Sheffield Steelkings pair pick up prestigious prizes at Disability Sport Yorkshire Awards

Disability Sport Yorkshire Awards took place last week and there was joy for Sheffield
Sheffield Steelkings' Jake Oakley (left) and Andy Atkinson with their awardsSheffield Steelkings' Jake Oakley (left) and Andy Atkinson with their awards
Sheffield Steelkings' Jake Oakley (left) and Andy Atkinson with their awards

Sheffield Steelkings duo Jake Oakley and Andy Atkinson received two of the eleven awards available at the Disability Sport Yorkshire Awards last Friday.

The event was held last Friday and two of para ice hockey side Sheffield Steelkings’ best were nominated for awards to celebrate their work within disability sport.

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Sheffield’s first award of the night came through Andy Atkinson who took home the Gary Hayton award which celebrates special and noteworthy achievements.

Atkinson has been at the Steelkings since the very early days and has won the British Para Ice Hockey League and two British Para Ice Hockey Playoff Championships in his time at the club.

Alongside playing for the Steelkings Atkinson does a lot of work for charity in which he helps to improve the lives of people in Leeds and surrounding areas whilst also working with local charity Connecting Crossgates to provide food and supplies to those in need throughout the year.

On winning the Gary Hayton award, he said: “It was lovely to be recognised for the never give up attitude and determination I give to my sport and in life generally. For it to have been recognised by others is truly special.

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“It’s a privilege to receive the Gary Hayton Award. Thank you to the Sheffield Steelkings for their continued support in all I do."

Sheffield’s Jake Oakley also took home the Coach of the Year award which is awarded to an individual who has fostered engagement and physical activity for disabled people whilst supporting and achieving significant goals.

Oakley has helped the club grow from around 10 people to over 30 people who compete across both the Steelkings and development team which have quickly become some of the most decorated in Para Ice Hockey in the UK.

He has also campaigned to make the sport more inclusive as he is responsible for changes at the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) which have made it possible for disabled people to train to become coaches.

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On taking home the Coach of the Year award, Oakley said: “It is a huge honour to be shortlisted, and then named, Disability Sport Yorkshire's Coach of the Year. I genuinely wasn't expecting it.

“Everyone who made that shortlist deserved to win in my opinion. Their tireless work in supporting their clubs, growing their sports and encouraging the people involved, easily could have made them a winner too.

“Thank you to the players and supporting staff for believing in what I am doing here at the Steelkings, and of course to Disability Sport Yorkshire for recognising the work we are doing here in Sheffield to grow the club and the sport as a whole."

The recognition from the Disability Sport Yorkshire awards night highlights just how influential the Sheffield Steelkings and it’s members have been for disability sport in not only Sheffield but Yorkshire as a whole.

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