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Young man's response to drunk cycling injury, Indigenous hockey team's fight against racism win Gabriel Awards

Two of CBC Quebec's programming teams have been recognized at this year's Gabriel Awards, which recognize the best of the best in film, broadcasting and cross-platform media, honouring works that support themes of dignity, compassion, community and justice.

Coveted award honours journalism that supports themes of dignity, compassion, community and justice

CBC Montreal's Daybreak has received a Gabriel Award for Shari Okeke's piece on Alexandre Duguay, who was hit by a car while cycling drunk. Duguay is now determined to raise awareness about the dangers of cycling drunk and cycling without a helmet. (Shari Okeke/CBC)

Two of CBC Quebec's programming teams have been recognized at this year's Gabriel Awards, presented by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.

The coveted awards recognize the best of the best in film, broadcasting and cross-platform media, honouring works that support themes of dignity, compassion, community and justice.

Here are the details.

In the "Single News Story - Less than 60 Minutes - Television" category:

  • First Place - 60 Minutes: The Most Unlikely Meeting - CBS News
  • Second Place - CBS Sunday Morning: All Her Sons - CBS News 
  • Honorable Mention: Racism in Minor Hockey - CBC North-Quebec: Maamuitaau

Maamuitaau, a Cree-language current affairs program that brings the stories of the James Bay Crees to life, told the story of the First Nation Elites hockey team, which had racist slurs hurled at them at a Quebec tournament. The players and their coach turned the negative situation into a positive one. They started fighting racism in minor hockey.

Based on a series by CBC North digital journalist Susan Bell, with contributions from Betsy Longchap and Corinne Smith, the winning entry was put together by the CBC North team of André Gariepy, Diane Icebound, Dominic Dallaire, Stephane Gunner, Guy St-Arnauld and contributions by Susan Bell. 

The host of the episode and narrator of the story is Pakesso Mukash.

The First Nations Elite Bantam AAA team was subjected to racist taunts and slurs at a Quebec City tournament in 2018. (Submitted by Tommy H. J. Neeposh)

The digital and Maamuitaau teams gathered countless interviews over more than a year with players, parents, coaches, hockey officials and politicians to follow up on what happened to the First Nation Elites in 2018. 

People across North America were touched by the young hockey players' story. The CBC North digital and television coverage put pressure on Hockey Quebec to change its code of ethics, which happened in 2019.

It also helped put pressure on the provincial government to require sporting associations to develop anti-bullying plans by the end of 2020.

Much of the coverage happened under the supervision of Emma Saganash

Watch part 1 and 2 of the Maamuitaau episode on Racism in Hockey here and here.

Back from the brink, raising awareness

In the Single News Story - Local or National - Radio Category

In this powerful piece, Daybreak's Shari Okeke spoke with Alexandre Duguay, who was hit by a car while cycling home drunk from a party. He doesn't remember colliding with a car. That crash left him in a coma for months.

Four years later, Duguay lives with a brain injury that affects his speech and he uses a wheelchair. Now he's determined to raise awareness about the dangers of cycling drunk and cycling without a helmet, visiting schools to speak to students.

"I was moved that Alexandre shared his deepest feelings — from wishing he had died in the accident, to discovering a new passion and purpose in his life," said Okeke, who is currently working on the second season of CBC's Mic Drop podcast, which will soon launch on TRAX.fm, a new podcast network for tweens and teens.

"Alexandre's story is a powerful one, and I hoped to do it justice. For that work to be recognized by The Gabriel Awards is a great honour."

Listen to the piece here.

Find the full list of Gabriel Award winners here.

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