Pursuit magazine spring 2019

Page 1


University of Toronto

Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education SPRING 2019 / VOL. 22, NO. 1


COURT TEAMING UP FOR CANCER RECOVERY Reaching New Heights Alina Dormann honoured by Governor General The Zen of Golf Meditation can improve your golf game Living Well Catching up with best selling author Yuri Elkaim


SPRING 2019 / VOL. 22, NO. 1



4 Peer Power

Boys learn best from each other


The Zen of Golf Meditation can improve your golf game

14 Blue Voyage

The Blues travel the world


22 The Ball’s in Your Court

Teaming up for cancer recovery


30 Rain or Shine

Steve Thomas is a lifelong Blues fan

32 Game Changer

Jordan Scheltgen brings his Blues leadership to business

44 The Secret History of Soccer

UofT's role in shaping the global game



Editorial Comments

Publication Agreement Number:

Sarah Baker

Martin Bazyl, Jake Howorth, John Hryniuk, Joel Jackson, Jing Kao-Beserve, Taylor Kerby, Arnold Lan, Seyran Mammdov, Makeda Marc-Ali, Denise Militzer, Kevin Van Paassen, Seed9, Barrie Shepley, Nicholas Van Niekerk, Henry Zhao

P: 416-978-1663 sarah.e.baker@utoronto.ca


Associate Editor Jelena Damjanovic

Art Direction and Design Joel Jackson

Cover Denise Militzer

Contributors Samantha Barr, Mary Beth Challoner, Jill Clark, Jelena Damjanovic, Elaine Evans, Janet Gunn, Joel Jackson, Janet Rowe, Laurie Stephens

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Message from the Dean

Great things happen when worlds collide W

ith the long winter behind us, we are all feeling invigorated by the arrival of spring. And, what better way to welcome the new season than by sharing the exciting news about the 2019 QS World University subject rankings, which placed the University of Toronto in the top ten universities globally in six subjects - including a 5th place ranking for sport-related subjects integral to our faculty. I feel great pride in this global recognition and have no doubt that our integrated mandate to deliver academic programs, as well as sport and recreation, has been a significant factor in setting us apart and demonstrating excellence in our teaching, research and experiential education. In embracing our mission, we are also investing in the development of our students and athletes as global citizens, by integrating international perspectives into the curriculum and our co-curricular programs, often with transformative results. You will have the opportunity to read about the benefits of international travel for our Varsity Blues, who have been busy this season raising the bar, learning different styles of play, soaking up new cultures and bonding with their teammates.



Our cover story is another great example of the possibilities that can ensue when worlds collide, right here at home; The article, The Ball’s in Your Court, showcases an innovative new program out of the Faculty that brings together research, athletics and cancer care to support the mental and physical health of testicular cancer survivors. Thank you for staying in touch and coming back to visit us year after year, as mentors, donors, heroes, well-wishers and friends. We need your engagement to continue to do what we do. Sincerely

Ira Jacobs, Dean

Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education

Field Notes Women’s volleyball upsets the No. 1 nationally ranked Ryerson Rams, 3-0, to win their first OUA title since 2016.

Photo/ Seyran Mammadov

Pursuit | Spring 2019


Field Notes

Peer Power Boys learn best from each other


rying to get your teenage boys to “Because this ‘self-other matching’ given images of boys to view. Boys behave at the dinner table? Chances process is thought to be one core step were the focus of the study because the are they will respond better if you get in social interactions like empathy and research was designed as the start of a one of their peers to model the behaviour observational learning, more effective series of future studies of people with for them, according to a study from self-other matching with peers might neurological disorders, such as autism, researchers at the Faculty. help us understand more about how which tend to be more common in boys we interact with and learn from people than girls. This result may indicate The study, published in the Cognitive we consider to be peers and non-peers,” some cross-gender considerations that Development journal, looks into how says Welsh. require additional research, according children and youth engage in “selfto Welsh. other matching” – the ability to look at The researchers found that the matching another person’s body and relate it to an process was strongest when the children Teachers, coaches and parents may understanding of their own body. and youth looked at the bodies of their want to take note of the results of peers. For example, boys aged 10 to 12 the study. “If you are trying to teach “When we attempt to imitate someone engaged in “self-other matching” when someone a new behaviour or movement else’s action, such as how they are they saw an image of an 11-year-old boy, by having the person model and imitate standing or walking, we need to but not so much when they were shown those movements of another person, first identify the other person’s body pictures of a seven-year-old boy and a it could be that this modelling and parts – the arms, legs, head, etc. Then, 15-year-old boy. learning might be more effective if a we need to conceptually map those peer is the model,” says Welsh. body parts to our own body parts and This age component surprised the match the positions and motions of researchers, who had assumed that “This is not to suggest that people cannot the other person’s body parts to those because people interact with those in learn by watching anyone, whether they of our own body,” explains Timothy all stages of life, age wouldn’t be an are a peer or not, only that the learning Welsh, a professor in the Faculty who issue. “It’s not that children and youth might be more effective when we can co-authored the study with Associate are incapable of self-other matching easily match the body we observe onto Professor Luc Tremblay, and graduate with non-peers, but it does seem that our own body.” students Sandra M. Pacione, Shikha this self-other matching process is most Patel and Aarohi Pathak of the Faculty’s effective with peers,” says Welsh. The research was supported by the Centre for Motor Control. Natural Sciences and Engineering There was no evidence of self-other Research Council of Canada (NSERC), The researchers hope the study will matching among girls who participated Social Sciences and Humanities lead them to a greater awareness of how in the study. The researchers attribute Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) people with and without neurological or this finding to the fact that youth and Ontario Ministry of Research and social disorders interact socially. — Jelena Damjanovic participating in the study were only Innovation.



Photo/ iStock

Field Notes

Let's Play!

Creating inclusive playgrounds


n October 2018, Prince Edward Island’s Charlottetown became the first Canadian city to get an accessible playground built through Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, a national charity invested in giving all children a sporting chance. The playground features traditional play components modified for children of all abilities, including double-wide ramps for wheelchair access and roller slides to eliminate possible static electricity build-up for those who wear hearing devices.

these opportunities are not available for all children,” says KPE Assistant Professor Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos, who specializes in disability and physical activity. She and Ron Buliung, a professor of geography at UTM and chair of the tri-campus graduate programs in Geography and Planning at U of T, are co-leading a team of experts to evaluate the experiences of accessible playground users, primarily the families of children with disabilities. Their findings will help the stakeholders understand how well these spaces work for the families and if there are elements of the design that can be improved.

For Buliung, the connection is personal. His daughter was born with spinal muscular atrophy type 2, a genetic neuromuscular disease that causes progressive muscle weakness and requires her to use a wheelchair. “We can’t just get in the car and go to a playground and play like other families. We have to make the space work for us and that’s not always easy,” he says. Arbour-Nicitopoulos and Buliung hope their findings can provide guidelines on how to create inclusive playground spaces for children of all abilities. But the end goal, both of them agree, is to eventually modify and adapt all municipal playgrounds to make them inclusive for a range of abilities.

Jumpstart has pledged to build at least one Jumpstart Playground in every Canadian province and territory over the next five years through its Inclusive Playground Project – welcome news for families of children “The goal is to be able to do this research with disabilities, who often experience on an ongoing basis, so that we can “If we can determine that these accessible playgrounds make sense exclusion in typical playground inform the design of playgrounds and work for families, then we can spaces, where design has been based as they are developed for other begin to look at how to apply this on normative assumptions about how provinces and territories,” says Arbourknowledge and design to other children develop, move and play. Nicitopoulos. The study will kick off its evaluation in spring 2019 by which time playgrounds across the city. Instead of five of the playgrounds are scheduled to building islands of and for disability, “We push our children to play be up and running. The remaining eight let’s create inclusive opportunities for outdoors, tell them about the playgrounds will be evaluated between play for all children across our cities,” importance of being in nature for their physical and mental health, but summer 2019 and spring 2021. says Buliung. — JD Photo/ Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities

Pursuit | Spring 2019


Field Notes

GIRL P OWER KPE student is one of the G(irls)20


hen the annual G(irls)20 Global Summit met in October in Argentina, fourth-year KPE student Ambareen-Rose Velji (pictured left) was among the 24 international delegates representing Canada. Launched in 2009 at the Clinton Global Initiative, G(irls)20 aims to empower girls and women to be agents of economic and social change.

