Joe Morissette becomes CEO of Triathlon Canada
New CEO arrives with experience with rebuilding sport organizationsPhoto by: Kevin Mackinnon
At first glance it’s not hard to do a double take. After a tumultuous run over the last five years that culminated with CEO Kim Van Bruggen, head coach Jono Hall and high-performance director Eugene Liang all leaving the organization after the Olympics last year, Triathlon Canada has a new CEO who comes from a sport not normally associated with triathlon.
Even though he’s not a triathlete, Joe Morissette, formerly the CEO of Badminton Canada, might be exactly what Triathlon Canada needs as it looks to rebuild. Morissette has been involved in international sport since 2005 and brings lots of experience when it comes to dealing with international federations. More importantly, he’s done this all before.
“I walked into a badminton situation eight and a half years ago where there was a lot of dissatisfaction with the national federation in terms of the support we were able to provide to athletes, how the organization interacted with its provincial members, with its technical officials, with its coaching fraternity,” Morissette said. “I think I bring eight years of mending those bridges, building a stronger development system, being ‘big tent’ inclusive to the table. Badminton Canada became the class of the continent. We have the ability to do that in triathlon as well.”
Morissette prides himself on being “an open book,” and, so far, he’s been living up to that. After a few months of figuring out the technical aspects of the sport, he’s been extremely approachable.
“It’s important to get athletes to understand the challenges of the national federation and why they’re getting the support they are getting and being very transparent about the process,” Morissette said.
Morissette is definitely taking a long-term approach to his new position. He’s committed to his position through to the 2032 Olympic Games in order to “put a stamp on the organization to where we want to go.”
For much of the last decade Triathlon Canada has imported much of its coaching staff, something Morissette looks to change as he looks to “promote from within” and put a “Canadian stamp on the system.”
Morissette might not have a lot of triathlon experience, but he appears to have the tools and attitude that will serve Triathlon Canada well. He’ll have to juggle the challenges of navigating a system that requires high-performance expectations from government agencies like Sport Canada and Own the Podium with the desires of age group athletes to have an organization that takes care of their needs, too. To date Triathlon Canada has often struggled with that balance, but based on what he’s done in the past, Morissette appears ready to deal with the challenges ahead.
This story originally appeared in the Sept. 2022 issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada.