The Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association has announced
the finalists for the selection of Manitoba's Athletes of the Year and
Team of the Year for 2007.


Last year's recipients ISRAEL IDONIJE of Chicago Bears' football fame and speed skating super-star CINDY KLASSEN have been nominated once again for the provincial honours. Idonije played in the Super Bowl last January after an excellent defensive performance in the regular season with the Bears. Klassen was third overall at both the World Allround and World Sprint Speed Skating Championships. 

Erfan NasajpourJoining Idonije on the list of five for the final ballot for male athlete are BRAD KIRTON, named the Labatt Manitoba Amateur Golfer of the Year; ERFAN NASAJPOUR of the Winnipeg Wesmen basketball team, who was selected as a CIS second-team All-Canadian all-star; and two hockey stars - DUSTIN PENNER, who played with the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks last season,and JONATHAN TOEWS,who was the first Canadian to play on teams winning the World and World Junior Hockey Championships in the same year.

In addition to Klassen, the finalists for female athlete are DELANEY COLLINS, a tournament all-star for Canada in the World Women's Hockey Championship; ALANA MILLER, who won a silver medal individually and gold in the team event in squash at the Pan American Games; JENNIFER SAUNDERS, who won the women's open division in the U.S. Open Racquetball Championships; and Manitoba Bison ASHLEY VOTH, who was selected as CIS women's volleyball Rookie of the Year last season.

The deciding vote of the Manitoba media for Team of the Year, and the Maurice Smith Memorial trophy, will be a choice between SMITTY'S national women's Canadian Senior Fastpitch champions; the Vanier Cup football champion MANITOBA BISONS; the WINNIPEG WESMEN CIS national men's volleyball champions; the JENNIFER JONES curling team, national semi-finalist in the Canadian Scotties and the 2007 national Players Association champion; and the BRANDON CLOVERLEAFS, silver medallists in the Baseball Canada senior nationals.

After the final ballot, the winners will be declared at the 52nd annual Athletes of the Year awards dinner on Sunday, January 27th, 2008, at the Delta Winnipeg Hotel. Ticket information is available through dinner chairman Ken Kobelka, phone 253-2341, or on e-mail.

Among the MSSA awards to be presented at the dinner are the Cactus Jack Wells Memorial trophy, to recognize the event having the most impact on the Manitoba sports scene, and the Dallis Beck Memorial Good Guy/Gal award to an individual providing exceptional assistance to the sports media.

In addition, Rod Black, former CKY-TV sportscaster now at CTV, who has been a sports braodcast journalist for 24 years, will be inducted into the MSSA Manitoba Media Roll of Honour.  Two special posthumous inductions also will be bestowed on legendary sports journalists Jim Coleman and Scott Young, who started their careers in Manitoba.

Barry Moroz

Sport Manitoba Communications


cell: 795-2355



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