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7th Annual WESPY Awards Arriving Quickly

Tuesday February 14th, 2012, 10:15am


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Award season has kicked off, and the WESPYs are coming fast. This afternoon, at the Riverside Sports Centre, media members got together for the 7th Annual WESPY Awards press conference. Questions were answered, announcements were made, and chats were exchanged as Windsor begins to prepare for the prestigious event.

The WESPY Awards – Windsor Essex Sports Persons of the Year – were founded to recognize local athletes in and around the Windsor community.

“The WESPYs were created about 7-8 years ago, and basically what it does is it brings the entire sports community for one night,” described to windsoriteDOTca by MC for the afternoon Domenic Papa. “You have a college basketball player, a university basketball player and a high school basketball player, for example, competing for the same award. It kind of puts everybody on the same playing field, and it doesn’t matter what date you’re from or anything like that. We’re truly recognizing the best of the best, therefore saying each and every year: ‘You were the best in your sport for that past year.’”

The WESPY committee is great towards the sports community as well. “We have a foundation called Windsor Essex County Sports Foundation,” says Dom Papa, “and a portion of those proceeds from the event, from the dinner, goes to sponsoring athletes, sponsoring teams, helping out with events. Not only are we recognizing the athletes, but we’re also trying to give back to teams because it’s tough at this stage to get funding for sports programs. The whole idea here is to keep athletes involved. We usually put the money back into the sports community.”

The press conference, which included the WESPY committee and reporters, also featured special guest speakers. Past WESPY winner David Korenic, who played basketball at St. Clair College and named CCA All Canadian, talked about his experiences last year at the event. David was the recipient of two awards: the Mickey Renaud Leadership Award, as well as the Male Basketball Player of the Year Award.

David Korenic speaks to the media.

The WESPY Awards are teaming up with many groups. Major John Hodgins, Deputy Commanding Officer of the Essex Kent Scottish Regiment, informed the room that $15 from every full-priced ticket sold will be donated to the Armed Forces. Other supporters included Rick Laporte and David Cassidy from CAW Local 444, and Chuck Roy from Subway Restaurants.

Sponsors listening to Domenic Papa. From left to right: David Korenic, Dave Cassidy, Chuck Roy, Major John Hodgins, Rick Laporte, Domenic Papa

The biggest announcement came at the end of the press conference as Christian Donald Laettner was deemed the 7th Annual WESPY Awards Keynote Speaker. Laettner had an illustrious basketball career, playing for the Duke University Blue Devils and winning two NCAA Championships with the team. He also starred on the 1992 United States’ Olympic team, nicknamed the “Dream Team,” and played 13 seasons in the NBA. Laettner joined us via phone and exclaimed his excitement. He touched on many different topics, but returned to one in particular: the community.

“You’re real role models should be your parents, your uncle, your teachers, your coaches. At the end of the day, you can fall back on academics and what they taught you.”

Christian Donald Laettner reminds us to “take advantage of the chance you’re given.”

The WESPY Awards take place Thursday, April 19th at the Caboto Club in Windsor. The next press conference will be a couple of weeks prior to the ceremony to announce the nominees. More information will be available as the date nears.

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