Things have come full circle for the Williams Lake Skating Club with the addition of a new, highly-experienced coach to its team.
WLSC longtime head coach Joanne Macnair is thrilled to welcome Brenda Boulin back home. Boulin was born and raised in Williams Lake and has returned to the lakecity with her husband after a decades-long coaching stint with the Maple Ridge Skating Club. Boulin joins Macnair and Breanna Davidson to round out the trio of WLSC coaches.
“It’s sort of a funny story about how this all worked out,” Macnair said. “We laugh now as adults because I grew up on the Coast and skated at the Kerrisdale Skating Club and Brenda grew up here and skated in Williams Lake. We first met down on the Coast when we were little kids.
“She wound up coaching in Vancouver and I ended up coaching here, so we sort of swapped places, and now we’re both back here and not going anywhere now.”
As a young child, Boulin’s mom would drive her down to the Kerrisdale club every two months to work on her skating.
“We always looked forward to seeing each other every summer,” Macnair said.
Macnair and Boulin’s paths would continue to cross as competitors throughout their youth and, eventually, again as young adults in Whitehorse.
After moving to Williams Lake in 1979 to begin her coaching career, Macnair took a position as a coach in Whitehorse in 1981.
A year later, Boulin was also hired for her first coaching gig in Whitehorse alongside Macnair, which both said carried on the friendship between the two.
Boulin’s coaching career spanned across several cities including Whitehorse, Squamish, Chetwynd, Williams Lake (from 1987-88) and in Quesnel for 12 years before moving on to Maple Ridge.
“We wanted to move back here and we finally did it … with a little push from Joanne,” Boulin joked.
Boulin said she’s always loved Williams Lake and the Cariboo, and added is thrilled to “be back home.” Her mom was a teacher in Williams Lake and her dad worked for BC Rail while she was growing up.
Boulin started skating at the age of two in Williams Lake and graduated high school at Columneetza secondary. She said she still has fond memories of attending the Williams Lake Stampede around the age of five with her dad.
“When you drive into the city and come around the corner and see the lake: there’s just something really special about it,” Boulin said.
Now with three coaches, Macnair said the WLSC is better equipped to manage its some 20 competitive skaters and large group of CanSkate and junior academy children.
“Now with Brenda we will be able to increase our numbers, which is something we’ve never been able to do competitively,” Macnair said. “A third coach allows us to accommodate more skaters at all levels. Our club has been searching for a third coach for a long time.”
The WLSC’s competitive team welcomed five skaters from 100 Mile House to the team this year due to the club not having a StarSkate coach.
Learn to skate practices began Sept. 28, while competitive skaters took to the ice full time on Aug. 31, following a camp earlier in the month.
In January of 2021, Williams Lake is scheduled to play host to the Cariboo North Central (CNC) Regional Skating Championships, however, Macnair said that is up in the air currently due to COVID-19. The annual event features upwards of 300 skaters from throughout the region.
“They may move that event to Prince George, but we aren’t sure yet,” she said, noting the event is supposed to take place Jan. 15-16.
For more visit the WLSC’s website at www.williamslakeskatingclub.com.