Sault Ste. Marie native Mathieu Gentès has been appointed as the interim chief executive officer for Athletics Canada.
The 42-year old Gentes has been with Athletics Canada since 2005 and became its chief operating officer in 2016.
In moving up to acting chief executive officer, Gentes replaces the recently retired David Bedford. Bedford joined Athletics Canada in April of 2019 with the objective of leading it through a transition. Now, 34 months later and on the heels of Athletics Canada’s best Olympic Games since 1928, the time was right for Bedford to retire, said board chair Helen Manning.
“We have a strong leadership group in place. Over the weeks the board will discuss the move forward plan. Mathieu Gentès will assume the role of interim CEO until further notice,” said Manning.
Athletics Canada is the national sport governing body for track and field, para athletics, cross country running and road running. Its purpose is to support high performance athletics excellence at the world level, and to provide leadership in developmental athletics. Athletics Canada is a not for profit, charitable organization operating under a board of directors elected by provincial and territorial members.
As for Gentes, he has resided in Ottawa since 2002 and is a graduate of the Sports Administration program at Sudbury’s Laurentian University. He graduated from secondary school in the Sault — where he was born and raised — and was a goalie at the AAA and high school hockey levels.
Interestingly, Gentes played high school hockey for the Sir James Dunn Eagles and was coached by his dad, the legendary Remi Gentes. Not only was the elder Gentes a long-time high school hockey coach in the Sault but after retirement as a teacher, he carried on as a convenor for the local league. In all, Gentes gave 35 years of volunteer time to high school hockey.
Meanwhile, the younger Gentes has followed in his dad’s path as a hockey coach. He is the head coach of his son’s rep team, the under 11 Cumberland Grads, who have earned a berth at this year’s provincial Silver Sticks Tournament. He also helps coach his five year old daughter’s hockey team.
As the younger Gentes is honoured to be a part of Athletics Canada in such a leading role, he told Sault This Week that as a youth hockey coach, he employs much of what he learned from his dad.
“So many people over the years have told me that my dad was their favourite coach,” he said of his dad. “A lot of what I know about hockey came from my dad.”
Remi Gentes and his wife, Kirsten, still reside in the Sault.