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New roster for Alberta sport board

A new team led by Stanley Cup Champion Andrew Ference has been selected to lead Alberta’s sport promotion and development agency.

Alberta Sport Connect Board of Directors

Premier Notley and Minister Miranda with the Alberta Sport Connection Board of Directors

Ference has been named Chair of the Alberta Sport Connection’s new Board of Directors. The new board also includes Olympic Gold medallist Erica Wiebe, Olympic Silver medallist Helen Upperton, Paralympian Antonio Flores, Indigenous sport advocate Kody Taylor and returning member Kelly Blackshaw, a 2006 Alberta Sports Hall of Fame inductee.

“We have heard loud and clear from Albertans that they want their agencies, boards and commissions to better reflect our growing and diverse province. So that’s exactly what we are doing, because when boards are reflective of the communities they serve, they serve those communities better.”

Rachel Notley, Premier 

“Whether it’s seeing our children compete in their first soccer game or cheering on our elite athletes at the international level, sport is an important part of the lives of Albertans. With the diversity and depth of experience of this new team, I’m excited to see everything they can accomplish as they work together to make Alberta’s sport system the best in Canada.”

Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism

All 10 board members have been appointed to serve at least three years, with four members serving until 2021. For eight members, including Ference, 2017 will be their rookie year with the Alberta Sport Connection.

“I’m honoured to be Chair of the Alberta Sport Connection. Sport has been an important part of my life and I’ve seen how it benefits individuals and strengthens communities. I am excited to work with my board colleagues, government and our sport sector partners to support Alberta’s athletes and promote sport in the province.”

Andrew Ference, Chair, Alberta Sport Connection

Recruitment for the vacant board positions was posted to the Government of Alberta’s new board recruitment web portal in September 2016. In total, 38 candidates were screened and interviewed with a focus on balancing experience and a diversity of representation.

The Alberta Sport Connection is the government’s agency responsible for promoting and developing sport in the province. This includes multi-sport games, high-performance sport special events and national and international championships. It helps support more than 80 provincial sport organizations through funding provided by the Alberta government.

Alberta Sport Connection Board

Chair – Andrew Ference (Edmonton)

Ference was a professional hockey player for 17 years and has been involved in a number of grassroots fitness programs in Boston, and Edmonton where he founded and currently leads November Project. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Green Sports Alliance.

Vice Chair – Kelly Blackshaw (Calgary)

Blackshaw is a current member of the ASC Board. She chaired the 2013 Alberta 55+ Games in Calgary and was a co-founder of KidSport in Calgary. Blackshaw received the Alberta Centennial Salute Award for Sport and Recreation in 2005, and was inducted into the Alberta Sport Hall of Fame in 2006.

Taryn Barry (Calgary)

Barry has worked with multiple sport associations at the national and international level. She completed a Master’s Degree in Physical Education and Recreation and is involved in numerous international development organizations, including founding the Etisah Foundation which supports orphaned children in Cameroon.

Jesse Bhondi (Edmonton)

Bhondi has extensive managerial experience in the public sector and a record of success in getting initiatives off the ground and flourishing. He has also served as the Director of the Highland Primary Care Network.  Bhondi’s term will begin June 1, 2017 when he will replace Cameron Hodgson.

Antonio (Tony) Flores (Edmonton)

Flores has extensive experience with the International Paralympic Committee, having been the Director General for the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award for eight different Paralympic Games. He has also been involved in many different para sports in Alberta.

Cameron W.T. Hodgson (Calgary) (term ending May 31, 2017)

A former student-athlete, Hodgson was named to the All-Canadian Football team and was a two-time Western Conference Football All-Star while attending the University of Calgary. Currently the CEO of the Edge School for Athletes, he has also been a sessional instructor at the University of Calgary. Hodgson has served on the Alberta Sport Connection Board for a full term of three years.

Wade Kolmel (Fort McMurray)

Kolmel is a current member of the Alberta Sport Connection board. He was active in the sport and physical activity community in Fort McMurray prior to taking a job the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Kolmel understands the demands and challenges of developing sport in rural and remote communities.

Ann MacTaggart (Sherwood Park)

MacTaggart brings experience through involvement with Ringette Alberta and values athlete-centered decisions. She has a strong accounting background as a Chartered Professional Accountant and Chartered Accountant and also has an extensive leadership and training background.

Kody Taylor (Edmonton)

Taylor has experience working with Indigenous organizations and also with the Manitoba Badminton Association. She was a part of the team that developed a plan for an adult badminton league in the City of Winnipeg in order to increase sport and recreation for all people, which gave her experience in tournament organization.

Helen Upperton (Calgary)

Upperton is a former Olympic bobsleigh athlete and current member of the Canadian Olympic Committee. Together with teammate Shelley-Ann Brown, Upperton won a silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver in the two-women bobsleigh competition. She continues to be connected through her involvement with the Canadian Olympic Committee and her work in sport development.

Erica Wiebe (Calgary)

Wiebe is the reigning Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling. She has two degrees through the University of Calgary – a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (Honours) and a Bachelor of Kinesiology.

Listen to the news conference


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