Robin Mercer-Sproule’s death late last month generated plenty of sadness but also many happy memories of one of the North’s most prolific athletes.
She was inducted into the NWT Sport Hall of Fame in 2018, ensuring her legacy in sport will live on forever and Sport North made sure that legacy continued to grow.
Late last month saw the federation re-christen its Junior Female Athlete of the Year Award to add Mercer-Sproule’s name to it and it will now be known as the Robin Mercer-Sproule Junior Female Athlete of the Year Award.
Doug Rentmeister, Sport North’s executive director, said it was an easy decision for everyone involved to make.
“The suggestion came from the staff and the board approved it,” he said. “We were looking at other options about what to do and this was we came up with.”
Mercer-Sproule’s accomplishments are rivaled by very few as she represented the NWT at the Arctic Winter Games in five different sports, beginning at the age of 11 when she competed in figure skating in 1976. She then competed in basketball, hockey, volleyball and broomball when that was a demonstration sport in 1988.
She also played in countless other regional and national championships in all of her six chosen sports.
Traci Mercer-Sproule, Robin’s widow, said she was able to tell her late wife about the honour just before she died.
“I got to tell her about that and the fundraiser that they’re doing in her memory for the hospital,” she said. “She had a big smile on her face and said ‘Right on’. She was definitely OK with it.”
This will be the first year the renamed award will be handed out but it’s anyone’s guess as to when it will be given to the winner. May is usually the month of the annual awards banquet but it’s been postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rentmeister did hint in an earlier interview with Yellowknifer that the awards could be handed out during the next Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which is scheduled to happen in November.
No matter when it is, Traci Mercer-Sproule said she plans on being there to present the trophy.
“I wouldn’t miss that for anything,” she said. “It’s just another example of this city going above and beyond to recognize one of its own and this is just a fantastic honour. Robin would have been honoured to be able to present it herself if she could.”