(February 9, 2007)
Skate Canada is excited to announce that its title sponsor and partner BMO Financial Group, and Mariposa Skating School founder and national coach Doug Leigh, are both finalists for a Canadian Sport Award.
The winners will be revealed at the 34th Annual Canadian Sport Awards ceremony on Friday, March 23, 2007 at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. The Canadian Sport Awards, presented by the True Sport Foundation and Investors Group, were established in 1972, and honour the achievements of Canada’s best amateur athletes and leaders.
BMO Financial Group is a finalist for the National Initiative Support Award. This award is presented annually to a corporation that supports a grass roots program or league and whose support has allowed for design, implementation, ongoing operations, and growth of the program.
Through sponsorship of Skate Canada’s CanSkate program, BMO Financial Group has been instrumental in helping to provide learn-to-skate programs for Canadians of all ages and abilities. CanSkate is the feeder program to all other Skate Canada Skating Programs for beginners of all ages and is tailored to each user-group. Participants earn badges while they learn fundamental skating skills. One of the key delivery standards of the CanSkate program is to ensure that participants are moving 90% of their time on the ice.
BMO Financial Group has been involved in figure skating since 1996 and in addition to its support towards the CanSkate program, is the title sponsor of several Skate Canada competitive events such as BMO Canadian Championships, BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Junior Nationals, BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Synchronized Championships, BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Challenges, and BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Sectionals.
Doug Leigh is a finalist for the Leadership in Sport Award. This lifetime achievement award recognizes the outstanding contribution of a sport leader or organization who exemplifies spirit of sport values as demonstrated by ground breaking organizational leadership, innovative practices, influential communications, cutting edge sport marketing or powerful positioning.
Doug Leigh, current director of Mariposa School of Skating, has been instrumental in the success of figure skating, and has contributed greatly to the coaching profession in Canada. Doug’s involvement and contributions have had a tremendous impact on the sport, and those around him. Doug has enjoyed remarkable success throughout his 37-year coaching career. He was the junior men’s silver medallist at the 1966 national championships, and started coaching as soon as he finished high school when he was 19.
In 1973 Doug formed his own company in Orillia, Ont., and called it the Mariposa School of Skating, which moved to Barrie, Ont., in 1988. By founding the Mariposa School of Skating, he has established Barrie as one of the major skating centres in Canada and the world. Doug Leigh and the Mariposa School of Skating have created some of Canada’s best figure skaters throughout the years, including Brian Orser, Elvis Stojko and Jennifer Robinson, and contributed to the popularity and development of the sport. Current skaters on the national team training at Mariposa School of Skating include the current Canadian champion and 2006 Olympic bronze medallist Jeff Buttle and the 2007 Canadian silver medallist Christopher Mabee.
Past recipients of Canadian Sport Awards from figure skating include:
Male Athlete of the Year Award:
• 1974 Toller Cranston
• 1989 Kurt Browning
• 1990 Kurt Browning
• 1991 Kurt Browning
• 1993 Kurt Browning
• 1994 Elvis Stojko
• 1997 Elvis Stojko
Female Athlete of the Year Award:
• 1972 Karen Magnussen
• 1973 Karen Magnussen
Partners of the Year:
• 2001 Jamie Salé and David Pelletier
• 2002 Jamie Salé and David Pelletier
Good luck to BMO Financial Group and Doug Leigh.