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Press release from CNW Group

67 high performance amateur athletes from across Canada named to CIBC Team Next

Monday, November 18, 2013

67 high performance amateur athletes from across Canada named to CIBC Team Next

16:13 EST Monday, November 18, 2013

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Unique funding/mentorship program supports aspiring athletes and inspires youth participation in sports

TORONTO, Nov. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - CIBC (CM: TSX) (CM:NYSE) is proud to announce the members of CIBC Team Next, a group of 67 amateur athletes from across Canada, aspiring to represent our nation on the world stage.

The athletes were unveiled today in a special ceremony in Toronto after a two-day orientation camp during which they received financial literacy, media, sport leadership and life skills training. They also had unprecedented access to current and former Canadian elite-level athlete mentors.

Representing the future of sport in Canada, the athletes come from small towns and big cities from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, reflecting our nation's vast geography and cultural diversity. Ranging in age from 15 to 52, CIBC Team Next includes 16 para-athletes, as well as two athletes of Aboriginal descent. The program represents each of the 51 sports and disciplines in the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games—from boccia, cycling and para-archery to ten-pin bowling, swimming and wheelchair basketball.

"We look forward to cheering on these athletes every step of the way as they train to represent Canada on the world stage," said Richard Nesbitt, Chief Operating Officer, CIBC. "As Lead Partner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, we designed the CIBC Team Next program to create a lasting sports legacy in Canada. We want to equip our next generation of athletes with the kind of support they need to reach their goals in sport and in life."

CIBC is passionate about celebrating and supporting the dedication and sacrifice it takes to become a high performance athlete—long before a medal is ever awarded. This select group of CIBC Team Next athletes will help motivate Canada's children and youth to participate in sport, while inspiring all Canadians with their experiences as they strive for the podium.

The CIBC Team Next program is a $2-million investment to assist 67 high performance athletes realize their dreams of representing Canada. Over the next three years, each athlete will receive $15,000 in funding plus invaluable opportunities to develop important career and life skills under the mentorship of eight world-class Canadian athletes: Josh Cassidy, Mark de Jonge, Stephanie Dixon, Kara Lang, Kyle Shewfelt, Mary Spencer, Bruny Surin and Simon Whitfield. The program was first announced in July.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Samantha Sendel, 22, of Aurora, ON, who won the Canadian individual trampoline championship in May. "It will help me with training and competition costs, which add up very quickly. And, just as important, it will help me develop life skills that I can leverage now and in the future."

"I feel privileged to have been selected to CIBC Team Next and I am excited to share my journey with the 66 other athletes and all Canadians from coast to coast to coast," said David Letourneau, 24, of Calgary, AB, who qualified for the Canadian men's national squash team this year.

The CIBC Team Next program also provides:

  • Annual workshops and advice on personal finances, post-secondary and career planning, sport leadership skills, media training and public speaking;
  • Exclusive access to the CIBC Team Next idea-sharing forum;
  • Community support and networking opportunities through the local CIBC branches and employees in their home community; and,
  • Preferred CIBC products and services.

"CIBC Team Next is a fantastic investment in the future of amateur athletics in Canada," said the Honorable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "I applaud CIBC for having the vision to create such a comprehensive program that supports up-and-coming athletes not only with funding, but also with important leadership and life skills that will help them succeed on and off the field. Our Government recognizes that corporate sponsorship of the Games is important in ensuring the success of the athletes and the Games, leaving a lasting legacy."

"The CIBC Team Next program is a great opportunity to encourage, educate and empower our athletes, who will represent our province and our nation in the international arena and inspire the next generation to participate and succeed in sport," said Michael Chan, Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games.

CIBC in partnership with AthletesCAN, the association of Canada's national team athletes, and the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario selected the CIBC Team Next roster based on their potential on and off the field of play. To be considered, the athletes had to be nominated by their national sport organizations.

The program is being administered for CIBC by AthletesCAN and the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario. For more information on the program, please visit facebook.com/cibc.

The CIBC Team Next program is in addition to $2 million legacy investments CIBC has already committed in support of Canada's youth related to the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, including sport-related CIBC Youthvision scholarships, and programs for Aboriginal youth.

About CIBC
CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. As the Lead Partner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games and a Premier Partner of the Canadian Paralympic Committee, CIBC is committed to enriching Canadian communities through the power of sport. We support causes that matter to our clients, our employees and our communities and aim to make a difference in communities through corporate donations, sponsorships and the volunteer spirit of employees. In 2012, CIBC contributed more than $38 million to over 1,900 charitable and non-profit initiatives in 450 communities. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Press Centre on our corporate website at www.cibc.com.

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Image with caption: "CIBC Team Next mentor and multiple Paralympic gold-medalist Stephanie Dixon with CIBC Team Next athlete Jean-Michel Lavallière speaking to Tai Young, Easter Seals of Ontario Ambassador at the official launch of the CIBC Team Next program. (CNW Group/Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131118_C8364_PHOTO_EN_33463.jpg

Image with caption: "CIBC Team Next athletes being introduced, Karen Van Nest followed by Pascal Plamondon and CIBC Team Next mentor and Olympic medalist and sprint kayaker Mark de Jonge (CNW Group/Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131118_C8364_PHOTO_EN_33465.jpg

Image with caption: "CIBC Chief Operating Officer Richard Nesbitt with the CIBC Team Next athletes (CNW Group/Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131118_C8364_PHOTO_EN_33469.jpg

Image with caption: "67 amateur athletes named to CIBC Team Next - will receive funding and life skills support from CIBC and mentoring from current and former world-class Canadian athletes (CNW Group/Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131118_C8364_PHOTO_EN_33467.jpg

SOURCE: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

For further information:

Media contact: Caroline Van Hasselt, Director, External Communications and Media Relations, 416-784-6699, or caroline.vanhasselt@cibc.com.

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