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Seven amateur athletes from Atlantic Canada named to inaugural 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 seven of the 67 amateur athletes on CIBC Team Next are from Atlantic Canada.

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.

"CIBC Team Next is such an essential program because it goes beyond the funding and recognizes the incredible role mentorship also plays in an athlete's development," said Mark de Jonge, CIBC Team Next mentor and Olympic medalist and sprint kayaker. "I know how important it is to have someone rooting for you in your corner, and I'm thrilled to be a part of this exciting chapter for the members of CIBC Team Next as they strive to reach their goals in athletics and beyond."

They include:

Name Age Hometown Sport
Ben Taylor 21 St. John's, NL Shooting
Brittany Fraser 25 New Glasgow, NS Equestrian 
Custio Clayton 26 Dartmouth, NS Boxing
Ian Kent 52 Eastern Passage, NS Table Tennis
Jason McCoombs 20 Dartmouth, NS CanoeKayak
Michelle Russell 21 Dartmouth, NS CanoeKayak
Pamela LeJean 29 Halifax, NS Athletics

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