Stewart Johnston – President of TSN: Stewart Johnston oversees all aspects of operations for TSN – Canada’s Sports Leader and one of North America’s most influential sports media networks. Under Johnston’s leadership, TSN delivers more than 6,000 hours of world-class content to Canadians each year through its slate of industry-leading platforms, including TSN, TSN2, TSN Radio and TSN Digital. Since being appointed President in 2010, Johnston has secured exclusive long-term multi-media deals with some of the most high-profile properties in sports including the CFL, NFL, the Canadian Curling Association, and Hockey Canada along with the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. He has also added several premier global sporting events to TSN’s slate of live sports coverage – among them Euro 2016, and FIFA’s highly-anticipated soccer tournaments from 2015 to 2022, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015. Johnston also represents Bell Media’s content interests associated with Bell’s ownership stake in Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment. During Johnston’s tenure as President, TSN has expanded the network by overseeing the successful launches of TSN Radio in five key Canadian markets: Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Edmonton. In 2011, he also led the creation of two specialty hockey networks: TSN Jets in Winnipeg and TSN Canadiens in Montreal.
Johnston has also headed TSN’s integration of digital, social, and broadcast content. He has led the launch of TSN’s industry-leading mobile apps and continues to place an emphasis on serving sports fans with engaging content on TSN.ca as well as on TSN’s official social media platforms – resulting in hundreds of thousands of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and YouTube views.
Prior to his appointment as President, Johnston was TSN’s Vice-President of Programming, where he shaped the network’s identity by establishing numerous long-term partnerships with key broadcast partners. In addition to his busy schedule at TSN, Johnston prides himself on being a “hands-on” father of two. Johnston also serves as Chairman of the Board of Dome Productions, sits on the board of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and in 2013 served as Honourary Chair of the Special Olympics Gala. He is also an active volunteer with Big Brothers of Canada. An Ottawa native, Johnston holds an honours Business degree from Queen’s University.
Anne Merklinger: An elite athlete for most of her life, Anne Merklinger was a member of Canada’s national swim team from 1977–1981. Anne earned a silver medal at the 1979 World University Games in the 200‐metre breaststroke. After a distinguished swimming career, Anne focused on curling and since the early 1980’s she competed with distinction at every major event she entered. She was consistently ranked as one of Canada’s foremost curlers, winning the Ontario Women’s Curling Championships in 1993, 1994, 1998 and 2000. She has twice led her team to the final of the Scott Tournament of Hearts (1998 and 2000).
A passionate, creative, and inspiring leader, Anne has more than 20 years of management experience with national sport organizations. Prior to becoming CEO Anne held the position of Director, Summer Sports with Own the Podium. She previously worked with CanoeKayak in the role of Director General, and has also worked with the Commission for Inclusion of Athletes with a Disability and the Canadian Federation of Sport Organization for the Disabled. Anne’s life‐long experience in sport as an athlete and professional is complemented by extensive volunteer experience with a number of organizations including the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, Women’s Tour of Curling, and CAAWS. Anne is currently a member of the Board of Special Olympics Canada.
Brent Barootes (keynote speaker): Brent Barootes is President and CEO of the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™, an Alberta based national sponsorship consulting firm. In the past 25 years Brent has worked directly or indirectly with many Canadian brands, corporations, small and medium businesses as well as professional and amateur sport organizations at local, provincial and national levels, destination marketing and tourism offices and organizations, municipalities, charities, member associations and non profits to develop, audit, enhance, design, and build effective sponsorship programs for them. His expertise includes sponsorship asset audits and valuations as well as corporate measuring and investment in sponsorship for realized ROI, sponsorship activation programs, package development, and mentoring of staff and volunteers for both corporations engaging in sponsorship as well as sport and municipal events and organizations.
Richard Norman: Richard has been focused on organizational and digital strategy for over 20 years. He specializes in evidence based and solution focused analysis that helps guide sound business thinking and action. His most recent work focuses on long-term strategic planning; utilizing foresight, scenario planning and design-thinking skills for government and corporate clients, including Government of Ontario, ScotiaBank and United Way Centraide. His passion for facilitation and client engagement includes workshops and instructing at OCAD University, most recently co-instructing Digital Business Disruption for a corporate client. Richard completed a Masters in Strategic Foresight and Innovation: a thesis entitled, “Meeting a Preferred Future – A Case Study of Tennis Canada”, which looked at internal and external conditions affecting Tennis Canada’s business model 15 years into the future.
