Wheelchair Basketball Canada (WBC) have announced the appointment of Kathy Newman as President of the organization, effective immediately, replacing IWBF Vice-President, Steve Bach, who has stepped down after 20 years on the board of WBC.

Newman is a tireless sport administrator and advocate whose innovative leadership has shaped the parasport landscape in Canada for more than 40 years. The Vancouver, B.C. native has served on the WBC Board of Directors since 2002, spearheading the organization’s marketing and communications portfolio and international hosting strategy.

Wheelchair Basketball Canada Executive Director, Wendy Gittens:

“We are beyond thrilled to have Kathy take the reigns as president. Her passion and experience are immeasurable and the organization is poised to reach historic heights under her leadership as we pursue our vision of being the world leader in wheelchair basketball.”

Newman said:

“I am honoured to become the President of Wheelchair Basketball Canada. These are challenging times for sport in Canada and around the world. Yet at the same time they are exciting. I have been impressed and proud of our members’ resilience and creativity to continue to respond to the ever-changing landscape. With the Tokyo Paralympics in sight, we wish our teams the best as they continue to prepare for this extraordinary experience. Their commitment and dedication to their team is exemplary.

“Looking to the future, I am excited to be able to work alongside the board, staff and members to move this organization forward as we continue to challenge ourselves to be the very best we can be. We have a unique opportunity to host the 2026 IWBF World Championships for men and women in Ottawa. We are in the driver’s seat to leverage this event to achieve our organizational goals and do great things.”

Newman takes over the helm for the outgoing Steve Bach, who leaves the board after 20 years – 15 of which were as president. Bach will remain active in his postion a IWBF Vice-President and President of IWBF Americas Zone.

Newman added:

“I want to acknowledge past president Steve Bach’s leadership over the past two decades. His passion and commitment to wheelchair basketball globally is amazing and we are grateful for his contributions to Wheelchair Basketball Canada.”

Gittens said:

“On behalf of the entire Canadian wheelchair basketball community, I offer our heartfelt thanks to Steve for his dedication and countless contributions to the game in Canada. He served this organization and community with excellence, integrity and grace. Steve will be sorely missed, but we will continue to collaborate with him at the international level in his roles with the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation.”

WBC also welcome Mike Longo and Carrie McKay to the Board of Directors.

Gittens continued:

“As we say goodbye to Steve, we are so pleased to welcome Mike and Carrie into the fold on the Board of Directors. They are both strategic thought leaders who share our immense passion for sport and champion inclusion. Their expertise in business development and governance will be invaluable as we work to grow the game in Canada from the grassroots level through to the Paralympic podium.”

Longo, of Toronto, Ont., is a long-time supporter of wheelchair basketball with experience as a player, volunteer, coach and corporate partner. He is currently the Senior Director of Commercial Operations at Sunrise Medical Canada, where he oversees sales, education, customer service and marketing.

In that role, he has developed partnerships to outfit some of Canada’s top wheelchair basketball athletes with world-class sport chairs, as well as worked with WBC to support fundraising initiatives and past world championship events.

Longo said:

“It is with great enthusiasm and pride that I join the Board of Directors of Wheelchair Basketball Canada. I am committed to help grow our game domestically and to continue to see us take an even bigger role as a leader on the world stage.”

A native of Goulburn, Australia, McKay is a firm believer in the power of sport to change lives and unite communities. She has held multiple leadership positions in professional sport with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), with expertise in business operations and policy development.

She is currently the Senior Director of Operations for the Ottawa BlackJacks of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), as well as the Assistant General Manager of the newly formed Ottawa Aces rugby club, set to debut in the U.K.-based Rugby Football League (RFL) in 2022.

McKay said:

“I am both proud and honoured to be on the Board of Directors for Wheelchair Basketball Canada and serve an organization whose values mirror the principles that have guided my growth and success working in professional sports.

“I look forward to sharing my passion for sport and athlete development and dedicating my time and skillsets to the pursuit of making Wheelchair Basketball Canada a world leader in the sport through our commitment to excellence, strong values and forward-thinking leadership.”

The WBC Board of Directors consists of six members:

  • Kathy Newman, President
  • Edward Byers, Director
  • Mike Longo, Director
  • Carrie McKay, Director
  • Thomas Soulliere, Director
  • Brandon Wagner, Athlete Representative

Text and Image courtesy of WBC.