research on body image disturbances, Working in Professor Sabiston’s lab, eating disorders and mental illnesses Velji worked on a study focused on resulting from unrealistic societal girls’ body image and the reasons for expectations of the body, and the role sport dropout among girls in sport. She can play to combat unhealthy ideals in girls. collected videos and resources that exist on helping to foster positive “My background as an athlete, kinesiology body image, and analyzed them for student, researcher and future author valuable information to inform future (Velji is writing a book on her personal intervention work. journey with weight and body image) all came together full circle,” she says. “She has a passion for girls’ health and Velji’s application was helped by the well-being, and a personal interest in research she had been doing with KPE Velji played competitive sport for 14 years, body image, so it was a natural fit for Professor Catherine Sabiston, focusing on coming close to playing for team Canada’s her,” says Sabiston. girls’ participation in sport and body image. floorball team. She went into kinesiology driven by the idea of studying movement, Velji describes her experience at the “I think that definitely gave me a leg up, sport and physical activity. But, she was G(irls)20 Summit as life changing. as it demonstrated my knowledge of equally excited to learn about sport prominent issues surrounding girl’s health psychology and nutrition. “There was something so powerful, and what I could uniquely contribute if empowering and inspiring about given the opportunity,” says Velji. “Going through rehabilitation from being in a room with 23 other female sport injuries piqued my interest delegates from across the globe, Part of the role of the delegates was to in anatomy, high performance and working together on levelling the create policy recommendations for recovery,” says Velji. playing field for girls, empowering increased participation of girls in digital, them to be confident and independent, rural or financial spaces. Velji chose to “During my competitive sport years, as I and providing them with equal contribute recommendations towards grew older and began to move up in skill opportunity to contribute to whatever digital inclusion, specifically girls’ health, level, my dad became my mental coach. field they feel passionate about, from safety and representation in that space. That’s when I began to be more interested politics and economics to medicine.” Her recommendations were based on her in the mental side of being an athlete.”



Photo/ Courtesy of G(irls)20

Field Notes

Over the week in Buenos Aires, the delegates attended workshops, participated in panel discussions with international experts, and voted on the topics that will be included in the final G(irls)20 Communiqué, creating a set of policy recommendations on increasing the participation of girls through digital, financial and rural inclusion. “Developing a communiqué was such a unique experience, because I learned about how decisions are actually made on a global level between countries,” says Velji. The communiqué was presented to Argentina’s G20 Sherpa, Pedro Villagra Delgado, who will bring it before the G20, an international forum for governments and central bank governors that served as a model for the G(irls)20 Summit. The delegates also learned how to develop a strategy and how to pitch their post-summit impact initiatives when they return to their home countries. Velji’s initiative is centred on building a camp called Shatter, which would offer leadership workshops to girls from low-income families in Canada, using sport as the driving vehicle. Through her initiative she also wants to increase participation of girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), working with companies to provide volunteer/intern opportunities for participants of her camp. “It was an absolute honour to represent Canada at the G(irls)20 Summit. I have never felt more proud to be a Canadian nor have I ever felt more confident in what I have to do to shatter the ceiling for other young girls,” says Velji. “This has been the best experience of my 20-year life and I can’t wait to be a change maker who helps — JD close the gender gap.”


Professor Scott Thomas recognized by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology


rofessor Scott Thomas was recognized with a prestigious award at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP). Thomas received the 2018 CSEP Professional Standards Program Recognition Award for his contributions spanning over 30 years. "This award means a lot to me. It highlights the importance of our efforts to make exercise for health safe, effective and accessible to Canadians," says Thomas. His research into the role of physical activity in cardiovascular health, control of blood pressure during exercise, effective behaviour change strategies in cardiac rehabilitation and best practices for assessing readiness to return to activity was described as integral to CSEP’s mission to promote evidence-based practice in the health and fitness industry. “CSEP is known as the premier exercise physiology research organization in Canada and also as Canada’s gold standard for exercise and fitness certification programs,” says Professor Ira Jacobs, dean of KPE. “I applaud those on the award selection committee for their insightful recognition of this most deserving awardee and offer my heartfelt congratulations to Professor Thomas.” — JD

Photo/ Courtesy of Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology

Pursuit | Spring 2019


Field Notes



n March, the Faculty hosted another successful public symposium turning the lens on how exercise can optimize nutrition. Moderated by nutrition expert and celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, the symposium heard from new faculty member Assistant Professor Jenna Gillen, Assistant Professor Daniel Moore and Registered Dietitian and Sport Nutritionist Jennifer Sygo.

“The muscles in our bodies are built of proteins that are composed of individual building blocks called amino acids. These muscle proteins are very dynamic and are constantly ‘turning over’, which means old or damaged ones are broken down into amino acids and new ones remade in their place,” says Moore. “Any time we eat a meal containing protein, we can speed up the rate at which we are building new muscle proteins by providing the muscle with new amino acid building blocks. This allows us to maintain the quality of the proteins in our muscles or, if we are performing exercise such as lifting weights, to grow our muscles,” he says.

even more ‘benign’ forms of inactivity such as a sedentary lifestyle,” says Moore. The good news is that by focusing on how much protein we consume in each meal of the day and how active our muscles are before we eat those meals, we can improve the efficiency with which our muscles use the protein in our diet to maintain an optimal quantity and quality of this important tissue across the lifespan. Gillen’s talk focused on how physical activity makes controlling our blood sugar easier.

“Carbohydrates are made up of sugars that provide our bodies The trouble comes when our muscles are underused, because they become less sensitive to the protein that we eat and cannot with an important source of energy. When we consume carbohydrates our blood sugar levels rise, which can be taken use the amino acids as efficiently to rebuild themselves. This up and used by different tissues in the body,” says Gillen. is commonly referred to as anabolic resistance and when not corrected can lead to a loss of muscle over time. “Muscle is one of the most important tissues that consumes blood sugar, using it for energy, which helps bring blood sugar “Anabolic resistance is one of the main causes of muscle loss levels back down.” with extreme inactivity, such as bed rest or wearing a cast, and



Collage/ Joel Jackson

Field Notes

However, when muscle is less active, such as during a day of sitting or months of not performing physical activity, it needs less energy and can become less sensitive to rises in blood sugar. This can result in blood sugar levels staying high, which overtime, increases the risk for metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, becoming more physically active can increase muscle’s need and ability to consume sugar, which helps reduce high blood sugar levels. “Breaking up prolonged periods of sitting with short (< 5min) repeated exercise ‘snacks’ can lower blood sugar throughout the day. Similarly, performing one structured exercise session after a meal can immediately lower the rise in blood sugar from breakfast, lunch or dinner,” says Gillen.

they may differ from the general population, specifically in terms of carbohydrate intake. “At low-to-moderate levels of activity, the relationship between exercise and appetite tends to be tightly controlled, which means that increasing activity can lead to increased hunger. For highly active individuals, including competitive or high performance athletes, energy needs can be substantially elevated and appetite may become uncoupled from activity level,” says Sygo, whose expertise in nutrition has been sought by Toronto Raptors to boost their performance.

“The result is that high performance athletes often need to emphasize high-calorie foods and, in some cases, must intentionally limit filling up on low-calorie foods, such as Best of all, once regular exercise becomes a normal part of your fruits and vegetables that could prevent them from meeting their energy needs.” weekly routine, muscle becomes more sensitive to blood sugar — JD and is capable of consuming more of it – even on days when you are not exercising. Missed the talk? See it online at: www.uoft.me/kpesymposia Sygo spoke about the energy and nutrient needs of competitive and high performance athletes, highlighting how

Photos/ John Hryniuk

Optimizing Nutrition Through Exercise was hosted and presented by the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education at the University of Toronto and sponsored by Iovate Health Sciences, the makers of MuscleTech.

