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The Sport Information Resource Centre

8 Individuals and Organizations Receive Virtual High Fives for Making a Difference in 2020

(April 15, 2021 – OTTAWA, ONT.) Sport has the incredible power to unite, impact and inspire. As we navigate challenging times with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, sport will help Canadians and our communities to heal and rebuild.

In honour of National High Five Day – and because we could all use some feel good stories these days – Hollister and Wheelchair Basketball Canada proudly paused on Thursday evening to celebrate the resilient individuals and organizations creating a meaningful impact in communities across Canada through the power of inclusive sport.

The two organizations extended high fives to eight outstanding individuals and organizations, plus a few honourable mentions, in the categories below.

Business of the Year – TH Sports Group

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many sport programs to shut down over the past year, sidelining youth across Canada. But thanks to the TH Sports Group, an entry-level wheelchair basketball program in Moncton, N.B. has been able to return to play.

With school gyms closed to outsiders, the TH Sports facility provided a home base for Parasport New Brunswick’s learn to play P506 program and empowered youth to get back into the game. Though the facility was not fully accessible, TH Sports worked eagerly to make adjustments and ensure a positive experience for all participants.

Community Builder – Canadian Tire Jumpstart Foundation

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities launched the Sport Relief Fund to help community sport and recreation organizations weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic. The British Columbia Wheelchair Basketball Society (BCWBS) was one organization that accessed funding through Jumpstart to keep the spirit of sport and play alive throughout the past year.

Thanks to that financial support, BCWBS enhanced its work with the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) in Victoria to provide sport wheelchairs for physical literacy programming in schools and train staff to deliver adapted sport to their students and communities.

The Jumpstart funding also allowed BCWBS to shift to a virtual training environment for junior athletes, allowing coaches and players to stay active and connected as a team on the road to the 2023 Canada Games.

Honourable Mention – Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC)

SIRC has made impacts on inclusion through many of its programs, but none more so than the SIRC Match Grants initiative. The program supports collaboration between researchers and practitioners and focuses on supporting gender equity in Canadian sport.

SIRC’s Match Grants would not be possible without the efforts of researchers and sport organizations alike, working together towards a common goal of inclusiveness. These grants play a role in bringing inclusive projects to life.

Storytelling in Media – Malcolm Kelly

Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool to educate and inspire. A sports journalist, author and teacher, Malcolm Kelly knows this all too well. As the program director for sports journalism at Centennial College, Kelly is teaching the next generation of sports journalists and underscoring the importance of inclusive reporting.

Under Kelly’s leadership, the program has committed to sharing the stories of Canadian Paralympians and bringing more parasport coverage to Canadians. His students have covered notable international events, including the Paralympic Games. Kelly is helping to shape the future of Canadian sports journalism, with a message of inclusion and representation for Paralympic sport.

Honourable Mention – Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and CBC Sports

The CPC and CBC Sports are at the forefront of championing Paralympic sport and bringing stories from the Paralympics to Canadians. For the first time in North America, the Paralympics will have a primetime platform with CBC Sports bringing evening coverage to Canadians this summer.

Inclusion Influencer – Cindy Ouellet

Paralympian and world champion Cindy Ouellet is no stranger to captivating audiences on the basketball court. Beyond the field of play, she is a leader who champions positive social change as an advocate for inclusion.

This past year, in collaboration with Sport’Aide, Ouellet shared her journey through sport with the launch of The Adventures of Cindy, a comic book that aims to combat bullying. After recovering from cancer, Ouellet faced bullying in her teens. The comic book shares a powerful message with youth about speaking up and seeking help to denounce bullying.

Sport Champion – Sport for Life

Sport for Life was proactive in supporting the sport community amidst the pandemic. The organization conducted a national survey to highlight the impacts of COVID-19 on local sport organizations nationwide and published their results – sharing their data with Canadians. Sport for Life also developed a “Physical Literacy at Home” video series to help parents/guardians and children continue to develop physical literacy skills. The Sport for Life team was also a finalist in the Global Design Challenge to find solutions to the challenges faced in sport and physical activity due to COVID-19.

Sport Champion – Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO)

CSIO is a vital sport partner that has provided leadership, support and guidance during these challenging times. The institute worked closely with WBC on its return to training plan and the development of safety protocols in order to get Canada’s wheelchair basketball athletes back on court on the road to Tokyo.

CSIO worked with the province to permit high performance athletes to return to training and launched a pilot testing program to screen participants for COVID-19. Their staff have been instrumental in guiding WBC’s plans with health and safety at the forefront.

Sport Champion Honourable Mention – Canada Basketball

Canada Basketball used its platform and rallied behind athletes to champion the Black Lives Matter movement and activism to fight against racial injustice, systemic racism and police brutality. Following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Tayler, Jacob Blake, and others, the Canada Basketball family spoke out to stand in solidarity with the Black community and made a commitment to use the power of sport to support change.

Wheelchair Basketball Sport Champion – Burlington Vipers

Led by the tireless Chris Chandler, the Burlington Vipers wheelchair basketball club went above and beyond to maintain community over the past year. The club showed great resilience, leadership and innovation to deliver programming to its membership.

The club recruited new players, supplied basketballs and wheelchairs to empower athletes to train at home, and connected veteran players with new participants to provide mentorship. It maximized virtual tools to keep everyone engaged, including guided skill development videos and Zoom sessions for coaches and player. The club also created a return to play plan in accordance with health and safety guidelines.

Wheelchair Basketball Sport Champion – Tara Llanes

Tara Llanes has high hopes for representing Canada at her first Paralympic Games in Tokyo. For many athletes, the past year has been filled with challenges. Despite the isolation from her teammates and being forced to train alone for the biggest event in her career, Llanes maintains a positive and resilient mindset to keep working at it every day and stay motivated. That positivity, alongside her passion and drive, keep Llanes on the path to reaching her goal and make her a great role model and ambassador for the game.

About Hollister Incorporated

Hollister Incorporated is an independent, employee-owned company that develops, manufactures, and markets healthcare products worldwide. The company develops and manufactures products for ostomy care, continence care and critical care, and also develops educational support materials for patients and healthcare professionals. Headquartered in Libertyville, Illinois, it has manufacturing and distribution centers on three continents and sells in nearly 80 countries. Hollister is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Firm of John Dickinson Schneider, Inc. (JDS Inc.), a nearly 100-year-old company. Hollister is guided by the shared Mission of JDS Inc., to make life more rewarding and dignified for people who use its products and services.

About Wheelchair Basketball Canada

Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sports governing body responsible for the organization of the sport in Canada. It is a non-profit, charitable organization that is committed to excellence in the development, support and promotion of wheelchair basketball programs and services for all Canadians from grassroots to high performance. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport in which Canada is held in high esteem around the world for winning a combined six gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the last seven Paralympic Games. For more information, please visit