Von Richardson Wins 2024 Phil Mack Indigenous Player of the Year Award

Von Richardson presented Phil Mack Indigenous Player of the Year Award 2024 by Bobby Ross

The Phil Mack Indigenous Player of the Year award was started in 2017 to recognize Indigenous rugby athletes who have excelled during the year. This year’s winner was Von Richardson of the Pacific Pride, the  Rugby Canada national development academy. Von is of Apache ancestry and has represented Canada in rugby at the U18 level and BC at the U16 and U18 level. He described his pathway to rugby.

“I’ve been involved in sports my entire life from soccer and baseball to football and basketball. I fell in love with rugby from the moment I touched the ball. I always do my best to honour my family and those who came before me.”

His rugby goals are to, “Play for Canada and develop myself so I can share the knowledge I learn with younger players“.

Phil Mack Youth Award

This year’s winners of the Youth Award were Savion Atchison and Grace McKay.

Grace was an MVP in high school, and won club rookie of the year, she played in the Provincial Senior Women’s Championship and was invited to the Canada U20 Camp. She toured with Thunder Rugby to NZ in 2023. She is of Ojibway ancestry and describes her pathway to rugby, “I’ve always grown up around my culture and sports, and it has definitely shaped me into the person that I am today. I’m Midewin and grew up in my grandpas lodge attending ceremonies pretty much since I was born, that’s where my family is.

Savion has represented Vancouver at the U20 level, he attended BC U19 and Canada U18 camps. He was a member of the BC lacrosse team that won Silver at the North American Indigenous Games. He toured with Thunder Rugby to NZ in 2023. He is from the Squamish First Nation and describes his pathway to rugby, “I have been a multi sport athlete most of my life… starting with lacrosse at age 4 and adding rugby at age 12, basketball, as well as spring board diving.

John Lyall, Thunder Director, added his thoughts, “Recognizing our Indigenous rugby athletes through the Phil Mack Indigenous Player of the Year is an important annual part of who we are. The Eagle, carved by Tommy Hunt Jr., symbolizes respect, strength, courage and wisdom, values the Thunder program promotes.

Previous Award Winners

Cedar Capping Ceremony

2014 Phil Mack
2015 Bobby Ross
2016 Hannah Darling

Phil Mack Award

2017 Crosby Stewart
2018 Hunter Grant
2019 Brandon Schellenberger
2020 Caleb Sam
2021 Lyric Atchison
2022 Dakota LaChance and Shalaya Valenzuela
2023 Noah Bain
2024 Von Richardson

Phil Mack Youth Award

2023 Isaiah Sousedik, Brooke & Paige Horsfall
2024 Savion Atchison, Grace McKay

Special thanks to Phil and Nancy Meyer who commissioned the original artwork for the trophy and have generously provided award funding each year.

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