant Coach of the CISM Men’s Volleyball Team for the 2015 Military World Games in South Korea.

Warrant Officer Paul Murphy

Coach – Hockey

Warrant Officer Paul Murphy is the consummate hockey coach. A CAF Sports Honour Roll inductee in 2013, he continues to impress each year with his incredible dedication to developing his athletes’ talents, his skill at organizing major events and tournaments, and his abilities as a great coaching mentor. In 2015, Warrant Officer Murphy took on the hugely challenging task of organizing the Hockey Northwest Territories Arctic Winter Games trials for Peewee, Bantam, Midget and Women’s teams. He also coached the Yellowknife Old Timers and Base hockey teams, as well as a Peewee Rec team and a Midget Rep team to great success.

Master Corporal Robert Jackson

Coach – Hockey

Master Corporal Robert Jackson spent countless hours coaching both CAF and minor hockey in 2015, dedicating much of his spare time to organizing ice times, running practices, and helping his players excel. He coached the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Halifax, Nova Scotia, Old Timers Hockey Team to an undefeated regular season and a great victory at the CAF Atlantic Regional Championships. At CAF Nationals, CFB Halifax suffered a heartbreaking loss in double overtime to take home the silver medal. A true sportsman, Master Corporal Jackson was graceful even in defeat, and never wavered in his upbeat demeanor and determination to get great performances out of his athletes.

14 Wing Greenwood Women’s Slo-Pitch Team

Team award

After being unable to field a team in 2014, the 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia, CAF Women’s Slo-Pitch Team worked hard and made an outstanding comeback in 2015. With experienced veterans and enthusiastic new players, they joined the Valley Ladies Slo-Pitch League to build their skills. The team made tremendous strides within just a few short weeks, and won CAF Atlantic Regional gold. They continued playing in the civilian league throughout the summer, and were well prepared for CAF Nationals in August, where they came away with a silver medal. One week later, they again won silver in Valley League Championships, capping off an excellent season.

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