Sport Shorts: Gretzky and Gate Receive Order of Canada

Gretzky, Gate Named to Order of Canada: On Canada Day, two Canadian Olympic legends were awarded the Order of Canada. One is the most famous name in hockey. Wayne Gretzky (Brampton, Ont.) was a 1998 Olympian and executive director of the men’s hockey team in 2006 and 2002, winning gold in the latter. Swimming coach George Gate used innovative techniques to develop a long list of top swimmers in the 1960s and 70s. For the 1964 Olympic Games, half of Canada’s swimmers came from Ocean Falls, B.C. where Gate coached. His Order of Canada comes 20 years after an induction in the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Lawrie, Weglarz in MLB All-Star Weekend: Next weekend, Canadian Olympic baseball players Brett Lawrie and Nick Weglarz will head to St. Louis for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Weekend – where they will suit as part of the “Futures Game.” The game, which pits the United States against the World, is meant to be a showcase for up-and-coming players. Weglarz (Stevensville, Ont.) is a hard-hitting outfielder in the Cleveland Indians organization, and was one of Canada’s best hitters last summer at the Olympic Games. Lawrie (Langley, B.C.) can be described in the same way, and is a second baseman in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Talent runs in his family: Lawrie’s sister Danielle is a Beijing Olympian in softball, a silver medallist at the 2007 Pan Am Games, and the NCAA’s 2009 national player of the year. Toronto’s Rene Rosoni and Vancouver’s Tyson Gillies will also play in the Futures Game. For more, visit:.

Man in Motion Joins 2010 Coverage: Rick Hansen has joined Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium in the coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The “Man in Motion” – who in 1985 pushed his wheelchair through 34 countries to raise funds for spinal cord research – will host a 17-part series called “The Difference Makers.” The series will focus on those influential individuals who helped Canada’s Olympians and Paralympians overcome personal and athletic challenges.

Hansen (Williams Lake, B.C.) runs a foundation in his name that supports research and fundraising while creating wheelchair-accessible communities. It was in 1973, at the age of 15, when Hansen was thrown from a pickup truck and paralyzed from the waist down. He became a voice for those who suffered the same predicament, and his foundation has raised $200 million in Canada toward spinal cord injury. On March 21, 2010, Hansen will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his Man in Motion World Tour.

Fractured Champion: World champion kayaker Adam van Koeverden (Oakville, Ont.) says a fractured ankle won’t stop him from defending his K-1 500 metre title at the 2009 World Championships in Halifax. On his website, the triple Olympic medallist and 2008 flag bearer for Canada said he tripped on a Grand Canyon canoeing trip and had to be taken out by helicopter by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. “This isn’t gonna slow me down,” he writes. “I got it all fixed, and I’ve been training through it.” The Halifax event runs Aug. 12 to 16.