By Sarah Tone, Communications Coordinator
Sport Manitoba’s first-ever President and CEO, Jeff Hnatiuk moved into his new role as the Province of Manitoba’s Deputy Minister of Sport, Culture, and Heritage in 2020. Because of the pandemic’s gathering restrictions, we weren’t able to formally recognize Jeff’s exceptional contributions to amateur sport, until now.
In a special tribute at the 2022 Night of Champions presented by PlayNow.com, we honoured Jeff’s incredible leadership and legacy in his 24-year career with Sport Manitoba.
It’s only fitting that at our signature event celebrating champions, we pay special tribute to one of the most influential sports figures in Manitoba.
As Sport Manitoba’s first-ever President and CEO, Jeff Hnatiuk led the merger of the Manitoba Sports Federation and the Sport Directorate in 1996.
His leadership immediately sparked a change in course for amateur sport. Building relationships in the community and partnering with over 70 provincial sport organizations was no small feat, but with support from Sport Manitoba’s board of directors, Jeff had a vision for what amateur sport in Manitoba could be.
His legacy is decorated with major milestones.
He partnered with The Respect Group and saw Manitoba become the first province in the country to implement the Respect in Sport program.
He served on boards for major events like the 1999 Pan Am Games and the 2007 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship.
He fostered crucial partnerships with the University of Manitoba, North American Indigenous Games, Canada Games Council, and KidSport Canada, just to name a few.
And, over 15 years, Jeff oversaw the development and creation of the Canada Games Sport for Life Centre. He envisioned a facility that combined sport administration and support services, and it became so much more.
Now, the state-of-the-art sport centre provides a seamless transition between participation, training, coaching, testing, and therapy, and will benefit generations of Manitobans for years to come. The Centre officially opened to host the 2017 Canada Summer Games.
Serving as the President and CEO of the milestone 50th anniversary Games, the largest Games ever hosted, Jeff led a team to record-breaking successes that left a $3 million financial legacy for amateur sport that we’re still benefiting from today.
After 24 years as Sport Manitoba’s leader, he continues to champion sport as the Deputy Minister for Sport, Culture and Heritage.
And we’re not the only ones who think so! Let’s hear what a few of his colleagues had to say…
Jeff Hnatiuk is Manitoba’s amateur sport champion, and it is our honour to celebrate his exceptional accomplishments today, and always.