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The Sport Information Resource Centre

TORONTO, Ont. (February 22, 2021) — Canada Basketball announced Monday the appointment of Michael Bartlett to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Reporting to the President & CEO, Bartlett will be primarily responsible for overseeing the business operations of the organization, including events, program development, branding, marketing and communications, sponsorship sales and fulfillment, digital and broadcast media, eSports, merchandising and licensing, as well as philanthropy through the Canada Basketball Foundation.

“Michael is a proven leader who has made a positive and lasting impact with each organization he’s been involved with over the course of his career and inspires others around him to constantly strive for success,” said Glen Grunwald, President and CEO of Canada Basketball. “The creation of the Chief Operating Officer role is an important part of the organization’s Unifying Basketball Nation strategic plan.

“We are the thrilled to have Michael join our team as we continue to work to develop a robust and sustainable business model for Canada Basketball that furthers the growth of the game domestically, as well as continued international success for our national team programs,” Grunwald said.  

Bartlett joins Canada Basketball after having spent the past ten years in a variety of roles with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), including most recently as the Vice President of Community Affairs & Events. During his time at MLSE, Bartlett was responsible for the development and execution of many of the organization’s major events, including the 2016 NBA All Star Weekend, the 2017 NHL Centennial Classic, playoff viewing parties in Maple Leaf Square for both the Maple Leafs and Raptors and the operations of the 2020 NHL Hub campus in Toronto.

“We’ve witnessed first-hand over the past few years the increased interest, participation and love for the game of basketball,” said Bartlett. “While the Raptors NBA championship is sure to inspire the next generation, it is our job at Canada Basketball, along with our Provincial/Territorial Sport Organizations, clubs, and families to work together to help those girls and boys continue their development and ultimately achieve their full potential.”

A primary focus for Bartlett in his new role will be to establish stable funding for the organization through the launch of new event properties, as well as commercial partnerships, from both traditional and emerging industries. Additionally, Bartlett will play a key role in ensuring the Canadian basketball community continues to work together towards its shared ambition of establishing Canada as a world leader in all aspects of the game.

Basketball is the number one sport among new Canadians, while Canada Basketball’s national team programs are some of the most diverse in the country. The organization recognizes that there remains work to do, however, to ensure the game offers inclusive environments, both on and off the court and Bartlett’s experience as part of MLSE’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council will assist Canada Basketball’s on-going efforts in this area.  

Throughout his career, Bartlett has held professional and volunteer leadership positions with many leading charitable organizations, helping to raise close to $200 million to support local and national causes.  His leadership helped guide the creation of MLSE LaunchPad and the recent roll out of MLSE’s Change The Game campaign, which shines a light on the systematic barriers faced by many racialized youth.

Through the challenging impact of COVID-19 on the industry, Bartlett represented MLSE on both City of Toronto and Province of Ontario task forces that examined ways to rebuild the sports, entertainment and charitable sectors while developing protocols to support the execution of live events both during, and after, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bartlett will officially join Canada Basketball on March 22.

The hire of Bartlett was made after an exhaustive search conducted by Lighthouse Search on behalf of Canada Basketball.


For more information, contact:
Matt Walker,