Member Showcases

  • April Member Showcase – Dr. Hilary Findlay


    A number of years into a career in physical education I realized it wasn’t the vehicle to realize my broader goals. I returned to university to study law at the University of Alberta and began practicing with a mid sized law firm. I came to see I could start using my legal skills to help sport organizations become more aware of their legal rights and obligations. It was a time before ‘sport law’ was a thing, nevertheless I teamed up with another professional, to build a legal and consulting firm – the Centre for Sport and Law, as it was then called, and which today continues to be a mainstay in the Canadian sport community under its recently rebranded name of Sport Law. I eventually came back to academia focusing on the legal underpinnings of sport and sport management.


    I have now retired from teaching. During the course of my teaching career, I taught a number of legally oriented courses in the Department of Sport Management. They were interesting to me because of their dynamic nature focusing on legal principles underlying the business of sport. Perhaps the most engaging course for me was a negotiation course in which we focused on the theory and skills of negotiation and spent considerable time putting it all to practice. Sport practitioners inevitably engage in some form of negotiation every day. One can learn to be a very good negotiator.

    Research work/projects

    My focus, and continuing interest in terms of scholarly writing, is the regulatory regimes of sport and their impact on participants within the system, particularly athletes. The recently introduced Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport and the independent regulatory body overseeing it, presents a number of jurisdictional and institutional issues worth exploring. A colleague, Marcus Mazzucco, and I recently contributed 5 chapters on the subject to a new digital book on Safe Sport, edited by CSC Director Dr. Julie Stevens. Similarly, athletes face several jurisdictional barriers when attempting to advance their interests and challenge the International Olympic Committee’s exercise of authority over the Olympic Movement. A number of recent decisions of the Court of Arbitration for Sport provide opportunity to examine the jurisprudence around these barriers and allow me to continue writing in the area.


    It’s golf season – enough said!! I also have a couple of trips of the hiking and cycling variety planned. Retirement affords opportunity to dig into some of these activities a bit more seriously and combine them with travel.

    I typically have 3 or 4 books on the go at any one time. A very engaging visiting law professor once said to a class I was attending that an ingredient of professional and personal success and satisfaction is being a well-rounded and informed person and recommended we read a book a month. It has become a life long habit and pleasure, though sometimes a challenge. I typically have a book on some professional subject matter (currently, Regulating International Sport: Power, Authority and Legitimacy by Lloyd Freeburn), a biography or political book (currently, The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us by Meg Lowman) and some sort of mystery, espionage or courtroom drama (just finished State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton) lying about.

    Closing Thoughts

    With a curious demeanour and an open mind, it is not difficult to stay engaged and learn new things daily. Life long learning kept the job interesting and the mind alive. The learning environment doesn’t have to be formal – though it can be. For a time while practicing law, I enrolled in a number of art history courses as a way to distract from the intensity and drama of the work. Engaging in a negotiation course through another university led to the development of a similar course as part of the Sport Management curriculum (and the development of some very important skills). You never know where inspiration will come from or where it might take one.

    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases

  • March Member Showcase – Dr. Taylor McKee


    I’ve been a sports editor for both the University of Calgary and the University of Victoria’s student newspapers. I’ve created podcasts, most notably Body Paragraphs which can be found on Spotify, I’ve blogged about, and been consumed by sport my entire life. My journey into sport scholarship came about purely by chance while working as a TA at the University of Victoria’s History department pursuing an MA in French history. I was able to apply the methodological and theoretical concepts I was learning in my Master’s degree to the study of sport, which was a revelation for me. After finishing a PhD, under the direction of my fantastic advisor Dr. Janice Forsyth, and teaching in British Columbia at Thompson Rivers University, I am so thrilled to be here at Brock and part of the CSC’s vibrant and growing community.

    Dr. Stevens introduced me to the Centre, and I remain grateful for her introduction to it. I am so looking forward to helping the Centre grow and to lending a helping hand wherever possible.


    So far at Brock, I have been fortunate to teach SPMA 1P93 – Diversity and Inclusion in Sport Management, 1P94 – Professional Engagement for the Sport Industry, 2P06 – Sport Policy, 3P05 – Management Concepts in Non-profit Sport Organizations, and 4P97 – Advanced Analysis of the Sport Industry: Hockey.

    Each of these courses has been an exciting opportunity for me, and I am fond of each for separate reasons. For some courses, it gives me the chance to have challenging discussions and allow students to consider sport from different perspectives. Others, like 3P05 for instance, allow students to be directly involved with the sporting community and forge lasting connections in the sport industry. In developing the 3P05 course I saw a great deal of wasted potential as we only focused on the conceptual side of non-profit sports. I felt that by having students work directly with non-profits they could gain valuable first-hand experience in a variety of areas that would help build skills for the future. For instance, with the North American Indigenous games, students are learning about how the governance model works of a non-profit. They’re meeting the people that fill the roles of Vice President, Secretary, director, they’re learning that those people are professionals in other fields. They’re learning these people are extremely committed, extremely capable and I think delivering the course in this way is a hell of a lot more interesting than listening to me blabber for three hours a week. Partnering with the CSC for this course seemed like a natural fit because they work with so many non-profits it allows for students to assist many sport organizations at once.

    One thing that has been true since arriving at Brock though: it’s still hard to shake the feeling of ‘I am so lucky to be talking about sport each and every day.’

