Netball Ontario salutes winners, pays tribute

By RON FANFAIR

Netball Ontario crowned this season’s winners and paid tribute to one of its members who passed away suddenly early last October at its annual awards banquet last Saturday night.

Twilight captured the Division One and two titles and Tiffany Wolfe and Sherona Wilson clinched the finals Most Valuable Player awards.

A former Jamaica international, Wolfe is a member of Canada’s senior team preparing for next month’s Six-Nations series in Singapore.

Wilson enjoyed a successful debut season after migrating from Jamaica last year.

“I had fun out there and the competition was good,” said the Weston Collegiate Grade 10 student.

North York was presented with the Division Two Most Improved Team award (no award was given out in this category in Division One) while Scarborough Netball Club was recognized for being the Most Disciplined Team.

Just weeks after the season ended, Veejays first-year player, Stella Robinson, died suddenly. The Malvern resident joined the club earlier this year after migrating from Australia.

“She was taking her son one day to soccer when she saw us practicing,” recalled teammate Natiesha Cole. “She darted back for her gear, came back and asked if she could play with us. It was evident she was excited to be involved in the sport again. Stella was an excellent teammate and very outgoing. Her sudden death just came as a shock to all of us.”

Veejays captain Sutandy Morrison said the club will honour Robinson by emblazoning her face on their practice jerseys.

“She was such a vibrant person who always carried a smile,” added Morrison who is also the vice-president of Netball Ontario. “She was also very uplifting and always encouraged others. We have been blessed to have known her.”

The versatile Robinson, who played wing attack, goal attack and goal shoot, is survived by her Jamaican-born husband Michael and children Rashad and Emmanuel.

Established in 1974, Netball Ontario – formerly the Ontario Netball Association – recently received an Ontario Trillium Foundation $12,300 grant that will be used to introduce the Express N’ Play program in four Greater Toronto Area schools this year.

Two schools – Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute and Brookview Middle School – have already been identified for the one-year program that starts in January.

“In addition to promoting the sport in schools, the program also seeks to help young women to be healthy and active,” said former Jamaica and Canada international Sheryl Thorpe who is the program’s coordinator and Netball Ontario’s marketing director. “As a result, a dietitian will talk to the girls about healthy eating habits.

“The overall aim though is to get more girls playing the game and hopefully they will join clubs and increase the representation in the sport.”

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