Winner: Steve Milton, Hamilton Spectator
The wide range of Steve Milton’s sports writing repertoire truly stood out from the other entries in this category. From his heart-warming profile of a professional paddleboard instructor who eventually found a way to see the positives in life despite losing both balance and self-esteem to a debilitating disease, to his mastery of turning the complicated topic of esports into a simple yet entertaining narrative that painted a picture of just how big this gaming industry will be, to his powerful tribute to Angelo Mosca, the tough-as-nails football giant who personified the city he grew to love … Milton displayed an impressive knack for keeping the reader engaged, entertained and informed right to the end.
Runner-up: Josh Brown, Waterloo Region Record
Josh Brown demonstrated a strong and unique ability to find hidden stories of perseverance within the often cliché-driven world of hockey — the undrafted OHLer who earned himself an NHL contract; the hurricane that destroyed a family home in the Cayman Islands but set up a path to pucks for twin brothers; and even the headaches experienced in trying to travel to watch a family member’s NHL debut. Each piece was interesting, inspiring and rich with detail — and worthy of recognition.
Runner-up: Cory Smith, Stratford Beacon Herald
Cory Smith showed a deft eye for storytelling with not only his fun feature on the canine compassion of Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin and his wife in fostering several dogs in need, but also in his rich reporting and writing on a little-known local Olympic hockey medalist as well as the secret life of a passionate MMA fighter chasing a dream without his parents’ knowledge and ultimately succeeding after some challenges along the way.
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