Leader on and off the court – John Abbott College awards student-athlete Oliver Henry with the Jeff Mills Memorial Cup

The Jeff Mills Memorial Cup is presented annually to the student athlete who best embodies athletic, academic and community leadership characteristics. This year, John Abbott College awarded volleyball player and Social Science – Commerce student Oliver Henry for his hard work, dedication, and leadership, both on and off the court.

From back up to setter to team captain, Oliver always has the respect of his teammates, the ear of the team, and acts as the voice of the coaching staff in their absence. For 2 years, he has been an active member of the Islanders Social Justice Committee and our representative in the Circle of Excellence meetings. Off the court, his leadership is seen through hosting team bonding activities and holiday parties at his house. The first to volunteer whenever help was needed, whether it be with the school, the department, or the team. Oliver is very deserving of this award.

Sunil Ramgulam, Head Coach, Men’s Volleyball

Oliver Henry (centre) accepting the Jeff Mills Memorial Cup at the Islanders Annual Awards Night Ceremony. Pictured with Oliver is Megan Jaslyn Dagsaan, President of John Abbott College’s Student Union, and Dennis Waide, Director of Student Services at John Abbott College.

Photo courtesy of Kevin J. Raftery

Oliver began playing volleyball in his first year of high school after his mother suggested he play: “she played growing up and suggested that I might like the sport, so I gave it a shot. I never looked back and couldn’t be happier with my decision to play.”

Oliver won two regional championships while in high school, silver at the regional championship in his first year in CEGEP, and recently brought home gold at regionals.

During his time at John Abbott College, Oliver has been involved in the Social Justice Committee, a committee run by athletes that discuss and implement ways to raise awareness for important causes, such as the fight against sexual violence. He worked for the Sports & Recreation department by filming and working the door at home games. Oliver was also the volleyball representative in the Circle of Excellence, a meeting between members of every sport team and the Sports & Recreation department. Outside of the College, Oliver has volunteered at The Fritz Youth Garden, Sunrise Manor, for the special needs bowling league and many other charitable organizations.

Receiving the Jeff Mills award is a huge honour. I am grateful to even have been considered for this award. I think it is important to recognize athletes who show leadership and involvement within the community. To receive an award named after a past athlete who contributed to the community and was a dedicated athlete is an honour.

Oliver Henry, Recipient of the Jeff Mills Memorial Cup, John Abbott College

Oliver Henry, recipient of the Jeff Mills Memorial Cup.

Photos courtesy of Samuel Ofori (@s_ofori_sports)

The Jeff Mills Memorial Cup is named after Jeff Mills, a football player for the Macdonald-Abbott Clansmen in 1973-74, who met an untimely death in 1975. Mills was known as a leader on and off the field and was a true representation of a team player. The award has been given out since 1975 and has had over 50 recipients. Amongst those recipients are Gord Brabant, the first recipient of the award, Mike and Sean Smallwood, the father-son duo, Georgina Paull, one of two female CFL officials, and Scott, Robert, and Justin Pemberton, three brothers who each won the award individually.

The Annual Islanders Awards Night rewards student athletes for their dedication in school and in their sport. Oliver also received the Coach’s Choice award.

When asked what his hopes are for future generations of athletes, Oliver says:

I hope future athletes try to immerse themselves within the school as well as outside of their sport. Being a part of the community has brought a lot of great things for me and I hope future athletes can benefit from this as well. I think to achieve this award, future athletes must be mindful of their education since it is not only athletics that are needed to receive this award. […] I hope future athletes will be well rounded and thrive outside of their sports as well as in them.

Oliver will be going to McGill University in the Fall in the Desautels Faculty of Management, where he will work towards a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a CPA thereafter.

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