Canadian Sport Instute
  • High performance athletes are known for their intense focus and fierce dedication toward their sporting careers. In their quest for podium performances, well-rounded athletes look beyond their immediate sport goals and work towards balancing their lives and planning their futures. CSI Calgary has been promoting this holistic development of athletes as a core philosophy since its establishment. Over the years this culture has been nurtured and permeates the current and alumni athlete community.

    Understanding that addressing “life outside and beyond” sport is a critical performance factor, the CSI Calgary delivers dedicated programs, and personnel to work alongside athletes, supporting them in a wide variety of areas. Recently, the more formalized national Game Plan program has significantly elevated the content and quality of services available.

    In addition to being prepared for performance and life, CSI Calgary firmly believes that athletes who are prepared and confident off the field of play perform better. “Our aim is to prepare athletes to be responsible, confident, self-reliant and contributing citizens that are engaged with, and contribute back to the community,” says Dale Henwood, President and CEO. “Developing them as people helps them grow as athletes. Public support and connection to sport is better if we have good people representing our country.” Henwood has been a driving force promoting this philosophy for more than two decades.

    Brad Spence, two-time Olympian and former CSI Calgary athlete is an example of an athlete giving back to the community. Retiring after the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, Spence decided to give back to the community by creating a not-for-profit organization, pulling together a Board of Directors that includes fellow CSI Calgary alumnus Jeff Christie. Originally Helmets for Heroes, the new Creative Impact Health Foundation focuses on concussion awareness and education to minimize the risk of traumatic brain injuries. So far they have completed 14 projects involving athletes with a CSI Calgary connection.

    “As an athlete I feel I have a duty to give back,” says Spence. “I couldn’t have pursued my dreams and gotten to where I did, without the support of the community.” Spence is one of many CSI Calgary athletes and alumni using their lessons and success in sport to make our city a better place to live. Whether they are giving their time and energy sitting on non-profit Boards, contributing to existing foundations or starting their own, these athletes have embraced the concept of giving back to their community and acting as positive role models.

    There are many organizations with a strong CSI Calgary connection, the following are some examples of athletes leading the development of local community programs: Fast & Female (Chandra Crawford), KidSport (Kathy Salmon), Right to Play (Clara Hughes), Ski Fit North (Becky Scott) and Wickfest (Hayley Wickenheiser).

    “It is so encouraging to see the number of CSI Calgary current and alumni athletes dedicating their time towards different community initiatives,” says Cara Button, Director Stakeholder Relations and Game Plan administrator. “Seeing what athletes are doing validates our work.”

    Game Plan is a world-class program developed to support national team athletes in living better lives both during their high-performance careers and beyond. The program is being delivered across Canada by the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network (COPSIN), supported by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), Sport Canada and is powered by Deloitte.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Lisa Thomson


  • Canadian Sport Institute Calgary
    Elise Marcotte, Communications Lead at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, had the privilege of being selected to attend the Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama from April 10-11, 2015.

    Marcotte earned this opportunity as a result of her appointment as Assistant Chef de Mission for the upcoming 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. In this role she will work with Chef de Mission Curt Harnett and Assistant Chef, Waneek Horn-Miller. This is a significant accomplishment for Elise, as the Games are the world's third-largest multi-sport event and the biggest ever hosted by Canada.


  • Scratch lightly at the surface of female sport participation in Canada and you will find grim and disheartening statistics. Despite the benefits, which are widely reported, most young girls and women simply don’t take part in sport or exercise. It simply isn’t right.

    That’s precisely what Chandra Crawford, a CSI Calgary alumni and 2006 Olympic Champion in cross-country skiing, thought over ten years ago when a girl she was babysitting said she wasn’t happy being a girl because “girls don’t get to do fun things like skateboarding and instead have to worry about their appearance all the time.” Crawford thought, ‘this has to change.’ Fast and Female was born.

    Founded by Crawford in 2005, Fast and Female seeks to provide a positive and empowering environment for girls in sport. The organization’s mission is to keep girls healthy, happy and active in sports through their teens by introducing them to inspiring athlete role models.

    One way this goal is accomplished is by hosting events where girls come together learn, have fun and spend time with some of Canada’s most successful female athletes. Fast and Female’s next event is the Calgary Summit on November 6, 2016 at WinSport. Programming for the day ranges from physical literacy stations to nutrition seminars to yoga and dance, as well as spending the entire day with Fast and Female athlete ambassadors.

    Rachael McIntosh, a CSI registered athlete, is an aspiring Olympian in the heptathlon and this will be her second Fast and Female event as an athlete ambassador. McIntosh, now 25 years old, participated in many sports as a young girl but switched to track and field in high school. “The only reason I started out in track and field was because of my coach; she made it fun for me,” recalls McIntosh. “I think a lot of girls are missing out on that – they need a leader to make it fun. Sport is important and what keeps girls in sport is more than that.”

    Through events like the Calgary Summit, the organization strives to provide a non-competitive environment for girls to learn and have fun. Leah Lacroix, Fast and Female Executive Director, says the summit is an opportunity to gather girls together and let them know about their options in sport.

    “Some girls are at a point where they are trying to figure out if they want to continue in sport and we are there to help them see that they are not alone and that there are many options,” says Lacroix. “They can move to another sport, or shift gears to a recreational program. Sometimes they need that extra inspiration to keep going or try something new.”

    While inspiration is available in high doses there is a focus on practical lessons too. Kelly Anne Erdman, CSI Calgary Performance Dietician, will provide nutrition seminars to each age group as well as to the parent and coach session. “The emphasis is on how nutrition is important for performance and also teaching the girls to listen to their bodies and connect with any signs and symptoms they might be feeling,” she says.