    Research Work/Projects

    Journal of Emerging Sport Studies: In 2018, Andrew Pettit, Jared Walters, and I founded an open-access journal called the Journal of Emerging Sport Studies (JESS) with the goal of providing high-quality scholarship at no cost to authors. We accept submissions from established and emerging scholars and one of the JESS’s mandates is to help people just starting their academic careers through the gruelling publishing process. JESS helps to get research to the public free of charge at no cost to the researcher. Since initial publication, we have created an open-access, manuscript publishing imprint, hosted digital symposia, produced a public-facing series of discussions and interviews called “Emerging Discourses,” and published six volumes of sport scholarship from emerging and established scholars around the globe.

    Indigenous Hockey Research Network: I am so fortunate to be part of the IHRN. We are a collective of researchers dedicated to uncovering and engaging with hockey’s Indigenous past, present, and future. We aim to cultivate critical understanding of hockey’s role in Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in Canada. Through archival research, personal interviews, data analysis, and Indigenous community-led approaches, we take up hockey as a site for community building and Indigenous empowerment, as well as a vehicle for the pursuit of reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and other Canadians.

    Ice Breakers

    Are you involved in any clubs/associations?

      • The North American Society for Sport History
      • The North American Society for the Sociology of Sport
      • Indigenous Hockey Research Network
      • Society for International Hockey Research

    What’s your favourite TV show right now?

      • All time: The Wire
      • Right Now: Barry

    What are your current hobbies/interests?

      • Playing beer league hockey and collecting CDs

    What’s your favourite book?

      • Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

    What’s your favourite sport or sports team?

      • Born and raised in Calgary: a tortured, devoted Calgary Flames Fan
      • Other sports: Stampeders, Jays, Raptors, TFC, Hyderabad Sun Risers

    Achievements/Memorable Moments

    My biggest brag is, honestly, getting a chance to be here at Brock, teaching sport every day.

    Also, one time I met most of the cast of Cool Runnings. My mom used to run a Film Festival in Calgary, and my last year there I thought we should do a 25th anniversary of Cool Runnings. I told my mom I will plan a reunion for them, and we’ll have a showing at Olympic Park where the bobsled track is and she said no, this will never work. So, I just did it anyway behind her back. And sure enough, we got Doug E. Doug, who plays Sanka, we got Derice who’s played by a guy named Leon Robinson. And we got the real life Derice Bannock, Dudley Stokes and we got them all there to watch the 25th anniversary of Cool Runnings. They watched the movie at the Bob Sled Track, and I watched the Super Bowl with the three of them, as the Film Festival just happened to be on Super Bowl Sunday.


    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases

  • February Member Showcase – Dr. Ryan Clutterbuck


    I would say I identify as a football coach and that was my passion for a long time. Football coaching brought me back to academia to pursue a master’s degree in coaching and was the springboard for my subsequent PhD in sport management.

    My dissertation is titled ‘Capacity for Sport for Development’, so the idea that a place – the Centre for Sport Capacity – exists to support local sport organizations achieve their goals really aligns with my values and research interests. Dr. Weese said it best, “If we’re not serving practitioners, we’re not serving sport management”.


    I’m teaching Organizational Behaviour in Sport Organizations (SPMA 2P21) and Leadership in Sport Management (SPMA 4P09). I’ve also taught the Introduction to Sport Management course (SPMA 1P91) and Negotiation of Deals and Dispute Resolution (SPMA 4P96). They’re all great and offer unique challenges from the instructor’s perspective. I love the enthusiasm in the first-year class. And because I started at Brock in September 2018, I’m just now seeing students in SPMA 4P09 who I remember from SPMA 1P91. That’s a highlight for me.

    Research Work/Projects

    I’m most excited about research that impacts sport organizations. Action Research (AR) (or, participatory action research) in particular, where sport organization leaders/members and academic researchers collaborate (as co-researchers) to solve a problem.

    As an example, at the most recent North American Society for Sport Management (N.A.S.S.M.) conference, I and two CSC colleagues (Dr. Shannon Kerwin and Dr. Pat Reid) presented findings from an AR-inspired project titled Building Coaching Capacity at One Provincial Sport Organization. With that project, the P.S.O. was interested to learn more about their coaches/members experiences and expectations of the P.S.O..


    Earlier I mentioned I identify as a football coach. Well, the more you coach the more opportunities you have to be around some amazing people and amazing athletes. This year I enjoyed watching L.A. Chargers wide receiver Josh Palmer. I had the pleasure to coach Josh (and so many other great young men) as part of the 2015 Team Ontario at the International Bowl Series at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. To my knowledge, that may be the last Team Ontario to defeat Team U.S.A. at that event.

    And just this week, Tanya Walter was hired by the B.C. Lions. She’s the first full-time female coaching hire in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and was a great player with the 2017 Football Canada Women’s National Team that I was fortunate to coach.


    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases

  • January Member Showcase – Dr. Rob Millington


    I’ve been involved with the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) for about a year now. I was eager to join the CSC because of the tremendous activities they’ve been engaged with, and because of the collaborative nature of the Centre. The people I get to work with are amazing and the webinars that they have hosted are such great resources for everyone.
    I am in my third year at Brock University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology. My focus is on the socio-cultural stream of Kinesiology, so I am interested in the role of sport as an agent of social change. In my research, I do a lot of historical and policy analysis of how sport contributes to international development goals. In recent years, we have seen an increasing formalization and institutionalization of the role of sport within the international development sector, whereby organizations like the United Nations (UN) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) have sought to use sport as a tool to promote a range of positive social outcomes, including HIV-AIDS education, gender equity, and employment skills, amongst others. In my most recent project, I have been interested in how sport can contribute to sustainable development, with a specific focus on the environmental side of sustainability. For example, sport is now connected to all 17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which includes things like environmental protection, remediation, clean waterways, food security, and combatting climate change. However, the goals in these policy documents are quite ambitious and the sport sector doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to the environment. Sport has a profound environmental impact for its carbon footprint, food waste and impact on local ecosystems. I’m interested in exploring these types of disconnects further.