Dr. Heather Mair: Heather Mair is an Associate Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo. She began her first curling-related research project (Curling and Community in Rural Canada) in 2005 and has been involved in a variety of curling projects ever since. Her last completed project involved giving cameras to women living in rural and remote parts of Canada and asking them to explain the role of curling and curling clubs in their health and well-being. The outcomes of this research have been shared with curlers, municipal leaders, and policy makers across the country. She has also explored issues of diversity in curling with the Toronto Curling Association and has a current project on youth and branding with the Ontario Sport Council. Heather has presented the results of her work to audiences across Canada and around the world and has been featured in local and national newspapers as well as Canadian Geographic. Heather’s work has been supported by Sport Canada as well as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Steve Indig began his career with the Sport Law & Strategy Group in 2003 immediately after being called to the bar as a lawyer. In fewer than ten years, Steve has worked with over 400 national, provincial, and local sport organizations to provide consulting and legal services related to governance, employment, contracts, policies, disputes, and privacy. He is a regular guest speaker and presenter at AGMs, conferences, and workshops, and has also acted as an adjudicator. Steve graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelors of Recreation degree and a successful five-year career as varsity athlete in swimming. Steve attended three CIS National Championships, was named the CIS athlete of the month, and qualified for the 2000 Olympic Trials. He continues to be involved in swimming as a master’s swimmer (Canadian Masters Swimming medalist) and a coach at the Vaughan Aquatic Club. Steve was inducted into the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. During the early years of his career, Steve also was a certified sports agent representing professional athletes. Steve was certified by the NFL, CFL, MLS, and FIFA as an agent. He continues to be involved in sport as a swimming coach, masters swimmer, softball player and avid basketball player; recently returning from the 2013 Maccabi Games in Israel where his team won a bronze in basketball. Steve is also the proud father of a son and newborn daughter.
Clay Melnike: Clay Melnike is a facilitator, consultant, planner, coach and published author who has worked for over 25 years in the two worlds about which he is most passionate: sport and youth. Clients and employers have included Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, Gymnastics Canada, Canadian Military, Murray McKinnon Foundation, and Curl Ontario. He is currently working the Community Sport Councils of Ontario in training and business development and the University of Toronto consulting in planning, policy development and the development of a new Sport Management Program 2013/14. Publications include: Community Services Marketing Package, 101 Revenue Generation Ideas, The Business of Sport (author) and The Business of Event Management in Sport (contributor). He recently completed Coaching Training (Coaches Training Institute) focused on youth life planning, decision making and conflict resolution.
Art Sutherland – Accent Refrigeration: Accent Refrigeration Systems was founded by Art Sutherland and Greg Hillman, who have been working together since 1980. They launched their company with a mission to develop the most efficient and reliable refrigeration systems in the world. By all accounts, they have more than succeeded. Each year, Accent Refrigeration sets the bar higher with new innovations and developments that improve the operation of recreational ice facilities around the globe. Accent Refrigeration Systems has completed projects on six continents for private, public, university and professional facilities as well as three Olympic Games, with custom-crafted refrigeration systems that have been rated as the most efficient in the world.
Helen Radford: Helen Radford is a National Coach with the CCA, works with Curling For Life’s LTAD model and is a member of the NCCP Transition committee. Helen is a Level 4 certified high performance coach, head coach for the 2012 and 2016 Canadian Youth Olympic Games teams as well as the 2011 Canadian Mixed Doubles team. She has been Team Leader/Technical Support for Canada at numerous Junior Women’s and Women’s World events. Helen lives in Halifax and is also the Executive Director for Curl Atlantic and the Director of High Performance for Nova Scotia.
Jennifer Ferris: Jennifer Ferris is the CCA’s National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Transition Consultant. Over the last ten years, Jennifer has lead the NCCP Transition Team in re-vamping curling’s Coach Development Programs. She is a Master Learning Facilitator, a Master Evaluator and is Level 3 Certified. Jennifer has also worked as a Team Leader for the CCA at several events and is a member of the High Performance Coaching Team in Ontario. Jennifer has recently been hired as the Administrative Officer for the Ontario Curling Council. Jennifer is a Registered Respiratory Therapist, and lives in Grimsby, Ontario.
