KAMLOOPS —The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack struck pay dirt when they went looking for a major sponsor for their upcoming Athletics scholarship breakfast. Not only did they secure a top notch speaker but they also secured a major sponsor for the upcoming 2017 USport men’s soccer nationals.
The WolfPack along with Athletics and Recreation Director Ken Olynyk are pleased to announce that Respect Group and its cofounder, former NHL’er Sheldon Kennedy have committed to both events.
“The Respect Group is excited to be a part of these two events,” says Kennedy. “We see this as an opportunity to raise awareness around the important work we do across Canada and to engage TRU as a beacon of leadership within the Kamloops community.”
The Respect Group was established by Kennedy and co-founder Wayne McNeil to prevent abuse, bullying and harassment. They are based out of Calgary, Alberta with the mission statement to empower people to recognize and prevent abuse, bullying and harassment through interactive online certification.
Kennedy and TRU professor Peter Soberlak have been friends since they played junior hockey with the WHL Swift Current Broncos (winning a Memorial Cup in 1986). Soberlak contacted Kennedy about his involvement in both WolfPack events. “We share common values when it comes to sport so when Peter reached out, it was an easy conversation,” stated Kennedy, who is a recipient of the Order of Canada.
Kennedy will not only be the guest speaker at the WolfPack’s fourth Annual Scholarship Breakfast on Thursday, September 28 th, but he will also be putting on a special presentation the evening before. “ The plan is to show our documentary Swift Current,” said Kennedy. “ This film really sets the stage for why sport is so important in the lives of our young people and why it is up to organizations, universities and communities alike, to make child protection education a top priority. I believe we will have a panel discussion, right after the showing of the film.”
Kennedy and Respect Group are happy to be associated with Thompson Rivers University and these two events. “It is something Peter and I have always envisioned for TRU and Kamloops. When it presented itself to us. It just made sense. This is not a ‘typical’ sponsorship. It is the catalyst for broader reaching conversations and that’s what is important to me.”
He adds: “I think these events give Respect Group and TRU an opportunity to show collective leadership within the University sports community. Beyond that, I think it sets the stage for Kamloops to demonstrate to other Canadian cities why being the Tournament Capital of Canada comes with a responsibility to really be the best.”
Olynyk said “Having the Respect Group (Sheldon Kennedy) come on as a sponsor for the men’s soccer nationals speaks volumes about the connection and importance of the work that is so imperative in sport, the workplace and our community. I know Sheldon will have a great message for our WolfPack Scholarship Breakfast and truly understands the connection between sport and life.”
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