    I currently teach KINE 2P91: Social History of Physical Education and Sport, KINE 4P61: Sport, Development and Sustainability, and a Graduate qualitative methods course.
    Kinesiology students are fortunate that they can take a range of courses including, Anatomy, Physiology, Psychology, Sociology, History, and Phys-ed courses. I think this variety in their coursework leads to well-rounded students. The second-year course I teach is an interesting way for students to get exposure to social history. The course helps in developing a critical toolkit to explore how sport both reproduces and challenges broader power dynamics, and ongoing histories of colonialism, race and racism, gender (in)equity, social class and commercialism.
    The fourth-year KINE 4P61 class that I teach has emerged out of the research interests I noted above. The course provides an opportunity to explore how sport is positioned as a tool to combat climate change, yet how it also needs to be accountable for its own deleterious environmental impacts – all while engaging students in the topic of sport and environmental action.

    Current Research

    My current research program is funded through an SSHRC Insight Grant in collaboration with my colleague, Dr. Simon Darnell (University of Toronto). Its goal is to try to explore how stakeholders in the “sport for development” sector view the role of sport in contributing to sustainable development objectives through interviews with policy-makers and practitioners that run sport for development programs, particularly in the global South. Through the project we hope to better understand sport’s potential and limitations in promoting environmental protection and remediation strategies.
    I am also now in the process of submitting a new SSHRC grant with Dr. Brad Millington (Department of Sport Management, here are Brock University) and Dr. Simon Darnell (University of Toronto), focused on sport and environmental action in Canada. We are interested in exploring if and how sport organizations in Canada (e.g., Hockey Canada, Aboriginal Sport Circle, Right to Play), are taking up the call from the UN to use sport as a positive force for the environment.

    Ice Breakers

    Favourite TV Show – This is a tough question, there’s so much good stuff out there these days, but I’d have to say Succession is up there for me.
    Hobbies – Sports is a big one. I’ve been enjoying watching this Raptors team and think they can make some noise in the playoffs, if they get in. I’m also trying to stay active (or at least saying that I am) by exploring the many nearby trails to run and hike.
    Favourite sport – Basketball is my favourite sport, it’s the sport I grew up playing the most. Although it is being rivaled these days by baseball: the Blue Jays are on a fun trajectory and I’m excited to see the team develop over the next few years.
    Clubs associations – I am helping out with a few different organizations focused on the connection between sport and the environment: the Canada Games Council, the Canadian signatories of the Sport for Climate Action Framework, Parks and Recreation Canada, have all been active in this area. I think there is momentum behind the idea that sport can be a positive force for environmental sustainability, so it’s an exciting time.
    Achievements – I’ve been helping to put together a new Seminar Series at the CSC titled: Sport and the Environment Webinars. The series is being led by Dr. Brad Millington and it speaks to the different sides of some of the issues we’ve talked about today. Our guest speakers include journalists, academics, policymakers, and more, who will be sharing their insights on how sport can drive sustainability initiatives forward. The first one is February 3rd and I encourage everyone to check it out.

    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases

  • November Member Showcase – Cullum Brownbridge


    I have lived in Niagara for over 12 years now. In 2017, I graduated from McMaster with a Bachelor of Science in their Psychology, Neuroscience & Behavior (PNB) program. Following that, I began my masters here at Brock, where I worked with Dr. Curtis Fogel on looking at risk literature in football and rugby, in terms of the use of protective equipment and the risk compensation effect. I played both rugby and football when I was in high school. I know I was not as confident when it came to engaging in contact in rugby, but when I was playing football and had the equipment on, I felt more protected. So, I wanted to see if this was a shared phenomenon with others and see if there were consequences for this increased sense of safety (for example, engaging in riskier behaviour such as a bigger, more forceful hit).

    In terms of esports, it was something that I’d been following since my first year at McMaster, mostly just watching it as a fan. It was only towards the end of my master’s and the start of my Ph.D. that I was thinking about where I wanted to go in terms of my research goals and objectives. Esports is still quite young, it’s in its infancy, and so I figured I might as well jump at this opportunity to learn more about the industry. I want to see if I can add to the literature and discourse around various topics in esports.

    Current Projects:

    The esports webinar with the Centre for Sport Capacity was one of the big projects that we up a couple weeks ago, and I’m looking to do another webinar next semester in March or April around a specific topic within esports. For my doctoral thesis, I am looking at how esports teams and programs are structured and governed in Canadian colleges and universities, whether they’re run by students at the club level, merged into university athletic and recreation departments, or some other model. I hope to talk to relevant stakeholders who are involved in these esports programs to ask them about their programs and how they are structured and organized. Hopefully, the research can act as a blueprint for Canadian colleges and universities to integrate esports into their athletic, recreational, and/or academic programming.

    Additionally, I’m working with my supervisor, Dr. Curtis Fogel, where we’re looking at gender-based virtual violence in live gaming and live streaming. We will be presenting some of our preliminary findings at the inaugural Esports Research Network Conference from December 9-10, which we’re both looking forward to as an opportunity to not only present our research, but also to see what research projects are currently being conducted in esports. I am also collaborating with Dr. Nathan Hall from the Kinesiology Department at Brock on a project looking at leisure time physical activity and its correlation to video games. It’s a lot of projects on the go, but it keeps me busy and allows me to jump between projects whenever I hit a mental wall.

