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Acclaimed Paralympian Benoit Huot joins CIBC Team Next to help mentor up-and-coming amateur athletes

Longueuil native joins roster of eight world-renowned athlete mentors to help athletes en route to TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games

MONTREAL, Nov. 13, 2014 /CNW/ - CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) is proud to announce that Canadian Paralympian Benoit Huot has joined CIBC Team Next as its newest mentor.

CIBC, in partnership with AthletesCAN and the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, launched the CIBC Team Next program a year ago to provide financial support and mentorship to 67 up-and-coming amateur athletes vying to represent Canada in their sport on the world stage.

Mr. Huot, 30, a native of Longueuil, Quebec, is one of Canada's most highly acclaimed amateur athletes, having won 12 gold, 14 silver and five bronze medals in swimming at four Paralympic Games -- Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London -- and the 2007 Rio Parapan Am Games.

"I am very excited to join CIBC Team Next as a mentor," says Mr. Huot. "I am looking forward to playing a positive role in the careers of the next generation of athletes whose goal is to be part of the Parapan Am and Pan Am Games next summer in Toronto and the Rio Games in 2016."

He joins eight other previously announced world-renowned Canadian athlete mentors on CIBC Team Next: Josh Cassidy, Mark de Jonge, Stephanie Dixon, Kara Lang, Kyle Shewfelt, Mary Spencer, Bruny Surin and Simon Whitfield. They are helping CIBC Team Next athletes across Canada, including 20 from the province of Quebec.

"Benoit is a symbol of Canadian sporting excellence and we welcome him as the newest member of our team," says Monique Giroux, Vice-President, Sponsorship Strategy and Marketing, CIBC. "Mentorship is a key component of what makes the CIBC Team Next program so unique, and Benoit's outstanding accomplishments make him a tremendous asset to our up-and-coming athletes."

As many as 75 per cent of current and past high-performance athletes surveyed in a CIBC poll last year said that athlete mentorship is as important as having a great coach and almost half (46 per cent) say it is as important as having the funding to compete.

Mr. Huot, nicknamed "The Shark," is currently training to compete at the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games and divides his time between Montreal and CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House in Toronto.

He will be formally introduced to the program at the second annual CIBC Team Next Forum, hosted by AthletesCAN, the association of Canada's national team athletes, and the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, which will be held on Nov. 14-16 in Toronto.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units - Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Wholesale Banking - CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Media Centre on our corporate website at

About CIBC Team Next

CIBC Team Next is the first program of its kind in Canada that supports the next generation of amateur athletes with not only financial support but mentorship from world-renowned Canadian athlete champions. As the Lead Sponsor of the TORONTO 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games, CIBC is investing $2 million in this program to help 67 amateur athletes, including 16 para-athletes, from across Canada reach their full potential on and off the field.

SOURCE Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

For further information:

Caroline Van Hasselt, Director, External Communications, 416-784-6699 or