Who We Are

Structure of Sport for Life:

Sport for Life Board of Directors

Wendy Pattenden 

Wendy is the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific. The Canadian Sport Institute, in partnership with the national network of Canadian Sport Institutes and the British Columbia (BC) network of PacificSport Centres, delivers sport performance programs and services to provide athletes and coaches living in BC with every advantage to win medals for Canada.

Wendy completed her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in 2004 at Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia, culminating in her MBA thesis, “An Integrated Performance System for British Columbia”. In 2005 Wendy was asked to Chair the Integrated Performance Planning Workgroup and authored a final report for 2010 Legacies Now, “Performance Priorities in BC”. This report served as the framework used to launch a new Integrated Performance System (IPS). Wendy authored a follow-up report, “Integrated Performance System Evaluation Report” in 2008. British Columbia has seen steady improvement with performance results at the national and international level since the IPS was put in place in 2005.

Wendy is a former world-ranked professional tennis player (top 100 in the world), 12-time national tennis champion and Female Athlete of the Year (City of Greater Victoria). Wendy was inducted to the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. Prior to taking on the challenge of starting the Canadian Sport Institute in 1999, Wendy served double duty as the Director of Athlete Development and Head National Team Coach/Olympic Coach for Tennis Canada, a post she held for 13 years. Wendy is married and has three children, all actively involved in competitive sport.

Dr. Mary Bluechardt

Mary is the vice president of Grenfell Campus, Memorial University. Mary has an extensive background in applied health research and education, and came to Grenfell from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa. Her last post was Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at UOIT. Mary served as director of the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University, and has held positions as national director for coach development at Special Olympics Canada and as a professor at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan in both the faculties of Kinesiology and Health Studies, and Education, among other professional activities.

Mary has received numerous awards for her impact on health, physical activity and sports, and was named as one of the most influential women in sports and physical activity in 2008. Mary was a member of the Sport for Life Long-Term Athlete Development Expert Group for six years, serving as the lead on the inclusion of athletes with intellectual disabilities in the development of various sports’ Long-Term Athlete Development plans. In addition, she was very influential in the development of the Special Olympics Canada Long-Term Athlete Development framework.

John Ross

John Ross is the Owner and Operator of Toolquip Agency Ltd in Toronto. He has built Toolquip Agency over 40 years as a sales and marketing company that generates annual sales of over $70 million and employees more than 50 people across Canada. John has been an Alpine Skiing Race Crew Chief for 18 years, training and supervising a crew of 20 volunteers while working closely with coaches, team managers, parents and other officials. He also worked as an Alpine Race Crew member and steward for International Alpine events including Sochi Paralympics, Vancouver Winter Olympics, World Cups at Lake Louise, and many more.

John is well known for leading people, building a great team, building relationships, negotiating and achieving results. He has managed, mentored, supported and enthusiastically promoted staff and co-workers in a team environment. He is a strong communicator; confident public speaker and presenter; and accomplished in verbal, written and face-to-face communication.

Roger Smolnicky

Roger Smolnicky joins the Sport for Life Board of Directors with over 25 years of sport and recreation experience within Alberta. During this time, Roger has participated in a variety of sports such as curling, skiiing, luge, basketball and others at the local, provincial and national level. He is also a past president of the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association and currently the Vice Chair of the Recreation for Life Foundation. He believes in Sport for Life, and believes that keeping people involved in sport will help them lead healthy lifestyles.


Sport for Life Management Group

Richard Way

Richard is an architect of Sport for Life and the Long-Term Athlete Development framework. As Senior Leader for the S4L Leadership Group, he’s provided development guidance to 56 National Sport Organizations in Canada. Internationally, he is the President of the International Sport for Life Society, serves on the faculty of the Institute for Global Studies at the University of Delaware, and has worked in numerous countries around the world. Richard was the Director of Sport for Vancouver’s successful 2010 Bid Corporation, a former commission member of the International Luge Federation, and former executive of the Canadian Luge Association. Richard recently co-authored a book on Long-Term Athlete Development for Human Kinetics.


