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Former Capilano Blue lands NBA job

Rick Celebrini receives his honourary Doctor of Letters from CapU President Paul Dangerfield in June 2017. Photo Tae Hoon Kim / Capilano University
Rick Celebrini receives his honourary Doctor of Letters from CapU President Paul Dangerfield in June 2017. Photo Tae Hoon Kim / Capilano University

CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director

A former Capilano Blue is now a Golden State Warrior. Rick Celebrini, a former member of the Blues men’s soccer team and a recipient of a honourary Doctor of Letters from Capilano University, has been named Director of Sports Medicine and Performance by the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

Celebrini studied science and played soccer at what was then Capilano College in 1985 and 1986, knowing that he could later transfer to the University of British Columbia to study physiotherapy. In his time on the North Shore, he helped the Blues to two provincial championships and a bronze medal at the 1985 nationals.

“I already knew I wanted to apply and get into UBC and I knew what the standards were, so I couldn’t afford to slip up on that,” Celebrini said to CapU last June. “But also, at that age, you’re still wanting to go out with the boys and have some fun and Cap really provided all that. It was one of the best times in my life, that few years that I spent at Cap.”

After two years at Capilano, Celebrini played for the UBC Thunderbirds soccer team and completed his degree in physical therapy. In 1987 he also played with the Canadian U-20 national team at the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship in Chile.

Following professional stints with the Vancouver 86ers and Edmonton Brickmen, Celebrini turned his sights to physiotherapy. He completed his PhD in rehabilitation sciences from UBC in 2011, and focused his research on injury prevention, screening for injury risk factors, and promoting children’s physical activity.

Over the past decade, Celebrini has become one of the most renowned voices his field. He served as the manager of medical services and chief therapist for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and is the co-founder of Fortius Sport & Health in Burnaby. Before joining the Warriors, he was the head of sports medicine and science for the Vancouver Whitecaps and director of rehabilitation for the Vancouver Canucks.

In basketball circles, he is known for his work with BC native and Hall of Famer Steve Nash, who is now a consultant for Golden State. He has also worked as a therapist and consultant for the Dallas Mavericks, as well as the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, Canadian Soccer Association, and NHL Players Association.

When accepting his honourary degree from CapU last summer, Celebrini shared advice for others trying to make it in their field: “Find your passion in life and create the discipline to achieve it,” he said. “Anything’s possible with hard work and commitment and a razor-sharp focus.”