One of the most celebrated coaches in Prince Edward Island, John Wilbert has taught his athletes, dedication, respect and drive and has passed on his love for the Canada Games and all they stand for.
Sport in the province of PEI has been blessed with some amazing coaches, administrators and officials throughout the years. People who have given countless hours, have achieved some great successes, and have made significant and long-lasting impressions on the Island sporting landscape. However, it is doubtful that anybody has given more, or has achieved as much success in a coaching career spanning more than 30 years, than Mr John Wilbert.
John came to PEI via Calgary in 1974, having arrived in Canada from his native Germany in 1959. It wasn’t until he came to PEI that he began coaching. Island judo consisted of a small group of clubs at UPEI and the base in Summerside, but Wilbert’s passion for the sport was beginning to rub off on the rest of the province. By the late 1970s our athletes were competing in the Maritimes and the Island was hosting championships, and for the first time we were sending competitors to nationals. Not only that, they were starting to win.
In his career as a coach, John has brought an incredible tally of national medals back to the Island. He figures it is more than 150, but that could be a conservative estimate. Of those, judo athletes have won an incredible 11 medals at Canada Games, far and away the best record of any Island sport. In 2003, Island judo athletes won five Games medals in one day, and in 2007, judo athletes won seven medals at the International Island Games in Rhodes. Success for the sport just keeps rolling along, and overseeing it all is John Wilbert.
When will he slow down? Not until he is good and ready, and not before the fire and passion burns out, and for those that know John, it’s a long way from happening. His thirst for knowledge is as great as it ever was, and he embraces every new theory and practice which will give his athletes an edge.
For his success and passion as a Canada Games coach, and for being a true Canada Games ambassador, John Wilbert is inducted into the Canada Games Hall of Honour.