West Shore athlete earns aboriginal sports award

Jessica Strandlund one of eight Island winners of Premier's Award

Victoria Devils softball player and volleyball standout Jessica Strandlund was one of eight Vancouver Island winners presented with a 2016 Premier’s Award for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport at a ceremony in Nanaimo on Tuesday.

Strandund, 15, plays in the summer for the View Royal-based Devils 2001 team and represents Metis Nation B.C.

The aboriginal sports awards were presented by Gordon Hogg, Parliamentary Secretary for Youth Sport, during a formal celebration held at the Snuneymuxw Recreation and Wellness Centre.

Vancouver Island is one of six regions overseen by the Aboriginal Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity Partners Council.

“We are inspired by the incredible achievements of these amazing young athletes,” said Wally Samuel, co-lead for the council’s Island region.

The nomination process began in September, with more than 130 received from across the province. These aboriginal athletes under 25 have achieved excellence in performance sport, are regarded for their leadership qualities, are committed to higher education, and are recognized as community role models both on and off the field of play.

A total of 47 recipients were chosen within the six regions – Northeast, Northwest, Interior, Fraser, Vancouver Coastal, and Vancouver Island.

All recipients are nominated for one of 12 provincial awards (six male, six female) to be selected in January. The awards will be handed out at the Gathering Our Voices National Aboriginal Youth Conference in Kelowna in March.

Other Vancouver Island winners (age, sport and Nation):

Anthony Henry, 15, judo, Métis Nation B.C.

Danielle Dawson, 19, soccer, Dzawada’enuxw First Nation

Brandon Schellenberger, 18, rugby, Namgis First Nation

Jasmine Hunt, 18, soccer, Quatsino First Nation

Benjamin Tozer, 18, badminton, Métis Nation B.C.

V. Crosby Stewart, 22, rugby, Gitanmaax Band

Mayben Crabbe, 17, wrestling, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation