TORONTO – AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is pleased to announce its 2023-24 Board of Directors, following the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Nov. 8.
Artistic Swimming Olympian Erin Willson was re-elected to the Board for a second three-year term and will continue to serve as the organization’s President until the 2024 AGM. In addition, three new national team athletes join the Board for the first time, including retired curler Colin Hodgson and rowing Olympian Susanne Wereley, alongside active cross-country skier Julian Smith.
Hodgson and Smith were elected to three-year terms, while Wereley will serve a one-year appointment, completing the term of alpine skiing Olympian Allison Forsyth, who resigned from the Board in July.
AthletesCAN thanks Forsyth and other outgoing directors for their service to the Board, including secretary and wheelchair basketball Paralympian Bo Hedges (also Vice President, 2020-22), current national team lawn bowler Rob Law (Treasurer, 2020-22) and retired Paralympian swimmer Camille Bérubé. The new Officers will be elected from within the Board in the coming weeks.
Following the Board election, Willson presented the annual President’s Report to members, highlighted by some of the major accomplishments of the 2022-23 fiscal year, including:
- Unveiling of new brand guidelines and history section on AthletesCAN.ca in conjunction with the organization’s 30th anniversary
- Expansion of full-time staff back to a two-person model, with preparation for further expansion to four-person model and additional contractors
- Recruitment of young professional content creators known as AthletesCAN Creative Champions
- Launch of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion survey and Athlete Representation Training eLearning modules
- Creation of safe sport Town Hall for national team athletes
- Contribution to Safe Sport: Critical Issues and Practices, an open-access edited digital book
- Participation in the 2023 Canadian Sport Policy renewal consultation process
- Securing of funding for the forthcoming AthleteHUB Initiative
- Collaboration with COC Athletes’ Commission and CPC Athletes’ Council to address the needs for stronger governance, increased accountability and transparency, mandated athlete representation and reducing the win-at-all costs mentality within the Canadian sport system
- Education of members on the Athlete Assistance Program
- Sign-on to Abuse-Free Sport and the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC)
Prior to the AGM, members also had the opportunity to attend the 2023 AthletesCAN Forum and 46th Canadian Sport Awards from Sept 8-10 in Richmond, B.C. – the first in-person edition held since 2019, featuring a theme of Athletes Building Better Governance.
2023-24 New AthletesCAN Directors
Colin Hodgson, Curling
Colin Hodgson is a retired curler, who threw lead stones for Team Mike McEwen and Team Darren Moulding. During his career, Hodgson represented Manitoba and Northern Ontario at a total of six Brier Championships, finishing a career-best 5th in 2019. At their peak during the 2016-17 season, Hodgson’s team ranked second in Canada. Colin also curled mixed doubles with Chelsea Carey, winning bronze at the Canadian Championships in both 2017 and 2018. In addition to his work owning and operating a curling apparel manufacturing company, Colin gives back extensively to the community. He works as a volunteer firefighter in his home community of Red Lake, is a Classroom Champions athlete mentor, and is a volunteer coach at Red Lake District High School.
Julian Smith, Cross-Country Skiing
A veteran member of the National Team Development Centre (NTDC) Thunder Bay and the Canadian ski scene, Julian Smith has represented Canada at the World Junior Championships, U23 World Championships and Senior World Championships. He currently serves as one of Nordiq Canada’s two Athlete Directors, representing the voice of cross-country ski athletes from across the country to the organization’s Board of Directors. Outside of competition, Smith spent five years on the NDTC Board and volunteers with The Urban Abbey, a Thunder Bay-based not-for-profit.
Susanne Wereley, Rowing
Susanne Wereley née Grainger rowed for Canada on the Senior National Team for eight years and at two Olympic Games, most notably as a member of the women’s eight boat that won gold at Tokyo 2020. Her rowing experience has been multifaceted, spanning various levels including the NCAA, U23, and senior competitions over the course of 17 years in the sport. As a retired athlete, Wereley has continued her relationship with Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA). She currently works for RCA as their Campaign Coordinator, working to bolster athlete support and build engagement in their fundraising processes, and serves on the RCA National Team Alumni Association Committee, where her primary focus is bridging the gap between their current programming and its alumni.
AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is the only fully independent and most inclusive athlete organization in the country and the first organization of its kind in the world. As the voice of over 6,000 current and recently retired Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN membership spans 68 sports across the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan/Parapan American, and Commonwealth Games, and those currently funded by Sport Canada competing at Senior World Championships. AthletesCAN ensures an athlete-centered sport system by developing athlete leaders who influence sport policy and, as role models, inspire a strong sport culture, through educational resources, support, training and professional development.
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For more information, please contact:
Manager, Communications and Sport Partnerships
613-526-4025 Ext. 224