"Tireless" Drivers of Young Canadian Athletes Honoured by Goodyear

Goodyear 'Get there' Awards Celebrate Unsung Heroes

TORONTO, March 22 /CNW/ - They drive thousands of kilometers, often starting well before dawn. They spend hours shivering in cold, dark places drinking bad coffee. They sacrifice time, money, weekends and sleep without complaint or recognition. They are the thousands of parents and supporters who drive young winter athletes, and today, three standout examples are getting the glory they deserve as winners of the Goodyear 'Get there' Awards.

The Goodyear 'Get there' Awards is a new recognition program designed to honour those most responsible for helping young Canadian athletes enjoy winter sports by driving them to practices, games and competitions, among other forms of support. After receiving nominations from across Canada, a special panel of judges, including three-time Olympian and five-time World Champion ice hockey star Sami Jo Small, has selected three Goodyear 'Get there' Award winners, including:

David Washington - North Bay, ON

Three years ago, Washington co-founded a special needs hockey program in North Bay for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Washington was committed to removing the barriers faced by players (e.g. lack of money, equipment, insurance, transportation, supervision, etc.), so they could enjoy Canada's national sport. From helping families fill out forms, to driving young athletes to practices, to even providing financial help from his own pocket, Washington is truly committed to helping disadvantaged young athletes benefit from the fun, exercise and self-esteem of playing hockey.

Pamela Kondra - Grande Prairie, AB

Kondra is the mother of four children, three of whom play minor hockey. With her husband working full-time, Kondra ensures the boys make it to as many as eight different ice times per week, not including tournaments, typically with all four children in tow. According to Kondra, amateur hockey provides her children with positive values.

Emma Slagerman - Rosser, MB

Slagerman is the mother of three daughters, each of whom participate in competitive figure skating. Slagerman drives approximately 1,000 kilometres weekly to lessons and practices, plus periodic competitions and test days held in arenas across Saskatchewan and Manitoba. She has been an active volunteer at competitions for the past four years, as well as participating in executive meetings and event planning at her home club.

"Behind every great athlete is a support network that dedicates many hours to helping them get there," said Small, who credits her own network of supporters for encouraging her when she grew up playing on outdoor rinks in Winnipeg as the only girl on her team. "The nominations we received from across Canada were extraordinarily inspiring, and we applaud each nominee for their outstanding commitment to helping Canada's young amateur athletes."

Winners will receive a Goodyear 'Get there' Award medal and a set of Goodyear premium tires.

"While Canadian athletes set a new world record in February, at Goodyear we believe that the thousands of passionate supporters of young athletes across Canada are also world class," said Julie Thomson of Goodyear Canada. "We congratulate all those who were nominated for Goodyear 'Get there' Awards and the crucial role they play in creating a nation of happy, healthy and confident young athletes."

About Goodyear Canada

Goodyear Canada Inc. is a leading manufacturer of tires for automotive and commercial/industrial markets. The company has operations and offices in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta, in addition to a national network of committed independent retailers. Goodyear Canada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio.

SOURCE GOODYEAR CANADA INC.

For further information: For further information: Environics Communications: Jennifer Hills, (416) 969-2669, jhills@environicspr.com; Carrie Makrigiannis, (416) 969-2750, cmakrigiannis@environicspr.com

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