Dave Best

Meet Dave Best from Ontario. Dave was appointed to the Board of Pickleball Canada in the summer of 2021 and has spearheaded Pickleball Canada’s Youth/Jr. program.

Dave Best recently retired as a Professor and Coordinator of the Sport Business Management Graduate Program at Algonquin College in Ottawa. The 12-month graduate program brings together some 35 aspiring sport administrators annually, preparing them for an exciting and successful career in the ever-growing sport industry, particularly the management and business aspects of the industry. Dave was the Program’s Director since 2007.

Dave has enjoyed a myriad of Canadian sport experiences. He started his professional career as a Secondary School teacher in Ontario, moved to become an assistant director at OFSAA in Toronto, then experienced 14 years with the Canadian Olympic Committee in Ottawa. Setting up his own business, Dave authored the definitive, best-selling, chronology of Canadian sport in the 20th Century (Canada: Our Century in Sport) while concurrently conducting over 150 strategic reviews and planning sessions for sport bodies across Canada.

Dave has active volunteer-based experiences. For 20 years he was actively involved in minor hockey in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario (Coach, Administrator, Club and Branch President). For the past 15 years Dave has been involved with rugby administration – as coach, Club President, Eastern Ontario Rugby Union President, and is currently the Governance Director on the Board of Rugby Ontario. Since 2012 Dave has also been the Chair of the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame.

Dave comes by his passion for sport naturally. A multi-sport athlete at university, Dave played football, rugby and hockey in Canada (1978 Vanier Cup champion) and rugby in the UK. He was also a competitive water skier and had a stint as a hockey player-coach in Solihull, England (Golf is his love these days, but sadly not his best talent.)

Dave graduated from Queen’s University with Bachelor of Arts (Sociology), Bachelor of Physical and Health Education, and Bachelor of Education degrees. He followed this up with a Master of Arts (Business Finance and Sport Administration) degree from The University of Birmingham in England (Thesis – Comparative Analysis of Financial Operations in English Professional Football and the National Hockey League).

Dave lives in Ottawa with his wife, Carol Buckley, and has two sons, Scott, and Doug.

How to contact Dave:

Cara Button

Meet Cara Button from Alberta. Cara was elected to Pickleball Canada’s Board of Directors in the summer of 2021.

Cara holds a Bachelor of Administration in recreation and leisure from Concordia University. Early on in her career, Cara developed expertise in wellness and mental health working as a therapist at a drug and alcohol treatment centre for adolescents in Michigan. From there she went on to work as a facilitator and educator at the local Burn Centre.

Cara’s love for Olympic and Paralympic sports was sparked during an internship in Montreal with the Canadian Olympic Committee during the 1988 Olympic Games. In 2006 she seized on an opportunity to combine passion and expertise and joined the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary as the Manager of Athlete Services. Cara worked there for 15 years in a number of roles before recently moving back to the Canadian Olympic Committee as the Senior Manager, Game Plan.

Cara genuinely loves helping athletes work through life challenges of competing in high performance sport. For her, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing an athlete succeed in their sport and then see them succeed as they transition out of their sport.

While Cara grew up in Montreal, she’s been in Calgary for 20 years and now calls it home.  She enjoys all things that come with living close to the mountains and has taken up a new sport in the past two years – Pickleball – and has joined a growing community of friends who enjoy it as well.

How to contact Cara:

Jon de la Mothe

Meet Jon de la Mothe from Ontario. Jon was elected to the Board in May of 2022.

As Vice President, Revenue Operations, Jon de la Mothe oversees revenue management, reporting, adops and techops for digital, linear television, over-the-air radio, and out of home platforms for the Revenue Team, at Rogers Sports & Media.

Rogers Sports & Media properties include 23 conventional and specialty TV channels including Sportsnet, 29 local TV stations, 56 radio stations, 3 OTT services, 2 podcast networks, the Toronto Blue Jays, Rogers Centre, Today’s Shopping Choice, a multi-platform original content studio, and a data platform enabled by millions of Canadian consumer touchpoints.

With 20 years of industry experience, Jon was most recently the Vice President, Technology & Media Platforms at Mediative, a Yellow Pages company. He oversaw the product, publisher, ad operation and technology teams and was responsible for the company’s supply, demand, & data platforms.

Prior to that Jon was at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) as Director, Media Innovation & Technology where he managed ad operations, innovation, digital production, and content partnerships for CBC’s Revenue Group across CBC online, mobile, and emerging platforms.

His time at CBC was capped by successfully executing the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, CBC’s final NHL Season and Stanley Cup Playoffs, followed by the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. During his term he led major partnerships with Youtube, Microsoft, TSN, Blackberry and Twitter.

His background also includes:

  • 4 years at CTV managing Discovery Channel’s digital business & operations, and developing Discovery’s first broadband video & mobile services.
  • 6 years at CanWest Global helping launch, and re-launch GlobalTV.com, canada.com, Nationalpost.com, the Southam Newspaper Network and Dose.ca.
  • 3 years agency side, part of the Grey Interactive team in the late nineties.

Outside of work, Jon enjoys spending time with his family, gardening, golfing, and playing PICKLEBALL whenever he can!

How to contact Jon:

Debra Downing

Meet Debra Downing from New Brunswick. Debra was appointed to the board in November 2022 with an interest in helping guide the development of the sport at all levels.

Debra recently retired and was introduced to pickleball in the spring of 2022 in Florida, where she plans to spend her winters. She plays pickleball often and particularly likes its inclusiveness and that it creates space for everyone, including social, recreational, and competitive levels.

