After more than three decades of chronicling Canada West on Vancouver Island, Times Colonist sports reporter Cleve Dheensaw was honoured Wednesday by the conference.
Dheensaw, who has spent the last 36 years with the Times Colonist, was named the recipient of the 2016-17 Fred "Gus" Collins Award, which honours a member of the media for their outstanding coverage of the conference and its student-athletes. The honour is named after the late Fred "Gus" Collins, who worked tirelessly for the conference to produce up to date and accurate statistical information from 1979-1999.
The veteran sports reporter was selected as the Collins Award winner by Canada West's 17 sports information directors at their annual meetings last month.
"I am greatly humbled to be singled out among the sports journalists who are dedicated to covering university athletes in Western Canada and am truly honoured to be following my retired Times Colonist compatriot, Ron Rauch, in winning the Collins Award," said Dheensaw, referencing Rauch, who claimed the award in 2012-13.
"I cut my teeth on Canada West and CIAU coverage upon joining the Times Colonist in 1981 and it's been a pleasure and real kick in getting back into what is now the U SPORTS beat after Ron retired. It has again opened my eyes to the talent, passion and energy Canadian university athletes bring to both their sporting and academic pursuits. That has been reflected in the astonishing number of UVic athletes I have covered over the years who have gone on to the Olympics."
A native islander, the University of Victoria grad has travelled to cover a combined nine Olympic, Commonwealth and Pan Am Games since joining the paper in 1981. Dheensaw has also been a familiar face in Vancouver Island's high school, college and university sports scenes, including at Victoria's most recent national championship events – the 2016 women's rugby and 2017 women's basketball U SPORTS championships.
"This is great recognition for an individual that has been passionate and tireless in his support of reporting on Canada West activities. Cleve is an icon in Victoria and has always been very forward-thinking and responsive on reporting on Canada West and its successes," said Victoria Vikes athletic director Clint Hamilton.
Dheensaw now moves forward as Canada West's nominee for the Fred Sgambati Award, which is presented annually by U SPORTS to a member of the news media who has made a major contribution to the development and growth of university sport in Canada.
Past Fred "Gus" Collins Award winners
*2015-16: Rita Mingo, Postmedia (Calgary)
2014-15: Earl Seitz, CFJC TV/B-100 / CIFM Radio (Kamloops)
*2013-14: Darren Zary, The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
2012-13: Ron Rauch, The Times Colonist (Victoria)
2011-12: Evan Daum, The Edmonton Journal / CJSR
2010-11: David Larkins, The Brandon Sun
2009-10: Esther Madziya, Global TV (Saskatoon)
*2008-09: Howard Tsumara, The Vancouver Province
2007-08: Jason Pires, A-Channel (Victoria)
2006-07: Neil Shewchuk, CK750 (Saskatoon)
2005-06: Howard Tsumara, The Vancouver Province
*2004-05: Ian Hamilton, Leader-Post (Regina)
*denotes Fred Sgambati Award winners
About Canada West:
Canada West is the leading university athletic conference in the country and is home to champion student-athletes that excel in the classroom and their communities. Canada West and our 17 members from across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba collectively carry on a legacy of competitive excellence, as our champions proudly go on to represent the conference at U SPORTS national championships.
Canada West – training leaders, building champions