Colby Barlow, Athlete Of The Year

By John Swartz

The 2022 Orillia Athlete of the Year award was presented to Colby Barlow Thursday in the Orillia Sports Hall of Fame Lounge on the upper level of the Orillia Recreation Centre. Approximately 50 people were on hand to celebrate the achievement.

“Thank you for all the kind words it means a lot to me It’s just an honour to be recognized here tonight amongst all the other nominees. It’s been surreal these last few years and this whole journey,” Barlow said on being present with the trophy by Orillia Sports Council member Mel St. Onge, the 1958 winner Walter Henry and Orillia councillor Ralph Cipolla.

Walter Henry and Colby Barlow

Barlow, 17, is a member of the Owen Sound Attack in the Ontario Hockey League. He is currently the team’s top scorer with 66 points (37 goals, 29 assists) over 46 games played. He is second in the OHL in goals scored and leads the game winners standings with 10. Barlow is the team’s captain, the youngest in club history.

Barlow was also a member the Canadian Under 18 team in last summer’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Canada won the series and Barlow had 5 points in the series, including an assist on Canada’s first goal in the championship game win against Sweden and the first, and game winning goal, in the 14-0 opening game against Switzerland. He was also named player of the game in that round.

He was also captain of the White Team in last summer’s 2022-23 National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team Selection Camp series.

“Sports in Orillia saves lives and it creates citizens like we have here,” said Cipolla with his presentation remarks. “None of the people on here (the trophy) ever got into trouble. They’re all unbelievable citizens of our community.”

There were 11 nominees. They were not named as has been done in the past.

All of them were great individual athletes in their own right, a variety of sports. We had 4 or 5 nationally ranked athletes,” Roy Micks, chair of the award committee said.

Dave Dawson has been involved with the selection of the Athlete of the Year Award for a number of years.

“This probably the best (nomination field) we’ve had.” He said. Despite hockey being part of the Canadian DNA, there haven’t been many local players nominated.

“He’s the first hockey player since Ethan Moreau. You’d think there’d be more hockey players. We’re going, “Oh no, are people going to go, you just picked a hockey player,”” Dawson said.

The award is under the stewardship of the Orillia Sports Council who partner with the City of Orillia and the recreation advisory committee in the selection.

“It’s a massive honour. It’s pretty surreal. To be recognized in the community is really special for me and the family,” Barlow said.

He is currently ranked 8th in the NHL entry draft to be held in June in Nashville, Tennessee.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia) Main: Colby Barlow being presented with the 2022 Orillia Athlete of the Year trophy by Orillia Sports Council member Mel St. Onge, the 1958 winner Walter Henry and Orillia councillor Ralph Cipolla.


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