Ottawa, July 16, 2023 -- It is with great sadness that Water Polo Canada shares the passing of Claude Lavoie after a courageous two-year battle with cancer.
Claude Lavoie was one of the most prominent personalities in the history of Canadian water polo, having held numerous roles over a career spanning five decades.
As a coach of the Quebec City/Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge borough women's program, he built his team into one of the world's best during the late 1970's and early 1980's. His resumé also includes the past Presidency of Water Polo Canada and contributions to the organization of events, including World Championships (2005), the FINA Cup (1983) and the first-ever Women’s Junior World Championships (1995).
However, Claude’s most important contribution to the sport was as a fierce advocate for women's water polo. Through the efforts of Claude and a handful of others around the globe, women’s water polo was officially recognized at the 1986 World Aquatic Championships and became an official Olympic sport in 2000 in Sydney.
Claude Lavoie was inducted into the Canadian Water Polo Hall of Fame as a Builder last week at a celebration held in Montreal.
“I had the pleasure of speaking with Claude in 2022, following his nomination to the Canadian Aquatic Hall of Fame,” remembered Water Polo Canada President, Kathleen Dawson. “That phone call gave me an opportunity to thank him for fighting for women’s equality in water polo, work which helped ensure that women today are able compete in the sport around the world. At last week’s Canadian Water Polo Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Montreal, his positive impact on the sport and on the athletes he coached was very apparent, and he will be greatly missed. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”