The first Sport Networking Meeting of 2020 was held on Thursday, February 13 at the Best Western Brantford Hotel and Conference Centre. This hotel has a long history with hosting sporting teams and tournaments in Brantford and it was good to return to the location for the meeting. A tasty lunch was prepared with a special Valentine’s Day dessert for all attendees.
Thank You to Host Location
City of Brantford Sport Tourism Coordinator, Ela Stypa Jones, MC’d the event and thanked the Best Western Brantford Hotel and Conference Centre for their gracious hospitality. Melanie Mackay, Event Coordinator for the hotel, spoke on behalf of the property and highlighted some of their upcoming events at the hotel and on-site restaurant, Myra’s Bar & Grill.
Ela then spoke about the items that were on each table. They are part of the Welcome Bag program that is offered to all sport tournaments. The new bags are in partnership with YMCA Immigrant Services and have “Welcome” written on them in thirteen different languages. For tournaments, they contain information about shopping, dining and attractions, a map of sport facilities as well as a small gift for each attendee to the tournament. This year, attendees will receive a Brantford branded band-aid holder and, for all Gretzky-named tournaments, they will receive the newly printed Walter Gretzky postcard. These are a way of honouring Walter as he has shown up to those events and signs autographs for attendees. Ela also noted that this is also a good time to speak about the postcards as Brantford City Council passed a resolution this week to rename Northridge Municipal Golf Course and Learning Centre to the Walter Gretzky Municipal Golf Course, Banquet and Learning Academy.
2021 Ontario 55+ Winter Games
Ela Stypa Jones provided a brief update of the Games. The Games, co-hosted by the City of Brantford and the County of Brant, will be held in exactly one year from now bringing approximately 1,000 athletes to the two communities. The Games will be launching its website shortly and will provide information about the two communities, registration process as well as volunteer opportunities.
The Games have also hired a Coordinator to oversee the delivery of the event. Aisha Godbout was introduced and spoke to those in attendance about her sport background in competitive gymnastics as well as her experience in running a sport facility. She is eager and excited to take on this role and getting to know the people and businesses that support the event. Welcome to the team Aisha!
Brantford-Brant Business Resource Enterprise Centre – Summer Company
Melanie Mears, Business Advisor at the BRC, spoke to the group about this provincially funded program for students between the ages of 15 to 29. It provides start-up money to help kick-off their new business, free business training from experienced advisors: and mentorship from local business leaders. A video was shown of the 2019 program recipients and the companies that were started. For more information on the Summer Company program, please contact Melanie at 519-756-4269 ext 5847 or MearsMe@brantford.ca.
Brantford Sports Council – Sports Awards
Bill Harding, Chair of the Brantford Sports Council, spoke about the Awards Banquet which was held the previous night, Wednesday, February 12. The awards recognized athletes, volunteers, coaches, officials, teams and sponsors from the community. The keynote speaker was accomplished distance runner Rick Mannen who spoke of his athletic journey, transition to coaching and overcoming personal struggles to achieve his goals. Jacqueline Legere was recognized at the Sportsperson of the Year. Growing up in St. George, she participated in many sports and has evolved into the sport of ice cross and Red Bull Crashed Ice. She is also a professional stunt woman for such shows as Orphan Black, Suicide Squad and IT Chapter 2. She provided a taped acceptance speech and her parents were present to accept the award on her behalf.
Arnold Anderson Sport Fund
Sandra Gagne and Melanie Mears of the Arnold Anderson Sport Fund (AASF) spoke to the group about this community program. AASF was started in 1998 by a group of community minded individuals who recognized that financial barriers prevented many children from having the opportunity to participate in organized sports. It is named after the well-known radio sports announcer Arnold Anderson who dedicated his career to the recognition of all athletes from Brantford. AASF is a local charity that believes that all children should have the opportunity to play organized sports regardless of their financial status. This is accomplished primarily through covering the cost of sports registration fees of up to $350 per child, per year. Since 1998, Arnold Anderson Sport Fund has provided Brantford and Brant County with over 3917 sports grants. In 2019, AASF provided over $100,000.00 in sports grants (over 400 children) for 25 different sports and activities.Applications can be filled out by a parent/guardian online or in person at 99 Chatham Street, Brantford.
Thank you to all who attended our Sport Networking Meeting, and to those who expressed interest but had to send their regrets. We look forward to seeing you at the next meeting on Thursday, May 14, 2020 hosted by the Brantford Sports Council at Access Storage Sport and Entertainment Complex. Please note that this will be an evening event from 5:30 pm – 7:00pm.