Vanderhoof — Three coaches across the province have been named ViaSport’s 2014 Coaches of The Year including one special Vanderhoofian who has been recognized for her outstanding achievements under the recreational/grassroots category.
Nicole Ebert of Vanderhoof was awarded Grassroots Coach of The Year for speed skating at the 2015 B.C. Sports Hall of Fame Banquet of Champions May 28.
“The award was a big surprise. I had no idea I’d even been nominated. There are so many amazing coaches in our speed skating club and in Vanderhoof it feels like it should be a group award. The support and mentorship of the coaching group in this area is really what gives the kids such wonderful opportunities to be involved and active,” Ebert said humbly.
The Vanderhoof speed skating club, the Nechako Lakes Clippers, has Ebert to thank for having a huge hand in forming the club ten years ago. She has since become a driving force behind the now 70 athletes that make up the club and many of the skaters she has worked with have gone on to compete in the BC Winter Games, Canadian Age Class Short Track and Canada Winter Games to name a few.
Keith Gordon, 63, speed skating coach in Fort St. James, says he’s known Nicole for 15 years and is really impressed with what she is doing with the Vanderhoof club.
“She’s been able to guide and lead the club, get them started and create some great skaters. But the most impressive thing is the people who got together with Nicole who were able to build such a successful club with one of the highest number of skaters in British Columbia. So there’s lots of people doing things right. [Over the years] Nicole has maintained great interest in the sport and has motivated a whole bunch of people to learn more about the club and many more about coaching. I’m expecting there to be more coaches at her level soon in the fall. She’s leading a great group,” Gordon said.
Ebert also played a tireless role in having Vanderhoof host the Provincial Short Track Speed Skating meet this past March and some say it couldn’t have gone on without her.
“There is a tremendously committed group of skaters, parents and coaches in the club. We have benefitted from the support of coaches Keith Gordon from Fort St James and Adam Ingle from Prince George. Some of my favorite moments are watching skaters of all ages and speeds cheer each other on whether at a high performance meet, a fun race or in practice trying a new skill. It’s so rewarding to watch skaters from 4 – 65 years old push themselves to improve and succeed,” Ebert said.