Neil Daffern Award: Csokonay and Robanske recognized
National team snowboard cross riders Chris Robanske and Dan Csokonay, both of Calgary, Alberta, have been selected as the 2011 recipients of the Neil Daffern Award, given to two outstanding, up-and-coming elite snowboarders who have demonstrated an exemplary level of performance or commitment to the sport.
This memorial award honours one of the pioneers in the sport of snowboarding - Canadian Neil Daffern - who was not only a competitor, but a snowboarding advocate and snowboard designer. He led the way in the late 1980s when he and a few boarding friends were amongst the first Canadians to compete in World Cup competitions in Europe.
By winning the award, the two riders, both members of the Canada~Snowboard National Team, will receive financial assistance of $5000 to help them on their journey to excellence.
Dan Csokonay will be making his first ever Snowboard World Championship appearance next week in La Molina, SPA. The national team rookie has excelled this season, finishing fourth at the first World Cup event in Lech, Austria, which earned him his spot on the World Championships team.
In 2010, Csokonay won back-to-back FIS Nor-Am races in Big White, BC, on January 30 and 31 and finished the season ranked fifth in the FIS Nor-Am standings.
Chris Robanske, also a national team rookie in snowboard cross, was crowned champion of the FIS Nor-Am Tour in 2010, earning him a personal World Cup spot this season. Robanske stepped on the podium in six of seven Nor-Am races last year, finishing 13th at the Canada~Snowboard Nationals.
Robanske has nine career starts on the World Cup tour since 2009, and his best result came at the second race of the World Cup Tour in Lech, Austria, this past December where he finished 18th.
Csokonay is currently ranked 18th in the FIS World Cup Tour standings, while Robanske is ranked 30th.
Both 2010 recipients, Palmer Taylor and Kevin Hill, went on to win the National titles in their respective discipline.
NEIL DAFFERN AWARD – RECIPIENTS
2011 Chris Robanske (SBX) * Dan Csokonay (SBX) *
2010 Palmer Taylor (HP) * Kevin Hill (SBX) *
2009 Matthew Tunnicliffe (SBX) Jake Holden (SBX) *
2008 Christelle Doyon (SBX) Michael Lambert (PGS) *
2007 Mike Robertson (SBX) * Matthew Morison (PGS) *
2006 Kimikio Zakreski (PGS) Kory Wright (HP)
2005 Erin Simmons (SBX) Philippe Bérubé (PGS)
2004 Sarah Conrad (HP) * Tom Velisek (SBX) *
2003 Amy Newton (PGS) Neil Connolly (HP)
* Current National Team members
Of the 18 all-time award recipients, ten of them are current members of the Canadian Snowboard Team.
Neil died in a helicopter accident while taking part in a heli-snowboarding competition in 1990. His commitment and love for the sport is reflected in this award as he always encouraged others to strive for excellence themselves.
The Neil Daffern Award Committee consists of Tony and Gillean Daffern, the High Performance Management staff at Canada~Snowboard, as well as a representative of WinSport Canada.