Prospects Game in Digby wins AVESTA event of the year award

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
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Annapolis Valley Event and Sports Tourism Association also honours long-time contributors

Digby has received still more recognition for the great job they did hosting the Canadian Hockey League Prospects game and World Junior A Challenge Exhibition game last fall.

The Annapolis Valley Events and Sport Tourism Association (AVESTA) named it the Event of the Year at their fifth annual awards ceremony on Friday, Feb. 28.

Danny Harvieux, rink supervisor and co-chair of the Prospects Game with Cindy O’Neil, said it was a proud moment.

“We were sitting there with a whole room full of people who do the same things we do, with towns way bigger than us, and it’s nice to hear we put on a top quality event from your colleagues,” said Harvieux. “It’s kind of funny. Here we are getting this award and it wasn’t like this was work. I was thinking, we’re getting this award for doing something we enjoy doing.”

The Prospects game in early November included a two-day training camp and practices leading up to a showcase game featuring some of the best junior-aged hockey players in Canada. The game attracted more than 800 fans and professional scouts.

Digby also hosted an exhibition game between World Junior A Challenge teams of Canada West and USA.

Harvieux says the success of the event speaks highly of Digby Area Recreation and of the community as a whole.

“It shows once again we are capable of taking on big events and making it a great success,” he says. “We gave people here a chance to chance to see the best hockey players in the world and we did it in style.”

Other nominees for Event of the Year at the AVESTA awards were the 225th anniversary celebrations at King’s-Edgehill School and the 175th anniversary celebrations at Acadia University.

Long-time contributions to Valley events

By John DeCoste

The fifth annual Annapolis Valley Events and Sport Tourism Association awards Feb. 28 included a new special recognition category honouring significant or long-time contributions to events in the region.

The inaugural recipients of the special recognition were Ron and Marg Sawler of Somerset, among the driving forces behind Berwick Gala Days, and the late Steve Moores, founder of the Valley Harvest Marathon.

 “Steve really believed in the benefits of an active lifestyle, and promoted it in everything he did,” said Grace Moores, who accepted the award on behalf of her late husband who passed away in November after being ill with cancer. “He would be very proud to receive this today.”

Steve, who had a strong belief in the benefits of an active lifestyle, not only talked the talk, he walked the walk, whether as a runner, an organizer of running events, or as a member of the Ski Patrol. One of his crowning achievements was the Valley Harvest Marathon, which he founded and which was first held in 1993, and which still thrives today.

 “I was overwhelmed when I heard about this,” Grace said. “It’s been really wonderful all the tributes Steve has received, even though he never did anything he did for the thanks he might receive for doing it.”

Ron Sawler volunteered with Berwick Gala Days for 37 years, serving mostly as secretary. Marg Sawler, who was unable to be present for the award, was involved for 28 years, most of the time as treasurer.

“I felt a need to do something in and for the community,” said Ron. “I thoroughly enjoyed everything I did over the years, and we’re really pleased that Gala Days continues to thrive today.”

2014 AVESTA awards

The South Berwick Invitational Golf Tournament won the Sport Legacy award. Begun 39 years ago, the event has raised more than $200,000 for Valley Child Development.

The Annapolis Valley Exhibition won the Event Legacy award. The weeklong agricultural fair in Lawrencetown started 87 years ago and regularly attracts more than 40,000 visitors.

The Gorge, a popular mountain biking, walking and hiking facility, located in Kentville, won the Venue Award. First developed in the 1930s, it’s popular in all seasons, especially since the construction of a bike skills park and regularly hosts mountain bike competitions, group rides and clinics.

Organizations: Annapolis Valley Events and Sport Tourism Association, Canadian Hockey League Prospects, World Junior A Challenge Exhibition game Edgehill School Acadia University Ski Patrol

Geographic location: Canada West, USA, Somerset South Berwick Annapolis Valley Lawrencetown Kentville

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