Istvan Balyi

Istvan is an architect of the Long-Term Athlete Development framework and is a Planning and Periodization expert on which he’s published over 75 articles and chapters. His series on Long-Term Athlete Development and periodization have both been published in Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Within Canada, Istvan has worked with 17 different National Teams as a high performance advisor and planning and periodization consultant. Istvan is a national and national Long-Term Athlete Development advisor. Internationally, he has lead program development in the United States, South Africa, England, Ireland, Sweden and the Bahrain.

Dr. Vicki Harber

Vicki is Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta from the Faculty of Physical Education & Recreation.  She is a member of the Sport for Life Management Group and Leadership Group, and is helping to shape athlete development programs for young females across Canada.  She holds a Sport Nutrition diploma from the IOC and sits on the board for the Edmonton Sport Council.  In 2011 and 2012, Vicki was honoured by CAAWS as one of the Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity. She was a member of the 1980 and 1984 Canadian Olympic Rowing team.



Carolyn Trono

Carolyn has worked with many sport organizations at the community, provincial and national level in the areas of Strategic Planning, S4L implementation and Coach Education. In the past she has worked with Rowing Canada Aviron, Special Olympics Canada, Canadian Bowling Federation, Canadian Broomball Federation, and Tennis Canada in the development of their LTAD frameworks. Carolyn filled the role of Director of Coach Education for Rowing Canada for fifteen years. As a member of the S4L Leadership Group, she works extensively with National and Multi-Sport Organizations as they move toward integration of LTAD into their culture and programs. Carolyn is involved with a number of organizations on their Competition Review and Restructuring.


Dr. Colin Higgs

Dr. Higgs is Professor Emeritus in the School of Human Kinetics at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and member of the Sport for Life Leadership Group.  Dr Higgs works extensively in developing countries and has published and presented widely on Long-Term Athlete Development, sport biomechanics, and social development through sport. His research interests include biomechanics of sport for persons with a disability, theory of classification systems in disability sport and the use of sport as a tool in international development.



Paul Jurbala

Paul Jurbala is a member of the Sport for Life Leadership Group and Project Lead for the Activating S4L in Ontario project. He runs his own consulting and management business, communityactive consulting where he develops strategic and governance plans, LTAD plans, and competition reviews for National and Provincial Sport and Multi-Sport Organizations. Paul holds a M.Sc. degree in Exercise Physiology and is currently studying in the PhD program in Sport Management at Brock University, where his focus is change and decision-making in sport organizations.



Sport for Life Leadership Group

Dr. Stephen Norris

Dr.  Norris has worked with many of Canada’s NSOs over the last two decades where he has played a critical role in propelling dozens of Canadian winter-sport athletes to the Olympic, World Championship and international podiums. A director of sport physiology and strategic planning at the Canadian Sport Centre Calgary from 1995-2010, Norris has worked with national team officials, coaches and athletes implementing long-term strategic performance plans aimed at achieving excellence. Norris also played a key role as a primary consultant for Canada’s successful Own the Podium high-performance and technical program between 2005 and 2010. He's the current Executive Vice-President & Chief Sport Officer of Winsport Canada.


Charles Cardinal

Charles was a professor at Montreal University for 26 years, specializing in planning and periodization of training, methods and principles of training and volleyball. He was also advisor to more than 30 students at the Master’s degree level. He is presently a NCCP course facilitator for Introduction to Competition and Competition Development and facilitates the Advance Competition stream at the NCI Montreal. Charles is also an International course facilitator for CAC and acts as a consultant to several PSO & NSOs on Long-term Athlete Development. Charles has been inducted into the Hall of Fame at Volleyball Canada (2002) and Volleyball Quebec (2008). And in 2005, he was awarded the Geoff Gowan award for his lifelong contribution to coaching education.


Dr. Dean Kriellaars

Dr. Kriellaars is a faculty member of the School of Medical Rehabilitation, Department of Physical Therapy, at the University of Manitoba. He is a member of the Spinal Cord Research Centre and a scientist of the Manitoba Institute of Child Health. As a member of the Leadership Team, Dr. Kriellaars is the creater of the PLAY tools and is a physical literacy expert.




