The votes are in and Cochranites have chosen the best athletes of 2020.
Winning gold in the Eagle’s Best of Cochrane competition is Dillon Dubé for the second year running.
Dubé was born in Golden, B.C., and moved to Cochrane when he was 10 years old.
In the Cochrane Minor Hockey system, Dubé won back-to-back championships with the Timberwolves.
Dubé earned himself a C on his jersey when he represented Canada on the world stage at the World Juniors.
He landed himself a spot as a centre and right-winger with the Calgary Flames in 2016 on an entry-level contract and had a successful year with the organization in 2019/2020.
In the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons, Dubé averaged a point per game with the AHL’s Stockton Heat.
This year, with the Calgary Flames, Dubé clocked six goals and ten assists for the team in the regular season, with another four goals and one assist in the playoffs.
The Flames had a good run this year, finishing out the regular season with a record of 36-27, and then taking the first best-of fiver series against the Winnipeg Jets in four games before falling to the Dallas Stars in the second round.
With his running list of accolades and proximity to his hometown, it is easy to see why Dubé is a favourite in the community.
The runner-up in this year’s Best Athlete vote is Cochrane’s Marathon Man.
In 2010, Martin Parnell ran 250 marathons in a single year, averaging roughly five marathons a week.
In the process, Parnell raised more than $320,000 for the Right to Play organization.
“I think that’s a reasonable moniker to have if you’ve run 250 marathons in a year,” Parnell said of the nickname Marathon Man.
Parnell began his running career in 2002, at the age of 47.
Parnell has gone on to become a thrice published author, Guinness World Record holder and successful speaker— Even recording a keynote address on the popular TED Talk platform.
Parnell said he was “blown away” by the recognition from the Eagle’s readers, and believes the award is indicative of the changing meaning of the word "athlete."
“I think it’s really cool that the definition of athlete, I think it’s sort of changed over time versus this high-end elite type of person to really somebody who uses sport as sort of a lifestyle,” he said. “I think that’s really cool that’s being recognized.”
Taking the bronze this year is the Dallas Stars’ Justin Dowling.
The Cochrane native took a winding path to the NHL.
Dowling went undrafted during his first year of eligibility and continued his hockey career in the Junior Majors with the Swift Current Broncos.
He made his debut in the AHL with the Abbotsford Heat in 2011 on a try-out contract.
After a half a season with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads in the 2012/13 season, Dowling was picked up by the Stars on a standard AHL contract.
During the 2016/17 season, Dowling put up eight goals and 20 assists for the Texan team and caught the attention of the team’s NHL affiliate, the Dallas Stars.
In 2016, Dowling signed a two-way contract with the Dallas Stars and made his NHL debut that same season during a call-up game against the Winnipeg Jets where he contributed one assist to aide the team in 3-2 victory.
Dowling scored his first NHL goal in 2019 in a 3-1 win against the Calgary Flames.