Posted By: Canoe Kayak Canada

OTTAWA – Canoe Kayak Canada is delighted to announce the 2023 recipients of the Club Development Award and Coach Developer Award. The awards are presented on an annual basis to coaches and club leaders who have made significant achievements in their communities. This year, 14 coaches were nominated and the winners of this year’s awards were announced during the 2023 CKC Annual Meeting of Members on November 18, 2023.

“Coaches and club leaders across Canada are an instrumental part of the success of our sport and make an impact in the lives of our athletes and our sport system each and every day,” said James Cartwright, Senior Manager of High Performance and Coach Development. “We’re proud to recognize all of this year’s nominees. Taking time to formally recognize the accomplishments of our great coaches goes a long way to say thank you and to recognize the impact these individuals have in within paddling community.”

CKC Club Development Award

The Club Development Award is presented annually to a coach, club leader or volunteer who has clearly demonstrated his or her abilities at developing a club or the sport through grassroots programs such as creating a new club or program or promoting the sport through the club.


Marie Rousseau-Demers – CKC Club Development Award

Marie is very committed to the overall development of CCKLB athletes at all levels. She is viewed as a dynamic and committed coach that takes great care to develop life skills such as confidence, self-discipline and respect for others. She encourages the older athletes to get involved with the younger ones, for example, by mixing groups and inviting them to encourage each other. Marie has worked with a nutritionist to publish a collection of healthy recipes for athletes. Her positive leadership is contagious. In addition, Marie has re-built the at CCKLB masters program, to our knowledge, this category had not existed for several years at CCKLB. Initially, about five masters athletes were enrolled. Thanks to her kindness, charisma, human approach and, above all, her sense of humour, this category has now grown to 15 paddlers.

Marie organized a training camp in Temple-sur-Lot, France, in the spring of 2023. The camp had not been held for several years. For this camp, Marie once again demonstrated her fairness and passion for the sport. To encourage everyone to participate, even those with more limited financial means and even other clubs in the region, she encouraged the youngsters to get involved in fund-raising activities. For 14 days, they benefited from an exceptional training environment on her part. We saw many benefits from this camp, including team-building, an unforgettable club dynamic for the youngsters, and the achievement of the goals of surpassing oneself and training hard. Of the youngsters Marie coached, some 30 went on to compete in the Canadian Championships in summer 2023. The Club came 4th overall (out of 42 clubs), participated in 51 finals and won a total of 32 medals.

CKC Coach Developer Award

The Coach Developer Award is presented to a coach who contributes to the training of new Canoe Kayak coaches outside of, or in addition to their regular coaching duties.

Igor Nikitovic – CKC Coach Developer Award

Igor has done so many things for Wascana Racing Canoe Club in the short time that he has coached at this club. He has guided many athletes to exceed in provincial national and international success. he has helped tremendously with growing the club and making it a safe and welcoming yet competitive environment for everyone who joins. In the past couple of years he has mentored a lot of our young summer camp coaches and while connecting with all the summer camp paddlers. Igor makes the club a great place to be around and is inspiring both new and old paddlers every day!

In the past two years Igor has sent two athletes to Olympic Hopes. At this year’s National Championships with only 8 athletes, we brought home 13 medals. In addition, Igor works with remote clubs, for example flat water north out of the Yukon so that they can have racing experience in our divisional regattas. He also works with international clubs such as Oklahoma Canoe Club and clubs in Seattle, to develop partnerships for future training and racing opportunities.

He has 29 years of coaching and had been in Richmond Hill for 10 years and Nanaimo for 6 years prior to coming to Wascana.


2023 Canoe Kayak Canada Excellence Nominees:

Brent Beck                              Georgian Bay Kayak Club
Lawrence Chin                     False Creek Racing Canoe Club
Wayne Donison                  Kawartha Whitewater Paddlers
Douglas Ellery                     Maskwa Aquatic Club
Dominic Gomez                  Lachine Racing Canoe Club
Sarah Kennedy                    Petrie Island Canoe Club
Phil Laliberté                         Otterburn Boating Club
Jacob McKenna                   Maskwa Aquatic Club
Igor Nikitovic                        Wascana Racing Canoe Club
Josh Nowen                           Cheema Aquatic Club
Mike Robinson                    Calgary Canoe Club
Marie Rousseau-Demers  Club de canoe kayak de Lac-Beauport
Savannah Sullivan             Maskwa Aquatic Club
Diane Tam                              False Creek Racing Canoe Club

CKC congratulates all who were nominated and to the 2023 recipients. For more information on the CKC Excellence Awards please click here.