Pursuit | Spring 2019


Field Notes

National Grant Funds Kidney Cancer Research


inda Trinh, an assistant professor in the Exercise Oncology it is very exciting to be able to collaborate with a team of internationally renowned experts in exercise, cognition and Laboratory at the Faculty, is the winner of the B. Lois aging, genito-urinary oncology and cancer survivorship,” Smith Research Award 2018. The award, established by says Trinh. Kidney Cancer Canada and the Kidney Cancer Research Network of Canada (KCRNC), supports peer-reviewed “This award will allow me to build new collaborations beyond research that promotes excellence in kidney cancer research with a $50,000 grant. the Toronto Academic Health Science Network to include cancer centres outside of the GTA, such as the Juravinski Trinh was awarded the grant for her proposal to Cancer Centre in Hamilton.” investigate the associations between physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness levels that contribute to cognitive Luc Tremblay, associate professor and dean of research at KPE, applauds the diverse lenses applied to how we implement function in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) patients physical activity programs and how we assess their impact on on antiangiogenic therapies. These are treatments that stop the well-being of individuals. tumours from growing their own blood vessels, which might slow the growth of the cancer or potentially shrink it. mRCC “Our faculty members are demonstrating their ability to patients are likely to be on medications long-term and some develop new research programs that have a strong potential to data suggests the medications contribute not only to fatigue, improve standards of care in various clinical populations,” he but induce cognitive decline as an additional side effect. says. “We are extremely proud that Linda was able to convince Trinh’s study will examine how physical activity levels can organizations providing funding for cancer research to improve cognition function in mRCC patients. recognize the potential of her research for kidney cancer “I am very grateful for this award and want to thank KCRNC patients. This early research award is clear evidence of the promising career ahead of Linda.” for their support on this project. As a junior investigator, — JD



Photo/ Arnold Lan

Field Notes

The Future of Fitness


PE’s new assistant professor is helping to change the way we think about exercise. Jenna Gillen has been interested in exercise and nutrition for as long as she can remember. This passion led to a BSc in Kinesiology and a PhD in Exercise Physiology, both from McMaster. She went on to complete a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan, and for the past two years has been completing a second post-doc at U of T. In her new role as assistant professor, Jenna is excited to share her knowledge. “I enjoy bringing my research into the classroom and teaching students the physiology behind how exercise improves health and performance,” she says. Pursuit sat down with Jenna to learn more about her work and her passion for teaching. Tell us about your research. I am interested in understanding how exercise and nutrition impact carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and identifying lifestyle strategies to improve metabolic health. This ranges from conducting studies in healthy adults to those at risk for, or afflicted with, metabolic disease. I’m interested in practical questions relating to the importance of exercise dose (intensity vs. duration), mode (aerobic vs. resistance) and timing (before vs. after a meal) on key measures of health and performance. What do you hope to achieve? I hope to contribute to our understanding of how different exercise and nutritional strategies impact metabolism, health and performance. We know regular exercise reduces your risk for many chronic diseases, but there are still many unanswered questions regarding the best strategy. I am particularly interested in optimizing guidelines for women, and also hope to test some of our lab’s strategies in a community setting to determine their effectiveness in the “real-world.” Your research is challenging some norms in the world of exercise. My research has questioned some ideas regarding the amount of exercise required to improve health. We have shown that brief but intense exercise – known as high-intensity interval training – can lead to many health benefits that we normally associate with longer durations of moderate-intensity exercise. Many individuals cite a lack of time as a barrier to regular exercise, so it’s important to identify timeefficient options that are still effective. Our work shows that if you’re willing to work hard, you can get away with a surprisingly small amount of total exercise. Why did you want to be part of the Faculty? We have such a multidisciplinary faculty with a wide range of expertise. I see many opportunities to build on existing collaborations with exercise physiologists, and also to develop new connections with researchers interested in the psychosocial aspects of physical activity. I think we are well equipped to better address important research questions with the collective expertise we have in this Faculty. What will you be teaching? I will be teaching a new course called Lifestyle and Metabolic Disease. A major focus is for students to learn how lifestyle strategies incorporating exercise and nutrition can help to prevent and/or treat metabolic disease. By learning the underlying physiology, students will be able — Elaine Evans to critically evaluate health claims for scientific accuracy.

Photo/ Makeda Marc-Ali

Pursuit | Spring 2019


Fit Tips


Zen of Golf Meditation can improve your golf game



Fit Tips

Research from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education and Aix-Marseille University in Marseille, France, has found that just seven minutes of meditation can improve your golf game. The study, supervised by KPE Associate Professor Luc Tremblay, in collaboration with Assistant Professor Katherine Tamminen and Laurence Mouchnino, a researcher at Aix-Marseille University, looked at how meditation can improve performance on an indoor (synthetic) putting green.


efore going out on the green, the study participants had their brain wave activity measured with a portable electroencephalogram (EEG) device called MUSE TM. After a first set of 30 putts, participants were given a seven-minute break. One group was told to meditate using the MUSE TM headbands, which can provide real-time auditory feedback about brain activity. The second group was told to meditate without the auditory neuro-feedback and the third group was told to just relax. The researchers recorded the study participants’ brain activity after the break and then sent them back out on the green for another 30 putts.

“I didn’t think a seven-minute mediation was going to do anything,” says Sadiya Abdulrabba, a fourth-year kinesiology student, who conducted the study. “A lot of the research I reviewed looked at about eight weeks of intense meditation, so I thought what’s seven minutes of meditation going to do for someone who is not an experienced meditator or golfer?” However, the data analysis showed that the two groups that meditated with and without the neuro-feedback significantly reduced the type of brain activity associated with voluntary movement control, as compared to the group that didn’t meditate. These reductions in movement-related brain waves were associated with putting performance improvements for the meditation groups. “We found that meditation with and without neuro-feedback resulted in better performance,” says Abdulrabba. “The group that did not meditate didn’t significantly reduce the activity of their movement-related brain waves and showed no improvement in their putting precision. “Before getting on the green, for best results, consider sitting down for a few minutes and meditating,” says Abdulrabba, who benefited from the Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to conduct this study. — JD


1. D on’t just jump on the green and start putting. Spend a few minutes sitting close to where you plan to putt and meditate/relax mindfully for a few minutes. Make sure you are in a comfortable position.

2. T ry to relax your muscles, including your face, shoulders, arms, trunk and legs. 3. A ccept that your mind may wander and try to return the focus to your breathing.

Photo/ iStock

Pursuit | Spring 2019


Blues News

Blue Voyage Raising the bar. Learning different styles of play. Soaking up new cultures. Bonding with teammates.


xposure to international competition can be a lifechanging experience for U of T’s student-athletes, from a sport and a personal perspective.

“Getting exposure to international teams helps us set our bar higher and know we can compete at that level,” says Anna Feore, a 22-year-old volleyball player for U of T and Team Canada who hails from Stratford, ON. “It challenges you to do what you do every day, but on an international stage, playing teams that are of a much higher calibre. It also forces you to be confident in what you’ve done.” Feore, a fifth-year student majoring in Health and Disease, and Physiology, travelled with the Canadian national team this summer, competing in Italy and at the World Championships in Japan. Her varsity team returned to Italy in December to take part in a training camp and play a few games against Italian teams. Varsity Blues Women’s Volleyball coach, Kristine Drakich, says Italy has a very strong development program, and the games expose her players to the Italian style of play. However, these trips deliver more than just competition.



“It’s an awesome opportunity to have the athletes see volleyball in a different way, and also experience different culture,” she says. “It allows the student-athletes to feel more comfortable outside their comfort zone.” Michele Belanger, head coach of the women’s basketball team, took her team to Italy for 11 days this past summer and said the experience was “absolutely magical.” In addition to some intensive training and five games against the Italians, the team toured Venice, Rome and Florence, taking in the food, language and culture. “All of it is truly one of the greatest educational pieces that we can offer players today,” she says. “And if you could afford it, we do it almost every year because it’s truly something that’s great for athletes.” International experience is nothing new to Blues star swimmer Kylie Masse. Masse has been competing on the world stage since 2015. The 22-year-old kinesiology major won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, a gold medal at the 2017 FINA world championships in Budapest, and four medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland, Australia.

Photos/ Varsity Blues women's volleyball, women's basketball and men's basketball teams

Blues News

Masse says exposure to world-class competition not only helps an athlete grow, it also helps a team gel, as the athletes navigate new places, share rooms and figure out facilities – all together as a team. “Bonding is the perfect word,” she says. “When we’re with each other 24-7 at an away meet, it brings you together even more, and I think that’s really special and important for a team.” Masse’s coach, Byron MacDonald, took his team – both men and women – to Loughborough, England, in the fall for a dual meet that was a success on many levels. “The beauty of it is that you get to race people you’ve never seen before, in a unique situation,” he says. “It makes athletes better competitors, but more importantly, it enhances their entire competitive experience and their lives.” He jokes that the day after the meet, the team went to London to visit the Queen. “Believe it or not, two of our athletes were walking down the street and the Queen drove by, so that was kind of cool.” John Campbell, in his sixth season as coach of the Blues men’s basketball team, travelled with his team this past summer to an international competition in Taiwan where his squad placed a respectable third among nine top teams.

