Brandon, MB. — Former Brandon Wheat Kings' captain Mark Stone leads this season's class of candidates for the Brandon Sun's Westman Sports Star of the Year.
For the 55th consecutive year, the Sun will determine the winner of the H.L. (Krug) Crawford Memorial Award – emblematic of sports excellence in southwestern Manitoba – from a long list of worthy nominees.
Last year's Krug Crawford memorial Award winner, Stone closed out his Wheat Kings career by being named the WHL's most sportsmanlike player after finishing second in the league with 123 points, including 41 goals in 66 games, while earning only 22 penalty minutes.
The Winnipeg native, who was named an Eastern Conference all-star, also led Canada to a bronze medal at the 2012 world junior hockey championship. Stone, who led Canada in scoring with seven goals and three assists in six games, went on to earn his first NHL point in his first NHL playoff game with the Ottawa Senators. Now 20, Stone has four goals and nine points in 20 American League games with the Binghampton Senators.
Stone is one of three hockey players nominated this year, joining Ashleigh Brykaliuk and Halli Krzyzaniak who led Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Womens U18 Championship in the Czech Republic. In recent weeks, Brykaliuk and Krzyzaniak have accepted NCAA scholarships with Minnesota-Duluth and UND respectively.
Rounding out the list of finalists are Volleyball's Lisa Barclay and Tabi Love, curling stars Rob Fowler and Alan Lyburn, Rugby's Amanda Thornborough, Basketball's Ilarian Bonhomme and Brittany Wiebe, golfer Josh Wytinck, local football stars Taylor Maloney and Dylan Minshull, Baseball's Marshal Burgess as well as 13-year old Brandon figure skater Tori Thiessen.
To be eligible, candidates must live in the Westman region during the season, or return home in the off-season if they are playing professionally. Players attending college or university while pursuing their athletic careers elsewhere in Canada or the United States are also eligible until they graduate. As always, both outstanding individual seasons and lifetime achievement are taken into consideration.
The winner will be announced in the January 2nd edition of the Brandon Sun.