    Ice Breakers:

    – What clubs/organizations are you involved with?

    Well, the first, would be the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) and where we worked together to put on the esports webinar. The other major group I’m a part of it is the Esports Research Network (ERN). They are having their inaugural conference in December, which I’m going to help present at with Dr. Fogel. There are currently just over 200 members from across the world, I’m one of the few Canadians that is a part of it. It is a growing group of scholars and I am thrilled to be a part of this network.

    – What is your favorite TV show right now?

    I just finished Arcane on Netflix, which was produced by Riot Games who developed popular games like League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics, and Valorant. I thought they did a great job introducing characters and environments from the lore, and will hopefully get people interested in trying out their games. The next show that I want to watch is Loki on Disney Plus, just haven’t gotten around to that yet. I’m also excited for the second season of The Witcher to come out in December.

    – What are your current hobbies?

    If it wasn’t obvious already, I enjoy playing video games. I tend to jump between games, but I’ve been playing a lot of Halo: Infinite and I’m looking forward to playing more during the holiday season. I also like to cook a lot. I’m starting to make more vegetarian meals because my girlfriend is vegetarian, so I’ve been experimenting with dishes that contain things like tofu, beyond meats, lentils, and anything else I can get my hands on. I also like going to the gym, even if it doesn’t look like it! Being able to workout in a gym again after being put on hold during the pandemic has been something I look forward to each week and adds some stability to my life.

    Future Desires:

    It’s kind of hard to think about the future to be honest with you because I’ve got so much going on, which is kind of a good thing! I have multiple projects that I have an interest in learning more about and it’s allowing me to stay in the present and diversify my workload. So, I haven’t thought all too much about where specifically I want to go in the future.

    I’m just kind of working on the research and these projects, trusting in myself and the people I’m working with. Then see where the dominoes fall from there, whether I stay in academics or work elsewhere in the esports industry. I’m leaving myself open to everything. I don’t want to channel myself directly into one avenue right now. Attending conferences, doing multiple projects, and continuing my professional development will allow me to keep my options open and allow me to explore multiple career pathways.

    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases

  • October Showcase – Dr. Michael Van Bussel


    Dr. Van Bussel is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Sport Management at Brock University. Dr. Van Bussel has over 18 years of academic, administrative, and service experience in sport management. His educational background includes a PhD focusing on Sport Law and Policy Studies from Western University. He has won awards in teaching and coaching and was named OUA (USPORT) Provincial Coach of the Year on two separate occasions with the Western University Women’s Soccer Program. His research interests include Sport Law, Risk Management, Governance and Policy, and Coach and Athlete Communication.


    It’s been a long journey throughout. I started intending to go to law school and I was accepted but at that time coaching and sport management became a big part of what I wanted to do. I went back and did my first masters in coaching education at the University of Victoria. Worked with our National Coaching association with the National Coaching Institute in in Victoria and worked with Canada soccer. I worked with U19’s that were preparing for the World Championships in Edmonton. I also worked in a camp with athletes that were under 10 years old all the way to professional athletes. It was a great experience for me, I got to coach my own teams and work with them. And that’s where I fell in love with graduate work, I went back and got a second masters in sport management at Western University. Then my PhD which focused on sport management in sport law, I worked with Dr. Greg Dickinson at Western again. After that, I had the opportunity to go to Jacksonville University, I taught there and worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the PGA and a number of different of organizations in the Jacksonville area. 

    It was a great experience, but I wanted to come back to Canada. Thankfully, Fanshawe College offered some opportunities to do that. I was a chair at Fanshawe College for awhile and then the opportunity came up to be here at Brock. Since then, it’s been a wonderful fit, I feel like I’m home here in the Brock sport management community. It’s been a fantastic adventure working with a number of different sports organizations and many wonderful researchers along the way. 

    With the Centre for Sport Capacity, it’s been a great opportunity working together with Dr. Julie Stevens and Cole McClean and looking at different initiatives right out of the gate. I talked early along with Dr. Michele Donnelly and Dr. Hilary Findlay about creating a conference on safe sport and they were integral in creating that experience. We had a great team of student leaders that we were able to work along in helping develop the conference; having it as a great educational experience for them. It was great to get involved with the student experience here and to have outreach. I think that our safe sport conference was essential in terms of creating a connection. Kind of first of its kind especially in a virtual environment and being able to have outreach to too many different organizations across our country, as well as internationally was a great addition. 


    I had the opportunity to teach the second-year law classes early on when I came to Brock. It was an engaging topic, and it was great to be involved with that right away. I created the new governance course that we have here on campus, around three years ago now. It allows individuals to engage in aspects of governance across organizations and looks at how governance has a significant impact on our sport community. Students are also able to do analysis of governance on an international level. They are asked to dive into different sport organizations that they are interested in and work with their peers to find out information, potentially opening some doors for them to work in those organizations in the future as well. So those were exciting opportunities to start with.  

    I also taught the intro course for first-year students during the pandemic, so that was a major shift from in class to online and having an impact on them. We still maintained some synchronous components with seminars, which was great and hopefully our first years had a great experience with that. In addition, I taught the negotiations course for fourth-year students. Presently, we’re looking at different types of interactions and looking at the science and the art of negotiations, making sure we can have success in our negotiation environment in the future. My goal is to try to engage students and change up my teaching on occasion so they can have different experience in the classroom. Hopefully, they learn some tools that they can put their toolbox and take with them on their journey in their sport management careers. 