The competition was held in a big arena in front of about 5,000 very engaged basketball fans, an experience that thrilled his players, he says. The arena was in the centre of town, and when the players left to go to a shopping mall after games, they were mobbed for pictures. “They enjoyed celebrity status at a week-long experience.” Campbell appreciates team travel as an opportunity for the players to learn more about each other. But more importantly, he says, international competition is a chance for student-athletes to experience another part of the world and appreciate both the differences and similarities of two cultures. “I think in today’s world, any time you can create connections with other cultures and other countries, that’s a huge positive. It’s something that people move forward with in the rest of their lives,” he says. “For our players to understand that while they’re fortunate to be in Canada and enjoy a Canadian education and everything else, it’s really special to appreciate the experiences of others, and to feel connected to a global community.” Campbell says. International trips in the varsity program are paid for by team fundraising, student-athlete contributions and donations from alumni. — Laurie Stephens Pursuit | Spring 2019


Blues News

FOR THE WIN! The Varsity Blues made us proud again, giving us ten 2018-19 provincial champions to celebrate. WE ALL #BLEEDBLUE #WeAreTO.

22 all-Canadians 109 provincial all-stars

OUA Women’s Volleyball

OUA Badminton NCWP Women's Water Polo OUA Men’s & Women’s Fencing OUA Men’s Water Polo 16


Photos/ Varsity Blues

OUA Women’s Swimming

Blues News

Coaches of the Year 4 OUA coaches of the year 1 NCWP coach of the year 2 U SPORTS coaches of the year Dave Woods OUA Golf

OUA Women’s Golf

Jackie Yeung OUA Badminton

Cassius Mendonça OUA and U SPORTS Field Hockey

OUA Figure Skating

George Gross Jr. NCWP Women’s Water Polo

OUA Men’s Swimming Byron MacDonald and Linda Kiefer – OUA and U SPORTS Women’s Swimming Pursuit | Spring 2019


Blues News

Alina Dormann Honoured at Rideau Hall


he University of Toronto’s Alina Dormann, a fourth-year Varsity Blues volleyball player, was honoured at Rideau Hall in January as part of an elite group of Canadian university athletes who received the Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation. Dormann was selected by U Sports as one of the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians for the 2017-18 season. In order to achieve academic All-Canadian status, athletes must maintain an average of 80 per cent or better over the academic year while competing for one or more of their university’s varsity teams. In her welcome address, Governor General and former astronaut Julie Payette said the student-athletes are superstars who combine physical activity and intellectual activity every day with exceptional results, much like astronauts. “You represent the superstars right here on Earth and we are so happy to have a chance to honour you,” she said. “Playing on the Varsity Blues women’s volleyball team has been the most incredible part of my university



experience,” said Dormann. “The opportunity to compete in a sport that I love with my best friends is so special and I am truly thankful for the opportunity to represent the University of Toronto in this way. “All of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while being here, my happiest memories and most of my laughs have come due to my experiences with this program, "and for that I will be forever grateful.”

“There are so many people whose names should be listed on this award, as every time I step on the court I have the support of my teammates, coaches and the Varsity Blues community.”

Describing volleyball as the ultimate team sport, Dormann said that every opportunity she gets to score a point is because of the hard work and outstanding effort of her teammates. “There are so many people whose names should be listed on this award, as every time I step on the court I have the support of my teammates, coaches and the Varsity Blues community. This award is truly a representation of each and every person who is a part of the Varsity Blues volleyball program,” she said. Dormann becomes the 10th Varsity Blues athlete, and the seventh in the past nine years, to earn the recognition since its inception about 25 years ago. She entered the 2017-18 intercollegiate season after spending the summer with the Canadian senior women’s national team. She represented Canada at the 2017 FISU Summer Universiade in Taipei and went on to have another dominant season for the Blues on the court. Dormann was named the OUA East player of the year for the third consecutive season, while also earning her third career U Sports all-Canadian nod.

Photos/ Top/Seyran Mammdov/ Bottom/ Mathieu Gaudreault, Rideu Hall OSGG

Blues News

More impressive, Dormann achieved all of this while pursuing a double major in biology, and health and disease. The Victoria College student has won several academic awards. “Alina embodies excellence both on and off the court,” said Kristine Drakich, the Varsity Blues’ head coach. “Not only has she been an outstanding player, she has also maintained one of the highest grade point averages in the history of our program.” Drakich was in Ottawa for the award ceremony, joining Dormann’s parents and Professor Ira Jacobs, dean of the Faculty. “This is a wonderful and well-deserved recognition of Alina’s amazing achievement on the volleyball courts and academically,” said Jacobs. “I am very proud to be part of a university that provides the support for such amazing accomplishments to be achieved by our students. I am so happy that Alina and the other Top 8 Academic All-Canadians were the focus of national attention today with the Governor General personally congratulating them at Rideau Hall.”

Unstoppable Gabriela DeBues-Stafford breaks two Canadian records

In addition to her excellence on the court and in the classroom, Dormann makes time to give back to the volleyball community. She volunteered as an assistant coach with the Ontario Volleyball Association during the 2018 Ontario Summer Games and served as an assistant coach at Volleyball Position Camp, which trains players in their chosen position.

Varsity Blues track and field star Gabriela DeBues-Stafford broke a Canadian record twice in one month. In January, DeBues-Stafford ran a 4:24.80 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, winning the event and knocking more than two seconds off Kate Van Buskirk’s record of 4:26.92, set one year ago at the Dr. Sander Invitational in New York.

Dormann also coaches recreational house league and competitive beach and skills clinics with the Leaside — JD Volleyball Club in Toronto.

For the 23-year-old psychology student, 2019 is shaping up to be a very big year. Not only has DeBues-Stafford already set two new Canadian records, but she recently got married, and has plans to relocate to Scotland later this year to train with Laura Muir, one of Europe’s dominant middle-distance runners. — Jill Clark

Earlier that month, at her first race of the 2019 indoor season, DeBues-Stafford broke the Canadian indoor 5000m record at the GAA Miler Meet in Glasgow, Scotland, running 14:57.45 to smash the previous record of 15:25.15 held by Megan MetcalfeWright. It was her first time racing the 5K distance.

Photo/ Claus Andersen/Athletics Canada

Pursuit | Spring 2019


Blues News

COACHES CORNER BOBBI-JO CRONK NEW WOMEN’S RUGBY HEAD COACH Cronk was a member of four AUS championship (2009-12) and two U SPORTS national championship (2010, 2012) teams as a member of the StFX X-Women. She was a dual-sport athlete while at StFX, earning AUS track and field rookie of the year honours and winning the conference gold medal in shot put in 2010. She played two seasons for the York Lions women’s rugby team, earning OUA Russell division all-star honours in 2015 and captaining the team in 2016. While at York, she twice earned U SPORTS academic all-Canadian honours. “I’m excited to be able to use all the skills, experiences and education that I have and pay it forward to those that are coming up in the intercollegiate rugby ranks,” says Cronk, who holds a BA in human kinetics pre-education from StFX and a BEd from York University.

ILYA ORLOV NEW SOCCER HEAD COACH As the lead assistant coach for the past four seasons, Orlov helped the team to two OUA bronzemedal finishes and two national championship berths. From 2015 to 2017, Orlov was the League 1 assistant coach and under 21 head coach for the North Toronto Soccer Club. He is currently head coach of the Alliance United Football Club in League 1. He was also the youth performance centre coach with FC Union Berlin in Germany in 2017. “It is a tremendous honour to become the head coach of U of T’s Varsity Blues soccer program. I am excited for the challenge ahead,” says Orlov, who holds a BA in psychology from York University. — JC

Celebrating the Blues The University of Toronto honoured 27 Varsity Blues athletes with Silver T awards at the 14th annual President's Reception on March 26 at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. U of T President Meric Gertler hosted the annual event started by his predecessor, Professor David Naylor, in 2006. The luncheon recognizes the athletic excellence of the Varsity Blues, while acknowledging the hard work and dedication of staff, students and volunteers who make the Varsity Blues intercollegiate program possible. “Today we salute each and every Varsity Blues athlete for your talent, commitment and amazing ability to balance academics with the demands of highly competitive athletics. You’re part of a tradition of exceptional student-athletes who have done our university very proud and who have created an — JD amazing legacy of excellence,” said Gertler.



Photos/ Top/ Jill Clark/ Center/ Martin Bazyl /Bottom/ Jill Clark

Blues News

RACING TO HELP Klomp wins U SPORTS Community Service Award


ourth-year Varsity Blues veteran Craig Klomp was named the 2018 U SPORTS cross-country student-athlete community service award winner.

The annual awards were handed out at a welcome breakfast ahead of the 2018 U SPORTS cross country championships, hosted by the Queen’s Gaels at Fort Henry Hill in Kingston, ON. Majoring in architecture and environmental studies, Klomp has managed to balance life as a student-athlete. As a student, he maintains an outstanding GPA within these two demanding programs, and as an athlete, he successfully competes in two sports, is a two-time OUA all-star in both track and cross country, and finished 14th at this year’s OUA cross country championships. He also finished fourth in both the 1000-and 1500-metre events at the 2018 U SPORTS track and field championships. A team captain, Klomp regularly serves as a mentor for firstyear athletes, as well as first-year students within the Faculty of Architecture, who need assistance adjusting to the social, emotional and academic transition into being a varsity athlete at the University of Toronto.

