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Finalists announced for Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year

A World Cup-caliber goalkeeper. A rising superstar in the NBA. An Olympic hockey champion.

That, in a nutshell, is a brief description of the finalists in Hamilton’s 2022 Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the YearMilan Borjan, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Sarah Nurse.

Borjan was a key catalyst for the Canadian men’s national soccer team in its epic quest to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The 35-year-old, who was born in the former Yugoslavia before his family moved to Hamilton when he was a child, made several highlight-reel-worthy saves during World Cup qualifying games that helped Canada book a spot in the tournament for the first time since 1986.

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Borjan recorded a clean sheet in Canada’s 2-0 win over the U.S. at Tim Hortons Field on Jan. 30, one of his six shutouts in 2022 that boosted his Canadian men’s national team record to 32. In 13 appearances last year, Borjan won seven games and lost six, including the three matches at the FIFA World Cup against Belgium, Croatia and Turkey.

The former Glendale High School student guided Red Star Belgrade to its fifth consecutive SuperLiga (Serbia) championship in 2022 and won the Serbian Cup last year as well.

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Gilgeous-Alexander has emerged as one of the best young players in the National Basketball Association. By the end of 2022, ‘S-G-A’ as he is affectionately called, was among the top five scorers in the NBA with 31.4 points per game for the Oklahoma City Thunder. As of Monday, the Hamilton hoopster was tied for fifth with 30.8 points per game.

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The six-foot-six guard scored a career-high 44 points on Dec. 23 in a 128-125 loss against the New Orleans Pelicans. He was named a reserve for the Western Conference team in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Gilegeous-Alexander scored 32 points to lead Canada to a 95-75 win over the Dominican Republic in a FIBA World Cup Qualifying game at FirstOntario Centre in his hometown. On Dec. 16, GQ Magazine named Gilgeous-Alexander its Most Stylish Man of the Year.

Gilgeous-Alexander previously won the Bill Sturrup Award in 2020.

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Nurse broke a longstanding points record for a single Olympic women’s hockey tournament at the 2022 Beijing Games where she played an integral part in Canada’s gold medal victory over the United States.

Nurse, 28, netted five goals and added 13 assists for 18 points, surpassing the previous record set by Hockey Hall of Famer Hayley Wickenheiser at the Turin Games in 2006. Nurse’s point tally included the opening goal in the gold-medal game against the U.S. and an assist on captain Marie-Philip Poulin’s eventual winner.

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Last September, Nurse helped Canada win its third consecutive women’s world hockey title in Denmark where she racked up two goals and two assists in seven games.

The Hamilton native became the first women’s player to be featured on the cover of an EA Sports video game, NHL 23, alongside Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras. Nurse’s younger cousin Kia Nurse was the Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year in 2015.

The Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year will receive the Bill Sturrup Award as part of the 38th annual Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) children’s fundraising dinner on Feb. 23 at Carmen’s Banquet Centre.

Winners of the Bill Sturrup Award as Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year:

1995-Joanne Malar

1996-Clara Hughes

1997-Graham Hood

1998-Titus Channer

1999-Joanne Malar

2000-Joanne Malar

2001-Mark Oldershaw

2002-Susan Palmer-Komar

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2003-Joe Stankevicius

2004-Jesse Lumsden

2005-Danny Syvret

2006-Shona Thorburn

2007-Alena Sharp

2008-Chelsey Gotell

2009-Ryan Ellis

2010-Ryan Ellis

2011-John Axford

2012-Kyle Quinlan

2013-Mackenzie Hughes

2014-Laura Fortino

2015-Kia Nurse

2016-Mackenzie Hughes

2017-Michelle Fazzari

2018-Heather Bansley

2019-Brandon Banks

2020-Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

2021-Mackenzie Hughes

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