(February 24, 2009) – After an exciting week of skating in Calgary at the 2009 BMO Skate Canada Junior Nationals, Skate Canada was pleased to award the BMO Possibilities Awards and Underhill/Martini Scholarship Award to deserving junior skaters.

The BMO Possibilities Awards are given out annually at the conclusion of the event. Each award winner is presented with a $500 BMO training grant and a glass sculpture.  

The awards take into account some of the following criteria during individual performances at the 2009 BMO Skate Canada Junior Nationals:

  • Personal best performance
  • Performance given above adversity
  • Performance that stuck in the minds of the spectators
  • Performance that displayed new and creative skating talent and set new standards or  sought a new horizon

This year Karen Andrew, BMO Branch Manager, CanOxy Branch presented the awards along with Benoît Lavoie, Skate Canada President.

The 2009 BMO Skate Canada Junior Nationals Juvenile Dance Champions were the first to receive the award. BC/YT’s Madeline Edwards and Zhao Kai Pang, wowed the crowd with their free dance. The program was set to Latin American rhythms and they thrilled the audience and the judges with a superb performance.  For this entertaining program, they have been chosen to receive a BMO Possibilities Award.

It’s not often that someone is crowned champion twice in one day, but that is exactly what happened in Calgary.  Phelan Simpson from Western Ontario won both the juvenile men’s event and juvenile pair event with partner Shalena Rau. For these outstanding accomplishments, he received a BMO Possibilities Award.

Edbert Khong from Central Ontario took home one gold medal and one silver medal. He finished second in the pre-novice men’s event and claimed the gold medal with his sister Edrea in the pre-novice ice dance event. For landing on the podium more than once he received a BMO Possibilities Award.

The break-though performance for Garrett Gosselin of the Saskatchewan Section was incredible. He executed a solid performance both technically and artistically in his short and free programs. His strong performances have earned him a BMO Possibilities Award.

Kitty Qian from BC/YT section executed two-triple jumps in both the short and free programs and finished second in the novice women event proving that the possibilities for her are endless. For these solid performances the skater has earned a BMO Possibilities Award.

The Underhill Martini Scholarship Award is presented each year at the BMO Skate Canada Junior Nationals to a skater or skaters showing great potential and overcoming  adversity on the path to success. Together with a cheque for $500 the winners receive a portrait titled “Another Dream Begins”.

Louis Stong, Skating Development Director for Skate Canada presented the award on behalf of his former students Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini.

In December 2007, after competing with partner Matt Mills at the BMO Skate Canada Western Challenge, Carleigh MacDonald of the Western Ontario Section fell and hit her head on the ice during a regular practice session in Kitchener-Waterloo. She was transported to Hamilton Health Sciences and diagnosed with inoperable brainstem cavernoma.  Following the injury, Carleigh became unable to sit up or even write her name.  Although she was told that she would need a walker to help determine her spatial positioning, Carleigh’s determination and strength of character along with the support of her family, friends and coaches culminated in a miraculous recovery.  Two months and eight days later, Carleigh took her first steps back onto the ice, much quicker than the six months her doctors had originally predicated it would take her to walk again. Amazingly, this week, Carleigh MacDonald and her partner Matt Mills competed in the 2009 BMO Skate Canada Junior Nationals pre-novice ice dance and placed ninth.

Congratulations to all the winners of these prestigious awards! We look forward to seeing that the future has in store for you!
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