2023 Sports Celebrities Festival celebrates the power of inclusion and joy of Special Olympics

What an amazing night of celebration and inspiration! The 2023 Sports Celebrities Festival presented by Wheaton Precious Metals was an unforgettable evening, raising over $440,000 for Special Olympics BC!

SOBC athlete and Canucks alumnus Chris Higgins doing a hockey pose on stage
SOBC athlete Artisia Wong and former Vancouver Canucks player Chris Higgins posing in style at the SCF!

Hosted by SOBC athletes Ashley Adie and Matthew Williams, the joyful in-person gala brought together Special Olympics athletes, business leaders, community champions, and B.C. sports stars at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. It was truly an evening that demonstrated the power of inclusion and respect for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

This year’s event raised over $440,000 through fundraising initiatives such as the highly anticipated silent auction, the PALLADIO Jewellers Raffle, the Heads & Tails game sponsored by Wheaton Precious Metals, and many generous donations.

Find photos

Funds raised by the Sports Celebrities Festival will ensure that athletes with intellectual disabilities can find purpose, friendships, and fitness through the Special Olympics sport, youth, and health programs that matter so much to them.

Matthew Williams and Ashley Adie speaking at the podium at the 2023 SCF
Special Olympics athletes Matthew Williams and Ashley Adie were amazing co-hosts for the evening! Photo by Tim Fitzgerald

SOBC – Delta athlete Cory Duhaime and his father Michael Duhaime shared their inspiring stories with the gala’s crowd. Cory has been involved with Special Olympics as an athlete for over 15 years, and he is so grateful to be part of an empowering and welcoming community.

“I enjoy being part of a team, where I am accepted for who I am, and I accept my teammates for who they are,” he said.

Belonging to a supportive and caring team of athletes, coaches, and family members has made such a positive impact on Cory’s life. Having them by his side has helped him overcome health obstacles and tough competition throughout his career.

“Together, we’ve learned that if we prepare a good training plan, work hard with our coaches, we can actually achieve our dreams. And along the way, we learn how to deal with adversity – even pain – and find a way to keep on going,” he said.

"I see the joy that our athletes bring to their sport. I see a commitment to overcoming challenges and a dedication to an extraordinary work ethic... I feel lucky to be his dad," said Michael Duhaime.

Watch Cory's and Michael's full speech at the 2023 SCF

We are so grateful to all the B.C. sports stars who took part in the Sports Celebrities Festival, as they each paired up with a Special Olympics athlete for the evening. Watch the star-studded SCF parade of athletes that kicked off the evening in style, emceed by Joey Kenward and Don Andrews!

A heartfelt thanks to all of the generous Sports Celebrities Festival sponsors, donors, celebrities, volunteers, and supporters who once again made this year’s event so successful. We are also thankful to Adie and Williams for being such fabulous and energetic hosts for the evening!

“Thank you all for opening that door and allowing me to work hard with my teammates to try to achieve our dreams,” said Cory.

Canucks alumni Daniel Sedin, SOBC athletes Zack Thibeault and Alexander Pang, and figure skater Patrick Chan in group photo
From left to right: Daniel Sedin, Zack Thibeault, Alexander Pang, and Patrick Chan are all smiles at the SCF!

Our generous sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Wheaton Precious Metals

Platinum Sponsor


Gold Sponsors

Canaccord Genuity and Macquarie

Bronze Sponsors

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Sandstorm Gold Royalties

Event Sponsors

Fairmont Pacific Rim and PALLADIO Jewellers

Media Sponsors

Sportsnet 650, The Province, and Vancouver Sun




Thank you to supporters of the Sports Celebrities Festival



  • Simona Antolak
  • Stephanie Kaye

Tables Sales Chair

  • David Yan

Organizing and Advisory Committee

  • Christina Boram
  • Carmen de Guzman
  • Gunnar Eggertson
  • Jen Hansen
  • Lejla Karamesic
  • Nick Lum
  • Kellyanne Yep


  • Artisan Wine Shop
  • Canucks for Kids Fund
  • Chris Higgins, Daniel Sedin, and Patrick Chan (Guest Hosts)
  • Heritage Office Furnishings 
  • Joey Kenward, Don Andrews,
  • Marco Iannuzzi, and Nirvana Bandi (Talent)
  • Karen Christiansen Events 
  • Patrick Roberge Productions 
  • Pedersen’s Event Rentals
  • Vancouver Canucks Alumni
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC



  • Abbotsford Canucks
  • Canucks Sports & Entertainment
  • Dueck Auto Group
  • Empire Company Ltd.
  • Fairmont Chateau Whistler
  • Fairmont Empress
  • Gunnar Eggertson
  • Helijet
  • Long Beach Lodge Resort 
  • Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort
  • Rogers Sports & Media
  • Saxx Underwear Co.
  • Studeo Gyms
  • Toptable Group
  • Vancouver Firefighter Charities
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC
  • WestJet
  • Wheaton Precious Metals


  • Simona Antolak
  • Gary Arca
  • Gary Brown
  • Jamie Burns
  • James Carter
  • Marnie Carter
  • Jon Chandler
  • Cheryl David
  • Echo Brands
  • Gunnar Eggertson 
  • Geoff Gates
  • David Gunasekera
  • Tara Hassan
  • Tamara Howarth
  • Pam & Moray Keith
  • Jim Kershaw
  • Kirsten McElgunn
  • Majormaki Foundation, held at Vancouver 
  • Foundation
  • Odyssey Trust Company
  • Derrick Pattenden
  • Darrell Podowski
  • RBC Foundation 
  • Bjorn Read-Friedmann
  • Stephen Scott
  • Barbara Sims
  • TD Bank Group
  • Mark Woodall



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