Be INSPIRED By Former Athletes

Ever wonder what it would be like to be surrounded by a community of people who have your best interest at heart?

INSPIRE is an inspirational pillar that aims to ignite curiosity, instil inspiration and provide elite athletes with the unique opportunity to network with former athletes who have the courage to share their personal stories.

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. - Bertrand Russell

Peek Inside Pillar 5: Inspire

  • 1


    • Pillar Outline

  • 2


    • Meet Mercedes Nicoll

    • Mercedes Nicoll

    • Rapid Fire

  • 3


    • Meet Brent Johnson

    • Brent Johnson

    • Rapid Fire

  • 4


    • Meet Charmaine Crooks

    • Charmaine Crooks

    • Rapid Fire

  • 5


    • Meet Mike Janyk

    • Mike Janyk

    • Rapid Fire

  • 6


    • Meet Christine Fletcher

    • Christine Fletcher

    • Rapid Fire

  • 7


    • Meet Tommy Europe

    • Tommy Europe

    • Rapid Fire

  • 8


    • Meet Dominique Valee

    • Dominique Vallee

    • Raid Fire

  • 9


    • Matt Johnston_Bio

    • Matt Johnson

    • Rapid Fire

  • 10


    • Meet Thea Culley

    • Thea Culley

    • Rapid Fire

  • 11


    • Meet Robbie Dixon

    • Robie Dixon

    • Rapid Fire

  • 12


    • Meet Britt Janyk

    • Britt Janyk

    • Raid Fire

  • 13


    • Meet Christine Suter

    • Christine Suter

    • Rapid Fire

  • 14


    • Meet Dean Malkoc

    • Dean Malkoc

    • Rapid Fire

  • 15


    • Meet Christian Redman

    • Christian Redman

    • Rapid Fire

  • 16


    • Meet Bryce Hollweg

    • Bryce Hollweg

    • Rapid Fire

  • 17


    • Meet Rob Hedequist

    • Rob Hedequest

    • Rapid Fire

  • 18


    • Meet Dr. Saul Miller

    • Dr. Saul Miller

    • Rapid Fire

  • 19


    • Meet Ron Putzi

    • Ron Putzi

    • Rapid Fire

  • 20


    • Meet Fergie Cancade

    • Fergie Cancade

    • Rapid Fire

  • 21


    • Meet Grant Clitsome

    • Grant Clitsome

    • Rapid Fire

  • 22


    • Meet Charlie Grinnell

    • Charlie Grinnell

    • Rapid Fire

  • 23


    • Pillar 5 Feedback

Meet The Inspirers

Mercedes Nicoll

Mercedes had a standout performance in her second Olympic Games at Vancouver 2010 where she posted the second-best Olympic result ever by a Canadian halfpipe snowboarder (male or female) when she finished sixth. During a training run at Sochi 2014, she fell more than 22 feet onto her hip and face. With the adrenaline flowing, she got up and competed. But she had sustained a concussion that forced her out of competitive snowboarding for two years. With a lot of patience and rehab, she returned to her board and won her fifth national halfpipe title in March 2016. She was Canada’s top-ranked female halfpipe snowboarder at the PyeongChang 2018 test event and then competed at her seventh world championships.

Nicoll has been representing Canada in World Cup competition since December 1999, just a couple of years after she first made the switch to snowboard from skiing. She has eight World Cup podiums to her credit and twice finished fourth in the overall World Cup standings for halfpipe (2004-05 and 2009-10). Another career highlight was her fourth-place finish at the 2010 Winter X Games Europe. Nicoll has always had a drive to make it to the next competition. That was especially important after she fell during the opening round of competition at Turin 2006. She finished 27th and knew that she needed to return to the Olympic Games. She made her fourth Olympic appearance at PyeongChang 2018.

Brent Johnson

Brent Johnson was drafted by the B.C. Lions in the third round, 20th overall of the 2000 CFL draft. He led the CFL in sacks with 17 in the 2005 season and 16 in the 2006 season. He won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian Award and was named a CFL All-Star in both years. He also won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award in 2006. He was awarded his third CFL All-Star selection for his performance in the 2008 season.

