National Sport Organization Power Panel Celebrates Evolution of Canadian Sport at 2020 Sport for Life Canadian Summit

From basketball to Nordic skiing to tennis, ‘We the North’ has taken new meaning as the Canadian sport landscape continues to evolve, notably over the past year.

A new generation of Canadian tennis stars are emerging, contributing to significant growth of the sport nationwide. With Bianca Andreescu, Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, plus others joining the existing Canadians, Canada is on the path to becoming a world-leading tennis nation. In 2018, 18% of the country’s population hit the tennis courts and there was a 37% increase in the number of frequent tennis players nationwide.

Under a new brand and with new direction, Nordiq Canada has launched a bold mission to position cross country skiing as Canada’s ‘sport for life’, as well as an Olympic and Paralympic super-power. The organization’s strategic goals and Long-Term Athlete Development framework aim to make cross country skiing one of the the most welcoming sports for Canadians of all backgrounds and abilities.

Canadian professional basketball had many podium finishes in 2019 including the Toronto Raptors 2019 Championship win, a second place finish for the Women’s National Team at the FIBA Americup and a second place finish for Team Canada at the FIBA 3X3 Women’s Series.  Canada has also had the second highest number of players drafted to the NBA over the last ten years. The country’s potential, promise and power as a basketball nation continues to grow and fan engagement has risen substantially in the last five years.

A feature of the 2020 Sport for Life Canadian Summit, which takes place January 28-30 in Gatineau, the National Sport Organization (NSO) Powel Panel will celebrate the success of three NSOs that have taken great strides over the past decade to improve the quality of their sport for all Canadians and establish Canada’s power on the international stage.

Glen Grunwald of Canada BasketballMichael Downey of Tennis Canada and Jennifer Tomlinson of Nordiq Canada will come together on the panel to share their stories of success based on Long-Term Development in Sport and Physical Activity.

Grunwald, the President and CEO of Canada Basketball since Fall of 2018, began his basketball career at Indiana University, winning an NCAA Division I National Championship in 1981. He has worked with many NBA basketball teams, has been the GM for both the Toronto Raptors and the New York Knicks, and was the Director of Athletics & Recreations at McMaster University prior to joining Basketball Canada.

Tomlinson is the Chair of the Board for Nordiq Canada. She has served on the Board for five years and draws on her insights as a learning facilitator for cross country skiing and a coach and program leader of the large and successful program at Nakkertok Nordic to provide oversight to Nordiq Canada. Tomlinson also has over 25 years of experience working with a variety of organizations to develop pragmatic solutions to organizational problems.

Downey, the President and CEO of Tennis Canada, has spent more than a decade cultivating partnerships within the tennis and business communities to enhance Tennis Canada’s image on the domestic and international stage. From 2014 to mid-2017, he served as Chief Executive of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) based in London, England, before returning to his role with Tennis Canada.

The NSO Power Panel will be moderated by Sport for Life’s CEO, Richard Way, and will showcase how these three organizations’ big vision has evolved their sport over the last 10 to 15 years. The three panelists will then be joined by their technical leaders, who will provide a more in-depth session on what it takes to achieve long-term success.

“It’s very exciting to celebrate the success with Downey, Tomlinson and Grunwald. Their experiences can provide invaluable insight to delegates, inspiring them to really look at their big vision and how to improve the quality of their sport for all Canadians.”

The Summit will be held in Gatineau, Quebec from January 28 to 30, 2020. Registration is now open. For more information visit

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