CIBC announces newest additions to CIBC Team Next roster

Nikole Todd, Kenny Lally and Andrew Yorke to receive funding and mentorship from CIBC in unique sport sponsorship program

TORONTO, Feb. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) is pleased to welcome three new amateur athletes to its CIBC Team Next sponsorship program: Nikole Todd, squash; Kenny Lally, boxing; and, Andrew Yorke, triathlon.

Nikole, Kenny, and Andrew will receive funding from CIBC and be paired with world-renowned Canadian sport heroes to help mentor them on their journey to compete at the upcoming TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games and beyond. They were nominated by their National Sport Organizations and replace athletes in the program who recently retired from amateur sport or turned pro.

CIBC Team Next, launched in November 2013 with the unveil of 67 up-and-coming amateur athletes, demonstrates CIBC's commitment as the Lead Partner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games to inspire the next generation of Canadian youth to participate in organized sport. The three-year program, the first of its kind in Canada to offer both funding and mentorship, is administered for CIBC by AthletesCAN, the association of Canada's national team athletes, and the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario.

Nikole, 24, a native of Regina who trains at The Badminton and Racquet Club in Toronto, is the first player from Saskatchewan to ever represent Canada at a Senior World Team Squash Championship. She is paired with CIBC Team Next mentor Benoît Huot, a decorated Canadian swimmer and recipient of 19 Paralympic medals.

"The support from this CIBC Team Next program will help my career in so many ways," says Nikole. "It means less time working and more time training and playing tournaments. I can't wait to be mentored by one of Canada's best athletes and hear all about his journey to the top!"

Kenny, 25, a tenacious Bantamweight (56 kg) class boxer born and raised in Prince George, B.C., picked up his first boxing gloves at age 13 inspired by the humble beginnings and tremendous accomplishments of Muhammad Ali. He recently qualified to compete in boxing at the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games. Kenny is paired with CIBC Team Next mentor and boxing great Mary Spencer.

"This is huge for me because I come from a small town in the middle of B.C. and have to travel extensively for fights and training," says Kenny. "Joining the CIBC team is going to help me out a lot. The mentorship is an amazing aspect, especially having Mary Spencer there because she has seen it all and knows exactly what it takes to be the best in the world."

Andrew, 26, from Caledon, Ontario, began competing in triathlon at age 12 and ended 2014 by earning himself a Top 40 spot in the World Triathlon Series Rankings. An alternate at the London Olympic Summer Games, Andrew's mentor is fellow triathlete and one of Canada's most accomplished athletes, Simon Whitfield.

"The financial commitment from CIBC is a huge help, and being able to focus completely on my racing rather than stressing about cash is a massive stress relief," says Andrew. "Being part of CIBC Team Next is great because you're surrounded by so many driven athletes. It's great to meet athletes from other sports and bond together over our love of high performance. Working with my mentor Simon Whitfield, I know I have a great Canadian champion in my corner helping me prepare to compete with the best."

CIBC also wishes to congratulate Squash Canada star David Letourneau on his outstanding career. David, 25, a native of Calgary, recently announced his retirement from the sport and CIBC Team Next program.

"At the core of the program is this incredible support network of teammates, mentors and friends from CIBC and AthletesCAN," says David. "There's real commitment to the idea that there is value in investing in people who haven't yet reached their potential and that success can be cultivated. It says a lot that the mentors have dedicated so much time to the program and I especially want to thank my mentor Kyle Shewfelt. To my CIBC Team Next teammates - good luck!"

Photos and interviews with CIBC Team Next athletes and mentors are available upon request.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units - Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Wholesale Banking - CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Media Centre on our corporate website at www.cibc.com.

About CIBC Team Next

CIBC Team Next is the first program of its kind in Canada that supports the next generation of amateur athletes with not only financial support but mentorship from world-renowned Canadian athlete champions. As the Lead Partner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games, CIBC is investing $2 million in this program to help 67 amateur athletes, including 16 para-athletes, from across Canada reach their full potential on and off the field.

SOURCE Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

For further information:

Caroline Van Hasselt, Director, External Communications and Media Relations, 416-784-6699 or caroline.vanhasselt@cibc.com


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