    Research works/projects: 

    My dissertation research dealt with safe sport and looked at relational risk management between coaches and athletes. It took a proactive approach to leveling the playing field and having reciprocal conversations between athletes, coaches, and administrators, to be able to identify relational risks and being wary of the situations that can happen. It also included these so we lso being able to adjust and grows so that they don’t spiral out of control that we’ve seen in some of those past experiences. You know, in Canada, United States, we want to make sure that we have an impact on on safe sport. 

    And it generate new ways of thinking of how we can promote safe sport so that athletes are engaged in the process that administrators and coaches are engaged in the process and that there’s costs of communication that goes on. So the development of the Safe Sport Conference was. It was a key, Part 2 that we wanted to not only have the conference, but have some legacy items that went along with that, and it started off. We were lucky to receive a grant from here from Brock, a Explore grant RA in exchange. 


    • What clubs or associations are you involved with? 

    I’ve been a board member on some of our local soccer clubs here in London, ON. I have been consistently involved in the coaching community, running clinics and different things. I’m also assisting Boler Mountain with some of their coaching and teaching development. And they’re two and then also having an opportunity to look at. I’ve also been involved with other local sport organizations, such as youth baseball and football organizations. Whether it be in a coaching, administrative or an advisor capacity, I’m always looking for those opportunities.  

    I also have some great connections with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. Dr. Kirsty Spence and I are doing some studies looking at the True Sport Clean program, and its development. I am also assisting in leadership development with a sport and strategy law group. Lastly, I have my connections to Team Canada Soccer, I look to maintain all these relationships going forward and continue fostering many relationships in our sporting environment. 

    • What is your favourite TV show at the moment? 

    I watch a lot of sports, so that’s you know I’m a big NFL fan, so I watch a lot of a lot of NFL. I’m starting to watch Ted Lasso now as well. It’s always good to have some lighthearted comedy and some different things that come forward as well. So there there’s some great miniseries and different things on. I’m also a history buff, so I like some historical type of shows that that have a great connection too as well. So that’s some of my favourites at the moment 

    • What is your favourite sports teams? 

    My family lived in the Jacksonville area for awhile, so we are Jags fans which hasn’t been easy. Being the last place team last year and going through the bumps and bruises; but the skies are looking brighter in terms of our quarterback situation there. So excited to cheer on the on the Jags! From a soccer perspective, I’ve always been a Chelsea fans. But my original team is PSV Eindhoven, which is in Holland. That’s where my family is from before they moved to Canada. So, I have a great connection with the PSV and enjoy cheering  them on. Obviously for hockey, basketball, and baseball, I have the Toronto connection with the Maple Leafs, the Raptors and the Blue Jays; all great representatives of our Canadian sport environment. 


    My sport journey started off with coaching, when I was maybe 16 or 17 and I really fell in love with it. I was always an athlete; I played football and soccer, so to me coaching was my way to give back to sport. I was fortunate enough to be an assistant coach at Wilfrid Laurier University with the men’s soccer program and then eventually took over. As well, I was an assistant coach at Western University and eventually head coach of the women’s soccer program there. I was humbled to be honored as the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) coach of the year for 2 years in a row. Our team was ranked number one in Canada for those two years and went to nationals. All the credit goes to that fantastic team with the women’s soccer program. They not only love to play together on the field, but they also loved to be around each other, and they had the task and social cohesion at its maximal level. That was a great experience and a great shoutout to that incredible group. I owe them lots of credit for those awards as well.

    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases

  • September Showcase – Dr. Kirsty Spence

    Our September Member showcase is… Associate Dean of Teaching and Undergraduate Studies at Brock University, Dr. Kirsty Spence

    This month we learned about Dr. Spence’s path to her current role, her favourite thing about being a part of the Brock Community and some future plans she’s looking forward to.


    My current role is the Associate Dean (AD) of Teaching and Undergraduate Studies for the Faculty of Applied Sciences (FAHS). I look at this position as encapsulating many of my strong interests, as through my work in this role, I focus on preserving the high quality of teaching across various programs within the five departments of the FAHS. As my home base is the Department of Sport Management, I continue to complete Sport Management research projects and teach SPMA students in addition to integrating many of my responsibilities while working in this administrative role.

    In my Undergrad years, I studied within the Bachelor of Kinesiology program at McMaster University and while there, I fell in love with the sport administration field, which was an earlier name for sport management. Through that early passion, I honed my interest in management and administration and upon graduation, I entered the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) program at the University of Toronto to become an elementary school teacher. After graduating, I taught for eight years, from 1991- 1999 in elementary schools in Canada, Russia and Taiwan. During that time, I also taught a variety of subjects and grades, from Kindergarten-aged children through to Grade 8 aged students. Aside from teaching, I volunteered a fair amount of time as a coach of many sports teams in these educational institutions. Those early years of my career certainly set the stage for a love of teaching and learning. In 1999, I returned from teaching in Taiwan, having decided to enrol in the Master of Human Kinetics (M.H.K.) program at the University of Windsor to deepen my studies in Sport Management. I have since seen the threads of teaching, management and leading through my sport management academic career in research, teaching and service activities. All of that has served to provide me with a rich career that started in the early 90s and allowed me to teach students from Kindergarten through to Ph.D. level contexts.

    My specific academic work in leadership development speaks to helping people develop their capacity as leaders, whether through research projects, teaching students as future industry leaders, or coaching organizational leaders. So, joining the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) was an easy decision for me. When I first came to Brock in 2004, the Canada Sport Policy had already been developed in 2002 around four pillars including enhanced participation, enhanced excellence, enhanced capacity, and enhanced interaction. When I thought about my research area of leadership development and then later, my work as a certified leadership coach with Integral Coaching Canada®, I wanted to work with sport leaders to help them enhance their developmental capacity, a value I felt was implicitly encompassed in Canada’s Sport Policy. I feel that this is largely what we’re working with here at the CSC, helping people in sport organizations increase their capacity so that more effective outcomes are possible for them and their organizations.


