While the high school sports season may not have had the ending anyone wanted, as the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out all spring sports, the Telegram & Gazette will honor the year’s best athletes at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Best of Hometeam All-Stars Awards show.
The online-only event, free to watch at www.telegram.com and preps.worcester.gatehouselive.com, will honor Telegram & Gazette Hometeam All-Stars, as well as announce male and female Athlete of the Year, Team of the Year and Coach of the Year awards.
The event will be hosted by sports broadcasters Jesse Palmer, Sage Steele, Dr. Jerry Punch and Courtney Cronin and feature numerous professional sports figures, including Patrick Mahomes, Stephen Curry, Michael Phelps, Venus Williams, Wayne Gretzky, Bill Belichick and many more.
Registration or payment is not required to watch the show, thanks to sponsors DCU-Digital Federal Credit Union, Fidelity Bank, Big Y and Wachusett Mountain.
Not all MIAA-sanctioned sports will be included in the Players of the Year awards due to spring sports cancellations by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, there will be a recognition of seniors who missed their final sports seasons as part of a national tribute video included in the broadcast.
The public can also show support of seniors who missed their final games and celebrations by joining in the national movement with support messages on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #DontStopNow. One person nationally using this #DontStopNow will win $1,000 for themselves and $1,000 for the charity of their choice. See details on the event website the night of the show for additional information.
The Telegram & Gazette will also participate in a national effort to raise funds locally for those impacted most by the COVID pandemic. Donate on Telegram.com/BestofHomeTeam to the “Team Telegram COVID Relief.” This national effort will support the United Way, The American Red Cross and Feeding America. The community that raises the most funds by June 20 will receive a matching donation from the USA Today Network, up to $10,000, for those local charities.
Gannett owns and operates the largest high school athlete recognition program in the U.S.
Viewers can find various locations, including the Best of Hometeam All-Stars Awards show, at sportsawards.usatoday.com, as well as on the event website at telegram.com/BestofHomeTeam.
If readers can’t see the show live, it will be hosted on the event website for a full month. The show can also be seen on any smart television by searching for the event name on YouTube through the YouTube app.
The Telegram & Gazette will also offer a keepsake edition of the honorees in the Sunday Telegram print edition on June 21. Keepsake editions will also be available for purchase online at telegram.com/BestofHomeTeam for a limited time.
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