CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Cory Jay is looking forward to sharing tonight with his family.
The 35-year-old Charlottetown resident will be recognized as the ADL masters athlete award recipient during the Sport P.E.I. Awards ceremony at Holland College.
The cyclist will attend the evening with his wife, Rachelle, and their children, Bates, 13, and Levi, 6. He said their support is important in allowing his to do what he does.
“Your family needs to be behind you,” he said.
Jay had 14 podium finishes, including nine victories, in 2017. He won gold in the 30-plus Canadian championship in the road race, finished second in the criterium and third in the time trial.
Sport P.E.I. announced the award recipients in four categories and its finalists for the remaining seven categories a month ago.
“It’s a nice reward at the end of a year,” Jay said.
Jay got involved with cycling in his early teens. Initially, it was mountain biking before expanding into road racing.
“It really gave me a chance to see the world,” said the national team member for five years in his 20s. “Now I do it as much for the social aspect as anything. I love getting out with the guys, love competing and certainly love riding.”
Last year’s nationals were in Vancouver and this year’s will be in Victoria, B.C., in early June. He had a chance to preview the course while attending the Cycling Canada annual general meeting in October.
“It looks like it’s a really good course for me. I think I’d like to go back and certainly defend my title in the road race.”
Sport P.E.I. president Ryan Innis said each provincial sport organization has its own celebration each year, but tonight is a unique opportunity.
“It’s the only night where they all come together as one,” he said.
It often provides an opportunity for athletes from different sports to meet and share stories with their peers who they may not get to meet often.
While the awards ceremony lasts about two hours, the exposure in the weeks leading up to the event and after the ceremony brings a lot of attention to the sports, athletes, coaches and administrators.
“It’s always an inspirational evening,” Innis said, noting the great work they are doing locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
“It's just amazing the high quality of athletes that the province of Prince Edward Island is producing.”
It makes it increasingly difficult for the Sport P.E.I. board of directors to even get the finalists list narrowed to three.
A look at the winners and finalists for the Sport P.E.I. Awards that will be presented tonight.
Winners already announced
ADL administrator of the year – Brenda Millar (volleyball).
P.E.I. Mutual Insurance Official of the Year – Farida Chishti (table tennis).
ADL masters athlete award – Cory Jay (cycling).
SCORE! team of the year – Holland Hurricanes men’s soccer.
P.E.I. Mutual Insurance coach of the year – Peter Gallant (curling), Eddie MacDonald (rugby), Joe Ryan (volleyball).
Synergy Fitness & Nutrition intercollegiate male athlete of the year – Stephen Anderson (UNB hockey), Ibrahima Sanoh (Holland Hurricanes soccer), John Patrick (J.P.) Stevenson (Canisius College baseball).
Synergy Fitness & Nutrition intercollegiate female athlete of the year – Jenna Mae Ellsworth (UPEI basketball) Abbey MacLellan (UBC field hockey), Hannah Taylor (Brock wrestling).
DP Murphy Hotels and Resorts junior male athlete of the year – André Boudreau (biathlon/cycling), Noah Dobson (hockey), Ligrit Sadiku (wrestling).
DP Murphy Hotels and Resorts junior female athlete of the year – Emma Jinks (squash), Alexa McQuaid (swimming), Hannah Taylor (wrestling).
3 Points Aviation senior male athletes of the year – Mark Arendz (para nordic and biathlon), Billy Bridges (sledge hockey), Brett Gallant (curling).
3 Points Aviation senior female athletes of the year – Veronica Keefe (wrestling), Shannon MacAulay (hockey), Bailey Smith (athletics).