Bryan Scallion Award – Daniel Murray

by Cross Country Nova Scotia Staff, July 1, 2020

2 x Gold at Provincials

Cross Country Nova Scotia is proud to announce North Highland Nordic’s Daniel Murray as the recipient of the 2020 Bryan Scallion Memorial Award for the fastest male skier at the Nova Scotia Cross-Country Ski Championships.  Murray achieved the top male aggregate time, calculated across two days of racing, for the 14.4km classic and 14.4km skate events.  The CCNS board of directors established this award to honour Bryan Scallion’s lifetime dedication to advancing the sport of cross-country skiing in Nova Scotia, along with his unwavering commitment to developing competitive athletes.

The Nova Scotia Cross-Country Ski Championships has been held annually for more than 50 years.  Skiers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to participate and experience the camaraderie inherent in this long-standing event.  We’re proud of all our athletes and volunteers demonstrating excellence in our sport. Take a peek at our historic recipients. Murray is a repeat award recipient for team and volunteer award categories.

Halifax Nordic Ski Club hosted the 2020 Provincials at Oakfield Golf and Country Club, a first-time venue for the championships, attracting 40 skiers from ages 7 – 70 years.  The two-day event offered race distances of 1.8km – 14.4km on a 1.5km serpentine loop, in classic and freestyle techniques on Feb 22nd – 23rd.  Tremendous effort and expertise by volunteers enabled this event to happen, notably, the grooming required to provide a skiable surface.

The course design of a 1.5km serpentine loop was out of necessity due to temperature well above zero mid-week.  This resulted in concrete like snow as temps fell back below zero,  to get the snow on to a safe skiable consistency require 50km of grooming passes over 2 days with HNSC grooming equipment.


21st Provincial Championship for Murray

Murray has raced at 21 Nova Scotia Provincial Championships, hosted by various clubs across the province, since 1991.  He is also a multiple winner of the Bryan Scallion Award.  “I know that I’m getting this award as an ‘old guy’, but that’s all part of the spirit of Bryan Scallion.  The young guns have to keep the vets on their toes, while the vets have to keep the young guns honest.  In addition, as a firm believer that XC skiing does not have a retirement age, I have to walk the talk!”

Historic photos of the Nova Scotia Provincial Championships – 1978 Bryan Scallion (left), 2014 & 2017 various photos. 

Murray at Provincial Championships in 2014, 2013 & 2016.

International Racing Experience

Murray has represented North Highlands Nordic and Nova Scotia at national and international-level races.  As a member of the Nova Scotia Provincial Team for 15 years, he participated at two Canada Winter Games (1995, 1999) and 10 national championships.  As a student at Augustana University College, Murray also competed at the 1997 World University Games.  Additionally, he won the 2017 Gatineau Loppet 27km freestyle, 1988 Canadian Birkebeiner – while carrying a 12 pound pack, and completed the 90km Vasaloppet held in Sweden (2015, 2017). 

Murray wins gold at 1988 Canadian Birkebeiner, 55km with 12-pound backpack. Read full article (click here).

Murray wins gold at 2017 Gatineau Loppet, 27km freestyle. View full article (click here).

Provincial Team Coach – 12 Years

Since 2007, Murray has been head coach for the Nova Scotia Ski Team, a year-round competitive program.  Murray has coached at three Canada Winter Games (2011, 2015 & 2019), in addition to supporting athletes at annual races including provincials, Eastern Canadian Championships, and Nationals.


Coach Murray along with the Nova Scotia ski team at Provincials.

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Home Club – North Highlands Nordic

Daniel’s home ski facility is North Highlands Nordic, Cape North.  This club has a special place in our province’s history of cultivating competitive cross-country skiers – in addition to bringing outdoor enthusiasts together on skis and snowshoes since its formation in 1977.

North Highlands Nordic is strategically located in a snowbelt – offering the most consistent and dependable snow in the Ma1ritimes.  Naturally, NHN’s annual loppet has been held every year for the past 35 years.  The club has also hosted numerous Atlantic and Provincial Championships, along with National events throughout its history, including the 1987 Jeux Canada Games and 1989 Junior National Championships.

A strong volunteer community persevered to develop North Highland Nordic’s high-caliber trail system, as required for the 1987 Games.  The Games exposed thousands of people to the culture and excitement of cross-country ski racing.  Additionally, Cape North gained tremendous infrastructure to develop cross-country ski racers.  Not surprisingly, approximately 50% of athletes on the 1995 and 1999 Nova Scotia Canada Winter Games teams were from North Highlands Nordic.  These racers had the opportunity to be trail-side watching Canada’s top skiers compete at the 1987 Jeux Canada Games – including Murray and two of his siblings.  

