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The Sports Journal

Brooks Among the Honorees at Gold Key Dinner

Tickets are still available for Sunday’s 72nd Gold Key Dinner staged at the Aqua Turf in Southington by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.

Of local note, New Britain sportsman, politician and humanitarian Alton F. Brooks will received a John Wentworth Good Sport Award.

Brooks, 94, coached in the New Britain Area Council of Churches (NEWBRACC) League and won five championships from 1962-67. The present version of the league is called the Alton Brooks Basketball League. He also had a city street named after him last November.

The 2013 Gold Key recipients are former Duke basketball player Mike Gminski, ex-New Haven College basketball player Gary Liberatore, Staples-Westport track and field/cross country coach John “Laddie” Lawrence, UConn field hockey coach Nancy Stevens and E.O. Smith-Storrs boys soccer coach John Blomstrann.

Gminski, a 6’11 center, attended Masuk High School in Monroe before earning first-team All-America honors at Duke and logging 14 years in the NBA with the Nets, 76ers, Hornets and Bucks. Gminski, 53, is now a CBS sports analyst. Liberatore scored a New England-record 3,176 points at New Haven College (1962-66).

Stevens has won 553 games at three colleges and is 12-time Big East Coach of the Year since arriving at UConn in 1990. Blomstrann, winner of more soccer games than any coach in state history (481-101-34), has won five state titles with E.O. Smith. Lawrence has over 1,650 wins in cross country, outdoor track and indoor track combined.

The Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year is Jonathan Quick, one-time Hamden High and Avon Old Farms hockey goalie who led the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup crown last spring. The Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year is WNBA MVP and former UConn All-American Tina Charles.

The Hal Levy High School Athletes of the year are Ansonia running back Arkeel Newsome and three-sport Wilton High standout Casey Pearsall. The Doc McInerney High School Coaches of the Year are Northwest Catholic girls soccer coach Todd Sadler and Suffield boys coach Mark Beigel.

Greenwich’s Karen Newman, who competed in a triathlon hours after undergoing chemotherapy treatment, will receive the Bob Casey Courage Award. Robert Ehalt, formerly from the Norwalk Hour and now at the New Haven Register, will receive the Art McGinley Award for his dedication to the profession and the CSWA.

Along with Brooks, Good Sport Awards will go to Dan and Theresa Lee of Berlin, Sid DiMaggio of New London, Bob Fontaine of Middletown and Bethel, Bill Pucci from the Naugatuck Valley and Jim Tommins of Fairfield County.

Arrangements for tickets ($75 for the Aqua Turf’s renowned four-course prime rib dinner) can be made by contacting CSWA treasurer Ken Lipshez (860-673-6048, or dinner chairman Ehalt (203-929-6584, Checks made out to “CSWA” can be submitted at the door. The dinner begins at 4 p.m.

Proceeds from the Gold Key Dinner are earmarked for the Bohdan M. Kolinsky Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to college students focusing on careers in sports journalism. Kolinsky, a past president and treasurer of the CSWA, was the well-known and respected Hartford Courant community sports editor who touched thousands of athletes before his untimely passing in 2003 at age 49.

Donations in Kolinsky’s name can be made by sending a check made out to the Bo Kolinsky Scholarship Fund care of CSWA, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT 06085. The CSWA has provided nearly $50,000 for aspiring sports journalists over the last 20 years.