He holds the record for sacks with the BC Lions with 89 over his 11-year career. He won two Grey Cups with the Lions in 2006 and 2011. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

Brent played his college football at Ohio State University. Brent lives in Vancouver with his wife and his son and is a Portfolio Manager with CIBC Wealth Management.

Charmaine Crooks

Five Time Canadian Olympian and Olympic silver medalist, Charmaine Crooks is a Member of the Order of Canada (C.M), entrepreneur, speaker, moderator and advocate for Sport and Athletes.

In 1994, Charmaine founded NGU Consultants Inc. a global consultancy and management firm, which provides strategic cross-sectional advisory and business development services to a variety of business sectors including technology and major events. She is a corporate director, serving on a variety of profit and non-profit Boards, including co-founder of the 365 International Sport Foundation and Our Cityride. She was one of the founding international Board Members of Right to Play, and is a current global Champion for Peace with Peace and Sport.

Former Member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), she served on the IOC Athlete’s Commission, IOC Press Commission, IOC Culture and Education Commission, New Media working group, IOC 2000 Reform Commission and the founding IOC Ethics Committee.

As one of the founding board members of the 2010 Olympic Winter and Paralympic Winter Games (Vanoc), she was the only member to serve from the initial bid phase through to the successful end of the Games. Also a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Olympians Canada, Canadian Soccer Association executive board and the Committee for FIFA Competitions.

Charmaine is inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the University of Texas El Paso Sports Hall of Fame, where she attended on a full Athletic scholarship. She has received numerous awards including the “IOC Women in Sport Trophy” , "100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women 2018", and was named BC "Top 40 under 40" and one of the "Top 50 Women of Power" in Canada. Charmaine is a free-lance TV host/producer and co-hosted "Cycle", -- Canada's first national TV series on cycling and fitness as well as "In the Company of Women", "No Laughing Matter" and the "World Athletics Gala".

Mike Janyk

Michael Janyk was raised on the North Shore of Vancouver and on the Mountains in Whistler. Michael spent 14 years as members of the National Alpine ski team. Racing nine years for Canada on the World Cup circuit and in three Olympics, he has one world cup podium, a world championship bronze medal and four national titles.

Outside of racing, Michael co-founded a not for profit, the Mike and Manny Foundation which provides ski camp opportunities for young ski racers and aims to inspire young people to believe they are possible.

Now living in both Vancouver and Whistler, Michael works in the development of skiing as the Program Director for the Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club.

Christine Fletcher

Originally hailing from Montreal and a graduate of McGill University Christine Fletcher relocated to the west coast and spent the next 17 years racing as a professional triathlete in the Ironman and Half Ironman distances; 37 x Ironman, 6 x World Ironman Champion and countless half Ironman.

In the fall of 2014, Christine began a wildly successful indoor cycling program for cyclists, triathletes and mountain bikers, which eventually led to the birth of Brite Coaching. The success of the program spun off into specialized training camps, beginner workshops and women’s only cycling programs. Despite continuing to race herself, Brite Coaching was growing in leaps and bounds with endurance athletes seeking guidance and purpose to their training and ambitious goals.

Christine is now retired from professional racing yet continues to dabble in the amateur division. In 2018, she applied her racing skills to take the top podium spots at Wildflower Half Ironman, Ironman Tremblant 70.3 and Ironman Tremblant. She races with a different heart, mind and spirit thanks to the fullness in other areas of her life. Christine admits the transition away from elite level racing wasn’t easy but it was necessary, timely and slowly equally as fulfilling.

Tommy Europe

Tommy Europe is a Canadian actor, stunt man, professional trainer and former professional CFL defensive back who played eleven seasons in the League.