Did You Know?

· 300 Volunteers and Officials Participated at the 1987 Jeux Canada Games (Cross-Country Skiing Events at NHN)

· Cape North and Area had 51 Certified Nordic Ski Officials – 80% of Certified Officials in Nova Scotia (1987)


1987 Jeux Canada Games

Photographed (left to right): Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Rejean Lavoilette, Alfred MacLeod, Dennis Doyon, Ray Solomon (possibly), Myles Dixon, Unknown, Unknown, Wendell Gwynn (possibly). Photo: Digger’s Report (Feb 17, 1987).

Volunteers photographed (left to right): Douglas Dowling, Ann Marie Morrison, Unknown, Wanda Wilkie / MacKinnon, Bernie Vassallo, and Sharon McEvoy. Skier unknown. 1987 Jeux Canada Games at North Highlands Nordic. Source: Canada Games Council.

NHN Today

NHN has a strong sense of community amongst all levels of skiers and snowshoers, and welcomes visitors.  North Highlands Nordic offers a 12km trail system, with a 16 foot-wide groom to accommodate classic and skate techniques, as well as snowshoers.  There is a trail for every ability from beginner to expert.  Trails are mechanically groomed and tilled by a PistonBully tractor, ensuring optimal conditions.  NHN operates daily each year from late December to early April.  Visitors are invited to enjoy the trails in this winter wonderland, along with the club’s hospitable culture. Learn more about weekly social events, loppets, rental equipment, and accommodations, visit

History – Bryan Scallion Award

The Bryan Scallion Award was established by Cross Country Nova Scotia, to honour Bryan Scallion’s lifetime dedication to advancing the sport of cross-country skiing in Nova Scotia, along with his unwavering commitment to developing competitive athletes.

Bryan was a decorated Nova Scotia endurance athlete, who was recognized at a national level in various sports while training in Nova Scotia. Scallion was a leader in the Nova Scotia sporting community, participating in events ranging from track and field to triathlon to cross-country skiing. Bryan represented Nova Scotia at the Canada Winter Games as an athlete in 1971 and 1975. Bryan also represented Canada as a member of the National Biathlon team and the National Espoir Cross-Country Ski Team from 1997-1982. Bryan won the Canadian Ski Marathon during this time, as well as various national titles. He was also selected to the Canadian Olympic Biathlon team for the 1980 Lake Place Olympics.

Scallion competed on the Dalhousie University Cross-Country Running team, while attending the school. In his later years Bryan took up the sports of triathlon and duathlon. Always a contender in his age group, Bryan also won two provincial titles when he was over forty years old. He won his national age group champion various times in both triathlon and duathlon and represented Canada at World Championships as an age-group athlete – securing 11th and 12th place finishes. Bryan was also a tough competitor in road and mountain biking events, as well as orienteering.

An outstanding coach and administrator – he coached the Nova Scotia Provincial Cross-Country Ski team for many years, including at the Canada Winter Games in 1979 and 1983. Many of the athletes who were on these teams speak of the long-lasting influence that Bryan had on their lives. Bryan initiated the Honey Pot Ski Loppet in Wentworth, Nova Scotia, in 1977. This loppet is the longest running loppet in our province. In 1991, Bryan was the Chief of Competition for the biathlon events at the Canada Winter Games. Between 1995 and 2007, at least one of Bryan’s children continued the family tradition by representing Nova Scotia in various events at every Canada Winter Games.

Bryan had a lasting impact on the lives of many people – not only those who were acquainted with him through sport. His dedication to fun and enjoyment of an active lifestyle, his love of competition, and his loyalty to his province and country have led many to follow in his footsteps.

Photos & Articles

Thank-you to Dianne Powell for providing photos from the Scallion family albums.

Bjorger Peterson, (right) head coach of Canada’s National cross-country ski team talks over the race results with some of the members of the national team. Pictured from left are: Brian Scallion of Nova Scotia who finished third in the men’s race, Hans Skinstad who won the men’s race, and Sharon Firth who won the women’s race with a time of 19:59 for the five kilometers.

1971 Dalhousie University Ski Team. Bryan Scallion, centre.

Photo #1 – Article (Chronicle Herald, 1971). Photo #2 – 1971 Canada Winter Games. Bryan Scallion skiing, far left.

Bryan was featured on the poster for the 1975 Canadian Ski Marathon (right).

1979 Canadian Biathlon Team. Bryan Scallion, second from left.

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