2023 Alberta Sport Awards

2023 alberta sport recognition award Winners

The 2023 Alberta Sport Recognition Awards will be presented in Red Deer on May 24, 2024 in conjunction with the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2024 Induction Ceremony. 

Since 2002, the Alberta Sport Awards have been presented to honor the extraordinary athletic accomplishments of our high performance Alberta athletes, teams, coaches and officials.

These individuals represent the best in sports across the province, from remarkable athletes to devoted coaches and officials.  They help make the province a better place to live, work and play through their dedication to sport.

The 2023 Alberta Sport Recognition Awards honour the following outstanding Albertans who have demonstrated great achievement and contributions to sport


Junior Male Athlete of the Year 

Nikita Ciudin, Calgary
Sport: Sprint Canoe

Nikita Ciudin, hailing from the Calgary Canoe Club, stands as a beacon of excellence. Born in Limerick, Ireland, with familial ties to Moldova, Nikita brings a rich tapestry of cultural influences to the waters.
Eight years ago, sparked by a summer camp, Nikita embarked on a journey that would shape his destiny. 

Nikita is a Team Alberta Alumni competing in the 2022 Canada Summer Games, later that year he competed at the international 2022 Olympic Hopes regatta.  In 2023, Nikita dominated the provincial scene,  and went on to sweep all of the U18 men's canoe events at the National Team Trials.  At the 2023 National Championships, he claimed gold across all three Singles races, solidifying his presence on the national stage. He went on to compete at the 2023 Junior World Championships in Auronzo, Italy, earning a commendable 5th place in the U18 C1 1000m category.

He was named the Calgary Canoe Club Paddler of the year in 2023. In 2024, Nikita will begin competition at the Senior level. 

Nakita is currently training at the Calgary Canoe club along with training sessions in Florida during the winter. Nikitas goal is to be a member of the U23 World Championship Team, Pan American Games teams and Olympic Games teams.


Junior Female Athlete of the Year 

Julia Bartlett, Calgary
Sport: Biathlon

Julia has been involved in the sport of Biathlon for 5 years. She started in track and field but in grade 7 switched to Biathlon and the rising young start has never looked back. The 17 year old had a breakout season in 2023 and showed throughout the season she is one of Canada's most promising Biathletes.

The Biathlon Canada Youth/Junior National Team member started her career at the 2020 Alberta Winter Games winning gold, silver and bronze. She went on to win Gold and silver at the 2023 Canada Games in PEI. Top placings in the sprint and pursuit races at the Canadian Championships named her to Team Canada for the Youth Olympic Games in Gangwan China.


Junior Team of the Year 

Team Tao, Edmonton
Sport: Curling

Recognized as one of the top high-performance teams in Alberta, Team Tao dominated the Alberta Junior
Curling Tour, finishing first overall. They were the youngest
team competing at the 2023 Alberta Boston Pizza Cup, Team Tao made their debut at the Grand Slam of Curling’s Tour Challenge, narrowly missing the playoffs. 

They won the New Holland Junior Championships, securing Canada’s opportunity to compete at the World Junior “B” Curling Championship in Finland.

Team Tao not only secured Canada’s place in the World Junior “A” Championship, they brought home the gold medal. The team returned to Finland, February 2024, to wear the maple leaf and once again go for gold.

Team Tao volunteers with the Saville Community Sport Centre’s Youth Curling Program, they are an inspiration to young curlers to chase their own curling dreams. Skip- Johnson Tao, Vice Skip - Jaedon Neuert, Lead - Adam Naugler, and 2nd  Zach Davis, are dedicated athletes who work tirelessly to promote the sport. They consistently demonstrate sportsmanship and recognize the value of teamwork. They are great role models for all young curlers.


Open Male Athlete of the Year 

Jeremiah Lauzon, Red Deer
Sport: Athletics

Born in Hati the 23 year old started his athletics career in High School in Red Deer. He is a provincial Record holder, Canadian Champion, NCAA champion and All American and a member of the Canadian National Team.

In 2022 Jeremiah  broke an 18-year-old Alberta Provincial record for the indoor U23 200m, went on to compete at the Canadian Championships an “Open” athlete finishing 3rd and was an NCAA gold medalist in the relay event.  

In 2023 he broke the indoor 200m Open men’s Alberta provincial record. Jeremiah was also selected to represent Canada at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.

Jeremiah is in his Junior year at West Texas A&M university studying digital media communications.  Jeremiah’s ultimate goal is to continue to represent Canada internationally and to qualify for Paris 2024 Olympics.


Open Female Athlete of the Year 

Alex Louitt, Calgary
Sport: Ski Jumping

Alex started ski jumping at age 9 after watching the 2010 Olympic Games, and was hooked from her very first jump. She knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life in the sport, enthralled by the feeling of weightlessness. 

In 2022, Alex was named to 2022 Olympic team where they won Canadas first ever Olympic  medal in the mixed team competition. she went on that year to win  the bronze medal at the 2022 Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in the women's normal hill event.

2023 proved to be nothing short of amazing for the talented ski jumper. In January 2023, Alex won the normal hill event at the World Cup in Japan, the first ever world cup win for Canada. The next month, she then went on to became the first Canadian woman to win a World Junior Championships on the  normal hill in front of home fans in Whistler, a month later Alex became the first-ever Canadian ski jumping world champion, winning the women's large hill event.

In addition to her incredible performances as Canada’s premier ski jumping athlete, Alex is fiercely proud of her indigenous heritage.  Her roots go back to the Nihtat Gwich'in band of northern NWT and, whenever time permits, Alexandria enjoys sharing her culture with her teammates, school-aged children across the country, and fans around the world via social media.

