A comeback trail that included helping Canada win a historic gold medal at the Pan American Games has led to Kyle Lotzkar being named Delta's Professional Athlete of the Year.
The 22-year-old Tsawwassen pitcher was honoured last Saturday night as part of the the eighth annual Delta Sports Hall of Fame Banquet of Champions.
Lotzkar's promising baseball career was derailed in 2008 when the Cincinnati Reds prospect suffered a serious elbow injury while throwing for the Dayton Dragons of the Class "A" Midwest League.
The 6-foot-4 right-hander would require Tommy Johns surgery and two years of rehabilitation.
Last year, Lotzkar was finally healthy again and it was just in time to pitch for the national senior men's team in a pair of international events.
He helped Canada win bronze at the IBAF World Cup in Venezuela then, less than two weeks later, it was a surprising gold medal performance at the Pan Am Games in Mexico.
Lotzkar took that momentum into the 2012 season. He was named to the Reds' 40-man roster and attended the club's main spring camp. During his final outing he surrendered just one run, pitching for the Red Futures Team against the parent club at Great American Park in Cincinnati.
He was assigned to the Reds' Class-A affiliate in Bakersfield where Lotzkar promptly rolled up a 3-0 record in the California League with a 2.39 ERA.
He was soon promoted to the Class-AA level where he has continued to impress with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
Lotzkar enters this week's play with a 3-2 record and a 3.02 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 41 innings of work.
Rod Lotzkar accepted the Sports Champions Award on behalf of his son at a soldout Coastal Tsawwassen Inn.
Here is a rundown of the other winners:
Athlete of the Year Chelsea Buckland (soccer)
This 22-year-old North Delta native helped Canada qualify for the Summer Olympic Games in London by finishing second at last November's CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament at B.C. She enjoyed an outstanding collegiate career at Oregon State University where she was twice named PAC 12 Player of the Week last season and led the team in scoring.
Tanya MacLean (softball)
This former Delta Heat standout enjoyed an impressive senior season with UBC Thunderbirds as the team's starting catcher.
She was named an NAIA AllStar and earned All-Academic honours. MacLean also helped the White Rock Renegades win the senior women's national championship last summer.
Youth Athlete of the Year Andrew Kanerva (field hockey)
Helped Canada's national junior men's team capture a three nation tournament to cap off a successful South American tour this spring. Earned his national team selection last summer and soon after scored twice in a 3-1 win over the United States. Will be attending UBC this fall.
Jocelyn Cater (softball)
One of the top young players in the country who is pitching for the junior and senior national teams. Helped the senior team win silver at last fall's Pan American Games. Worked three innings of outstanding relief in Canada's 4-3 upset of the United States at the World Cup of Softball. The Grade 12 Seaquam secondary student will be playing for the University of Washington next fall.
Masters Athlete Joy Fera (alpine skiing)
This former Olympic rower continues to be a force on the slopes in masters skiing.
Fera won three gold medals at the 2011 Canadian Masters Championships and captured the Dave Murray Trophy at the annual Peak to Valley Giant Slalom Race at Whistler.
Coach of the Year Mary Feguson (soccer)
Has made an impact at both the club and school levels, guiding successful teams with Surdel and at Burnsview secondary school. Also a prominent player for over three decades.
Team of the Year Burnsview Senior Girls (soccer)
Capped a most memorable two-year run by repeating as provincial "AA" champions in the spring of 2011. The North Delta school also captured the 24-team Umbro Tournament in Victoria, coming on top of a field that featured many of the top "AA" and "AAA" teams in the province.
Volunteer of the Year Steve Couper (soccer/softball)
This longtime North Delta resident began coaching with the North Delta Soccer Club back in 1987 and he hasn't slowed down since, typically guiding two teams during the season. Also is a highly respected girls fastpitch coach who currently works with the '97 Delta Heat at the rep "A" level.
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