Debra has extensive senior executive experience in the public and private sectors. She has expert-level knowledge and extensive experience in the areas of project management, information management, and information technology. In her various roles in the public sector, Oil and Gas, IT industries, and not-for-profit sector, she has a reputation for driving operational growth, developing organizational strategic direction, delivering efficient cost-effective solutions, and cultivating strong stakeholder relationships. Debra enjoys working closely with stakeholders and being part of a team that focuses on delivering results.

Debra hopes to bring her experience and passion for the sport to her new role and looks forward to helping shape the future and growth of pickleball in Canada. Debra feels it is important to maintain pickleball’s most favorable asset, inclusiveness, while encouraging its development and growth.

Originally from Newfoundland and now living in New Brunswick with her husband, Debra loves the outdoors. She spends her time golfing, hiking, biking, and playing pickleball. Wherever her travels take her, you will find her seeking out opportunities to play pickleball.

How to Contact Debra:

Robert Hogue

Meet Robert Hogue from Quebec.  Robert was elected to Pickleball Canada’s Board of Directors in 2020 and was responsible for Translation, along with his wife Manon Lussier, and PCO relied heavily on their translation expertise.   Robert joined PCO as he believes it plays a vital role in communities by promoting sport as a way of life.

Playing pickleball since 2017, his favourite moments are when he is involved in workshops and gets to share the passion of pickleball to young people from 6 to 16 years old. Roberts greatest accomplishment in the sport of pickleball came in 2020 when he actively participated in having the Fédération québécoise de Pickleball recognized as a government sport organization.

When not involved with pickleball Robert has skills in construction and renovations.

3 words that describe Robert are: Sportsman, Gatherer, Caring!

When asked what he realized he cares about over the past years, Roberts response was: “I have secured, from the municipality where I live, the construction of 8 new pickleball outdoor courts for a population of 40,000 citizens.”

How to contact Robert:

Rose Sawatzky

Meet Rose Sawatzky from Manitoba. Rose was elected to Pickleball Canada’s Board of Directors in May of 2021. Her responsibilities include being on the Club Development task force and has responsibilities as the Complaints Case Manager.

Rose works together with a great group of volunteers who have a passion for pickleball and are committed to the promotion, development, and growth of the sport. Rose has excitement for building, guiding, and promoting the game of Pickleball. Rose says, “the planning process is important to me in order to keep on track to where we are going and how we are going to get there.  It encourages us to think ahead, be innovative to develop goals and objectives.”

The future of pickleball is in our youth. She continues to consult with schools, community centres to provide on going support and facilitate lesson plans and opportunities for kids of all ages and abilities to play.

Rose was bitten by the sport of pickleball in 2017 and has never looked back. She has helped build excitement for the game by becoming a certified pickleball instructor and provides introductory lessons for newcomers and skills and technique-based clinic for players.  Her favourite pickleball moments are meeting new players and connecting with familiar faces. In sharing her love for the game, many have been bitten by the same “Pickleball Bug”.

Rose has a degree in Business Management and has worked in the medical field for over 30 years.Rose is energetic, adventurous, outgoing, compassionate. She is surrounded by supportive, loving, caring family and friends who encourage her to continue where life take her.

How to contact Rose:

Alan Thomson

Meet Alan Thomson from British Columbia. Alan was appointed to the Board of Directors in June of 2022.

After playing Tennis, Badminton & Squash since a teenager, Alan found Pickleball in 2013 only hours after arriving in Arizona for his first winter. He became a member of the USAPA and started playing tournaments and watching referees in these matches. He tried refereeing at the club level, immediately recognized the challenges involved, and found that USAPA was in the process of developing a Certification program. The challenge was set and made more meaningful after a serious foot injury suffered playing tennis, which gave Alan the time and another reason to take up refereeing.

A glance at Alan’s pickleball journey so far:

  • Playing Pickleball since 2013
  • Inaugural Director of Victoria Regional Pickleball Association
  • USA Pickleball Certified Referee since 2017
  • USAPA/PCO Registered Referee Trainer
  • IPTPA Level 1 Trainer
  • NCCP Level 1 Instructor
  • Director & Head Referee for Pickleball BC since 2018
  • CANADIAN IFP Rules Committee Rep
    • Officiating Trainer for Oceania, Australia & New Zealand
  • National leader for Pickleball Canada

Alan and his wife, Kathy, live in Victoria, BC and spend their winters in Mesa, Arizona.

Alan worked at the Naval dockyard for 38 years at Esquimalt, where he was the Senior manager of various trade groups repairing naval vessels for the Canadian Navy.

How to contact Alan:

Peter Walker

Meet Peter Walker from Alberta. Peter was elected to the Pickleball Canada Board of Directors in May 2022.

Peter grew up in Montreal playing almost all park level organized sport other than hockey. He studied at the University of New Brunswick where he continued Peter sport career playing provincial level rugby for the City of Fredericton. After graduating with a B.Sc. Engineering specializing in land surveying, Peter started Peter professional career in Alberta where he had remained.

Peter is a retired member of the Association of Professional Engineers Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APPEGA), the Alberta Land Surveyors Association, the Saskatchewan Land Surveyors Association, and the Canada Land Surveyors Association. Peter feels very fortunate that his career allowed him to work extensively in all Provinces and Territories in Canada truly from sea to sea to sea, as well as a few countries internationally. As such he has been able to experience a lot of our regional cultural differences.

Peter is a competitive recreational player playing his first pickleball in Surprise, AZ. Peter was one of the founding members of the Calgary Pickleball Club and consequently one of the first members of Pickleball Alberta.

How to contact Peter: