OTTAWA - Maureen Orchard, the Winnipeg-based International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) president and wheelchair basketball advocate is one of three finalists for the Volunteer Achievement Award at the True Sport Foundation’s annual Canadian Sport Awards.  The Volunteer Achievement Award recognizes and celebrates an individual’s outstanding contributions to the betterment of sport.  Maureen is a former long-time volunteer with Basketball Manitoba.

“Maureen’s tireless efforts have been instrumental in the growth and maturation of our sport worldwide,” said Wendy Gittens, Wheelchair Basketball Canada executive director. “She is a true pioneer whose passion and dedication as a volunteer are an inspiration to us all. We are very proud to see her efforts recognized."

Orchard is a full-time volunteer with over 30 years of experience. She has taken on many leadership roles, serving as president, vice-president, treasurer, director, coach and referee for a number of key sport organizations including the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association, Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Association, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Canada Basketball, Basketball Manitoba and FIBA.

In these roles Orchard has improved policy, strategy, constitution, internal regulations and equipment standards for basketball and wheelchair basketball. Her innovative efforts have been fundamental to how wheelchair basketball is organized and played in Canada and around the world.

Orchard has served as president of the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation since 1992, a voluntary role in which she has dedicated countless hours to the development of the sport. During this time she has been the driving force behind significant international growth and in particular has championed enhanced opportunities for juniors and women.

The Canadian Sport Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, March 3 at the Canadian Sport Centre Ontario in Toronto.

About the Canadian Sport Awards:

Established in 1972, the Canadian Sport Awards brings together leaders from the sporting and corporate communities who represent the pinnacle of commitment and competition: Canadian amateur athletes, coaches, sport leaders and volunteers. The annual awards promote sporting excellence across Canada, and remind Canadians how sport lifts the human spirit. They are a tribute to the hard work, the dedication and the victories of our country’s finest athletes.

About the True Sport Foundation:

The True Sport Foundation is a charitable organization committed to ensuring that sport makes a positive contribution to Canadian society. Managed by the foundation, the Canadian Sport Awards boast a strong relationship with the honours' modern day founding partners, which include Athletes CAN, the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada, the Canada Games and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.

(information from Wheelchair Basketball Canada)

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