Taekwondo instructor, junior hockey star among 33 honoured at Pickering Civic Awards


Published May 17, 2023 at 12:06 pm

Sofia Hovnanian with fellow Durham Taekwondo instructor Stefano Hovnanian

A young woman still in her twenties who is the head instructor at the Durham Taekwondo academy and a future NHL star now playing for a berth in the Memorial Cup were awarded Special Citations at the City of Pickering’s Civic Awards Monday night.

The annual ceremony was held in the Council Chambers, with 33 individuals and groups honoured, including Senior of the Year.

The Special Citations were given to Sofia Hovnanian, the Master Instructor at family-run Durham Taekwondo, and Brennan Othmann, a New York Rangers draft prospect who is currently playing for the Peterborough Petes in the Ontario League final.

Hovnanian, who began Taekwondo at the age of three, is the recipient of multiple awards from World Taekwondo and is a multiple medallist from competitions around the world, though coaching young people is her special skill.

“It is an honour to be the recipient of the 2023 Special Citation Award from the City of Pickering and Mayor Kevin Ashe,” Hovnanian said on Instagram, giving special thanks to her students who “motivate me to constantly be the best version of myself.”

“I started taekwondo 25 years ago and I never would’ve dreamed where it would take me in life. I am blessed to be able to share that passion with others, and I’m excited for the adventure to continue.”

Othmann, 20, is a two-time World Junior Hockey gold medalist for Canada.

The Senior of the Year Award was given to long-time Frenchman’s Bay resident and environmentalist Carol McGuffie, while Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to family physician Dr. Walter Ah Now and Dr. Ozair Chaudhry, who is an advisor with Durham Environmental & Climate Advisory Committee.

Dr. Ozair Chaudhry

Other Pickering Civic Awards, which recognize the outstanding achievements of residents, community organizations and local businesses and are nominated by peers and local residents, include:

Individual Volunteer Award

Jake Starratt-Farr

Frank Ferguson

Naseer Sukhera

Service Group Award

Community Living Ajax-Pickering

Community Group Award

Fairport Beach Neighbourhood Association

Glengrove Public School

Amateur Sports Award

David Romaniuk

Ed Whitehead

Youth Volunteer Award

Sophie Jiang

Sophia Mohmand

Jason Raghunandan

Aiden Veloso

Youth Leadership Award

Aleena Azmat

Sustainability Award

Mattamy Homes

Arts Award

Nicole Bachan

Jon Colwell

Ella Gonzales

Cultural Diversity Award

June Castanha

Newton Vanriel

Heritage Award

Julie Oakes

Kylie Soundy

Urban Design Award

Kubota Canada Ltd

Local Business Award

PetValu Pickering

Super Rx Pharmacy

Accessibility Award

Seana Haley

Environment Award

Craig Bamford

Land Over Landings (award declined)

World Junior gold medalist, Peterborough Pete and New York Ranger prospect Brennan Othmann

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