    Ten years on, what keeps Crawford going is the feedback from parents and girls after an event. “You can’t always see on the surface just how deeply a girl is absorbing everything,” she says. “But afterwards the testimonials and letters we get are amazing.”

    Another benefit, an unexpected one, is the impact these events have on the athlete ambassadors themselves. “The athletes really get a lot out of being ambassadors,” marvels Crawford. “It helps bring more meaning to what they are doing in sport. It’s been amazing to see that.” McIntosh agrees, “The day is really inspiring for me too!”

    It turns out if you dig a little deeper you will find that although the statistics on girls in sport may be grim, there is growing hope for young girls in Canada thanks to organizations like Fast and Female, whose programs reach over three thousand girls every year. When girls learn that they have many options, the world becomes a better place.

    Sign up today for the Fast and Female Calgary Summit November 6, 2016 Calgary Summit 2016 - Fast and Female.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

  • Bo Levi Mitchell is no stranger to fast-paced high-risk sport, and the injuries that can result from them. When injuries happen, return to play is the primary focus. Professional athletes have access to top-of-the-line para medical treatments, but this is not always the case for other high performance athletes. This is where Mitchell has decided to lend his support – to CSI Calgary Next Gen athletes in high risk mountain sports.

    The Calgary Stampeders quarterback joined the elite club of Canadian Football League athletes last year when he received the 2016 Most Outstanding Player award and was recognized as Shaw’s CFL Top Performer for 2016. As part of the program, Mitchell was given $25,000 from Shaw Communications to donate to his charities of choice. Mitchell decided he would like to play a part in helping younger athletes receive pre-injury baseline assessments and post injury treatment. “I know the expertise required to bring an athlete back to their sport after injury and I’d like to be able to help them move forward to pursue their dreams.” Concussion and knee injuries are two of the rehabilitation areas in which he is most interested.

    With football’s potential for acute unforeseeable injuries, Mitchell knows what it takes to fully recover. He has chosen to invest in Next Gen athletes because he sees their aspirations and knows the impact he can make by increasing their access to resources. “I’m mesmerized by the guts and athleticism in these young athletes in sports like Ski Cross, Freestyle, Slopestyle and Alpine skiing,” says Mitchell. “I have a ton of respect for them as I watch their speed and the elements they battle in their sports.”

    “We are so appreciative that Bo Levi has chosen to support these Next Gen athletes in their quest to reach the next level,” says Dale Henwood, CSI Calgary President and CEO. “Injuries can prove to be a costly venture when working towards return to sport. This donation will make a difference.” Some of the services CSI Calgary can provide athletes include baseline testing, physiotherapy, expedited MRIs, concussion tools and proper muscular skeletal assessments.

    Originally from Katy, Texas, Mitchell and his wife have been in Calgary since 2012. Active members in the Calgary community, they are involved with many charitable causes in Calgary and Southern Alberta. True role models, the Mitchells take pride in giving back. Among their initiatives to improve our community, they work with YouthLink, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Police Recreational Youth Mentoring Experience, and Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research. Mitchell also hosts 10-15 kids at every home game through Bo’s QB Club.

    Last November Mitchell was also awarded the Herm Harrison Memorial Award for the second straight year, given to a Calgary Stampeders player who distinguishes himself in the field of community service.

    CSI Calgary thanks Bo Levi Mitchell for his generosity and would also like to congratulate the Mitchell family on the birth of their daughter last week.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Lisa Thomson


  • Turkeys are popping up everywhere at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary! Fortunately, it is all for a worthy cause.

    The CSI Calgary is delighted to be taking part in the Calgary Food Bank’s #YYCTurkeyChallenge, tweeting a picture of an athlete dressed as a turkey every week prior to Christmas. With each tweet, CSI Calgary is challenging both the athlete’s National Sport Organization and a CSI Calgary partner to donate to the Food Bank. Internally, the CSI Calgary is also challenging its own employees to donate with a goal of raising $2,000.

    The Calgary Food Bank is a non-profit organization dedicated to gathering and distributing quality emergency food to those in need and relies solely on the support of the community. In the past year, 141,271 people came to the Food Bank for assistance. #YYCTurkeyChallenge will have a significant impact on these efforts as the Food Bank is able to distribute five dollars worth of food for every dollar that is donated.

    The challenge has already started, with four-time Olympic medallist Denny Morrison successfully challenging Speed Skating Canada and THE Downtown Sports Clinics on November 24. On December 1, three-time Olympian Manuel Osborne-Paradis challenged Alpine Canada and Alberta Sport Connection.

    The unique #YYCTurkeyChallenge began in 2014, when Scott Schroeder from EFW Radiology came up with the concept and engaged Dr. Jan-Willem Henning in the project. Henning wore the turkey suit on his rounds through the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, while Dave Kelly of Kelly Brothers Productions and Jim Button from Village Brewery staged a frozen turkey rescue. Their efforts raised almost $30,000 in donations towards the purchase of food at a critical time for the Calgary Food Bank.

    Keoma Duce, Development Coordinator for Organizational Giving at the Food Bank, is enthusiastic about the CSI Calgary’s participation. She says, “So far CSI Calgary is the first organization to grab on to the Turkey Challenge in 2015. We are excited about the prospect of raising awareness and donations, but we are also looking forward to raising the profile of the CSI Calgary and the athletes. It is important to us that the athletes receive recognition for their efforts. We hope that other organizations see what CSI Calgary is doing and join in the fun. Who doesn’t like to see a grown up in a turkey suit?”

    Keep your eyes peeled because you never know where a turkey will pop up next! To donate to the Calgary Food Bank, visit the CSI Calgary Food Bank Page.

    Denny Morrison Video

    Manuel Osborne-Paradis Video


    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

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