CANMORE, Alta.â€”Nearly 100 of the Canada’s top junior level cross-country skiers, training at four targeted clubs across Canada, will benefit from increased coaching capacity and athlete development as their clubs are the 2008 recipients of grant funding from the AltaGas Club Incentive and Coach Mentoring Program, Cross Country Canada announced on Tuesday.
The Sovereign Lake Nordic Ski Club near Vernon, B.C., Team Hardwood near Barrie, Ont.; along with Club Skibec Nordique and Club Nordique Mont Sainte-Anne in Quebec, were all selected to receive $8,000 AltaGas grants each amongst applications taken from top nordic clubs across Canada.
The AltaGas Club Incentive and Coach Mentoring program was created in 2007 as part of AltaGas’ multi-year commitment to support the growth of Canada’s high-performance cross-country skier development program. The AltaGas program is aimed at supporting junior athletes and coaches at the club level by optimizing high-performance coaches’ ongoing and practical education and training. The financial support also aims at improving the outlook for more full-time professional club coaching positions.
â€œWe firmly believe that investing in the development of quality coaches across this country will produce long-term benefits to the success of our sport internationally well into the future,â€ said Al Maddox, executive director, Cross Country Canada. â€œThis unique program initiated by AltaGas creates a sustainable career path for professional club coaches which ultimately results in increased retention of coaches while escalating the chances of developing young athletes across the country into world-leading performers.â€
The four clubs supported in the inaugural year of the program in 2007 finished first, second, sixth and seventh in the overall aggregate points at the Haywood Ski Nationals this past spring at Whistler Olympic Park in British Columbia. The Nakkertok Nordic Ski Club in Ottawa/Gatineau, who was one of the four recipients in year one, demonstrated the greatest overall improvement moving up from eighth overall spot at the national championships in 2007 to second place in 2008. With more than 65 clubs scoring points across Canada in 2008, club aggregate totals represent the strength of racing programs in Canadian clubs.
Clubs eligible for the annual grant were required to be registered within a division of Cross Country Canada, were committed to hiring a full-time head coach who is NCCP certified at the level 2 or introduction to coaching level, and must also offer year-round programs to a significant membership of junior age racers.
AltaGas Income Trust began fuelling the drive to medal performances for Canadian cross-country skiers in the fall of 2007 with one of the organization’s largest philanthropic contributions ever made in its history. In addition to supporting the nation’s elite cross-country skiers, AltaGas has committed itself to ensuring the success of cross-country skiing well into the future by supporting the next generation of athletes across the country through a series of events and activities like the AltaGas Club Incentive and Coach Mentoring program.
Source: Cross-Country Canada