(CurlManitoba News Release) Connie Laliberte, the 1984 World Champion skip who has guided the CurlManitoba High Performance Program for almost 20 years, is retiring as the CurlManitoba High Performance Director effective June 30, 2022.
Olympic Gold Medalist (2014) and World Champion (2008, 2018) Jill Officer, the career second considered one of the greatest curlers in Canadian and World curling history, will become the CurlManitoba High Performance Program’s next Director.
In making the dual announcement, CurlManitoba Executive Director Craig Baker expressed appreciation for Connie Laliberte’s long service, saying “she was one of the great competitors of her generation. She became an example and role model for those who followed and then she accepted the challenge of developing Manitoba’s High Performance program in order to pass on her experience and expertise to the next generations of Manitoba curlers.”
“It is fitting that Jill Officer, one of the curlers who was inspired by Connie, is becoming CurlManitoba’s High Performance Manager to continue Connie’s work,” Baker says.
Acknowledging Connie Laliberte’s accomplishments which include the 1984 World Championship, three Canadian titles, and eight Manitoba titles (6 Scotties & 2 Juniors), Officer notes that her predecessor’s legacy is much more.
“Connie’s legacy will not just be seen as an athlete and player in our sport. Connie has taken on this role of High Performance Director for nearly 20 years, made it her own, developed it and evolved it to a place where we see so many young curlers benefit from her knowledge and experience. While we don’t always see Connie, her fingerprints are on many of the young athletes we see performing at high levels.”
“Connie has grown this program from nothing over those 20 years and there is no way I can just step into her shoes and do what she does. Instead, I look at it as an opportunity to continue to build on her legacy,” Officer said.
Since playing her last competitive game in 2018, Jill Officer has continued to be very involved in curling and in sport, as a member of the World Curling Federation’s Athlete Commission, as a broadcaster, and as a Canadian Olympic Committee athlete mentor, among many other roles. She welcomes the new opportunity to “take on a more significant role in High Performance in order to pass on my experience and knowledge to upcoming generations.”
Baker agrees with Officer when she describes the significance of the role.
“It is important because the grass roots of our sport is important,” she says. “We need young athletes to be engaged in our sport whether they go on to compete at a high level or decide to compete at a recreational level or coach at any level. Obviously this is a High Performance program with an emphasis on the aspects of High Performance, but ultimately we want people to feel welcome and remain in our sport.”
Officer’s work as CurlManitoba High Performance Director begins June 6, 2022.
The CurlManitoba Board and staff, on behalf of all Manitoba curlers, would like to wish Connie all the best on her well-deserved retirement.