Team KidSport Calgary Ambassadors
Eric Francis - CFL Alumni and long-time KidSport Ambassador
Working as a Sportsnet Analyst and a Calgary sun Columnist, Eric Francis has been a KidSport Calgary Ambassador for the better part of two decades of his life as his career and beliefs revolve around sport. It saddens Eric to think some kids can't benefit from all the life lessons sport can teach simply because of their family's financial situation. He believes by raising money and promoting all the great work KidSport Calgary does, more and more kids can build lifelong memories and skill sets to help make them future leaders in our community. | Twitter: @EricFrancis
Erica Wiebe- Olympic Wrestler
Erica grew up in a small town outside of Ottawa, ON and was an active kid throughout her childhood, always the first one out on the field at lunch time. Her passion for adventure and new experiences was piqued one day in grade 9 when the sign went up for Co-Ed Wrestling Try-Outs. Everyone made the team, no matter their skill, size, strength... all that was required was the right attitude. Today, Erica is a member of the Canadian Olympic Wrestling Team on the Road to Rio! She wrestles at the 75kg weight class and lives and trains in Calgary, AB. | Twitter: @ericawiebe
Gil Carlos- Local Entrepreneur
Sports to Gil means the world, he grew up playing basketball, because his Mom could afford it. At a young age, he was trusted to be Captain for mostly all the basketball teams he played for, he knew how to bring his teammates together for a greater cause of ‘winning as a team’. The sport of basketball taught him work ethic, punctuality, leadership, trust, and most of all, it taught him how to work within a structured system, and to work within a team. These skills he learned from sports, help him to this very day as Gil opened a new restaurant with his younger brother called The Bro’Kin Yolk. KidSport means a lot to him, because sports shaped him into the person he is today. Gil now has traded in his basketball shoes and basketball, for a skillet and an egg flipper. At Gil’s restaurant you will find that his employees will be taught work ethic, punctuality, leadership, trust, structure, and to work within a team, all of the same skills he learned from playing sports.
|Facebook: Facebook.com/brokinyolk | Instagram: Instagram@brokinyolk
Cheryl Bernard - Olympic Curler and Provincial Champion
Cheryl is best known for her long list of curling accomplishments and awards. She is a four time Alberta women’s champion, Canadian Runner-up, TSN Skins finalist and has maintained a top 5 status on the World Curling Tour for many years. In December 2009, her and her teammates won the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials in Edmonton and were now headed to Vancouver to represent Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics. After a grueling ten days, team Canada brought home a silver medal, and at the same time earned the countries respect with their poise, conduct and teamwork at those games. Two months after the Olympics Cheryl was nominated by her peers as the 2010 Most Valuable Player in Women’s curling and voted 2010 Female Athlete of the Year by the Calgary Booster Club. In July of 2014 Cheryl retired from competitive curling and 4 months later joined TSN as a Curling Analyst for their “Season of Champions Tour”, which includes The Canada Cup of Curling, Continental Cup of Curling, The Scott Tournament of Hearts, The Brier and The World Championships.
|Twitter: @TeamBernard |LinkedIn: www.cherylbernard.com
Eldrine Soriano - Past KidSport Calgary recipient
Eldrine wants to support an organization that had once supported his family. Some don't know that he was assisted by KidSport Calgary in his early teens, when he played his first years in football. Eldrine is forever grateful to KidSport Calgary because they were able to positively change his life. Earlier in his teens, he was overweight with an anger issue. With both parents working hard to provide him with the necessities, sport was not a priority. A harsh memory ingrained, was not being able to play his first choice of sport because his family was not able to afford the fees and equipment. As a kid he recalls creating stories of "not being good enough" which wasn't true. A few years later, with the assistance of KidSport Calgary, he was able to harness his anger and energy in football, which helped develop important life skills such as discipline and respect, and a healthier lifestyle. He believes it is important to raise the awareness that there should be no financial barriers or economic diversity when it comes to kids wanting to play sports. | Twitter: @drinethedream
Canadian National Men's Water Polo Team
Team Canada recently placed 9th at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, Canada’s second-best placing. Along with a bronze at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, it was a busy summer for the squad. Combined with the athletes training in Calgary at the National Training Centre at Talisman Centre, Team Canada comprises a cross-section of Canadians from Victoria to Montreal and from seventeen to thirty-five years of age. Athletes from this group have played professionally in Croatia, Greece, Australia, Italy, Spain, Montenegro, Hungary, Serbia to name a few and traveled to more than 30 countries to represent Canada on the world stage. Training for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Team Canada hopes to top its 11th place finish at the 2008 Olympiad in Beijing.
The National Men’s Water Polo Team believes that KidSport Calgary is a wonderful organization, providing opportunities for the deserving youth in our backyard to participate in organized sport, keeping them active and healthy. KidSport Calgary has directly had an impact on the National Men’s Water Polo Team as one of the players is a past KidSport Calgary recipient and he continues to be one of their best players, because KidSport gave him the opportunity to train and play at a young age.
