He received the award on Saturday (April 13) as Rugby Canada launched its first annual awards dinner at The Westin Bear Mountain Hotel in Langford, B.C. The ceremony recognizes Canada’s top national team players of the year, as well as a cast of awards for regional coaches, volunteers and the provincial union of the year. The newly created men’s and women’s Player of the Year awards were split into three categories – fifteens, sevens and under-20.
The finalists were short-listed by a selection committee and winners were voted on by the public.
Ardron’s recent successes have come from his time spent Langford with the Rugby Canada Centre of Excellence, though the Ontario Blues product still spends part the season at McMaster. He was just 21-years-old when he captained Canada to second place at the 2012 Americas Rugby Championship
All but one of the 12 awards are new. Prop Hubert Buydens was named the winner of the resurrected NSMT Fifteens “Canadian Shield” Player’s Player of the Year award, as voted by the Canadian national team players. Previous winners included Al Charron, Colin Yukes, Mark Lawson and, when it was last awarded, it was shared by Pat Riordan and Morgan Williams in 2006-07.
After returning to rugby full time following his Canadian Interuniversity football career with the Saskatchewan Huskies, Buydens accelerated through the ranks and represented Canada at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He is currently playing in New Zealand.
Jen Kish and John Moonlight were named as the respective Women’s and Men’s Sevens players of the year.
Kish helped Canada win the first-ever IRB Women’s Sevens tournament and has become an integral part of NSW Sevens team. Moonlight helped Canada take gold at the 2011 Pan American Games and scored two tries in the final of the North American and Caribbean Rugby 7s World Cup qualifier in 2012.
Maria (Jaworski) Samson was named the top NSWT Fifteens Player of the Year.
Samson is relatively new on the scene, getting her first cap in 2011, but has quickly become a force on the squad through her selfless attitude and determination.
Bianca Farella and Lucas Hammond won the respective Young Player of the Year (under-20) awards.
The speedy Farella was twice named the top performer of an IRB Women’s Sevens sanctioned event in 2012, at the NACRA festival in Ottawa and at the December World Series stop in Dubai. She’s also been named the 2012 CIS Rookie of the Year with Concordia.
Hammond joined the NSMT 7s for four IRB Sevens World Series stops for the past 18 months despite his age and is a member of the under-20 team preparing for the Junior World Trophy in Chile this year.
Coach of the Year awards went to Chris Silverthorn (male) and Jen Ross (female).
Silverthorn took over as the Ontario Blues coach and led them to 2012 Canadian Rugby Championship title and a successful tour to South America, where they defeated Uruguay.
Ross, a former national player, coached Abbotsford’s under-18 women’s team to 2011 and 2012 provincial championships. She also fielded gold and silver medal winning teams at the 2012 B.C. Summer Games.
Match Official of the Year went to Andrew McMaster. The Provincial Union Award went to the Federation de Rugby du Quebec. Volunteer of the Year Award went to Dean Kittleson of Calgary.