By Nolan Kowal, Sport Performance Specialist
Peter Dick Award
Chris has been a leader in the Grant Park High School volleyball world for many years. She led the school to back to back Provincial Championships in 2013 and 2014 after a 37-year drought. Chris encourages her athletes to push themselves and never settle for less than their dreams. She instills in her athletes that to achieve their goals they must focus, have a positive attitude, take responsibility for their actions and work hard. Chris is a respectful role model for the young athletes and preaches the importance of team culture and connection. She has gone above and beyond to make sure her athletes are as successful as they can be and has mentored many coaches who have given back to the volleyball community.
As the head coach for the Minnedosa Chancellors Girl’s Rugby team, Kathleen Muirhead respects the game and all that it encompasses. Winning their third consecutive league and provincial titles, Kathleen has led her team to history as the first high school rugby program to achieve this goal. Setting clear expectations and making communication a priority allows her athletes to develop with a clear understanding of the program. Kathleen is well aware of the need for skills to be taught properly and never puts a player in a situation they cannot handle. Her knowledge of the sport of rugby and the level of trust she earns from her players allows new players to gain confidence in themselves. Kathleen’s players embrace her passion for the sport and always leave the rugby season eager for the next year.
For the last decade, Kelsey Foote has dedicated his time and expertise to volleyball in Manitoba. As the current coach of the Senior and Junior Varsity Girls Volleyball teams at Gilbert Plains Collegiate Institute, Kelsey also dedicates his time to coaching badminton and track and field. His athletes describe Mr. Foote as coming “prepared to practice, teaches with intention, thus making our practices more meaningful.” As a compassionate, patient and supportive coach, Kelsey is known for preaching to his athletes to always do the right thing. Being a positive influence on his athletes has inspired them to be better athletes and better people.
And the winner is…Kathleen Muirhead from rugby!
Vince Leah Memorial Award
Heather has coached many children during her time with the Manitoba Riding for the Disabled Association. With her lessons being taught in a group setting, Heather ensures that every rider is challenged at their own level. Many of the children who participate in her program have no other activities outside of school. Heather ensures that her classes are filled with lots of activities, disguising the work as fun. As a mentor for other coaches, Heather also spends countless hours volunteering her time to other coaches. She is always willing to lend a helping hand in anything that is needed.
Trevor Kriss is the coach of the 9-year-old A3 St. Boniface Seals. He is very professional and shows respect to all players and parents. Trevor has continued to coach in the same league for many years, developing players for further opportunities. He’s had a positive impact not only on their on-ice skills, but also on their roles as team members. Trevor constantly has discussions with his team on being respectful and understanding that everyone is still learning the game. By always encouraging good behaviour and never making the athletes feel bad for their mistakes, Trevor has created an environment for his athletes to thrive in.
As a current coach at the Pan Am Boxing Club, Krystle encourages her boxers to engage in all the positive health benefits boxing provides. Be it physical or mental health, she uses her platform to empower women from diverse and various socio-economic backgrounds. Krystle is a consistent advocate for youth athletes facing barriers to participate. By being committed to providing a safe environment and sense of community for all participants, Krystle’s athletes all work towards a common goal. Not only does she teach the important fundamentals required for the sport, but athletes come away from their training with improved confidence and self-esteem.
And the winner is…Krystle McDougall from boxing!
Female Aboriginal Coach of the Year
Danielle Daniels is one busy math teacher! In addition to her teaching, Danielle is also the Female Junior Varsity and Female Varsity Basketball coach for the Oscar Lathlin Collegiate Wolverines in Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN). Her teams attended several tournaments including the “AA” Zone 11 Senior Girls Basketball Championships, The Swan Valley Credit Union Invitational Varsity Girls Basketball Classic, and the St. Boniface Diocesan Centurion Classic. Outside of school, Danielle is the Head Coach for The Pas Thunder Under 16 Female Club team who attended the 2019 Manitoba Club Basketball Championship in Winnipeg. And to top off her year, Danielle was selected to be the Head Coach for Under 19 Female Basketball for Team Manitoba that will be heading to the 2020 North American Indigenous Games in July.
Male Aboriginal Coach of the Year
Curtis Nepinak has been coaching in Manitoba for the past 19 years! In 2019 alone, he coached Junior High and Junior Varsity Volleyball, Floor Hockey and Basketball at Skownan school, community Under 11 and Under 9 Baseball, and is currently coaching Initiation and Novice Hockey for Winnipegosis! Coach Nepinak makes it his responsibility for students to not only succeed on the court and ice but in life as well. He teaches his athletes to be leaders, how to be organized, and the importance of time management. He always encourages his students to persevere and to improve by practicing and taking the time to work on specific skills. Coach Nepinak has been an everyday role model, not only to his athletes but to his colleagues as well. Coach Nepinak often goes beyond his coaching responsibilities from buying his athletes dinner to finding equipment to working one on one with kids who need extra help, and showing up to every practice, game and team bonding activity. Many parents have seen the efforts Mr. Nepinak puts in and thank him for loving their children, teaching them, and encouraging them to remain positive during harder losses. He is known for being patient and kind, and giving everything he has to make the sport experience better for the kids.
Global News Active for Life Award
Lori Yielding has coached Special Olympics and the East Kildonan Eagles multi-sport program for 12 years now. As the go-to person and co-coach for the Eagles, Lori is constantly stressing effort and sportsmanship from her athletes. She will cheer on a competitor as quickly as she will praise one of her own. By attending practices and beating personal bests, Lori has fostered self-confidence and high self-esteem in her athletes. With a focus on snowshoe and track and field, Lori was recently nominated for the Special Olympics Manitoba Female Coach of the Year. Lori’s dedication to her club has given her the time to show her athletes the importance of being active for life!
