Trevor Thomas, CEO
With an impressive journey spanning more than 25 years in post-secondary education, Trevor has excelled as an Instructor, Chair, and Associate Dean. Trevor ventured into the Alberta Junior Hockey League as a coach for the Grande Prairie Storm, culminating in a league championship triumph in 2004. Trevor’s dedication to elevating the sports landscape is further exemplified through his involvement in the high-performance program for Hockey Alberta. His coaching prowess has graced prestigious events like the Alberta Cup and Hockey Canada’s Team Pacific, reflecting his commitment to nurturing emerging talents and contributing to the development of young athletes. His impact is felt not only at the elite level but also within grassroots initiatives. His tenure on the Grande Prairie Minor Hockey Board, coupled with valuable contributions to Hockey Alberta’s Female Development program, speaks volumes about his passion for fostering growth at every level of the game. Trevor’s multifaceted journey reflects a profound dedication to education, coaching, and community development through the realm of sports.
Russ Wlad, Board Chair
Russ has over 35 years of experience in engineering consulting and business leadership. He is currently the Chief Growth and Strategy Officer for Allnorth consulting. Russ brings a wealth of expertise to his role on the Central Sport Board and is deeply committed to community enrichment. Russ is a past recipient of Engineers Canada Meritorious award for Community Service as well as the City of Red Deer Mayors Community Builder award. His impact is recognized through his integral contributions as a past director of the 2019 Canada Winter Games board and his dedicated service on other former boards and committees such Red Deer Minor Hockey, CNIB, Big Brother and Sisters and the RDRHF. Passionate about fostering the growth of young athletes, Russ has not only supported his three daughters in their competitive sports endeavors but has also been a driving force behind various volunteer and fundraising initiatives that have uplifted numerous organizations. With a steadfast dedication to both his professional pursuits and community betterment, Russ stands as a remarkable example of leadership, commitment, and the power of sports to inspire positive change.
Allan Ferchuk, Past Chair
Allan is a distinguished figure in the sports community, with over five decades of experience and a remarkable list of accolades. He has been honored in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association Hall of Fame, the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, and most recently, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2023. His academic specialization in youth growth and development underscores his dedication to nurturing the next generation of athletes. Allan has made significant contributions as a board member and coach for minor baseball, minor hockey, and football programs. He’s also renowned for establishing the Alberta Sport Development Centre program, supporting emerging athletes in the province. Allan served on the board of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, contributing to its success. For 19 years, he held the position of Director of Athletics at Red Deer College, where he also led the Kings to three national hockey championships and presided over key sports associations. Allan and his wife have been proud residents of Red Deer for 50 years, raised their four children, making a lasting impact on both the sporting community and their beloved city. Allan’s legacy in sports remains an enduring source of inspiration.
Emily Julie, Executive Assistant
Emily is a dynamic individual whose journey weaves together the realms of healthcare administration, athletics, and community development. Currently immersed in the pursuit of an MBA (Masters of Business Administration), she brings a wealth of experience garnered from nearly a decade in healthcare administrative and healthcare management roles, showcasing a proven track record of leadership and operational excellence.
Formerly a player for the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Soccer team she embodies the power of sports and physical exercise in fostering community unity and personal growth. After several years in Calgary, Emily has returned to her hometown, where she played and coached competitive youth soccer and is committed to building an impactful sport community.
Trent Rix, Treasurer
Patrick Wigmore, Director
Patrick is the Managing Partner of MNP LLP, Central Alberta Region, and has been a member of the Red Deer community for the past 15 years. Patrick brings business advisory and leadership skills, as well as a lifetime of multi-sport involvement to the Central Sport Board. Raising a young family who are just becoming involved in sports, Patrick has a vested interest in a strong sport community in Central Alberta.
Todd Thiessen, Director
Todd was born and raised in Red Deer. He played minor hockey in the city and many years later became the President of the Red Deer Minor Hockey Commission, currently serving as the Past President. Todd also is currently a Board member of the Hockey Alberta Foundation. He was also the sport lead for women’s hockey for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. An investment advisor for over 30 years, Todd helps his clients achieve their financial goals. He has 2 adult children that both made their way through the Red Deer minor hockey system, 1 who is a professional hockey player to this day.