The native of Stratford, ON, was a key contributor and volunteer with the 2017 Varsity Blues Bell Let’s Talk campaign, focusing on raising awareness for mental health. He is the co-founder of the Varsity Blues track program’s outreach committee and helped organize service-based activities for both the track and field and cross country programs, including Night the Light, Trick or Eat, Soup Kitchens and visits to Ronald McDonald House. In his spare time Klomp volunteers at a food bank as well as SickKids Hospital, and during the holiday season, he helps out at local retirement homes. “Craig is an extremely driven individual, who never stops fighting until he arrives at his destination,” says head track and field coach Carl Georgevski. “In Craig’s case, the destination is personal excellence in everything he does: in the classroom, on the cross country course and in his community. Our teams are richer to have Craig as one of our leaders.” — JC

Pursuit | Spring 2019


The Ball’s In Your Court By Jelena Damjanovic



Photography by Denise Militzer

Field Notes

“These young men get told that they have cancer and it totally derails them.”


lthough testicular cancer accounts for a little over one per cent of all male cancers, it is the most common cancer diagnosed in male adolescents and young adults in Canada. According to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics, incidence rates of testicular cancer have nearly doubled over the last 20 years, with approximately 1,100 new cases discovered each year. The good news is that the majority of these cases are discovered early, with many survivors expected to have a long life expectancy following curative treatment. But, this also means that there is a growing community of young men in need of long-term follow-up care because testicular cancer survivors are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, secondary cancers and infertility. They also report higher levels of psychological distress compared to their peers. “This is a very unique group of cancer patients,” says Doctor Robert Hamilton, a surgeon at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PMCC), who oversees the testicular cancer program. “They are usually young men between the ages of 15 and 39. They may have just started a new job or they’re in the early part of a relationship. Then they get told that they have cancer and it totally derails them. It’s very easy to fall off the societal map if you don’t have something to ground you,” he says. Anika Petrella, a PhD candidate in the Health Behaviour and Emotion Lab at KPE, worked with Hamilton at the Princess Margaret Hospital as a clinical counsellor for testicular cancer survivors and noticed many of them were struggling. Pursuit | Spring 2019


Field Notes



Field Notes

“We put out a call to our varsity coaches to see who would like to be involved and the response was overwhelming.” “They don’t fit in the children’s hospital where the average age is six and they don’t fit in at an adult hospital where the average cancer patient age is 60-65, especially in genitourinary cancers,” says Petrella. “So, they kept asking me if there were any programs they could join with other testicular cancer survivors and there was nothing.” Petrella went back to her PhD supervisor at KPE, Professor Catherine Sabiston, to put together a program that would improve social support for testicular cancer survivors while giving them an opportunity to address their concerns about physical health and well-being. With Sabiston’s backing and assistance from Hamilton, Patrella conducted a survey of 140 testicular cancer survivors treated at PMCC and discovered the men preferred interventions outside the hospital setting that are group based and geared towards their age and gender. The survey also revealed that testicular cancer survivors tend to be very active, but few were engaged in sport. And so, The Ball’s in Your Court was conceived, bringing together KPE researchers, Varsity Blues athletes and coaches and PMCC in the delivery of a program that leverages sport as a conduit to engage testicular cancer survivors in supportive care. Hosted in the Faculty’s Athletic Centre, the program was spread over five weeks, with participants meeting each week for an hour of strength and conditioning, followed by an hour of basketball with the coach and volunteer athletes from the Varsity Blues men’s basketball team. “In designing the program, we thought about all the physical activity spaces that we have available on campus,” says Sabiston, “and then we put out a call to our varsity coaches to see who would like to be involved.” The response was overwhelming, but eventually they settled on basketball because it was easier to modify and widely accessible. “The players really enjoyed interacting with the participants of the program,” says John Campbell, head coach of the Varsity Blues men’s basketball team. “They were of similar age. This was an opportunity for the players and coaches to gain some awareness about other people’s struggles while also contributing to their recovery. The best part has been seeing the smiles on everybody’s faces.” Alex Malone, strength and conditioning coach for the Varsity Blues, says he was surprised by the participants’ levels of self-determination. Pursuit | Spring 2019


“Their attitude was amazing. A couple of them came by the gym outside the regular program hours and some got memberships in other gyms. It’s cool to see how some of the stuff we did here influenced their lives outside,” says Malone. That’s an important part of the program, says Petrella, adding that the participants were also supplied with a workbook to help them manage the side-effects of the disease and to guide them on the path to healthy living. “We’re trying to integrate new healthy behaviours into their lives that can have a long-term impact on their physical health. Men diagnosed with testicular cancer are living 50 plus years after curative treatment, so we need to reach them now so they make behavioural changes early,” she says.



The pilot program had 11 participants, including Paul Silvestri, an elementary school teacher and musician. He was diagnosed with stage 4 testicular cancer in 2017 at age 36. Following chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, he was glad to come across The Ball’s in Your Court program. “Fitness and nutrition are a high priority of mine, so I jumped on the chance to work out and do something sport specific,” he says. But, it wasn’t easy. When Silvestri started the program, he was only four weeks out of a surgery and had to get medical clearance from his team of doctors. On day one, he felt he could barely participate, but he took it slowly.

Photos/ Martin Bazyl/Bottom Centre/ Seed9

“This was an opportunity to gain some awareness about their struggles while also contributing to their recovery.”

“The second session I found I could do 40 per cent and, by going to the gym on other days throughout the week, I found that by the third session I could participate 50 per cent. By the fourth session I could do about 70 per cent,” he says. Silvestri says his confidence grew when he saw that he was able to do more with every single session, even though he was still recovering from his surgeries. And since participating more in every session was proof that he was recovering very well, he was able to contend with the cancer process better. “I felt more energized and I felt my strength, endurance and flexibility all improving dramatically,” he says. This is in line with Petrella’s findings, which point to the significant impact the program had on the participants’ perception of fatigue, strength, sense of control and social connectedness. Photo/ Martin Bazyl

Field Notes

“After having two surgeries, I was very eager to get back to exercise for my own well-being and to gear up for my third and final surgery,” says Silvestri. “It was really important for me to be able to work out with other people and build camaraderie. Being on medical leave takes you out of your routines and can put a lot of other important things on hold, like dating. Exercise is something I love to do and I took full advantage of those moments to participate in order to feel like I had a little more of my life back.” Hamilton, who treated the majority of the participants of the program, says men, especially young men, don’t do a good job talking about cancer and the range of effects on thier lives. “So it’s not just the physical body that we’re tuning up here. It’s about the mental side of the recovery process. The general principle of cancer recovery is that you have to stay

Pursuit | Spring 2019


“The very first time we played basketball, the energy was great and everybody was talking to each other, yelling and high fiving. You could see it working.”



active, you have to keep going and try to get back to your normal life as quickly as possible, because there are physical and mental health benefits to doing that.” Sabiston hopes the program can become a part of standard care to which Hamilton’s patients would have access. The other major goal would be to have a “program in a box,” something that can be disseminated to universities across Canada and globally. “It’s my understanding that there is no program that links hospitals with varsity athletics programs anywhere in North America or the world. But, there is usually a hospital of some sort in most of the cities where there are big universities, so it makes for a natural fit,” she says, adding the program could also be used as an experiential

Photo/ Martin Bazyl

learning opportunity for kinesiology students, who could lead some of the modules.

“It was a great experience,” says Eli Mouyal, a student of psychology. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to be a mentor.”

Recent KPE graduate David Kuzmochka-Wilks volunteered for the program, advising participants about different movement patterns, but primarily cheering them along.

“We all go through a lot of stuff in our lives and I was happy to be a part of a program like this,” adds his teammate Hassan Adenola, a third-year kinesiology student.

“The very first time we played basketball, the energy was great and everybody was talking to each other, yelling and high fiving,” says Kuzmochka-Wilks. “I missed two sessions, but coming back and seeing the progression was amazing. You could see it working.”

Sabiston calls it a major collaborative event that came together naturally because so many people really believed in the idea.

Seeing the participants enjoy the program also brought happiness to the varsity basketball players volunteering for the program.