Dominic Leger, Senior Digital Strategy Consultant – Substance Strategies: Dominic is Senior Digital Strategy Consultant for Substance Strategies, a digital and social media marketing agency based in Montreal. Dominic has been working in the field of public relations and digital communications for over 8 years and has helped numerous clients including Tremblant Ski Resort, the Blue Cross, The Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Curling Association optimise their social media and digital presence. Dominic also teaches Public Relations 2.0 as part of the Social Media Marketing program at Bart College in Quebec City and gives frequent training to businesses and governments on social media and digital public relations. Prior to his work with Substance Strategies, Dominic acted as a political advisor on Parliament Hill in Ottawa working on several issues including open data and digital government. Dominic has also worked as newspaper journalist in New Brunswick and in 2010 launched a « LinkedIn » for professionals working in international affairs in Canada.
Tony Fisher: (Director of Research, Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance): is the director of research at the CSTA. Tony has worked with the CSTA since 2002 in developing the STEAM and STEAM PRO models. Since then, he has worked with the CSTA in conducting economic impact assessments at over 125 sporting events across the country including the last 6 Canada Games and the last 4 World Junior Hockey Championship. Curling events include numerous Briers, the Tournament of Hearts, the Roar of the Rings, World Mixed Curling and the Juniors. Tony is also the managing partner of Paradigm Consulting Group, whose clients have included Tourism British Columbia, Tourism Ottawa, the Conference Board of Canada, and Harris Decima Inc. Tony has also worked as a senior economist for the Department of Finance Canada. Tony’s educational background is in economics; he has a MA in Economics from the University of Victoria, where he specialized in computer-aided modeling and econometrics
Jamie Bourassa: Jamie Bourassa is the owner of Jamie’s Keen Ice Services, an ice consultant for all curling facility needs. Jamie is a Level 5 Chief Ice Technician with the Canadian Curling Association and the World Curling Federation. Jamie is also the Chief Ice Technician for the Alberta Curling Federation. Recently, he was the Chief Ice Technician for the 2013 Olympic Pre-Trials in Kitchener, ON, the 2014 Canadian Juniors in Liverpool, NS, and the 2014 World Women’s Championship in Saint John, NB.
Fred Veale of Canada Curling Stone Co. has been a leader in the world of curling stone manufacturing since 1992, a name synonymous with excellence in quality and customer service. Whether it is new Trefor granite curling stones replacing an old set of stones giving new life to the game, or 25lbs LiteRock junior stones helping to teach kids to curl, or top of line ice equipment, they take great pride in the work they do for curling. Using both traditional methods blended with new technology, their curling stones and curling ice equipment are being used in curling clubs, arenas, and at national events throughout North America and Overseas.
Rob Krepps has worked in the sport of curling for over 20 years, and in that time has been able to forge a highly successful career as both a high performance coach and a club manager. On the coaching side, Rob has worn Canadian colours at numerous international events, including four World Championships and the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. For the past six years he has been the Head Coach of the Canadian Curling Association’s National Training Centre at the University of Alberta, where he has done extensive technical and tactical work with many of Canada’s top curlers. Rob’s club management career has included stops at the Halifax Curling Club, in Halifax, NS, the Lakeshore Curling Club in Lower Sackville, NS, and most recently the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton, AB. At each of these clubs, Rob has found a way to use his coaching expertise to fill an important void by making professional instruction available to regular club members. These experiences have clearly demonstrated a demand among rank-and-file curlers for progressive skill development, and a corresponding need for well-trained, teaching professionals to deliver this programming.
Paul Webster is a National Coach with the CCA, was the 2014 Olympic Team Leader and is the Head Coach of our National Training Centre in Calgary. A level IV certified coach Paul has attended the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games as part of Canada’s coaching and leadership team. He has also worked in a coaching capacity at multiple world championships on behalf of the CCA. On top of his work with the CCA Paul is also the Provincial High Performance Coach for Alberta and the Curling Director at The Glencoe Club in Calgary.
Wendy Morgan: Wendy is the Provincial High Performance Program Assistant with the Ontario Curling Association; the National Coach / Team Leader with the Canadian Curling Association, and the National Program Manager/Assistant Coach/Team Leader for the National Wheelchair Curling Program.
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