Coaching Association of Canada

Mental Health takes Center Stage at 2023 Petro-Canada™ Sport Leadership Sportif Conference in Calgary, AB

November 2, 2023

CALGARY, AB, November 3, 2023 – More than 420 delegates have converged in Calgary, Alberta, for the 2023 Petro-Canada™ Sport Leadership sportif conference (#SLS23), Canada’s annual conference for coaches, researchers, sport executives, and administrators. Since the return to in-person in 2022, the event continues to increase participation while respecting personal safety, offering learning, professional development, networking and celebration with the leaders of the sport, business, and education communities in Canada.   

The conference is organized by the Coaching Association of Canada™ (CAC) and takes place this year from November 2-3 at The Westin Calgary.  

Theme: Mental Health is our Sport 

While we have celebrated the resilience, courage, and empathy within the world of sport during the pandemic, we now must turn our focus to the mental health of our coaches, participants, athletes, and sport leaders. In 2022, the CAC received a 2.8M grant from the Public Health Agency of Canada to address this national priority. This investment sets the groundwork for improving mental health literacy and coach self-care. When empowered with the tools and confidence to integrate positive mental health practices into our roles, we can take a collective approach to prioritizing mental health. Together, we can support the well-being of everyone in our sport community.   

The 2023 Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif conference is an opportunity to focus on: 

  • Creating an environment which elevates and normalizes mental health conversations 

  • Empowering our delegates in their roles to have a positive impact on sport throughout the country 

  • Promoting the importance of self-care 

  • Creating safe, inclusive spaces 

  • Building a community of champions for mental health through the power of sport 

 “We prioritize uniting the sport community on matters that are meaningful to all peoples in Canada,” emphasizes Lorraine Lafrenière, CEO of the Coaching Association of Canada.  “Sport and recreation are key in Canada’s growth and development through initiatives that increase the well-being of individuals from coast to coast to coast.” 

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Physical Activity will be welcoming delegates and sharing some remarks on the opening day. 

“The mental health and well-being of athletes, coaches and sport leaders has to be at the core of sport governance and operations at every level and in every context. Over the course of the Sport Leadership Conference, important and necessary conversations were had about the relationship between positive mental health practices and safe, inclusive sport”, says The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Physical Activity. “As we do the hard work necessary to build a sport system in Canada that better reflects our values and protects our children, we need to acknowledge and learn from past wrongs while taking the bold action that this moment requires.” 

Keynote speakers presenting at this year’s conference come from varied backgrounds and experiences. They include: 

  • Michael Kehler, Dr., Research Professor of Masculinities Studies in Education at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary  

View the full lineup of speakers here

The conference will be co-hosted by Rosie MacLennan, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and four-time Olympian in the sport of Trampoline, and Annie Gagnon, Director, Marketing & Communications at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary. 

More than 100 of Canada’s top coaches will be recognized this year by the CAC’s annual Coaching Awards program, including 44 award recipients who will be in attendance at the Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Awards Gala on Friday, Nov.3 at The Westin Calgary. 

#SLS23 is presented in partnership with Petro-Canada, a Suncor business, which has been supporting Canadian athletes, coaches, and their families for more than 35 years.  

“For 20 years running, Petro-Canada is a proud sponsor of this important opportunity created by the CAC to bring the sport community together to learn, share, and grow,” says Patrick Ritchie, VP of Sales & Marketing for Petro-Canada.    

For more information about the conference, including a detailed schedule and full list of speakers, please visit


For more information, pictures or videos of the event, please contact: 
Katherine Zhang 
Coordinator, Marketing and Communications 
Coaching Association of Canada 
613.235.5000 x 2353 


About the Coaching Association of Canada   
The Coaching Association of Canada unites stakeholders and partners in its commitment to raising the skills and stature of coaches, and ultimately expanding their reach and influence. Through its programs, the CAC empowers coaches with knowledge and skills, promotes ethics, fosters positive attitudes, builds competence, and increases the credibility and recognition of coaches. For more information, please visit, follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  

About Petro-Canada™
Petro-Canada, a Suncor business, operates more than 1,500 retail stations and 300 Petro-Pass wholesale locations nationwide, including 61 marketing arrangements with Indigenous communities. In 2019, Petro-Canada opened Canada’s Electric Highway™, a coast to coast network of electric vehicle chargers. In 2020, the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation™ was launched to help support Canadian caregivers. Petro-Canada’s retail loyalty program, Petro-Points™, provides Canadians with the opportunity to earn and redeem rewards. Petro-Canada is proud to be a National Partner of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees, supporting Canadian athletes, coaches and their families for more than 35 years. 

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