Curtis Nepinak has devoted countless hours of his time to local youth sports stars. Whether that be hockey, baseball or anything in between, Curtis has been front and centre as a coach for many different teams throughout the year.

The native of Skownan, Manitoba, Curtis has now been recognized for all of his efforts over the years, including this one. Nepinak has been named the Manitoba Aboriginal Male Coach of the Year, presented by the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council.

"As a teacher and a coach, you don't do things like this for awards, that's not why I do it," said Nepinak. "I do it because I love it and these kids love playing sports. My wife and family were so happy for me; it's a pretty special feeling."

Curtis spent a ton of this past winter in the rink as he coached the Winnipegosis Novice Tigers, a team that enjoyed a lot of success throughout the season. The team won all of their league games. They also won a tournament in Swan River and one in Ste. Rose as well. Playing in another big tournament in Dauphin, Nepinak led the team all the way to the championship final. 

The Tigers also went undefeated in the Parkland Hockey League and they were preparing to play Grand Plains in the final before the season was cancelled.

"The kids worked so hard all year, they get all the credit, it was a super fun season for everyone involved," continued Nepinak. "It really showed how much they cared when we lost that game in the Dauphin final, everyone was super upset because that's the only loss we had all season."

Although the sports world is currently at a standstill with no end in near sight, Curtis will be right back at it when the time allows him to do so.

"I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I love what I do, if anything, I want more Aboriginal coaches in First Nation communities to step up, we need more," added Nepinak. 

Moving forward, Nepinak hopes to work with the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council. A big goal of his is to get more aboriginal kids into sports.

"It would be great to build our own minor sports program for all of our communities," concluded Nepinak. "Like Skownan, Ebb and Flow, Crane River, and much more."

Curtis is also the principal at Skownan School.