Their Opportunity, Own the Podium and the Ottawa Senators Foundation, Team Up to Help Rebuild Ottawa/Gatineau Communities Through Sport


OTTAWA— Their Opportunity (@their_opp), Own the Podium and the Ottawa Senators Foundation (@sensfoundation), have come together to provide families in Ottawa and Gatineau the opportunity to easily access support for sport and physical activity programs as a means of helping rebuild those communities.

The “Rebuilding Our Communities Through Sport” initiative will give families affected by the recent tornado a special opportunity to gain easy and free or subsidized access to sport activities and programs – underscoring the role that sport plays in building and strengthening communities. We are reaching out to you to provide support to the many families that have had their lives turned upside down as a result of the tornado.

This initiative will kick off on November 10th, 2018 where we are asking all the communities to come together to offer a carousel of fun, sport and support.

President and CEO of Their Opportunity says, “During this day of community play, families will be given access to resources for funding and in-kind services to be used for the sport or activity of their choice”.  A website has also been set up for families to register to receive ongoing support and additional resources. The affect communities can access this support by visiting

“We’re very proud to be partnering with these great organizations to get families active again, which we believe will restore some sense of normality,” said Randy Gill, president and CEO, Their Opportunity.

The home of Paralympic champion and the Chair of Own the Podium, Todd Nicholson, was destroyed by the tornado that ripped through his Dunrobin community in Ottawa’s west end.  Surprisingly, this tornado also destroyed his brother Jason’s home which is 10 miles west of Dunrobin in Kinburn Ontario.

Nicholson, one of Canada’s most decorated Paralympians began his career in sport after a single-vehicle car accident that left him paralyzed 30 years ago.

“I remember laying in my hospital bed thinking ‘what will I do with my life now?’ I turned to sport and realized very quickly “Why Sport Matters”,” said Nicholson, who added one of the things that was retrieved from his brother Jason’s home was a photo of his medal-winning para hockey team.

“That photo that was pulled from the wreckage was an immediate reminder to me of the power of sport, and that everything I have, is because I simply loved to play. I went on to win Paralympic medals, but regardless if you are winning medals or having fun on the playground, being active in sport is so valuable to our lives especially during times of adversity for all these families.

“It provides everyone the opportunity to put their difficulties behind them and smile, hope, dream, chase opportunities and live a healthier lifestyle. It builds strong families and even stronger communities. I’m looking to share my experiences from the past through this project to show my community the power sport has in getting us through the most challenging times in our lives.”

The Ottawa Senators Foundation and Ottawa Senators Hockey Club will provide $10,000 to help subsidize the cost for families to get back into sport in addition to 100 spaces in Sensplex hockey and skating programs offered at the Bell, Richcraft and Cavanagh Sensplex locations valued at over $30,000. Lastly, through a partnership with Hockey Eastern Ontario and Canadian Tire Jumpstart, used hockey equipment will be provided to any family in need.

“The Ottawa Senators Hockey Club and its Foundation are proud to support this initiative with financial support and access to a network of local organizations to help provide sport and physical activity programs to children and families who have been impacted by the tornado.” said Danielle Robinson, president and CEO, Ottawa Senators Foundation. “Besides the many benefits of physical activity, the intangibles of sport such as teamwork and perseverance are the core values of this new project and reflect the attitude of the citizens it will support.”

Those interested in supporting the Ottawa-Gatineau Rebuilding Our Communities Through Sport project, please visit

Article by Brad Weir