He played his college football at Bishop’s University. Tommy was selected in the second round, of the 1993 CFL Entry Draft by the BC Lions. He won a grey cup with the club in 1994. In 1997, he joined the Montreal Alouettes. After spending two seasons with the Montreal Alouettes, he joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers where he played in the 2001 Grey Cup. He retired from professional football in 2003.

Tommy is the owner of, an online fitness community that has videos, social networking, E-Books, meal plans and fitness programs. In 2009 he released his Target Training Series of E-Books. His book, the 10-Pound Shred; From Flab to Fit in 4 Weeks was published by Harper Collins Canada in 2011. He starred on the Slice reality TV shows The Last 10 Pounds Boot Camp and Bulging Brides working as a personal trainer and fitness coach who helped participants lose weight for an upcoming special event.

Tommy is a stuntman and actor who continues to promote healthy living through appearances at Fitness Expos all across Canada. He also serves as an athlete ambassador for KidSport BC.

Dominique Vallee

Born in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Dominique Vallée grew up playing in the snow. At age 15 she discovered her passion for snowboarding and by 18 she moved to Whistler, Canada to pursue her dream of becoming a professional snowboarder. She competed for over a decade as part of the Canada Snowboard Team in both halfpipe and snowboard-cross. She represented Canada at the 2006 Torino Olympics in both disciplines.

Through injuries, she started utilizing the power of Traditional Chinese Medicine to help her body and mind recover faster. After her mother’s battle with pancreatic cancer in 2009, she discovered a new passion for medicine that she knew she had to follow. She went back to school for 7 years and completed her doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dr. Dominique Vallée now practices in both Vancouver, and Whistler BC where she has a strong focus on women’s health & sports medicine. She uses acupuncture, cupping, scraping, personalized herbal medicine and Prolozone injections as part of her treatment tools.

Matt Johnson

Matt Johnston is currently a clinical counsellor and full-time professional firefighter.

During his undergraduate university tenure, Matt was a varsity athlete in track and field, competing at Simon Fraser University. After graduating as a 5-time all- American, Matt traveled to Australia to train as a full-time athlete in hopes of one day competing on the Canadian National Team.

From 2003-2005, Matt represented Canada at two World Cross Country Championships and three other international competitions, competing throughout Europe, Asia and North America. During this time, Matt worked in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver as a Youth Worker while completing his Graduate degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia.

Over the past five years, Matt has combined his motivation founded through running with his career as a counsellor and firefighter to provide upstream mental health care for first responders. Through his proactive, strengths-based approach, Matt’s ultimate goal is to alleviate the mental health crisis gripping first responders across North America.

Matt’s skill set is grounded by twenty years of study in the field of psychology and over ten years in clinical practice. His unique approach to conceptualizing trauma is an introspective blend of life experience, academic training, clinical practice and direct experience of attending over 2,000 emergency calls as a firefighter in the Metro Vancouver area.

Matt is the creator of an innovative course for mental health professionals titled Occupational Awareness Training for Therapists: Understanding First Responder Trauma. This ‘first of its kind’ initiative provides specialized training to counsellors who look to build a sustainable, working relationship with first responders.

Thea Culley

Before retiring from international competition in 2016, Thea Culley led the Canadian National Field Hockey Team to capture a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games, the first Canadian women’s field hockey team to medal at the Games since 1999. Other international career highlights include competing in two Pan American Games (2015 and 2011), two Commonwealth Games (2014 and 2010), two Pan American Cups (2013 and 2009) and multiple Olympic and World Cup qualifying events. Thea was Canada's Top Goal Scorer in both 2015 and 2013 and played 157 senior international matches for Canada making her one of the most capped (international appearances) all-time women’s player. In 2014 she was inducted into the Trail, BC Home of Champions Hall of Fame.

Thea is enthusiastic and committed to having a positive influence on the Canadian and global sport landscape. As manager of KidSport BC, a charitable non-profit with the mission to remove the financial barriers to sport participation, Thea strives to ensure that no child is left behind. A strong believer of athlete-centered sport, Thea served as both Vice President (2017-2018) and Treasurer (2014-2017) of AthletesCAN, the voice of Canadian national team athletes. Thea also served as Athlete Director for Field Hockey Canada’s board of directors from 2009-2018.

