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Classroom Champions – Inaugural event to raise awareness and funds for the Back to School Project Foundation, focused on helping Calgary students achieve their full potential

CALGARY (March 10, 2016) – Earlier today, athletes and sport personalities came together in support of Classroom Champions, a program that connects Olympian and Paralympian Athlete Mentors, on a monthly basis, with students in the classroom, at its inaugural Champion Chats event. The panel discussion welcomed well-ˇknown sports professionals as they discussed the importance of mentorship and the pivotal role it played in their success. The event raised awareness for Classroom Champions and nearly $180,000 to help its programming in under-ˇserved communities across Calgary and Alberta.

With the theme “Excellence Through Mentorship,” Shane Doan, Captain, Arizona Coyotes;; Brian Burke, President of Hockey Operations, Calgary Flames Hockey Club;; Kelly Hrudey, Hockey Analyst for  Hockey Night in Canada and Rogers Sportsnet;; and Tie Domi, Author,  Shiftwork, Retired NHL player, each spoke about how mentorship played a large role in reaching their personal pinnacle of success, why mentorship is important to them, and the role it currently plays in their lives. Hosted by Tara Slone, Reporter and Ambassador,  Rogers Hometown Hockey on Sportsnet, the event also welcomed nearly 20 Olympic and Paralympic athletes, including current Classroom Champions Athlete Mentor Jesse Cockney and former Athlete Mentors Lucas Makowsky and Brittany Schussler.

“Investing in our youth and tomorrow’s future is the cornerstone of Classroom Champions programming. Through the work and support of our Athlete Mentors, teachers, and donors, we have the opportunity to help each student realize and achieve their true potential,” said Steve Mesler, Olympic and World Champion, and President and CEO, Classroom Champions. “We are sincerely grateful to the Calgary community and business leaders who supported this important cause and recognize the importance of initiatives such as Classroom Champions.”

Classroom Champions connects top performing athletes with students in a type of virtual pen pal relationship. Using video lessons and live video chats, students are motivated to recognize their potential,

set goals, and dream big. It’s the first and only in-ˇschool program that brings Olympians and Paralympians into the classroom to provide ongoing mentorship. More than 150 classrooms across the

U.S. and Canada will participate this year. As part of the program, participating classrooms are equipped with technology to help teachers incorporate social and emotional skills as well as digital literacy into their curriculum.

“I am a big believer in the importance of mentorship and the benefits it brings, and am grateful for the work that Classroom Champions does in helping children and youth in the community,” George Gosbee, Chairman and CEO, AltaCorp Capital, Inc. and Co-ˇowner, Arizona Coyotes. “I felt it was important to invite my close friends to this inaugural event, so they could share their stories of mentorship, not only in sports, but in life. These men have all benefited from a strong support network and this is an important message to share.”

Funds raised from this event will directly support schools in Calgary, including classrooms at Sherwood School, Belvedere Parkway School, Dr. Gordon Higgins School, Keeler School, Roland Michener School, Chris Akkerman School, Pineridge School, and Langevin School.

Classroom Champions and its athletes believe that students’ current circumstances do not dictate their futures, and that having relationships with invested, successful adult role models instills possibility in kids and provides them with the tools to succeed. Classroom Champions changes the lives of the students and teachers it touches on a daily basis. The program gives kids a better chance at succeeding in school, and in life. Classroom Champions programs in Canada are overseen by the Back to School Project

Foundation, a registered Canadian Charity.

About Classroom Champions

Classroom Champions is a non-ˇprofit organization founded by 2010 Olympic gold-ˇmedalist Steve Mesler and Leigh Mesler Parise, PhD. Leveraging the latest technology and donating it to participating schools, Classroom Champions partners with teachers in underserved schools and transform their learning environment to enable students to thrive. The organization provides Olympian and Paralympian Mentors to classrooms of at-ˇrisk students for the course of an entire school year, trains and supports teachers to implement character lessons into the curriculum and engages families to continue the learning at home.

Classroom Champions has grown from its U.S. beginnings to reaching thousands of students in schools and classrooms in Canada, the U.S.A., and Costa Rica. Classroom Champions is the only North American organization to be awarded the 2012 World Fair Play Diploma for Promotion of Fair Play by UNESCO’s International Fair Play Committee. For more information on the program, participating Athlete Mentors, and its funding partners, as well as a view of Classroom Champions at work in the schools, please visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, please contact:

Madison Olyniuk

Brookline Public Relations


Steve Mesler

President & CEO