Vancouver,BC- Ice and snow are both frozen water, so for former Hockey Canada defender Therese Brisson, the transition from hockey to the world of alpine ski racing should not be too complicated.
Science puns aside, Brisson, formerly a Concordia Stinger and Team Canada defender has been named the new president and CEO of Alpine Canada Alpin, the governing body in charge of Canada’s alpine ski teams. She replaces Vania Grandi, who resigned in May after two years on the job.
The two-time Olympic medalist retired in 2006 following a brief stint with NWHL Canada’s Oakville Ice. Through her decorated playing career, Brisson won six IHF World Championships, two Olympic medals and the Concordia Stingers’ Athlete of the Year award twice.
Since retiring from hockey, Brisson has served on various boards within the Canadian Olympic Committee and also spent a decade as Corporate Treasurer & Secretary with Canada’s Own the Podium program. Aside from her involvement in developing Olympic sport, she has worked senior marketing and sales strategy roles with Procter & Gamble and Kimberly Clark.
From representing Canada on the Olympic stage to guiding one of the nation’s largest sporting bodies, Brisson is taking on a big role in the midst of a pandemic that is wreaking havoc for all of sport. Her first task is to oversee Alpine Canada’s teams return-to snow, which is set to happen in Switzerland at the end of July. However, even though most of the top-skiers around the world are training, the probability of a competitive FIS World Cup season is still very much undecided.
The Alpine Canada board of directors, which includes former FIS World Cup champion Erik Guay, has stated that they hope to see Canada as a top three skiing nation by 2026. While the Ski-Cross team is already at that point, the alpine teams are far from it.
Gone are the days of dominance from Dave Murray and The Crazy Canucks or even the pinnacle of Guay and The Canadian Cowboys. Canada’s downhillers of today are young, and developing, making it the perfect time to bring in an experienced CEO like Brisson. Although she does not come from a competitive skiing background, the 53-year-old from Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que brings a wealth of sporting and business experience to the table.
Getting back to snow is one thing, now what about international races?
Canada regularly serves as the host for one of the FIS World Cup season’s first speed races. Lake Louise, AB welcomes the best racers in the world for a weekend, and the race has become a staple on the World Cup circuit. However, with quarantine acts and restrictions on international travel, the 2020 event is in serious doubt.
As it stands, the late Nov. and early Dec. races are scheduled, but such things can change quickly. The immediate focus is making sure Canada’s top-skiers are safe as they resume on-snow training in Switzerland.
Therese Brisson may not have ever raced down the Kitzbuhel slopes, or taken on Lake Louise, but she knows the honour and pressure of representing the maple leaf and is prepared to take on the challenge of sport within a pandemic.