Thea holds a Bachelors of Human Kinetics (BHK) from the University of British Columbia and is completing her Executive MBA at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

Robbie Dixon

Robert 'Robbie' Dixon, born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, was one of Canada’s most gifted alpine skiers.

He had been racing since 2001 in North America, and raced in his first World Cup in 2006 at Lake Louise, Alberta finishing 46th in the Super G. Robbie went on to garner national attention in January 2008 when he finished sixth in a World Cup super-G race at Kitzbuehel, Austria. It was a remarkable result considering he had been 43rd out of the start gate and the top 30-ranked skiers had already gone home. After this breakout result, Robbie went on to earn 11 top-10 finishes on the World Cup (five in downhill, six in super-G) and came agonizingly close to his first World Cup podium at Beaver Creek in December 2011.

A career highlight for him was racing in the 2010 Olympics in his adopted hometown of Whistler, BC.

Robbie continues to enjoy the sport he loves in Whistler and beyond.

Britt Janyk

Born and raised in West Vancouver, Britt started skiing on the mountains of Whistler at an early age.

At the age of 11 she joined the Whistler Mountain Ski Club and this is where her ski racing career began. By the age of 17 she qualified for the Canadian Alpine Ski team and would remain on the team from 1997 to 2011.

Over the course of her career she competed in 5 World Championships with her best result being a 4th place finish in 2007 in the Super G event. In 2010 she competed in her first Olympics Games, right in her home town and finished 6th in the Women's Downhill. On the World Cup circuit she finished twice on the podium, one being a win in Downhill in Aspen, the other a third place at Lake Louise.. She holds 15 National Championship titles across all 5 disciplines, tied with Nancy Greene!

She now resides in Whistler and has two children with her husband Mark.

Christine Suter

Christine has been working in the health and fitness business for over 20 years, in the areas of aquatic rehabilitation, personal training, rehabilitation training, Pilates, Crossfit, massage therapy, and endurance sport coaching. She is passionate about helping individuals reach their athletic and personal goals and learn more about their physical and mental health. From her years of experience working with clients, and being a competitive athlete herself, she has learned the importance of proper biomechanics and enjoys sharing this knowledge with others.

Christine has been a member of both the provincial and national age group Triathlon teams. She has completed 9 Ironman’s, multiple marathons and ultras and continues to push herself to achieve new goals both personally and professionally.

Christine’s passion for sport and fitness has led her to pursue her Masters of Counselling Psychology, which she completed May 2018. Christine volunteered for 3 years working with college athletes as a mental performance consultant intern. She also worked with Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) as the Concussion Support Group facilitator and the Support Network of Whistler Coordinator. She organizes local run races and raises funds for local non-profit organizations like WCSS, Whistler Food Bank, and Howe Sound Women’s Society.

Christine continues to push herself physically and will challenge herself this year competing in Ultra520 in Penticton, Aug 3-5, 2019. This is a 3 day stage race consisting of a 10km swim and 160km bike –day 1, 270km bike- Day 2, and 84km run Day 3.

Dean Malkoc

Dean Malkoc is a retired professional ice hockey player who spent four seasons in the National Hockey League between 1995 and 1999.

A tough, physical defender, he was selected 95th overall in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils. He turned professional in 1991, and spent four seasons in the Devils system, earning a reputation for his robust play and high penalty minute totals, but never played an NHL game for New Jersey.

Dean became a free agent in 1995 and signed with the Vancouver Canucks, his hometown team where he played the entire 1995-96 season. In the 1996-97, he was claimed by the Boston Bruins in the NHL waiver draft. He spent two full seasons in Boston as a utility defender, appearing in 73 games. He later moved on to the play in the New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks organizations. He retired from professional hockey in 2004–05. He appeared in 116 NHL games, recording one goal and three assists for four points along with 299 penalty minutes.