Tracy Sterdan & Tanya Manastersky
Tracy Sterdan and Tanya Manastersky have both been coaching Rhythmic Gymnastics for over twenty years. They are famous for taking parents in their fifties and turning them into gymnasts who perform on the world stage. As the coaches of Manitoba Fusion, the Active for Life Program, the coaches took a team of 47 members to Austria to participate in the 2019 World Gymnaestrada. As learning facilitators for the province, Tracy and Tanya focus on athlete retention. Keeping the sport fun and carving out space for everyone to participate is how these positive role models have kept their program so successful.
And the winner is…Tracy Sterdan & Tanya Manastersky from rhythmic gymnastics!
Learn to Train Dr. Jack Hunt Memorial Award
Peter coaches for the U12 Manitoba Thunder Softball team while also being actively involved in executive board meetings and mentoring new coaches. Peter ensures that all athletes on his team have equal opportunities and understand that their journey as athletes is just that, a journey. He encourages his athletes to grow, learn, and make mistakes. Peter’s display of leadership and belief in his team has heightened his athlete’s confidence. Development is Peter’s focus and he seeks out and selects challenging tournaments where he knows the athletes will grow from their experience. Peter’s knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment to softball has inspired athletes to continue in the sport for years.
Ian Grunewald currently coaches the St. James Seals Swim Club. Ian’s athletes look up to him for his leadership and integrity because he cares about their development as an athlete and their well-being as a person. Voted Coach of the Year by Swim Manitoba, Ian encourages his swimmers to be multi-sport athletes. By continually pushing to get better as a coach, Ian has passed along his drive and knowledge to his athletes, resulting in one of the club’s most successful years thus far. His support and honesty with his athletes is valued by all families involved in the Seals Swim Club.
Coaching for the East St. Paul Skating Club, Tanya Pilat has coached athletes competing regionally and nationally. As a driving force behind new programs and opportunities for Manitoba skaters, Tanya has booked ice time at various locations to ensure her athletes are getting the practice time they need to develop. Tanya is a mentor for other coaches and program assistants in the CanSkate programs to ensure they are operating smoothly and effectively. She makes herself approachable to answer any questions that athletes or coaches may have. Tanya is a dedicated coach who is passionate about the development of Manitoba’s figure skating athletes and coaches.
And the winner is…Tanya Pilat from figure skating!
Train to Train Janet Arnott Memorial Award
Tom Clasper is the head coach for the Junior Men’s Team Manitoba Curling Team. Coaching athletes at the provincial and national level, Tom is an integral part of Curl Manitoba and wears many hats. He is involved as a coach, instructor, volunteer, event chairperson, facilitator, club president, and mentor coach. Tom leads by example and is always on time for practice with a plan in place. He is very thorough, open to questions, and strives to bring out the best in his athletes. He treats every player with respect and is more than a coach, he is also a mentor and a friend.
In 2019 Garth Goodbrandson was a coach for the Western Canada Summer Games, Golf Manitoba’s Junior Development Teams, and the University of Manitoba Bison’s Men’s Golf Team. With athletes competing at the national level, Garth was a consistent developmental mentor for these athletes throughout the year. In addition to his work for Golf Manitoba, by facilitating coaching courses, Garth is a co-director for junior development golf tours to allow athletes more competition experience.
Chris and Lorne Hamblin
Chris and Lorne Hamblin are very dedicated to growing the sport of curling. This power duo has been working together for over 40 years sharing their coaching talents with athletes of all levels from learn to train to the Olympic level. They were instrumental in establishing the Cargill Curling Training Centre, a year-round training facility with resources to develop curlers from beginner to elite in Morris, Manitoba. Chris and Lorne are true inspirations to their athletes, earning them much respect and admiration within the curling community.
And the winner is…Garth Goodbrandson from golf!
Train to Compete/Win Peter Williamson Memorial Award
Cole Grant works with athletes from Canada and all over the world. At the Under 21 World Water Ski Championships, one of Cole’s International athletes from England took home 3 golds and a silver. At the same games Team Canada placed 2nd overall. Another one of Cole’s International athletes from Australia won a silver and a bronze. Using his exercise science degree, Cole organizes and delivers National Team Sport Science Camps to Canadian athletes each year in Florida. Cole has such a passion for his sport and an incredible dedication to growing the athletes of tomorrow.
Over his 32-year career so far, Grant Wilson has coached many volleyball teams from high school right up to the International level. This past year Grant was named the U SPORTS National Coach of the Year after leading the Brandon Bobcats to their best-ever season in program history, winning Silver at Nationals. Grant is very dedicated to the craft of coaching and demands the best effort from his players while always respecting the other teams and officials.
Ming Pu Wu
Ming is an extremely well-respected athletics coach not only in Manitoba, but also Nationally. He was selected to coach Team Canada and traveled to Naples, Italy for the 2019 FISU Universiade Games. Ming also coached at the Western Canada Games, Canada West Championships, USPORT Championships and the Junior and Senior National Championships this past year. Not only does Ming dedicate his time to his athletes, but he helps other coaches learn, understand and develop their own coaching skills.
And the winner is…Cole Grant from waterski!
Congratulations to all of the nominees, finalists, and winners!