Hatch elected next board chair of Own The Podium
OTTAWA — Alberta businessman Rob Hatch has been elected the next chair of Own The Podium's board of directors.
Own The Podium was established before the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., to help get Canadian athletes on the podium.
OTP continues to provide technical assistance to national sport organizations and makes funding recommendations to Sport Canada based on medal potential.
Hatch was a founding director and former chair of Jumpstart, which is a national charitable organization that's helped children access sport and recreational activities since 2005.
Hatch, the owner of a Canadian Tire store in Cochrane, Alta., takes over as OTP's board chair for former para hockey player Todd Nicholson just over a year out from the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.
He has served on OTP's board for the past five years.
“Our goal as a board is to work with our partners through a new sporting climate in Canada to help all athletes and coaches get to the international start line, knowing they have done everything possible to achieve their performance goals in an environment that protects their psychological and physical health and safety,” Hatch said Monday in a statement.
“I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact sport at all levels has on the life of a child and their development regardless of their background or ability level.
“I know that by giving all Canadians a chance to participate in sport, we will build a better and more inclusive Canada. This personal experience of putting people first, will be valuable to my new responsibilities as chair and leading the board’s shared goal to drive further in creating healthier, safer and more inclusive daily training and competition environments for all sports in Canada.”
Nicholson, who was elected board chair in 2018, is a Paralympic gold medallist and was the Canadian para hockey team's captain for 15 years.
“Todd is a passionate and dedicated leader whose work on the board has inspired us all to continue to challenge ourselves to be better as a sport nation,” OTP chief executive officer Anne Merklinger said in a statement.
“I can’t thank Todd enough for his contribution, energy, and commitment to our mission of helping Canadian athletes reach their performance goals, and we look forward to building on this important work with Rob at the helm on the road to Paris 2024 and Milano/Cortina 2026.”
OTP has also changed its governance structure to include athletes who have competed recently in Olympic and Paralympic Games on its board.
Figure skater Andrew Poje and para rower Jeremy Hall will serve two-year terms, OTP said in its statement.
Paralympic wheelchair racing champion and B.C. legislative assembly member Michele Stilwell, Araba Chintoh, Chris Clark, Katie Green, Scott Hutcheson, John Mills, Sue Paish, Andrea Shaw and Olympic cyclist Tara Whitten are also OTP board members.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 17, 2023.