Dean is currently a scout for the Boston Bruins for 12 years and was part of the Stanley Cup winning team of 2011.

Christian Redmond

Christian, a 10-year veteran of the Canadian National Volleyball Team was a professional beach volleyball player who competed on the World Tour for 15 years. He was a two-time Canadian National Champion, held a Top 10 world ranking, competed in the 2011 Pan-Am Games, qualified a spot for Canada in the 2012 London Olympics, was 2014 Continental Champion and represented Canada in multiple World Championships.

He has also been coaching youth volleyball for 15 years. Christian has coached club volleyball at just about every age and level from 13/14U developmental teams all the way up to 18U Provincial Champions, and National Medal winning teams. He was the Head of the Volleyball Program at Havergal College in Toronto for 10 years where the school won more than 25 Independent School Championships from 13U up to 20U and a Provincial Championship.

Ten years ago, Christian and 3 time Olympian and Olympic Medalist John Child started up Leaside Volleyball Club – a club that has won numerous Provincial Championships as well as a house league side that has over 1000 kids playing annually.

In 2016 Christian founded Vancouver Volleyball League (VVL). VVL’s mission is to create more access to volleyball for kids of all skill levels. It is a volleyball club for kids dedicated to providing exceptional programs, where kids can learn the love of the game through a fun and educational experience. The goal is to build the athletes confidence, skills, and love of the sport as well as teaching them the valuable lessons of team work, positivity, and communication.

Christian is now the head coach of the top Canadian Men’s beach volleyball team, 2016 Rio Olympian Ben Saxton and Grant O’Gorman.

He now lives full time in Whistler with his wife, Olympic Snowboarder and Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dr. Dominique Vallee.

Bryce Hollweg

Bryce Hollweg is a former elite ice hockey player and decorated US Army Veteran who has a passion for Leadership and maximizing team performance.

Bryce played his junior hockey in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), serving as the Captain of the Surrey Eagles in his fourth season. Following his junior hockey career, he went off to play NCAA Division I at the United States Military Academy at West Point where he served as his team’s Captain during his Senior year and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award given to the top NCAA men’s hockey player.

Upon graduation from West Point in 2008, Bryce entered the US Army as a Signal Officer and spent 10 years around the globe in various assignments and locations including Belgium, Germany, South Korea and Afghanistan, culminating in Florida where he served as a Professor of Leadership and Military Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Bryce is currently VP of Information Technology for Canucks Sports & Entertainment, and President of PH Restaurants for the Aquilini Group.

His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Management from West Point and a Master of Arts in Information Technology Management from Webster University.

Rob Hedequist

Rob Hedequist is a proud graduate of the University of Southern California where he was a collegiate athlete, Graduate Assistant Coach and a member of the 1980 Pac-Ten Championship and Rose Bowl team.

He honorably served with the United States Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer, Reconnaissance Officer, and Commanding Officer. He received his Global Certificate in Leadership Coaching from the Neuro Strategic Coaching Institute where he serves as a mentor to new coaches. He also holds certifications for DiSC and MindSonar assessments.

Robert is an Executive, Leadership and Peak Performance Coach, has a passion for serving others, the ability to drill into the core of issues and work with individuals and teams to discover optimal strategies to affect lasting change.

He currently resides in Seattle, WA with his family, where he has a passion for fitness, long-distance running and innovative technology.

Dr. Saul Miller

Dr. Saul L. Miller is one of North America’s leading performance and sport psychologists. He’s the author of 8 books including Hockey Tough: A Winning Mental Game, Performing Under Pressure and Why Teams Win: 9 Keys to Success in Business Sport and Beyond.

Dr. Miller consults with sport teams, corporations and health organizations across North America. The focus of his work is enhancing performance, team building, and helping people achieve success while dealing effectively with pressure, stress, and change.

