Pro hockey player Sarah Nurse named Hamilton’s 2023 athlete of the year

A Hamilton-area professional hockey player is the 2023 Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year.

Canadian women’s national star Sarah Nurse, who is connected with a large family of athletes, picked up the Bill Sturrup Award as part of the 38th annual Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) children’s fundraising dinner Thursday at Carmen’s Banquet Centre.

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.

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Nurse’s cousins are professional hockey player Darnell Nurse of the Edmonton Oilers and basketball player Kia Nurse of the Phoenix Mercury. Kia picked up the Sturrup award in 2015.

Her uncles were also pro athletes, Donovan McNabb who played in the National Football League (NFL) and uncle Richard Nurse, a wide receiver for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Canadian national team and World Cup goalkeeper Milan Borjan and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander were the other nominees for the award.

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.

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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.

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.

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

2003-Joe Stankevicius

2004-Jesse Lumsden

2005-Danny Syvret

2006-Shona Thorburn

2007-Alena Sharp

2008-Chelsey Gotell

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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

2022-Sarah Nurse

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