Dr. David Legg

Dr.  Legg is an educator, researcher and a volunteer in sport management and adapted physical activity. He received his PhD in Sport and Recreation Management from the University of Alberta in 2000. David has published and presented extensively in his field and also serves as a reviewer in a wide range of publications including the International Journal of Sport Management. As a Sport for Life Leadership Group member, he has worked with NSOs in the realm of Athletes with a Disability and has published numerous documents in this area. David is also the past president for the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and the author of the Paralympic Legacies, the first book published on this subject.


Christian Hrab

Christian is a member of the Canadian Sport for Life Leadership Team and was responsible for introducing a new coaching education program to Canada Snowboard, which incorporated the Long-Term Athlete Development model. From 1994 to 2010, he was an athlete, coach, and then director of the Canadian National Snowboard team. As a coach, he has lead numerous athletes, both able bodied and disabled, to World Cup, World Championship, and Olympic gold medal performances. Christian also volunteers with the Canadian Olympic Committee on the team selection board, and holds a tenure position on the Coaches of Canada board of directors.


Lea Norris

For more than 20 years, Lea has motivated and inspired youth, adults, communities, pools, schools and workplaces throughout Alberta to incorporate more physical activity into their lives. In 2009, she established Sport for Life Cochrane to educate and enlighten communities, minor sports organizations, coaches and parents about the Canadian Sport for Life - Long-Term Athlete Development movement.  As a member of the Sport for Life Leadreship Group, she leads the Community Connections Program. She continues to be involved in local, provincial and national CS4L initiatives, doing her part to help all Canadians become Active for Life!


André Lachance

André Lachance has been with Baseball Canada since 2001 serving as Manager Baseball Operations and Head Coach of the Women's National Team. Part of his responsibilities are around Coach Education and Long-Term Athlete Development. André is also a part-time professor at the University of Ottawa. Serving as a board member with the Coaching Association of Canada, André has also led several CS4L Summits on Competition Review and has helped several organizations on Long-Term Athlete Development implementation, competition reviews and other related projects. André also works internationally on Long-Term Athlete Development.


Debra Gassewitz

For the past 15 years, she has grown the SIRC organization into the world's most highly respected international sport research centre. She has led SIRC's evolution from "Library" to "Knowledge Broker" through her keen understanding of the information needs of the sport community and a comprehensive appreciation of systemic engagement. Developing strategic marketing opportunities and leveraging new technologies have enabled her to create innovative multi-media learning tools and communication vehicles that have significantly enhanced SIRC's business and benefited individuals and organizations at all levels of sport.


Philip Hochman

Philip Hochman has been a builder, teacher and facilitator for all levels of sport throughout Canada and abroad. Philip has taught the Coaching Association of Canada’s (CAC) NCCP content throughout Canada, and represented the CAC in 2007, teaching Levels 1 and 3 in Doha with the Qatar National Olympic Committee. A past president of the CPRA, as well as a former Director at Large for RNS, Philip has been an ambassador for the ‘Everybody Gets to Play’ program, has facilitated numerous sessions and workshops for volunteer and sporting bodies across Canada, and has been a Canada Commonwealth Games Sport consultant in Zambia under the Sport Leadership Abroad Program. Currently, Philip is a Master Learner Facilitator for Nova Scotia in multisport.


Dr. James Mandigo

James Mandigo is currently the Interim Dean for the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. His expertise lies in developmental issues pertaining to sport and physical education. His current research pertains to the use of sport and physical education to develop life skills and the development of physical literacy amongst children and youth. James has also led a number of international projects in the Caribbean and El Salvador focused upon the development of healthy schools, physical literacy, and violence prevention.


Jim Grove

Jim Grove supports the S4L movement in a variety of communications roles. He a consulting editor to NSOs on Long-Term Athlete Development and physical literacy, and he provides guidance and consultation to the Sport for Life Leadership Group on overall communications planning. He has written and edited publications for S4L and LTAD since 2006, and he has worked directly with Canadian NSOs for soccer, squash, lacrosse, weightlifting, curling, cycling, and wheelchair basketball in the development of their LTAD guides and communications materials. He has also consulted to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee in the development of the new South African model for Long-Term Participant Development.


Missing: Brian Rahill & Mark Vulliamy