In sport, he has worked with the NY Mets, Seattle Mariners, LA Dodgers, Rams, Clippers, and Kings, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, plus PGA golfers, Olympians and pro athletes from Europe. There’s no one in North America with more “hands on” experience facilitating success and well-being. Dr. Miller’s clients have set records, won championships and gold medals.

Ron Putzi

As captain of the Super Colts, 1987-88 Provincial Champions, Ron Putzi was named MVP and subsequently named BC Junior Male Athlete of the Year. That same year he scored a famed tournament record 61 points in the final of the Vancouver College Emerald Tournament. He was later honoured as a member of The Province newspaper’s all-time “Dream Team” and “Player of the Decade.”

Ron received a 5-year, Division 1 scholarship to play for New Mexico State University where the Aggies became Big West Conference Champions, received 4 NCAA Tournament bids, and reached The Sweet 16 in 1992. Ron graduated from New Mexico State University with a BA degree in Finance & International Business.

In the off-season, Ron played with the Canadian National Team (FISU). With this team he played in the World Basketball League, NBA Summer League, and received the silver medal at the World University Games in Sheffield, England.

Ron played professional basketball for 10 years in Europe – specifically Switzerland – where his teams reached 7 National Finals, including winning the Swiss National Championship in 2000. Along with being the top scorer and winning the Canada Games gold medal, he played in the “Magic” Johnson Pepsi All-Star game in Zurich, Switzerland 1994. Later, coaching alongside 2x Olympian Howard Kelsey & Q.C. Wally Oppal, (Att. Gen.of BC) Ron won a Gold medal at the World Police & Fire Games. In 2018, Ron was inducted into Richmond Sports Hall of Fame and the BC Basketball Hall Of Fame.

Fergie Cancade

Fergie Cancade is a BC-bred, Ontario based sports marketing professional focusing on athlete marketing at the highest level.

Shortly after earning his bachelor's degree in business administration, Fergie founded Goodlife Action Sports, which focused on athlete marketing and representation. After growing it to one of the top agencies managing within the professional action sports landscape with focus on action sports, Fergie moved in house at Red Bull to oversee athlete marketing for Red Bull Canada. Fergie spent 7 years at Red Bull managing a stand out roster of internationally recognized athletes on all aspects of marketing from content & social, to events and stunts, and high performance development.

Fergie recently moved to Lululemon in Vancouver, and is now Director, Global Athletes & Ambassadors.

Grant Clitsome

Grant is Director of After the Game for ONE Sports + Entertainment Group. He focuses his efforts on helping professional athletes manage the unique challenges of transitioning to life after the game.

Prior to joining One Sports + Entertainment, Grant enjoyed an 8-year professional hockey career with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets.

After having his own NHL career cut short by injuries, Grant started work on an MBA from Queen’s University to complement his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and Technology Management from Clarkson University.

Grant is a certified Sommelier and Owner and Head Cidermaker of an Artisanal Cidery in Quebec City.

Charlie Grinnell

Charlie got his start in film / video production with stints at Alterna Films, Voleurz, Poor Boyz Productions, and outdoor retailer Arc’teryx. While working as a freelance video producer for brands like Nike and NBC Sports, Charlie followed a passion for digital marketing which led him to Invoke, the digital agency responsible for inventing Hootsuite. After a brief tenure in the agency world, Charlie joined the digital marketing team at Red Bull, managing the brand’s digital footprint in Canada. Following 3 years at the country level in Toronto, Charlie was tapped to lead global social media strategy for all sports initiatives at Red Bull’s international headquarters in Salzburg, Austria.

Charlie returned to Vancouver to serve as Head of Social Media at Aritzia, managing the brand’s strategic presence across social media platforms. He frequently guest-lectures at BrainStation and has presented at various public and private events with organizations such as Young Presidents Organization (YPO), Destination British Columbia, Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel & Spredfast.

Charlie Grinnell is currently the CEO of RightMetric; a digital consulting company on a mission to help businesses strategically survey their industry's digital landscape, then conquer it. Charlie has just been named to the Top 30 Under 30 list by BC Business.