Sport North hopes summit can help ‘culture change’

NWT athletes await the 2023 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony
NWT athletes await the 2023 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony. Ollie Williams/Team NT

NWT sports body Sport North is holding a virtual leadership summit aimed at helping to foster cultural change in the way sports are administered.

The summit takes place over four sessions from Wednesday, April 19 to Thursday, April 27. Registration for the online events is open nationally, organizer Spider Jones said.

Wednesday’s opening session, starting at noon, focuses on safe sport. Isabelle Cayer, director of sport safety at the Coaching Association of Canada, will be one of the speakers.

On Friday, April 21, the summit will focus on growing participation in sport with a session led in part by NWT Basketball’s Damien Healy. On Tuesday next week, a session on mental health in sport will feature Monique Smith, the NWT school counsellor who formed a wrestling program in several communities.



The final session, led by two-time ski Olympian Allison Forsyth, focuses on leading culture change in sport.

Jones said he defines that as “the ability for sports to pivot so that they’re not seen as, unfortunately, say, hockey is,” referring to Hockey Canada’s sexual assault scandal of the past year.

Sport, said Jones, should be “an avenue for youth to develop life skills, teamwork and leadership skills in a safe environment.”

“It’s unfortunate that there’s an unpleasant taste in sport at the national level amongst some sports,” he said. “We want to get in the way of that and remind people that sports are a phenomenal venue for growth and inspiration in young people.”