Photo/ Martin Bazyl

On February 10, Silvestri, was doing what he loves, performing at the Free Times Café on College Street. Asked to describe his set, he called it “Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead meet classical music.” An unexpected combination, but it works, much like the program that supported his recovery. Pursuit | Spring 2019


Alumni Field Notes Updates

RAIN OR SHINE Steve Thomas:

a lifelong Blues fan

By Elaine Evans


he Varsity Blues have their fair share of fans, but no one has a history quite like Steve Thomas. Steve and his family have been football season ticket holders for well over 50 years; a title shared with just one other family. In fact, Steve simply can’t remember a time without the Blues in his life. This lifetime love of the sport began with his father, who played football for Western University. Football was halted when World War II started, and afterwards he was relocated to Toronto to work as a meteorological officer. When he found himself missing football two years later, he bought season tickets for Varsity Blues games. Soon, going to games was a passion shared by his two sons. “Back then, the Blues regularly drew in crowds of over 20,000,” says Steve. “Both the Blues and the Argos played out of Varsity Stadium and drew equivalent crowds. This was a pretty exciting environment for a kid.” One of the greatest memories that Steve has from that time is the very first Vanier Cup game, which the Varsity Blues won in 1965.



“They had all-star players like Gerry Sternberg and Bryce Taylor,” he says. “It was a great team and such an incredible bonding experience with my dad.” Later, when it looked like the team may be in financial trouble, Steve and his father jumped into action. They both donated to help keep it going, a gesture they would continue each year. Their loyalty and unwavering support did not go unnoticed. On the 50th anniversary of his father being a season ticket holder, he was called to the field at halftime to receive a special plaque thanking him for his loyalty. “It was just incredible,” reflects Steve. Steve’s father passed away in March 2018, but Steve is keeping his legacy alive. He created a football scholarship at U of T in his father’s name, and continues to donate to the University in his honour. And yes, you will still find him in the stands, cheering on his beloved Blues. Photo/ Joel Jackson

Alumni Updates


Kate Cochrane-Brink (BSc 9T1 TRIN, MD 9T9 Rowing)


historical treasure is now being preserved at the University of Toronto. Thanks to a generous donor, more than 10,000 athlete cards covering a period from the late 19th century to 1994 profiling U of T athletes from all varsity sports and some intramurals are now being digitized. The cards were used to record athletes’ accomplishments and now provide a glimpse into the rich history of sports on campus and some well-known alumni. Rowing aluma, Kate CochraneBrink was thrilled to see her card among the others. “This brings back so many memories. It’s so nice to see our history at the University preserved in this way.” says Cochrane-Brink Samantha Barr, manager of Alumni Relations and Advancement Campaigns for the Faculty, who is overseeing the digitalizing of all the cards. “We have the original cards for several men and women who are now accomplished in academics, business or politics. It’s wonderful to have donor support so we can preserve this unique piece of history. Our most famous card is Lester B. Pearson,” says Barr. Paul Carson, a retired U of T sports information director, remembers the cards from his days on campus. “The cards are fascinating to look at because they highlight the achievements of men and women who played sports here,” he says. “Each card includes the athlete’s name, academic program, sport and any athletic achievements, whether it was a league or Photo/ Joel Jackson

championship win, and even records. These cards were used as part of the awards system every year so were always updated.” Marie Dearden was one of the staff who updated the cards. She started in 1972 as an assistant in the athletics office. “Updating the cards were a priority because what was recorded on the cards was used to identify those athletes who were selected to receive prestigious athletic awards,” she says. “They were updated by hand at first and then by typewriter.” Other biographical details include the athlete’s involvement in the military, whether they were missing in action, a prisoner of war, or killed, says Dearden. “One small part of my job was to read the obituary section of the newspaper every day to see if any of our student-athletes had passed. This information would then be entered onto the cards accordingly.” Barr says all athlete records are now digitalized, but there is something special about holding the original cards in your hand. “They are very interesting and are the most reliable historical records we have of athletic participation and achievement of our alumni.” Carson is grateful to see the cards being preserved. “They really capture the historical significance of sports at the University of Toronto. It’s a real treasure to have them after all this time.” Pursuit | Spring 2019


Alumni Updates

Game Changer From football leader to business leader By Elaine Evans


ordan Scheltgen (BA 2012 UTM, Football) never imagined that his days as a Varsity Blues quarterback would pave the way for his future business success. Yet Jordan, who studied political science at U of T, now credits his experience on the team with giving him the confidence to strike out on his own and start his own business, Cave Social. The concept for Cave Social was dreamed up late one night in Robarts Library. Jordan and fellow U of T student Michael Prempeh were studying on the main floor of the library and talking about their dream business when they decided to go for it. “Neither Mike nor I knew anything about web design or anything else,” says Jordan, “but we both started reading books and researching like crazy. I’ll admit I may have skipped a few classes that semester while building the website!” Cave Social is now a hugely successful digital advertising agency with locations in Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles. Jordan and his team help brands tell their stories, through video, blogs, photos and events. And while starting a company is a dream for many people, Jordan made it a reality…thanks in part to football. “I have to say that football bred a lot of confidence in me,” says Jordan. “It helped me understand that you have to start by doing.”



One of Jordan’s fondest memories of his time on the Varsity Blues is the year that they upset the Ottawa team, which ranked #2 at the time. “The stands were full, people were filing in and there was a big event planned for afterwards,” he reflects. “It really felt like the school came together that day. Everyone felt so alive and we felt like we were part of something much bigger than just the game. That was one of the coolest experiences.” Along with the confidence that football instilled in him, Jordan says it was the incredible people he met at U of T who helped to inspire him both then and now. “When I look at what my friends from U of T are doing in life, it's incredible,” he says. “They are starting their own companies or starring in TV shows or have become VPs at young ages. They continue to push themselves and push others in ways that are just incredible.” Jordan now dedicates much of his time to speaking about leadership and helping to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs. “The biggest thing I would tell our future U of T alumni is to take a breath,” he says. “Things don’t happen overnight. Looking back now, we didn’t make any money in our company for nearly a year and a half. It takes time. Just focus on the day-to-day tasks and you will look back and be blown away at what you can accomplish in five years.”

Photo/ Taylor Kerby, Cave social Marketing

Alumni Updates

Pursuit | Spring 2019


Alumni Updates



Alumni Updates

Mind and Body MPK Grad Randa Shickh is helping youth with Bipolar Disorder By Elaine Evans


very day that Randa Shickh goes to work, she is helping to change lives. Randa is a Registered Kinesiologist/Exercise Expert at the the Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder (CYBD) at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She administers fitness tests and provides exercise coaching for participants in the program. It’s an important role, since individuals with bipolar disorder typically lead a more sedentary lifestyle and are less active than the general population. In fact, adults living with bipolar disorder are at a greater risk of developing early onset cardiovascular disease – approximately 17 years earlier than adults without mood disorders and 11 years earlier than adults with Major Depressive Disorder. Helping to make a positive impact in this population is a dream role for Randa, and one that she likely never would have discovered if it wasn’t for her experience in the Master of Professional Kinesiology (MPK) program. The MPK program gave Randa the skills necessary for her to provide specialized care for her patients at Sunnybrook. “It provided me with the confidence and knowledge to lead exercise programs and to work with other allied health professionals in improving overall patient

Photo/ Kevin Van Paassen

care,” says Randa. As part of the program, she completed placements at the David L. MacIntosh Sport Medicine Clinic, the Women’s College Hospital Cardiac Rehab Program and the Cancer Exercise Program at Wellspring. It was during her placement at the Women’s College Hospital Cardiac Rehab Program that Randa developed a strong interest in cardiovascular disease prevention in adolescents with bipolar disorder. She knew right away that she wanted to work in this field and to support and educate this vulnerable population. The exercise coaching that she provides at CYBD is also part of a study focused on improving aerobic fitness among adolescents with bipolar disorder. The study aims to examine the impact of behaviour change counselling on improving aerobic fitness for physical and emotional health. “By working with youth earlier in life,” says Randa, “we have the potential to positively impact future health outcomes of those living with bipolar disorder.”