    I typically teach first year undergraduate students in SPMA 1P92 and graduate (M.A.) students in a Leadership and Organizational Behaviour course. For me, these two courses are bookended, as I get to see students experience both their first year in the undergraduate and then their first year in the M.A. program. What really excites me about teaching first-year students is at its simplest form, I can welcome and be a friendly face to students who are new to Brock University. When I think about teaching students representative of a large age spectrum as I have, I believe very similar qualities or principles of being an educator apply, regardless of students’ ages. Qualities such as trust and respect, as well as the educator’s actual love of teaching and learning are the same, regardless of age. What excites me the most is just the ability to be a part of that welcoming process in any way. I can be a piece of that greeting committee, to say, Hey, welcome to Brock! Welcome to sport management, you’re going to have a great experience here. I want to try to be as best as I can be so that students can be as best as they can be in starting the program. Beyond that first-year introduction, to see students’ growth through their journey in the program is monumentally exciting. I have very much enjoyed seeing students walk across the stage during graduation, it’s unbelievable to see how much they’ve developed as people and I am gratified knowing I was a part of that in a small way.

    Research Work/Projects:

    There are a couple of research projects happening, but one exciting research project is happening alongside Dr. Mike Van Bussel, also a CSC Member and an alumna of our Master’s program, Dina Bell-Laroche. We’re collaborating on a Canadian leadership development program for sport leaders, called the Sport Leaders Retreat, Virtual Edition; it’s a first of its kind in Canada. As the facilitator, Dina is a leader of leaders and we are tracking her leadership facilitation through the program and the impact of the leadership development program on both participants’ personal leadership and on their sport organizations. It’s really exciting to see somebody putting this kind of curriculum into action to help impact the development of Canadian sport leaders and their capacity. This project represents the work that I felt needs to be done within the sport management discipline. It’s really inspiring to me that we’ve come to a place in time where all conditions are right to make this project happen.


    • What’s your favourite TV Show right now?

    Well, I have to say, Ted Lasso. It’s an all-around awesome show, which is very funny and that in my opinion, demonstrates effective leadership and management in the context of a Premier League (European Football) sport organization. I enjoy seeing shows that have an organizational lean to them. I feel it’s an uplifting antidote to some of the darker news we are facing in today’s world.

    • What is your favourite sport or sports team?

    Do you have to even ask this? Of course, the Toronto Maple Leafs!!


    I’ve been fortunate to receive several awards focused on University teaching and learning. Most recently, I received the Brock University Distinguished Teaching Award in 2019, where I was recognized for teaching excellence and educational leadership within the Brock community. I also very recently received a Best Reviewer Award from the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada, for my work as a reviewer for conference abstracts. I mention this award as I was happy to know that my review efforts, which were in service to another person’s research work, were recognized as strong and helpful. We are fortunate as academics to engage in interesting work and receive recognition occasionally in various ways and I have appreciated being recognized for my work in the past.

    Future Plans/Desires:

    My future plans would include continuing my efforts to integrate areas of interests, for which I feel passion into my job, including equity, diversity, inclusion, leadership and human development interests. My desires are really centered upon serving other folks and helping them become better students, staff, or faculty, however they define “better.” That’s the great thing about working within the A.D. position, I can help serve other people and their development and I am happy to continue to be a part of that.

    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases, Uncategorized

  • August Member Showcase: Sarah Ane

    Our August Member Showcase is…Associate Director of Recreation and Culture at the Town of Lincoln, Sarah Ane!

    We learned more about Sarah’s background, her past teaching, a recent research project, and some of her personal interests/hobbies.

    Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to specialize in your specific line of work? Can you tell us why you wanted to join the Centre for Sport Capacity and what you’ve gotten out of being part of the Centre so far?

    I have worked in the parks and recreation sector for the majority of my professional career for various municipalities. I completed my studies in Sport and Business Management and early on I was fortunate to have experiences working for a variety of sport organizations in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Through these experiences I learned the importance of sport development at the community level. If we don’t support sport at this level, we don’t produce future Olympians, professional athletes or promote sport for life. This fueled my desire to work in local government to focus on creating supportive environments, facilities and policies for sport development and encouraging lifelong participation.

    Can you speak about a class (or classes) that you are teaching this semester/a class you taught previously/one that you will be teaching soon? What about this class/these classes excites you? Is this a new class that you are/will be teaching? Or a class that you’ve taught in the past?

    Previously, I’ve taught at Niagara College in the Recreation and Leisure Studies program about the Role of Government. I find this subject matter very exciting as often students do not understand the vital role that local government plays in shaping many of the everyday programs and services we benefit from in the communities we live. I have also taught courses on community development approaches to recreation planning.

    Can you speak about any recent, current, or future research projects that you’re excited about? What inspired you to want to get involved in your topic of research? Was this research work partnered with a community partner in the sports industry or any other industry?

    Most recently, I was fortunate to collaborate with Brock faculty through the Centre for Sport Capacity and Niagara Community Observatory to develop a policy brief that examined the critical and essential role of parks and recreation services during the pandemic.

    The policy brief illustrates the value of the parks and recreation sector to Niagara residents during the pandemic and includes discussion and recommendations of how the sector can move forward post-pandemic, using a health equity lens to ensure parks and recreation services remain at the forefront of future regional and municipal policy discussions.