The Calgary native is currently training full time in Slovania with the rest of Team Canada. Having just turned 20 years old, the future looks very bright, indeed, for this intelligent, dedicated and articulate young lady

Open Team of the Year 

Team Canada 3x3 , Edmonton
Sport: Basketball

3×3 Basketball was featured as an Olympic sport for the first time at the 2020 Tokyo Games (held in 2021). 

2023 was an outstanding year for Team Canada Members Katherine Plouffe, Michelle Plouffe, Paige Cozon and Kacie Bosch. They were the 2022 and 2023 number 1 ranked team.  The fierce foursome once again dominated the 2023 world cup series. They went on to finish first in 5 consecutive tournaments and finished once again as the top ranked team in 2023. In addition Katherine Plouffe is the World Number 1 ranked player. 

Team Canada will continue their quest this month to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

Alberta is proud of the impact these athletes have on young women.  They are truly an example of Alberta athletes doing great things on a stage that brings our country and our province great success.

Coach Recognition Award

Rachel Koroscil , Canmore
Sport: Biathlon

Rachel grew up on a farm in rural Manitoba. She fell in love with the sport of biathlon and soon began training as a part of the provincial team. After graduating from the University of Manitoba, Rachel moved to Canmore to begin working with the Canmore Nordic Ski Club as the Lead Biathlon Coach and Biathlon Program Manager.

Through her 8 years with Canmore Nordic Ski Club, she coached athletes just starting out in the sport,  to High Performance athletes competing at the Olympic Games in Beijing 2021.

She completed her Advanced Coaching Diploma in 2019 and has been accepted to the International Biathlon Union Coach Academy for the Level 2 course in 2023-24.

In the spring of 2023, Rachel left the Canmore Nordic Ski Club to become the new Head Coach of the Biathlon Alberta Training Centre (BATC). This centre is one of two Biathlon Canada-recognized centres and is based in Canmore, AB. The program has 10 athletes that have been nominated for international tours including the World Cup, IBU Cup, Junior IBU Cup, and Youth & Junior World Championships. Rachel will also be representing Canada as she has been nominated as the female Lead Coach for the 2024 Youth Olympic Games and the Youth/Junior World Championships.

Additionally, she has served on the Biathlon Canada Domestic Committee and the Biathlon Alberta Board as the Coaching Development Director.

When Rachel is not  coaching, she can be found applying her Manitoba farming skills in her garden, traveling, or out enjoying the mountains through backpacking, fishing, or running.


Coach Recognition Award

Marty Birky, Calgary
Sport: Basketball

Marty Birky the head coach guided the SAIT Trojans to a gold medal at the 2023 CCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship – their first national title in 37 years. 

Marty was hired by the Trojans in September 2014, Under his guidance, The SAIT Mens basketball program  has captured six consecutive conference championship crowns in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC).

His influence at SAIT went beyond the results on the court  Birky actively participated in the rebuilding of the Alumni Booster Club alongside Trojans Women’s Basketball head coach Ranbir Parmar.

While he was coaching Marty also attended classes leading to his own graduation and professional articulation as a lawyer. His legal expertise proved invaluable in launching the John Smith Jr. Memorial Equity and Diversity Award in honor of one of his athletes.

Marty announced his retirement from coaching at the completion of the 2023 season. While his decade-long contributions at SAIT differed in nature than perhaps more traditional coaches, his influence was no less impactful. His innovative approach left a lasting impression on the institution and the student-athletes he’s worked with.


Official Recognition Award

Barb Bush, Edmonton
Sport: Diving

Barb Bush was an accomplished diving athlete before retiring and turning her knowledge to officiating. A ten-time National Diving Champion Commonwealth Silver medalst,  She represented her country Grand Prix and International Invitational events, World Championships and the 1988 Olympic Games where she finished in tenth place.  She earned the Beverly Boys High Point Award at the Canadian Senior National Championships and has been recognized with the Strathcona Award of Excellence in Sports, the Alberta Achievement Award for Performance in Sport, and the Edmonton YWCA Tribute to Women Award.


After retiring from competition in 1991, Barb began officiating and has brought her skills to the 2015 and 2019 Pan American Games, the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Grand Prix and World Series events, and has now been named as the Canadian Olympic judge for the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Barb has been active internationally while continuing to be involved at the regional, provincial, and national levels.  She was honored for her work as an official when presented with the John Dickinson Award by Diving Plongeon Canada.

Barb also gives back to the diving community by serving as a Coach Educator for the Instructor-Beginner and Competition-Introduction NCCP clinics and is herself a Competition-Development Certified coach.  Barb has served as head coach multiple times for the Team Alberta Canada Summer Games Teams, and her athletes have won numerous medals – including gold medals at the Canada Games.

Barb also does judging clinics and leads education sessions provincially and nationally. As a valuable mentor to other officials on the National roster, she is known for her sense of humor while encouraging everyone to enjoy the sport of diving.

Official Recognition Award

Matthew Kallio, Calgary
Sport: Basketball

Matt Kallio was a basketball player growing up in Edmonton, but stopped playing when he enrolled at the University of Alberta to study kinesiology. he wasn’t quite ready to give up the game completely and turned to officiating.

After completing National Officials Certificate Program, Kallio  worked college and university games he became a FIBA official  and was assigned to officiate Basketball World Cup in China and at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

Matt is the  first international official to join the fulltime NBA officiating staff. The Edmonton, Alberta native has seven seasons of NBA G League and four seasons of WNBA officiating experience. 

He is in his second season as an NBA staff official. In 2022-23, he officiated 31 regular-season games. Of the 61 referees currently working in the NBA G League last season, Matt Kallio was the only Canadian.

Kallio star continues shine brightly as he has continues to work in the NBA and the WNBA.

See a complete list of past recipients