Pursuit | Spring 2019


Alumni Updates

Living Well

The KPE advantage

By Elaine Evans


uri Elkaim (BPHE, 2002) is not your typical KPE graduate. After leaving U of T with a Bachelor of Physical Education, he went on to have a book on the New York Times bestseller list, a YouTube channel with over 200,000 subscribers and even an appearance on the Dr. Oz Show. It’s all because Yuri runs two incredibly successful businesses: a healthy living website called Yuri Elkaim, as well as Healthpreneur, a website designed to help health experts start and scale high-end coaching companies. So how did a physical education degree open all these doors? “I was very blessed to have come out of university with the knowledge that I had,” says Yuri. “I applied it directly to my business. I know I couldn’t have done any of it if I hadn’t known about physiology and anatomy. It was the huge unfair advantage that KPE gave me.” Yuri was drawn to the BPHE program at U of T because of a combined passion for all things fitness as well as an interest in his own health. A huge soccer enthusiast, Yuri immediately joined the Varsity Blues. “Anyone who is a



varsity athlete has a completely different experience at university,” he says. “Some of my best memories are of those days – the big wins, the heartbreaking losses. So many friendships were built.” Motivated by the desire to help others lead healthier lives and the drive to be his own boss, Yuri took the leap and launched his first company in 2006. The foundations of what he learned during his time at KPE helped him to build quite the name for himself in the health and fitness world. His first book, The All Day Energy Diet rocketed to #2 on the New York Times bestseller list and he was invited to share his knowledge on the hugely popular Dr. Oz Show. Yuri’s website now receives about one million visitors a month. Despite all the accolades and accomplishments, Yuri is focused only on one thing: helping more people. “Becoming a NYT bestseller was a massive endeavour,” he says, “but none of it matters – nomenclatures, letters, no one cares. All that matters is if I can help someone transform his or her life.” Photo/ Nicholas Van Niekerk

Now Available In-Store & Online

@ UofTBookstores

VARSITY SPORTS STORE 55 Harbord Street, Athletic Centre, Toronto, ON M5S 2W6 varsity@uoftbookstore.com 416.977.8220 UofTBookstore.com

Alumni Updates

Class Notes

From left to right: Hermann Hefti (Switzerland), Allan Pitman (Australia), Robert Knuckey (Canada), Bobbe Greenberg (USA) and Cullen Goodyear (Canada) celebrate at the IRONMAN World Championship.

Robert Knuckey

BPHE 7T2, OISE 7T3, Track and Field Bob Knuckey placed first in his age group at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in October. He swam 3.86 kilometres (km) in one hour and 18 minutes; he biked 180.25 km in 5:47; and ran a 42.2 km marathon in 4:38 for a total of 11:55 – an amazing finish considering that the fastest man in the inaugural Hawaiian IRONMAN in 1978 finished in 11:46. This is Bob’s third time competing in the world championship, most recently finishing fifth in his age group in 2014 in just under 12 hours.

Levente Diosady

Mary Fleming (nee MacPherson)

Blake Goldring

Professor Levente Diosady was named as an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to the science of food engineering, which has improved the lives of millions of people around the world. Professor Diosady is a renowned food engineer best known for developing the technology for double fortification of salt with iron and iodine to combat iodine and iron deficiency. This fortified salt has already cured more than one million children in India of anemia at a cost of less than ten cents per person. During his time as a student at U of T, Professor Diosady was the manager of the men’s swim team.

The Collingwood Curling Club has renamed the Women’s In-house Bonspiel Trophy “The Mary Fleming Trophy” to recognize Mary’s contributions not only to the club but also to the world of curling. Mary has been tireless in her efforts to foster the sport of women’s curling in Collingwood by encouraging and personally coaching other women.

Blake Goldring, chair of the board of directors of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and a friend of the Faculty, was named a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition of his contributions to business and philanthropy, notably for the well-being of veterans and their families.

BASc 6T6, MASc 6T8, PhD 7T2, Swimming



BPHE 5T0, Hockey

Victoria 8T1

Masha Kennedy (nee Sidorova) BPHE 0T8, Squash, Tennis

Masha Kennedy has accepted the position of director of partnerships with the Public Policy Forum. Previously, Masha spent five years working in development at UNICEF. Photo/ Barrie Shepley


“Every day, I’m inspired by the students I train. Being able to assist them with their experience at U of T is a great reward. To be the best at something takes an extraordinary amount of dedication and sacrifice. I’m honoured to have the opportunity to not only help current students achieve their goals, but also to support the next generation and ensure this program continues long into the future.”

To learn more or to discuss making a planned gift to the Faculty, please contact Robin Campbell, Executive Director, Advancement and Alumni Affairs, robin.campbell@utoronto.ca Samantha Barr, Manager, Alumni Relations and Advancement Campaigns, samantha.barr@utoronto.ca


BYRON MACDONALD has spent countless hours on the pool deck at U of T, mentoring and coaching U of T swimmers to Olympic greatness and world records. He has chosen to leave a legacy gift in his will to support the programs he believes in. You can do the same. By planning your bequest now, you can ensure that our academic, research and athletics programs continue to grow and evolve for the benefit of future generations.

Alumni Updates

Getting Together 7T7 Reunion From left to right: Ed and Maureen (Mitchell) Graves, Paul de Souza, Rhonda McBride, Glenn Rosborough, Adrian Stalnowski, Paul Walter, Ellen (Demitroff) Cameron, Chris Alexiou, Patty Jo (McLellan) Shaw, Tony Gradini, Debbie Dykes, Ester (Kapp) Kivi, Cathy (Lepper) Hitchcock and Lynda Harley. THE CLASS OF 1977 recently held their Christmas gathering and enjoyed the best turnout yet for this yearly event. Twenty-three former classmates had a wonderful time catching up, sharing stories and pictures, and remembering all those wonderful times at U of T. A special shout-out goes to Geri Fitch for travelling in from Calgary and to Doug Fox (PHE 78) for joining our ranks with his wife, Stephanie. The group also enjoyed seeing Bill and Jerry’s brides again – partners are always welcome at the gatherings. Missing from the photo, but also joining us, were: Jerry Diamond, Geri (Ashdowne) Fitch, Stephanie (Megill) Fox and her husband, Doug (PHE 7T8), Patti Steeds, John Robb, Bill Bailey and John Blainey. The organizers said that it was wonderful to see everyone together.

’79 to ’82 Reunion A GROUP OF ALUMNI from the PHE classes of 1979 to 1982 gathered in early December to enjoy some good company and reminiscences. The next get together is planned for the spring of 2019. If you are interested in attending future events, please email Nabil Tadros at nabilstadros@gmail.com

From left to right: Vince Belissimo, Jim Eliopolous, Mike Brioux, Joe Tucci, Joe Giancola, Louis Vavougous, Nabil Tadros, Ken Arnott, Tom Gretes, Brian Stone, Mike Jovanov, Kathy Macmanus, Dianna Hann, Gino Cundari.



Photos/ Top/ Courtesy of Debbie Dykes/ Bottom/ Courtesy of Nabil Tadros

Alumni FieldUpdates Notes

Reception for Scholars KPE’S ANNUAL Reception for Scholars celebrates the academic achievements of its undergraduate and graduate students and recognizes the donors who contribute to their success. On November 21, the award-winning students came together with their donors, who looked on proudly as the students picked up their scholarships and shared their plans for future success.

Graduate students and Glenn H. Carter Fellowship recipients (from left to right): Rheanna Bulten, Daniel Eisenkraft Klein, Mackenzie McLaughlin and Hugo Fung meet with Glenn Carter (centre).

SCAPPS Conference THE CANADIAN SOCIETY FOR PSYCHOMOTOR LEARNING AND SPORT PSYCHOLOGY (SCAPPS) held its annual conference in Toronto 2018. More than 50 Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education students, alumni, post-docs, and faculty members participated in and contributed to the conference. The delegates representing the Faculty ended the three-day event by celebrating together at the banquet (pictured above). Photos/ Top/ Jing Kao-Beserve/ Bottom/ courtesy of Professor Tim Welsh

Pursuit | Spring 2019


In Memory

Michael Wilson Trinity 5T9, Alpine Skiing Michael Wilson, the University of Toronto’s 33rd chancellor passed away in February at the age of 81. During his time at U of T, Wilson was captain of the alpine ski team. Wilson was elected to Parliament in the late 1970s, and served seven years as finance minister, beginning in 1984. He was named Canada’s ambassador to the US in 2006.

Bill Bewley BPHE 5T3, Football

Guido Geisler BPHE 8T9, MSc 9T4, PhD 0T9, Soccer

Bill passed away in February at the age of 87. Bill was a gifted natural athlete, accomplished in many sports, including doubles squash, but especially football with the Varsity Blues and, later, the Montréal Alouettes. Bill will be posthumously inducted into the U of T Sports Hall of Fame in May.

Guido Geisler, PhD, passed away October 26 at the age of 52. After obtaining his PhD from the Faculty, he went on to teach sport psychology at the University of Tsukuba in Japan and coach at Tsukuba’s International Academy for Sport Studies. Outside the academic domain, Geisler served as both head coach (women) and assistant coach (men) at the University of Toronto. As a player, he was a five-time OUA all-star with the Varsity Blues and a member of the 1988 CIS national championship team. “Guido was a great friend and colleague who gave so much to our men’s soccer program over the years,” said Anthony Capotosto, former head coach of U of T’s men’s soccer team.