Written by: Goaltender, Robin Randall | Website: http://www.waterpolo.ca/
Paul Webster- National and Olympic Coach
Paul is a National and Olympic coach with our Canadian curling program, as well as Alberta’s High Performance Coach. Through his work with Curling Canada, Paul has coached at the last three Olympic Games as well as being the Team Leader in 2014 for both women and men where Canada brought home double gold for the first time in the history of the sport. Paul is gearing up for another Olympic run as Team Leader in 2018. As a father of two young girls Paul recognizes the importance of sport in their lives and appreciates the opportunity to help others realize this as well. | Twitter: @curling_coach
Cassie Hawrysh- Olympian, World Cup and National Skeleton Team
Cassie is a Canadian Skeleton Racer who broke onto the international sliding scene in 2011 and was named the Alternate sled for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. With two World Cup fourth place finishes and a team Gold this 2014 Canadian National Champion and overall 2015 ICC Bronze medalist is only just getting started. Born and raised in Brandon, Manitoba, Cassie began as a volleyball player and multi-event track and field athlete - but discovered her true passion in Skeleton in 2009. In the offseason, you will find Cassie splitting her training time between Calgary, AB and Phoenix, AZ and sharing her passions as a motivational speaker. In-season, she travels the world proudly representing the maple leaf racing head-first at speeds reaching 140km/h!
| Twitter: @CassieHawrysh |Website: http://cassiehawrysh.com/
Micaela Widmer- World Cup Skeleton Athlete (Switzerland)
Micaela has been on the Swiss National Skeleton team for 2 years. Before that she was a part of the Canadian Skeleton program for 5 years. One of the most important things she has taken away from sport is how much it can help in other areas of her life. Sport has taught her discipline, determination, the difference between confidence and arrogance, and how to win and lose gracefully. These tools have helped her throughout her education and now transitioning into a career. Growing up with parents who had the means to register her in sports is something that she will be forever thankful for. She believes that every child should have the opportunity to participate in sport, not only because it is fun and healthy, but so that they can learn the lessons that will undoubtedly help them in all areas of their life.
| Twitter: @MicaelaWidmer
Rebecca Johnston– Olympian, Team Canada Women’s Hockey Player and plays for the Calgary Inferno
Rebecca has been a member of the Canadian National Women’s Team since 2007. Hockey is her true passion and she knew at a young age that she wanted to play for Team Canada during the Olympics and represent her Country. Throughout her career with Hockey Canada, she is a 2x Olympic Gold medalist in the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games and she has won 2 gold medals and 5 silver medals at the Women’s World Hockey Championships.
Sport has been her life and it has taught her so many valuable life lessons, such as leadership skills, communication and sportsmanship. She believes ALL kids should have the opportunity to play sports and have fun! |Twitter: @RJohnst6 |Instagram: rjohnst6
Chris Cederstrand- Team Canada Sledge Hockey player
Chris grew up in Martensville, Saskatchewan before being drafted into the Western Hockey League, playing for the Red Deer Rebels and the Swift Current Broncos. In 2005 he was injured in a work accident where his leg was amputated above the knee, as a measure to save his life. In the following years, he became involved in a number of athletic pursuits teaching himself how to skate, snowboard and paracycle. In 2011, he began playing sledge hockey and was quickly noticed and picked up by Team Canada’s development program. He captained the development team in 2014 and was the first alternate for the paralympic games in Sochi. Later in 2014, he was selected for Canada’s National squad. He played for Canada at the 2015 World Sledge Hockey Championships winning a silver medal.
A multitalented athlete, he made history competing in the Fire Fit games, made possible by the X3 prosthetic leg, hard work and determination. He was part of the relay team joined with other members of Heritage Point Fire Hall. Chris is the first above knee firefighter in Canada.
Along with working with KidSport Calgary as an Athlete Ambassador, he is helping others with disabilities get back into sport through The Cederstrand Foundation. | Twitter: @Cedes25
Scott Stiles- Professional Golfer
Scott is a professional golfer who was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, and his entire childhood, and even adult life, revolves around sports. He played every sport he possibly could as a kid, including hockey, golf, baseball, soccer, badminton, football, skiing and lacrosse. Nearly all of his close friends to this day he met through sports and he can't even count the amount of life skills he was able to develop while practicing or competing. It breaks his heart to think about all the kids out there who don't have the ability to participate sports because of unfortunate circumstances. That is why Scott believes that KidSport and their initiatives to help give every kid a chance to play are literally life altering and he couldn't be prouder to align himself with this type of organization. As an amateur he had success both locally and nationally. Scott won the Alberta Amateur Championship in 2008 and again in 2011. He also had two top-10 finishes at the Canadian Amateur, which included a runner up finish in 2008. His best results since turning pro have been 2nd place finishes in the Alberta Open in 2012 and 2014, as well as a 2nd place finish in the 2012 Vancouver Open. | Twitter: @scott_stiles
Michelle Salt- 2014 Paralympian Snowboarder
Ever wondered what it’s like to be in intensive care for SEVEN DAYS on life support? Michelle went through just that when she was in a life-threatening motorcycle accident. She broke numerous bones, endured many surgeries, and ended up losing her right leg above the knee. Never one to back down from a challenge, she is now a National team athlete for the Canada Snowboard para-team and became the first female Canadian Paralympic Snowboarder at the 2014 Winter Paralympics! Michelle’s story of strength and passion for her sport, even in the face of great adversity, is an inspiration to all of us.
