100 Mile House local LaVerne Howard was awarded with the British Columbia Recreational/Grassroots viaSport Coach of the Year Award in Skating on June 9.
LaVerne and Surrey curling coach Paul Tardi were presented their awards by B.C. Sports Hall of Fame president Jim Lightbody and Community, Sport, and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender at the Banquet of Champions in Burnaby.
LaVerne has 55 years of figure skate coaching experience in British Columbia and Alberta under her belt, with 31 years at the 100 Mile House & District Figure Skating Club (100MHFS) teaching CanSkate and StarSkate.
“We truly believe that coaches have the potential to not only build great athletes, but exceptional human beings,” viaSport CEO Sheila Bouman said at the banquet.
“It is through extraordinary coaches like LaVerne that positive, inclusive sport experiences are born. We are proud to honour this inspiring leader for her contribution to sport, community and the lives of those she impacts.”
As for LaVerne, she is still surprised she won.
“I was rather ecstatic. It was a complete surprise actually. My daughter went ahead and submitted my name without me knowing. But I’m still very thankful.”
Her daughter, Danyelle Howard is the president of the 100MHFS.
At 71, LaVerne is limited from the ice due to several injuries including a broken hip. However, that doesn’t stop her from doing what she can to continue coaching.
“I plan to keep on doing what I love to do.”
LaVerne and her skating teams came back with a gold and silver in stage one female series at the Kamloops Skating Club tournament in March.
Alysha Buchi won gold while Vanessa Shearer won silver.
For what keeps her teaching after all these years, it comes down to the simple things.
“I just love coaching the kids. I love seeing the look in their faces when they finally manage to accomplish something they have been struggling with.”
LaVerne wishes to thank everyone who she has taught over the years and viaSport for bestowing her with the honour.