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Val Sweeting among recipients of Petro-Canada program grants

Edmonton’s Val Sweeting, and Canadian Curling Association National Team Program coaching consultant Renée Sonnenberg of Grande Prairie, Alta., are among 50 athlete-and-coach pairings who will receive funding through the Petro-Canada Fuelling Athletes and Coaching Excellence program, it was announced today by the Canadian Curling Association.

Edmonton's Val Sweeting is one of the recipients of this year's funding through the Petro-Canada Fuelling Athletes and Coaching Excellence program. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

Edmonton’s Val Sweeting is one of the recipients of this year’s funding through the Petro-Canada Fuelling Athletes and Coaching Excellence program. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

Working together with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and their National Sport partners, the FACE program provides developing, pre-carded, Canadian athlete and coach pairings with $10,000 in grants. These resources help athletes achieve national carded status and coaches improve their skills over the long term.

Sweeting and her team — third Andrea Crawford, second Dana Ferguson, lead Rachelle Pidherny and coach Garry Coderre — are part of the CCA’s National Team Program after participating in the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials last December in Winnipeg and placing second at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts last February in Montreal. The Sweeting team will be participating in the 2014 Canada Cup of Curling, presented by Meridian Manufacturing, Dec. 3-7 in Camrose, Alta.

Sonnenberg, meanwhile, joined the CCA’s NTP coaching program under national women’s coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson during the off-season and will be working with numerous teams, including Sweeting’s.

Coach Renée Sonnenberg.

Coach Renée Sonnenberg.

“The FACE program is the cornerstone of our Olympic and Paralympic legacy and we are excited to increase the funding for both coaches and athletes, fuelling their dream to compete on the international stage,” said Louis Côté, Director, Loyalty and Strategic Partnerships, Suncor. “The drive and discipline of the athletes and coaches chosen is astounding, congratulations on becoming this year’s FACE recipients.”

This year, Suncor increased the funding from $8,000 per athlete and coach pairing to $10,000, and boosted the total annual financial commitment from $400,000 to $500,000 for every year of the program going forward.

“This is an amazing program, and I’m truly grateful for the support of the FACE program,” said Sweeting. “To compete at a high level doesn’t just require hard work; it also requires corporate support like this to help us pursue our athletic dreams.”

Beginning with the Petro-Canada Torch Scholarship Fund in 1988 and continuing through its re-launch as the FACE Program in 2007, the program has provided more 2,600 Canadian athletes and coaches with almost $9 million in direct financial support. Recipients of the 2014 program funding represent both summer and winter sports and represent Canada from coast to coast.

Previous FACE recipients have gone on to great success on the international stage, including at the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, reaching the podium 12 times. Medallists include: Kaitlyn Lawes (Curling – Gold), Dennis Thiessen (Wheelchair Curling – Gold),  Mark Arendz (Para-Biathlon – Silver, Bronze), Patrick Chan (Figure Skating – Silver, Silver), Mélodie Daoust (Ice Hockey – Gold), Mac Marcoux (Para-Alpine – Gold, Bronze, Bronze), Kevin Reynolds (Figure Skating – Silver), Marielle Thompson (Ski Cross – Gold).

For more a complete list of 2014 FACE recipients or additional information on the FACE program, visit www.facebook.com/dreambig.