Friday, April 9, 2021

Ignite cares, continues to help athletes grow

By Darren Steinke
Gordie Howe Sports Complex

Logan Hofmann trains in the off-season at Ignite Athletics.
The crew at Ignite Athletics have always taken a genuine interest in the lives of the athletes they train, and that characteristic has shown through in a more emphasized way over the past year.

Ignite Athletics was formed when Ignite Athletic Conditioning owned by Joel Lipinski and Jordan Harbidge and JB Performance Training owned by Josh Saulnier merged and located on the Gordie Howe Sports Complex grounds when the Indoor Training Centre opened in March of 2019.

Ignite Athletics aims to be the best training facility in Canada located on the best sports complex grounds in Canada. The crew at Ignite want to help the athletes they train to improve every day, so they can meet their athletic goals.

As a result of the great work the Ignite staff does, they’ve attracted elite athletes from a wide variety of sports along people who just want to be in better physical shape.

The staff has created a welcoming atmosphere at Ignite helping make the phrase “Ignite Family” a reality.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has gripped the world since March of 2020, the family feeling at Ignite has come more to the forefront. Most of the clients that visit Ignite have seen their lives change in a sizable way.

Over the past year, many athletes have trained for seasons that started and ultimately got cancelled shortly after starting. Athletes have continued to train often not knowing for sure when their next season will start.

Despite those uncertainties, the day’s highlight will often include stopping in at Ignite for a training session. Lipinski said you can see athletes have an extra jump in their step, when they come to Ignite.

“To be able to provide a safe, fun and positive environment during this pandemic, it is something we are very grateful for,” said Lipinski, who is also a strength and conditioning coach at Ignite. “The feedback we have been given by our athletes has been overwhelmingly positive.

Lindsay Berglof is long time regular at Ignite.
“In a lot of circumstances, the trip to our facility is the only regular outing scheduled in their day. The fact that we can keep the athletes on track to reach their health and performance goals does a lot for them mentally as well.”

Lipinski said one of the more pronounced strengths that has shown through from the Ignite staff over the past year is the ability to care. The Ignite crew has always aimed to build friendships with the athletes they train.

Those friendships have given athletes trust that they can let staff know when they not having the best day.

Lipinski said the Ignite crew has had to show more heart and understanding over this past year than they’ve ever had to show before.

“We have seen and personally felt the toll this pandemic has had on mental health,” said Lipinski. “The relationships we have formed with our athletes over the years is a large reason for our success.

“People do not care what you know, unless they know that you care. We provide a space where athletes are allowed be vulnerable, and we can meet them where they are now. We have also teamed with Clint Moroz at The Shift - Counselling Services and are involved with the Matthew Baraniuk Legacy Foundation, so that when our athletes do need extra help, we have the resources in place to make sure they are able get the help they need.”

Besides creating a great training atmosphere for athletes in the high school, young adult and adult age groups, Ignite partnered with the Gordie Howe Sports Complex to create the Spark Park Summer Sport Camps for children.

These camps ran for the first time last summer with children split into age groups from 5 to 8 and 9 to 12. The week-long camps introduced children to a vast array of sporting experiences with a highlight of getting to run the “Ninja Warrior” course set up at the Spark Park located in the Indoor Training Centre.

The Spark Park Summer Sport Camps are returning this summer with weekly sessions running from July 5 to August 20.

“The Spark Park Summer Camps have been a fun addition,” said Lipinski. “The amenities we have available to us at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex make it easy to run an exciting summer camp.

Spark Park Summer Sports Camps return this summer.
“We had great coaches and Taylor McGregor was our Spark Park Manager leading a lot of the organizational requirements. She was instrumental in the success we had last year. It was fun imagining an environment that we would want to be part of ourselves and trying to create that environment.”

Lipinski believes the camps really helped the kids both physically and mentally as they seemed to energetically jump into activities.

“Last summer, kids had not participated in any structured physical education in schools,” said Lipinski. “Therefore, we think that being able to offer these camps was massive to get kids active and socializing after being deprived of those two things for so long.

“I am also sure the parents did not mind and entire week with the kids out of the house, knowing they were somewhere safe.”

Lipinski said the Ignite crew is looking forward to running the Spark Park Summer Sport Camps again, and he credits the community in Saskatchewan for allowing them to happen by doing their part to manage the pandemic.

“The fact we can run these camps again this year means that people across Saskatchewan are being diligent with the protocols set in place by the government,” said Lipinski. “It also means we can continue educating people that these camps exist and how positive they can be for their kids to get involved with.”

While the past year has provided some unique challenges to the Ignite crew, Lipinski said it has been special for Ignite Athletics to operation on the Gordie Howe Sports Complex grounds.

“It sounds cliché, but it is a dream come true,” said Lipinski. “The facility is state-of-the-art while also being surrounded by one of the best sport infrastructures in Canada.

“We have had the privilege of being able to visit some of the top facilities in the world and I remember walking into each one with a sense of awe. I sincerely stop and look around with that same sense of awe everyday now. The merger with JB Performance and Josh has also been amazing.

Danielle Jasper has been a long time family member at Ignite.
“Josh and Jordan were good friends before the merger took place, which made things relatively easy. Josh has brought steadfast leadership, relentless work ethic, constant positivity and has become irreplaceable with everything he does on a day to day basis. I am grateful that somehow fate brought two of the best business partners I could ask for into my life.”

For more information about Ignite Athletics or to register for the Spark Park Summer Sport Camps, feel free to check out Ignite’s website at All photos for this post are courtesy of Ignite Athletics.