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Eight amateur athletes from Western Canada/NWT named to CIBC Team Next


Unique funding/mentorship program supports aspiring athletes and inspires youth participation in sports

TORONTO, Nov. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - CIBC (CM: TSX) (CM:NYSE) is proud to announce that eight of the 67 amateur athletes on CIBC Team Next are from the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and the Northwest Territories.

The athletes were unveiled today in a special ceremony in Toronto after a two-day orientation camp where they received financial literacy, life skills and social media training, as well as unprecedented access to current and former Canadian elite-level athlete mentors.

"Mentorship has always played such an important role in my career as an athlete, and I think it's important for the next generation of aspiring athletes to have the same positive experience" said Kyle Shewfelt, an Olympic and Commonwealth gold-medal gymnast and CIBC Team Next mentor. "I look forward to helping these athletes develop into Canada's future sporting champions and more. Congratulations, CIBC Team Next athletes!"

They include:

Name Age Hometown Sport
Aron Ghebreyohannes 23 Calgary, AB Goalball
Brett Leavens 20 Chestermere, AB Speed Skating
Cody Yano 22 Edmonton, AB Diving
David Letourneau 24 Calgary, AB Squash
Denise Ramsden 22 Yellowknife, NWT Cycling
Nikola Goncin  21 White City, SK Wheelchair Basketball
Russell Wood 19 Calgary, AB Swimming
Taryn Grant 18 Winnipeg, MB Water Ski

CIBC Team Next is a $2 million investment to assist 67 athletes who aspire to realize their dreams and represent Canada on the world stage.

Each athlete will receive:

  • $5,000 annual grant for the next three years ($15,000 total);
  • Mentorship from prominent Canadian athletes: Josh CassidyMark de Jonge, Stephanie Dixon, Kara Lang, Kyle Shewfelt Mary Spencer, Bruny Surin and Simon Whitfield;
  • Workshops and advice on personal finances, post-secondary and career planning, social media training and public speaking;
  • Exclusive access to the CIBC Team Next idea sharing forum;
  • Community support and networking opportunities through the local CIBC branches and employees in their home community; and,
  • Preferred CIBC products and services.

The program is being administered for CIBC by AthletesCAN and the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario. To be considered, the athletes had to be nominated by their national sport organizations. For more information on the program, please visit

CIBC's investment of $2 million in the program is in addition to $2 million legacy investments already committed in support of Canada's youth related to the Pan/Parapan Am Games, including sport-related CIBC Youthvision scholarships, and programs for Aboriginal youth.

About CIBC
CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. As the Lead Partner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games and a Premier Partner of the Canadian Paralympic Committee, CIBC is committed to enriching Canadian communities through the power of sport. We support causes that matter to our clients, our employees and our communities and aim to make a difference in communities through corporate donations, sponsorships and the volunteer spirit of employees. In 2012, CIBC contributed more than $38 million to over 1,900 charitable and non-profit initiatives in 450 communities. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Press Centre on our corporate website at

SOURCE Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Image with caption: "CIBC Team Next mentor and multiple Paralympic gold-medalist Stephanie Dixon with CIBC Team Next athlete Jean-Michel Lavallière speaking to Tai Young, Easter Seals of Ontario Ambassador at the official launch of the CIBC Team Next program. (CNW Group/Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "CIBC Team Next athletes being introduced, Karen Van Nest followed by Pascal Plamondon and CIBC Team Next mentor and Olympic medalist and sprint kayaker Mark de Jonge (CNW Group/Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "CIBC Chief Operating Officer Richard Nesbitt with the CIBC Team Next athletes (CNW Group/Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "67 amateur athletes named to CIBC Team Next - will receive funding and life skills support from CIBC and mentoring from current and former world-class Canadian athletes (CNW Group/Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)". Image available at:




For further information:

Media contact: Caroline Van Hasselt, Director, External Communications and Media Relations, 416-784-6699, or