    What’s your favourite TV show right now?

    I don’t watch a lot of TV on a regular basis – mostly news and sports. However, I have been known to binge on a Netflix series periodically. I also love a good docuseries.

    What are your current hobbies/interests?

    One of things I enjoy the most is supporting my 7-year-old son in his sport and recreation pursuits. I’ve quickly become the loudest, overzealous, cheering parent in the stands or on the field. There is nothing I enjoy more than watching him try his hardest and watching him cheer on and encourage his teammates.

    What’s your favourite book?

    My favourtie genre of books to read are biographies. Some favourites I’ve read over the years that are specific to sport that I’ve really enjoyed have been “Open” by Andre Agassi, “Mamba Mentality” by Kobe Bryant and “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight. Most recently, I read “Crossroads” which was written by Kaleb Dahlgren, a survivor of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy.

    What’s your favourite sport or sports team?

    In terms of professional sport, I am a loyal Ottawa Senators fan. Not only are they my hometown team, I was fortunate to work for the organization during the season they made it to the Stanley Cup finals against Anaheim. Although they didn’t win, I learned a lot from the experience about the importance of working in a supportive corporate culture and how much I valued that moving forward in my career.

    There is nothing I enjoy more than watching amateur sport competitions! I am a huge fan of all things Olympic Movement. I was honoured to be one of 12,000 torchbearers for the 2010 Winter Olympics as the torch made its way from Olympia, Greece to Vancouver, B.C.

    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases

  • July Member Showcase: Dr. Laura Cousens


    Our July Member Showcase is…Associate Professor in the Department of Sport Management at Brock University, Dr. Laura Cousens!

    We learned more about Dr. Cousens’ research background, what she enjoys about teaching, some of her research projects, and some of her personal interests/hobbies.

    Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to specialize in your specific line of work? Can you tell us why you wanted to join the Centre for Sport Capacity and what you’ve gotten out of being part of the Centre so far?

    When I first started, I looked at professional sport and I actually put the SPMA Pro Sport course on the books because I felt it was essential with so many of our students looking to get into pro sport to understand more than just the box scores. My thesis and my PhD were all done on pro sport but when Sport Canada introduced the Sport Canada Research Initiative Grant in 2007, to encourage professors to do research on sport participation, I submitted an application, and we were awarded a grant in the very first year. I had published some articles on network analysis in the past, so what we decided to do was use a network perspective to look at community sport organizations. One of the things I am most proud of is, we did a panel discussion for NAASM expecting no one to show up presenting this data, and the room was full with only standing-room space left for attendees. From here, we decided to do a special issue on community sport because there was clearly a lot of interest and we wanted to get the research out in the public. When I went on sabbatical, we began this special issue for the Journal of Sport Management and expected to get 20-25 submissions and received over 70. Only being able to include eight in the special issue, the rest were to be published in subsequent issues of the Journal of Sport Management. For a couple years, I really focused on getting all of this data out into the public, until the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver. When I attended, I heard there was 40-50 of our students in volunteer roles at the games, so I took some time to go out and visit them and thought that there are so many jobs in major games, there should be a course for it. So, I created the Major Games course for the Sport Management department. It is an experiential course where students are put in roles within major games and the one thing that I realized is that students do amazing work when they are put in these roles. I also teach the strategic alliances course, which is how I have tied in my networks research with my teaching. This was, at the time, one of the only courses in North America dealing with inter-organizational relationships and there was no publications in sport speaking to this. To ensure students had material within sport for this course I did another special issue for the International Journal of Sport Management on my next sabbatical. We still use these articles to this day, and they are fantastic for the students. A number of years ago now, I partnered with Right to Play to create the SPMA 3P93 Sport for Development course and as much as it is a lecture-based course, it really is experiential because the students are learning through play. In the Sport for Development field course, we have gone to Turks and Caicos and hope to go to the Barbados in the future to work on sport for development projects and provide a sustainable development commitment to the people there.

    The Centre for Sport Capacity to me is an opportunity for professional collaboration and it provides opportunities for its members to undertake projects and consulting that benefit our research, teaching and the students without being under academia. The CSC also allows the opportunity to be entrepreneurial with applying for grants and cultivating partnerships. The Centre is absolutely vital to providing this avenue to professors to work on projects which can involve individuals from all across campus. The CSC is like a “think tank”, being able to bring different ideas together from many different perspectives and disciplines

    Can you speak about a class (or classes) that you are teaching this semester/a class you taught previously/one that you will be teaching soon? What about this class/these classes excites you? Is this a new class that you are/will be teaching? Or a class that you’ve taught in the past?

    I’ve taught virtually everything in the sport management department and the course that is the biggest eye opener for students has got to be Sport for Development. So many students that come into our program don’t think about it and they say it is a game changer for them and that they see sport through a lens that will really help people. For the students that want to work in pro sport, we look at a lot of pro sport foundations and how you can blend sport for development and pro sport together. These foundations invest in community sport programs which is very near and dear to my heart and is exactly what these trips to Turks and Caicos and Barbados are doing. If you ask me for a second one, it would be Major Games because it has impacted so many students lives.

    Can you speak about any recent, current, or future research projects that you’re excited about? What inspired you to want to get involved in your topic of research? Was this research work partnered with a community partner in the sports industry or any other industry?

