UPDATE: Cornwall's athletes shine in the spotlight

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Published on May 14, 2014

Hundreds have rallied to celebrate Cornwall's sports superstars.

CORNWALL, Ontario - There was no shortage of sports icons at the 50th Cornwall Lions Club Sports Awards Dinner in Cornwall Wednesday.

The popular ceremony, held in the salons of the Cornwall Civic Complex, honours the best of Cornwall's renowned sports scene.

NHL-legend enforcer Marty McSorley was the event's guest speaker.

During a 30-minute question period with McSorley, hundreds in attendance scored a rare opportunity to go behind the boards. Many asked about his glory days as a defenceman for the Edmonton Oilers, notably as Wayne Gretzky’s bodyguard, during back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.

Over 55 awards and bursaries were handed out throughout the dinner.

Sophie Contant was named top junior athlete of 2014 and winner of the Joe Assaly Award. The Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School student has made a habit of winning MVP awards for volleyball, soccer, and hockey.

Teams she played on have collected several championships in SDG and reached the semi-finals at EOSSA. Contant was the first female to participate in the Bishop Cup. She'll be attending the University of Guelph on a hockey scholarship studying pshychology.

Samual Fontaine won the Joe St. Denis Award (presented by the City Department of Planning, Parks & Recreation). The Grade 12 honour role student at Ecole Secondaire catholique La Citadelle has been a part of many local team championships.

Since the age of 5, he has participated in city sports including swimming, soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. Fontaine played with the Cornwall Minor Hockey Association, Seaway Valley Soccer, Cornwall Minor Lacrosse, and CUCBA. He's also a Grade 12 honour role student at Ecole Secondaire catholique La Citadelle.

Alex O'Reilly took home the RBC Financial Group $1,000 bursary. The multi-sport athlete maintains an 84 per cent at St. Joseph's Catholic Secondary School. He was also applauded for volunteering as a teacher at local school sports camps.

Art Murphy won the Benson Friends of the Round Table for Lifetime Achievement.

Murphy began his football career at Saint Lawrence High School in the mid-to-late '50s. He received the Jacques Delback Trophy for Athlete of the Year in his senor year - predating the sports award dinner.

He was invited to the Ottawa Rough Riders training camp, but ended up choosing a career with Ontario Hydro. With a job shift to the London area, Murphy began playng with the London Lords as a fullback for several seasons before sustaining a career ending injury.

During offseason he was winning MVP awards for box lacrosse and as a player-coach for the Landon Lancers and later the Wallacburg Red Devils. Murphy continued to coach for various lacross teams for several years.

He took up tennis and joined his son, Art Jr., in 1984 to play in the Canadian National Father-Son Tournament. Murphy is a member of the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 1969, and has been on the executive committee since 2008.

Olympic bobsledder Cody Sorensen held an autograph session prior to the dinner. As a member of the top sled in the nation and participant in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Sorensen has won four World Cup medals and two World Championship medals in the team event.

More to come.

Geographic location: Cornwall

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