Frank Cappuccitti SMC 6T7, Soccer Frank passed away peacefully at the age of 76. He was an amazing athlete, an avid sports fan, a devoted family man and a respected business professional. He faced all of the challenges of the past 30 years with incredible strength, dignity and determination, impressing all who knew him.

William Duncan BASc 5T0, Football Bill passed peacefully in Peterborough. Before attending U of T, he served overseas in Europe in the Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers during the Second World War. After graduation, Bill went on to have a career in mining and construction that spanned 35 years. He was an enthusiastic golf and bridge player and was known to say that he had married a special woman and lived a fortunate life.

Dianne Eves BPHE 7T0, BEd 7T1, Surrounded by her children, Dianne passed away peacefully in Toronto in December in her 71st year.

J. Trevor Eyton Victoria 5T7, Law 6T0, Football Trevor passed away at the age of 84 in February. While at U of T, he was captain of the football team. After a stint in the CFL, he went on to a successful career in law and business. He was appointed to the Canadian Senate in 1991 by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, retiring in 2009.



Monte Harris BPHE 5T4, UC 5T6, Track and Field Monte passed away at the age of 87 in September after a life filled with community service and physical activity. After leaving U of T, Monte attended the Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the bar in 1960. He was appointed a justice for the Ontario Court of Justice in 1985 where he served until 2006. In addition to his many volunteer contributions, Monte was actively involved in a broad range of sports – so much so, it’s hard to name a sport that Monte didn’t play.

Nancy Hill BPHE 6T2, Volleyball Nancy passed away peacefully in Elliot Lake at the age of 79. Following graduation, Nancy taught physical education at McGill University and the University of Toronto. Subsequently, she set up retail businesses: first, in Bobcaygeon and, more recently, in Elliot Lake.

Douglas J. Kettle BPHE 5T1, BEd 6T3, MEd 6T5, Track and Field After a long and fulfilling life, Doug passed away peacefully in September. His career progressed from teaching in Barrie to working as principal of Pickering High School to becoming superintendent for the Durham District School Board. Doug’s positive outlook, sense of humour and generosity touched everyone he met.

Photo/ Torontonensis

In Memory

We Remember ... Ted Lansky BASc 5T6, Football

Martin Shubik UC 4T7, MA 4T9, Water Polo

Ted passed away in September. During his time at U of T, Ted enjoyed two championship seasons as a member of the Varsity Blues football team: 1951 and 1955.

Martin passed away at the age of 92 in August. He was best known for the Shapley-Shubik assignment game and power index – the latter measuring the power of players in a voting game. Martin was born in England but was evacuated to Canada during the blitz of London during the Second World War. After leaving U of T, he went on to Princeton where he became a student of celebrated economist Oskar Morgenstern.

Ljubo Majhanovich UC 6T2, MA 6T6, Soccer Ljubo was a gifted professor of Russian and Slavic Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Windsor for many years. He enjoyed travelling and visited more than 70 countries. He was a lover of classical and Croatian folk music, a soccer player and a sports enthusiast. He will be remembered as being kind and compassionate and as a true Renaissance man.

John Thomson BPHE 4T7, Medicine MD 5T1

John Miteff BPHE 5T2, MCOMM 5T7

Olga Tyne (nee Dernick) BPHE 4T7

John passed away peacefully in October at the age of 88.

Olga passed away in August. After leaving U of T, she worked at the YMCA in St. Catharines as a physical program director for two years and later worked at the YMCAs in Toronto and Etobicoke. She worked later for parks and recreation in the City of Mississauga.and retired in 1987.

Robert Morrish BASc 4T6, Hockey Bob passed away at the age of 95 in September. After leaving U of T, Bob worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway and was chief engineer of the railway from 1982 until his retirement in 1988. Bob loved playing and watching sports, particularly hockey and golf. His number one priority in life was always his family.

A. Warren Moysey Trinity 6T1, Swimming Warren passed away in December at the age of 79. Warren had remarkable strength of character, loyalty and generosity. After leaving U of T, Warren pursued a Master of Economics under renowned economist Milton Friedman. He joined the CIBC in 1962, at age 23, and remained there for 28 years. After CIBC, he served as the chief executive officer at Central Guaranty, Aetna Insurance, and CI Mutual Funds. He brought his competence and warmth to his favourite communities and organizations and will be remembered for making a mark everywhere he went.

Deborah Natsuhara UC 7T6, Archery Deborah passed away peacefully with friends and family by her side in January. She will be fondly remembered by her uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and friends.

Heather Shanahan (nee Chipman) UC 5T4, Basketball

John passed away in October at the age of 92 at his home in Ottawa.

H. Bernice Walker (nee Mayor) BPHE 5T7 Bernice passed away peacefully in Toronto in December. She will be remembered fondly by her children and grandchildren.

Daina Zukauskas Innis 7T3, Basketball Daina passed away at the age of 65. Her friends fondly remember the good times they shared with Daina on the hockey field, the basketball and tennis courts and the golf course, as well as the many trips and after-game gatherings. She will be remembered as a very special person and a greatly valued teammate and friend.

Gino Camilletti BPHE 7T7, OISE 7T8 Gino Camilletti passed away in December at the age of 64. Gino was a teacher with the Halton District Catholic School Board for more than 39 years and worked as the Phys Ed Department Head at Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School. Filled with sincerity, generosity and kindness, Gino had a profound influence on the lives of everyone that he encountered. His love and passion for family, friends and students was unmatched.

Heather passed away in December at the age of 86. She was a great athlete who had a passion for golf. She had a great love of games and, in particular, the game of bridge. In addition, there was rarely a concert, speech, sporting event or academic achievement ceremony that she did not attend. Above and beyond all else, however, she was fiercely devoted to her family.

Our condolences to friends and family. If you have an In Memory note to share, please contact Samantha Barr at samantha.barr@utoronto.ca Pursuit | Spring 2019



The Secret History of Soccer U of T’s role in shaping the Global Game


he University of Toronto can be credited with helping many a public figure get their start in life. And now, the University can officially be credited with helping the game of soccer get its start as well! In his new book Soccer: Canada’s National Sport, author Les Jones delves into 150 years of soccer history in Canada and reveals the game’s little-known historical link to the University of Toronto. Back in the early 1800s, people played various versions of ball-kicking games. The rules varied from team to team and from town to town. It wasn’t until about the 1850s and 1860s that the game of soccer began to take the form of what it is now, and the University of Toronto was the first place to formally organize the rules. “The University was at the centre of all the soccer that was taking part,” says Les. “They were also part of the very first soccer association, which was made up of just four teams.” The teams in this league included the School of Medicine, the School of Arts, Trinity College and University College. If it weren’t for students, we likely wouldn’t have soccer today. “Students were the only people who had the leisure time to play soccer,” says Les. “It was also a fairly dangerous and unregulated sport. So working people weren’t keen on taking part in it because they couldn’t afford to get injured. Students were absolutely the catalysts of the game.” One young U of T student in particular is credited with helping the game to really take off; David Forsyth (UC 1875) fell in love with the game during his studies at U of T. When he left to teach at Berlin College in 1876, he introduced the game to the multitude of other students there. His love for the game and his dedication to spreading it around earned him the nickname “the father of football.” The students he taught to play during this time ended up taking the game with them to whichever town or job or city they would end up in. And it was these early interactions that led to soccer expanding into what it is today. — EE



Photos/ Top/ Toronto Nensis/ Right/ Courtesy of Les Jones

Try it with a non-alcoholic Partake Pale Ale Today!




Each year, athletes, teams and builders are inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of their place in U of T’s athletic legacy.

1974 Football Team

Thursday May 23, 2019 Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport Adults $40 • Children 12 and under FREE Host bar, business attire


ATHLETES Donna Roach Mathieu New College 8T9 OISE MA 9T4, PhD 9T8 Volleyball Jolan Storch UC 9T2 Volleyball



55 Harbord Street Toronto, Ontario M5S 2W6

Karen Spence BPHE 8T9 Hockey

Bill Bewley BPHE 5T3 Football, Hockey, Squash

TEAMS 1974 Football Yates Cup Champions

Brent Elsey Trinity 7T6, MD 7T8 Football

James Clayton Snyder Trinity 4T2 Badminton, Football

1988-89 Women’s Volleyball OWIAA and Atlantic Bowl Champions

Mark Bragagnolo SMC 7T7 Football

Paul Edward Snyder Trinity 3T9 Badminton, Tennis

BUILDERS James Barton, Administrator

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