Toews, Hughes, and Jones rink voted top Manitoba athletes

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:43 PM ET

Two Olympic medallists and a Canadian champion were named the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association 2010 athletes of the year on Sunday at the Delta Hotel.

Chicago Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews was the male winner, speed skater Clara Hughes captured the women’s prize, and the Jennifer Jones curling squad won the Maurice Smith Memorial Award as team of the year.

Voting was conducted by 40 members of the Manitoba sports media.

Toews, a Winnipegger, captured 27 first-place votes after having a banner year on the ice. He was named the top forward at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, where Canada won gold, and he was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Toews led the Blackhawks to their first NHL crown since 1961, registering 29 points. He is the youngest athlete to play on teams winning a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal and world hockey championship. Toews was also named Manitoba’s top male athlete in 2007.

Hughes, a Winnipeg native who earned 22 first-place votes, won bronze at the Winter Olympics in the 5,000-metre race. Her sixth career medal tied her with fellow Winnipegger Cindy Klassen as the Canadian with the most from both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

Jones, who plays out of Winnipeg’s St. Vital Curling Club, earned 19 first-place votes. She won her third straight national Scotties Tournament of Hearts championship in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., coming from behind to defeat Prince Edward Island in the final. Jones, along with Cathy Overton-Clapham, Jill Officer and Dawn Askin, went on to win bronze at the world championship in Swift Current.

The male runner-ups were skeleton racer Jon Montgomery of Russell, who finished 21 points back of Toews, bowler Michael Schmidt of Winnipeg, Chicago Bears defensive end Israel Idonije of Brandon and Manitoba Bisons hockey goaltender Steve Christie of Winnipeg.

Winnipeg boxer Olivia Gerula finished 32 points back of Hughes in the female category. The other finalists were Manitoba Bisons hockey defenceman Caitlin MacDonald of Winnipeg, Selkirk archer Doris Jones, and Winnipeg racquetball player Jennifer Saunders, who won the award in 2009.

The Jones squad won by 20 points over the Manitoba Junior Baseball League All-Stars. The other finalists were Mike McEwen’s Winnipeg curling foursome, the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings and the Manitoba Bisons women’s volleyball team.

Montgomery’s gold-medal triumph at the Winter Olympics was the winner of the Cactus Jack Wells Memorial Award for impact on the Manitoba sports scene, while Assiniboia Downs CEO Darren Dunn received the Dallis Beck Memorial Good Guy Award.

Clayton Dreger of the Golden West Broadcast Network was inducted into the MSSA Media Roll of Honour for his two-plus decades of sports coverage in the province, and the winners of the Jack Matheson awards were Red River College’s Keith McCullough (Matheson’s grandson) and Steven Dreger, and Assiniboine Community College’s Kirk Fraser.

Special recognition awards were also given to the host committees of the Canadian Women’s Open golf tournament at St. Charles and of the Memorial Cup in Brandon.


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