    In COVID you’re able to participate in all these meeting with people all around the world, so when I was on a call with a lot of people, I put in the chat if anyone knew of any Sport for Development programs in the Caribbean. I heard back about this award-winning program in Barbados that was started by a professor who was also on the Barbados Olympic Committee. The issue we were dealing with in the Turks and Caicos was the high dropout rate and the UN did a study and found that only 60-70% of kids in school there graduate. So what were were doing was working with the schools to improve that statistic through the power of sport, workshops, and presentations to get the kids to stay in school. So this program in the Barbados sets kids up with an internship in their last year of school in something they are interested in, and this has resulted in a near 100% graduation rate. The idea is to get kids out of the classroom to motivate what could be out there for them and inform their worldview. They also learn organizational skills and marketing skills from planning sports events and that is how sport is used to teach some of these hard skills that are then used in their jobs. That is what my research is focused on right now, because this is a model that could be used all around the Caribbean. The idea is that publishing this research will expand the impact of that work going on down there.

    What’s your favourite TV show right now?

    Game of Thrones would be my pick right now.

    What are your current hobbies/interests?

    Competitive equestrian, play tennis, distance swimming, spending time with my two kids and my family.

    What’s your favourite book?

    Murder mystery novels and suspense crime, Jo Nesbo is one of my favourite authors. I also love biographies because digging into the life of someone is so fascinating.

    What’s your favourite sport or sports team?

    We are a Raptors family and have a Raptors den with flags, banners, sweaters, and it’s all “kidded out”. I also love the Olympics and being able to watch all these different sports like Rugby and so many others. My favourite sports to participate in are Riding, tennis, swimming.

    Now’s your time to talk yourself up! You can talk about awards you’ve won, certifications you have, professional affiliations, personal achievements…anything your heart desires!

    I would say that the two special issues I authored were very special to me because they were very impactful in our field of sport management and I was the first person to publish an article on networks in our discipline. I have also won some awards for volunteering outside of Brock. I won the Ontario Bronze medal for volunteering for work I did with the Kidney Foundation where we created an event that has probably raised over $250,000 now. I am very proud of that work as many professors are focused on their publications, but for me its all about can I make an impact on a student’s life. Creating new courses like Sport for Development, Pro Sport, and Major Games and taking kids overseas have been some of my best memories. For me it’s fabulous to see the students have these personal growth opportunities while also providing a sustainable development commitment to others.

    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases

  • June Member Showcase: Cole McClean

    Our June Member Showcase is…Coordinator of the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) at Brock University, Cole McClean!

    We learned more about Cole’s path to the CSC, what he enjoys about his role, some of his research interests, and some of his personal interests/hobbies.

    Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to specialize in your specific line of work? Can you tell us why you wanted to join the Centre for Sport Capacity and what you’ve gotten out of being part of the Centre so far?

    I was in a unique position when I took on the role as the coordinator of the CSC. I had just finished up my M.A. (Sport Management) here at Brock working with current member Dr. Shannon Kerwin. Upon completion of my degree, I was weighing next steps and decided to take on some Research Assistant (RA) roles to fill the unemployment void, as well as a chance to explore new areas and learn new skills. I knew I enjoyed research and wanted to explore a related role in the industry, rather than pursue a PhD right away. One of those RA roles was with a multi-department Experiential Education project at Brock with Dr. Julie Stevens and a few other Brock members. I actually hadn’t worked with Julie in my time at Brock, but after working with her on a couple of projects, the CSC Coordinator role opened up, it seemed like a great fit.

    As for what I’ve gotten out of my first couple of years with the CSC, there is too much to cover in one post. The first aspect that stands out are the meetings with community partners. I learn a lot from each group or individual we meet with and the process of understanding their needs as well as figuring out how to support them is rewarding.

    The other part is student engagement – over the past few years I feel the CSC has done a good job of providing students across various departments at Brock with valuable practical experience. We’ve really carved out some consistent roles as well so we’re always trying to offer students experiential education opportunities.

    Can you speak about any recent, current, or future research projects that you’re excited about? What inspired you to want to get involved in your topic of research? Was this research work partnered with a community partner in the sports industry or any other industry?

    There are a lot of projects that I am excited about in the Centre and I almost feel bad choosing only one. If I had to choose one at the moment though, it would be the 2020 U16 European Cup – Girls Hockey Participation project involving a number of national hockey federations. The purpose is to understand the issues girls playing the sport face and resulting high drop-out. In turn, the goal is to develop resources and support initiatives aimed at reducing barriers faced across particular age groups. This project is notable to me as it was the first major project I was involved in as the coordinator (Winter 2019), and while COVID-19 halted the project, progress is being made again.

    What’s your favourite TV show right now?

    It takes me a while to get through shows, but Billions is currently major one I’m working on. I also recently finished the Expanse, which I highly recommend as it filled the hole that Games of Thrones ending, left.

    What are your current hobbies/interests? (maybe something you picked up since we’ve all been staying home!)

    My healthy hobby that really got me through winter was daily walks to get away from screens and take my mind of things with a podcast or music. I never thought I’d be a person that could go for walks so often, but with the lockdowns the walks became

    To try and make weekends a bit more exciting, I usually attempt a new, interesting recipe that I’ve never done before. It’s been rewarding trying dishes that I honestly never thought I’d make myself.

    What’s your favourite book? (recently, or your all-time favourite)

    Recently, Barack Obama’s memoir A Promised Land as I’ve followed politics to some degree, but learning what actually goes on behind the scenes and the toll it takes is really interesting.

    What’s your favourite sport or sports team?

    If I were to pick one, it would have to be the Toronto Raptors. I love the sport and everything the organization has come to stand for. I also enjoy reading about Masai Ujiri as a leader, how he approaches his role, and the great things he’s done for the culture of the organization.

    Categories: Blog, Member Showcases