Cynthia Chartrand started coaching for the Neepawa Figure Skating Club back in 2011. She started by coaching singles, can skate, and synchro. This past season was Cynthia's last as a coach as she has now retired and Chartrand is going out on top.
She won the Skate Canada Manitoba Volunteer Coach Award and she will be presented with the award this weekend in Winnipeg. For the past eight years, Cynthia has coached skaters as young as three-years-old and as old as 18-years-old. Her daughter also skated with the Neepawa Skating Club but she is no longer with the program.
"It was a shock honestly, I certainly didn't expect it," said Chartrand. "It was a little bitter-sweet because it is my last year. I announced I was retiring and I found out about two weeks later that I won."
"Neepawa made it very easy on me. I have an exceptional group of skaters and their parents are very supportive," she added. "It's an amazing club here with a ton of dedicated volunteers."
Cynthia and her family moved to Neepawa in 2005. At that point, her daughter played hockey. Six years after moving to town, Cynthia and her daughter were all-in figure skating. The rest has turned out to be history for the Chartrand family and specifically, Cynthia.
"My daughter watched a friend of mine's daughter skate and she decided she wanted to take part," said Chartrand. "They knew (Neepawa Skating Club) going into the next year they weren't going to have a coach and I thought I could try it. So I went and got my certification in Brandon and mentored over the summer and I started the following season. I was going to be at the rink anyways so why not be on the ice."
Not only did Chartrand volunteer her time to help young skaters grow their skills, but she helped a certain group get right to the top.
"Last season our oldest synchro team finished our first competition in last place and they were disappointed," said Chartrand. "We had two competitions after that and at the final competition of the year we kind of came out of nowhere and ended up winning the gold medal."
"Watching the girls really push hard that year was definitely one of my favourite parts of coaching here," she added. "They really never gave up."