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Canada’s Women Olympic Coaches Head for Turin with Medals in Sight

February 8, 2006

OTTAWA – Ten of Canada's most successful women coaches are heading to the 2006 Olympic Winter Games with responsibility for many top medal prospects. According to the Canadian Olympic Committee's official team list, the women coaches account for 14.7% of the total Olympic coaching staff of 68.

The coaches are Melody Davidson, of Oyen, Alta., head coach of the defending Olympic champion women's ice hockey team; national long track speed skating coach Xuili Wang of Calgary, Alta., national curling coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson of Victoria; skeleton coach Teresa Schlachter of Calgary, Alta.; figure skating coaches Joanne McLeod of West Vancouver, B.C., Manon Perron of Boucherville, Que., Annie Barabé of Sorel-Tracy, Que., Sophie Richard of St-Charles-de-Drummond, Que., and Steffany Hanlen of Edmonton, and Margot Page of Calgary, Alta., an assistant coach with the women's ice hockey team.

Melody Davidson has served the team in coaching, scouting, development, and coach mentorship capacities for 13 seasons. Davidson, whose athletes include flag bearer Danielle Goyette of St-Nazaire, Que., was the head coach when the team captured the 2000 world championship and was an assistant coach of the 2002 Olympic team and the 1994 and 2001 world championship teams. As head coach of Cornell University's Women's NCAA Division 1 team, she has guided the Big Red to two straight Eastern College Athletic Conference play-offs.

Xiuli Wang coaches four 2006 Olympians; 2002 Olympic bronze medallist Clara Hughes of Glen Sutton, Que., 2005 world bronze medallist Kristina Groves of Ottawa, 5000m specialist Arne Dankers of Calgary, and 3000m Canadian record holder Steven Elm of Calgary. The 1500m world champion in 1990, Wang began working at the Olympic Oval in 1998 as coordinator of the Bronze One-on-One program. A national coach of the all-round program since 2002, Wang is a three-time recipient of the Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award and a winner of Speed Skating Canada's Female Coach Award.

Award-winning coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson will guide the fortunes of Alberta's Kleibrink rink, which consists of skip Shannon Kleibrink of Pelly, Saskatchewan, third Amy Nixon of Regina, second Glenys Bakker of Nanton, Alta., lead Christine Keshen of Invermere, B.C., and alternate Sandra Jenkins of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. She coached the Kelley Law rink to the 2000 world title, has worked as a consultant with the Korean Curling Federation, the Danish Curling Association, and the World Curling Federation, and was Japan's national and Olympic coach for five years.

Teresa Schlacter was a brakeman with the national bobsleigh team, appearing at two world championships and numerous World Cups, and at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games as an alternate. Moving on to a coaching career, she became high performance director of Bobsleigh Canada's skeleton program. After Canada won seven medals at three world skeleton championships, she was made general manager and head coach for the 2006 Games. Schlachter has a master's degree in high performance coaching and has won three Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Awards. Canada's skeleton team goes to Turin led by 2006 World Cup champions Mellisa Hollingsworth-Richards of Eckville, Ata., and Jeff Pain of Calgary, Alta.

Joanne McLeod, who coaches 2006 Olympians Emanuel Sandhu of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Mira Leung of Vancouver, B.C., is the skating director at the BC Centre of Excellence. She has developed many national and international champions. At the 2006 national championships, her skaters were medallists in all the singles categories. Sandhu and Leung were named to the 2006 World Team and Kevin Reynolds of North Vancouver made the junior national team. Her awards include Skate Canada's 2002 Possibilities Award and 2004 Competitive Coach Award of Excellence. She was the Coaches Association of British Columbia's International Coach of the Year in 2004.

Manon Perron, who coaches Canadian singles champion Joannie Rochette of Île-Dupas, Que., and co-coaches Canadian pair champions Valérie Marcoux of Gatineau, Que., and Craig Buntin of Kelowna, B.C., has been coaching for 27 years. She runs her own sport school in St-Leonard, Que., where she has built a reputation for dedication and leadership. She was a recipient of the 2003 Skate Canada Competitive Coach of the Year Award.

Annie Barabé is a coach of 2006 Olympians Shawn Sawyer of Edmunston, N.B., pair skaters Jessica Dubé of St. Cyrille de Wendover, Que., and Bryce Davison of Drummondville, Que., and 2004 national champion Cynthia Phaneuf of Contrecoeur, Que., currently injured. Coaching since 1989, Barabé has been part of the national team since 1995 and with the World Team since 2005. Barabé has twice been named Quebec's Coach of the Month and also received a gold medal from the National Coaching Institute-Montreal and le Club de la Médaille d'Or.

Sophie Richard, who makes her Olympic coaching debut at Turin, has been coaching since 1992 and co-coaches national team members Sawyer, Dubé, Davison, and Phaneuf with Annie Barabé, Yvan Desjardins, and Josianne Fréchette at the Club de patinage artistique de Drummondville et de Ste-Julie. She has coached at international competitions for 10 years.

Since 2003, Steffany Hanlen has been a coach of Canadian dance champions and 2005 Grand Prix Final bronze medallists Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon, both of Longueuil, Que. She was a Skate Canada Master Course Conductor and master coach from 1984 to 1996 and was the strength and conditioning specialist and skating coach for the Edmonton Oilers from 1991 to 2000 and skating coach for the St. Louis Blues organization from 2000 to 2005.

Margot Page was named an assistant coach of the national women's team and the 2006 Olympic team in 2004. She was the head coach of the 2003-2004 national under-22 team and assistant coach when the national team won the 2005 Torino Ice Pre-Olympic Tournament, the 2005 Four Nations Cup, and the silver medal at the 2005 world championships. Page is the only head coach in the history of women's hockey at Niagara (NY) University, joining the Division 1 Purple Eagles in 1997. The first former national team player to be part of the national coaching staff, she won gold medals at the 1990, 1992, and 1994 world championships.

CAC is a not-for-profit amateur sport organization with the mandate to improve the effectiveness of coaching across all sports and at all levels of the sport system. Visit for more information about coach education and training.

The Women in Coaching program is a national campaign to increase the number of coaching opportunities for women at all levels of sport. Since 1987, women coaches across Canada have benefited from professional development grants, National Team Apprenticeship Program grants, Best Practices grants, and National Coaching Institute scholarships. The program also develops resources for women coaches including the Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching.



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