Some Changes to Canada’s High-Perfomance Staff and Bråten returns as World Cup coach.

Jason AlbertJune 8, 2021

Nordiq Canada announced earlier this week a reorganization of its high-performance team in the run-up to the 2022 Paralympic and Olympic Games. Kate Boyd, who had been hired as Nordiq Canada’s high-performance director in September 2020, will become the high-performance director of the Para-Nordic team.

Kate Boyd was announced as the high-performance director for Canada’s para-nordic team on Monday. (Photo: Nordiq Canada)

“Looking at the critical year ahead, and the expectations placed on our Paralympic athletes to not only repeat our success from 2018, but to also ensure the tradition of excellence with this program continues well into the future, I believe it is important for me to shift and fully commit my time to ensuring this group has the leadership and resources required to deliver podium performances,” said Boyd to Nordiq Canada.

Before the recent announcement, Boyd had been the high-performance director for both the national cross-country team and the para squad. Boyd was part of a successful group that helped lead Canada’s para-nordic program in the recent past. Robin McKeever remains Canada’s national team coach for para-nordic.

“The scope of responsibility for the high-performance director leading both the Olympic and Paralympic streams is significant,” said Boyd. “With the new season just around the corner, I believe I can have the most impact by focusing my efforts on leading the Para-Nordic group to Beijing and laying the foundation for success in 2026 and beyond.”

The high-performance void on the cross-country side will be filled by Chris Jeffries. Jeffries is currently the head coach of the Alberta World Cup Academy. He will continue in that role while adding part-time duties for the 2021-2022 Olympic season as the national cross-country team’s high-performance director.

Chris Jeffries will lead the Alberta World Cup Academy cross-country team and take on the responsibilities of the high-performance director of the national cross-country team for the 20201-2022 season. (Photo: Alberta World Cup Academy)

Jeffries will be part of a management team that includes Joel Jaques as the high-performance manager. According to Nordiq Canada, Jaques will handle the team’s logistics among other duties. Also on the cross-country side of the equation, Cindy Chetley will continue as the team’s high-performance coordinator.

Nordiq Canada also noted that Jeffries and Julie Beaulieu will work to build a sustainable pipeline of athletes, coaches, and stakeholders to fulfill Nordiq Canada’s mission of winning championship medals.

Back in April, Nordiq Canada announced two job vacancies, one for a National Team NextGen Coach, the other for a National Team World Cup Coach. The NextGen Coach, responsible for the national junior/U23 team, remains unfilled.

Norway’s Erik Bråten had been the team’s World Cup coach for the past three seasons. He resigned from the job after the conclusion of the race season. However, Nordiq Canada noted Bråten will return as the team’s World Cup competition coach. “Erik will lead the majority of the National Ski Team racing trips and assist with supporting the program remotely for the remainder of the year while working from Europe,” stated Nordiq Canada. “With respect to the delivery of the National Ski Team training program, athletes’ daily training environment coaches across the country will work together to support all national team athletes by taking turns leading camps and supporting at competitions.”

Erik Bråten (right) is pictured here with Norway’s Haga Ragnhild (left). Bråten will return as Canada’s World Cup coach. He is also the coach of Ragnhild. (Photo: @ragnhildhaga Instagram)

Bråten has returned to Norway after residing in Canmore during his previous stint with the team. It did not take long for Norway’s ski talent to gravitate towards Bråten. Reigning Olympic 10 skate champion, Haga Ragnhild, has decided to work with Bråten as she attempts to earn World Cup starts and an Olympic birth. Ragnhild was not renominated to Norway’s national team for the 2021-2022 season. Along with her individual 2018 Olympic gold, she was part of Norway’s winning 4 x 5 k relay team at the 2018 Olympics.

Jason Albert

Jason lives in Bend, Ore., and can often be seen chasing his two boys around town. He’s a self-proclaimed audio geek. That all started back in the early 1990s when he convinced a naive public radio editor he should report a story from Alaska’s, Ruth Gorge. Now, Jason’s common companion is his field-recording gear.

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