| Twitter: @MichelleSaltCGY | TedXTalk: YouTube Link | Website: www.Michellessalt.com
Zina Kocher–Olympic Games Biathlete for Team Canada
Zina grew up exploring many different sports & activities. Her parents taught her how to downhill ski at the age of 4 and a few years later she tried cross country skiing. It wasn’t until she was 15 that she got involved with biathlon, partially out of coincidence, through the Alberta Winter Games that came to her hometown in Red Deer, back in ’98. Her AB Winter Games debut eventually led to her moving to Canmore immediately after her last day of high school to train full time with the Rocky Mountain Racers under Richard Boruta. That year, 2001, she made the World Junior Team and set her sights to the Olympics. After 16 years, 3 Olympics (Torino, Vancouver, Sochi) and many World Cups later, it’s been an incredible journey! Playing different sports had such a tremendous impact on her in her youth, that being able to encourage sport involvement, as well as break financial barriers, is why she’s stoked to be a part of KidSport Calgary. | Twitter: @ZinaKocher | Instagram: Zina_Kocher
Haley Daniels- Member of Canoe Kayak Canada’s National Team
Haley’s story began in Calgary, Alberta as an adventurous toddler who loved to play in the out-of-doors. With paddle in hand she enjoyed many canoe trips with her family. Quickly she took to paddling and discovered the excitement of travel and the thrill of white water canoeing and kayaking. With amazement her dreams became goals and after dedicating thousands of hours to training, these goals have become extraordinary achievements. Now in her early 20’s, Haley has grown into a fierce competitor and is now the reigning Canadian Champion ranked 1st in Women’s white water slalom canoeing.
As a devoted member of Canoe Kayak Canada’s National Team she represents Canada at international competitions such as World Cups and World Championships. The most significant discovery that plant based eating affected her energy level was at the Pan American Championships in Foz Du Iguassu, Brazil where she earned a silver medal. | Twitter: @HaleyDanski | Instagram: haleydanski
Madison Charney- Canadian National Team Skeleton Athlete
Madison began her skeleton journey in the winter of 2009 shortly after the Charney family made the move from Brooks, AB to Calgary. Madison's mother noticed she was missing something from her sporting life which only included varsity rugby, volleyball and track and field. In the winter of 2009, Madison completed her first skeleton school and has been sliding ever since. She has been on the National Team for two seasons with a long term goal of competing in the 2018 Winer Olympics. She has placed top ten on the World Cup tour as well as at Junior Worlds, and was the 2015 National Champion. Madison has always had sports in her life, and believes in the importance of activity in a young person’s daily routine. She believes that sport helps instil important values, as well as many other skills that translate to all areas of life. | Instagram: @madsrose | Twitter:@madscharns
Liz Janze- Amateur Bobsleigh Athlete
This fulltime athlete and university student has jumped from one ice track, to another. Liz, a local Mission, BC athlete, had the world of bobsleigh call her name after she retired from her short track speed skating career at the Calgary Olympic Oval. Now you can find her training to qualify for the National Bobsleigh Team. Even though Liz has relocated to Calgary for pursuing the sport and a degree, she has not forgotten her Mission roots and the people who supported her to where she is now. She is a representation of the many great coaches and athletic communities in Mission and would not be at this elite level without them. | Twitter: @LizJanze
Justin Boyd- Retired from the Men's National Water Polo Team
Justin has dreamed of being an Olympian since watching Simon Whitfield win the triathlon gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. That dream came true at the Beijing 2008 Games where, at age 19, he was the youngest member of the Canadian Water Polo Team. Justin has since been a part of 4 FINA World Championship teams (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015), with the best result 2009 in Rome, when the men finished eighth. He was also a part of the silver medal-winning squad at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara and the bronze-winning team at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. Growing up Justin played numerous sports before finding his strength in Water Polo. From there, he began his career with the Dollard des Ormeaux Water Polo Club in Montreal before moving to Calgary to join the Senior National Team.
He has played professionally in Montenegro, Italy, and Australia.