Shawna Pearman, Director
Shawna was a longtime coach with the Red Deer Central Lions Speed Skating Club, presiding as the head coach from 2000 – 2019. Shawna was the Speed Skating Canada Coach of the Year in 2013 and the Alberta Amateur Speed Skating Association Volunteer of the year in 2015-16. She was the sport lead for long track speed skating at the 2019 Canada Winter Games and also helped guide local youth at the 2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games. From 1994 to present, Shawna has been the Zone Secretary for Central Alberta Schools Athletic Association. She has been the Team Alberta Speed Skating coach for many National Championships. Shawna is the Chair of the ASAA Provincial Track & Field Championships and Cross Country Championships and was the Chair of Speed Skating for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. She is also an Alberta Sport Development Centre Board Member and part of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Shawna has a passion to help promote inclusivity in sport.
Rick Polutnik, Director
Rick has a significant and extensive background in hockey with experience and contributions to coaching development and leadership at all levels of the game. His experience extends from minor hockey to the provincial, national, and international levels of the game. Since 1979 he has been a major contributor to the development of hockey’s National Coaching Certification Program in Canada; he was the main driver behind a national coach mentorship program and a builder of the female game, nationally and internationally. His success as a coach and mentor is shown in his collections of gold and silver at every level of the game. His skills in Strategic Planning, Governance and Performance Management have allowed him to support many organizations in Alberta to become much more efficient in their operations. His team and coaching background support his drive to help teams work more effectively together whether the team be athletic, or office related.
Lori Schiller, Director
Lori’s life has always revolved around sport-from watching the Masters with her dad and playing multiple sports growing up to her days as a Lethbridge College Kodiak with the CCAA two-time national basketball champions. Lori believes participation in sport guides and assists us in many aspects of life. Being a teammate, coach, manager, volunteer, and, most importantly, a parent, has allowed her to experience the many lessons of sports and pass them on to younger generations. Lori and her husband have 2 boys that are involved in high performance collegiate and varsity sports.
Renae Clark, Director
Renae has been committed to the RD Minor Baseball Association, where she serves as the GM for the past 13 years. Her involvement extends beyond the local level, as she actively contributes to the governance of the sport by holding roles within Baseball Alberta and the Alberta Amateur Baseball Council. In recognition of Renae’s dedication, she was honored to receive the prestigious Baseball Alberta President’s Award in 2022. She also had the privilege of representing our province as the Chef de Mission at Western National events. Renae has played a vital role in shaping the future of baseball through her membership in the Baseball Alberta Scholarships and Bursaries Committee, serving on the Disciplinary Council. However, if you were to ask about her most fulfilling achievement, it would undoubtedly be the creation of the RD Minor Baseball Challenger Program. As the program’s Facilitator, she takes immense pride in fostering an inclusive environment where physically and cognitively delayed athletes can actively participate, learn, and develop their skills through the game of baseball. Renae finds joy in giving back to the community through mentorship and her enduring love for the game of baseball.
Patrick Callan, Director
Patrick graduated from Notre Dame High School in 2004 and went on to the University of Calgary to graduate with his BA in Economics. During that time, he played CIS Football with the U of C Dinos from 2004-2008. Patrick has coached with the Calgary Colts, Notre Dame Cougars, and Prairie Fire Football. He is the Owner and Portfolio Manager of Callan Wealth Management. He and his wife, Hope, have 3 children, Carter, Grace, and Hayley.
Evan Hardy, Director
Evan is a local lawyer practicing in the areas of business/corporate law, real estate (commercial, agricultural and residential), condominium law and wills and estates with over 10 years of experience. He is actively involved in local sports organizations having coached both of his kids in Red Deer Pond Hockey, Red Deer Minor Hockey Association and the Red Deer City Soccer Association. He was previously a board member with the Red Deer Tennis Club, the Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce and briefly for the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra (despite having no musical talents) and helped raise money for the United Way. He has experience with corporate governance issues as a previous board member for the organizations previously listed and having acted for many condominium corporations. During his spare, he plays a lot of sports including hockey, golf, tennis, skiing, and cycling and believes in an active lifestyle. One of his goals is to ensure that children are enrolled in sports and they stay in sports through their adolescence.