Coaching Association of Canada

Meet the Groundbreakers

The Groundbreakers are women coaches who, by their athletic and coaching successes, have brought honour to themselves, to their sport, and to Canada.

  • GROUNDBREAKERS: Shattering Barriers the Lassen Way

    September 2009 –  Coaching weaves a thread through the stories of Moira and Jeane Lassen, the formidable mother and daughter duo who have carved out impressive reputations in the challenging world of international weightlifting More...
  • GROUNDBREAKER: Coaching is a Way of Life for Lynne LeBlanc

    March 2009 – Coaching takes many forms and while Lynne LeBlanc's path may be unorthodox, her impact is as undeniable as it is far-reaching. More...
  • GROUNDBREAKER: Formidable Athlete Transitions into a Coach to be Reckoned With

    August 2008 – Leadership is bred in Tanya Dubnicoff's bones. No wonder then that trail-blazing comes naturally. Gutsy performances on the cycling track made her a favourite of Canadian sport fans throughout her 12 years as an international athlete. Her successes landed her in the upper echelons of high achievers. More...
  • GROUNDBREAKER: ‘Shaking Things Up’ is Second Nature to Joan McDonald

    July 2008 – Joan McDonald has lived through plenty of changes to her sport of archery and more often than not, she was in the thick of things. Total immersion has always been her style, and today archery in Canada is the better for it. More...
  • GROUNDBREAKER: Pat Messner’s Lifetime of "Firsts" Remains Unequalled

    April 2008 – From the time Pat Messner experienced her first solo run on water skis, she dreamed of becoming a world champion. More...
  • GROUNDBREAKER: Debbie Muir Accorded Her Sport’s Highest International Honour

    June 2007 – The extraordinary career of Debbie Muir, one of Canada's great synchronized swimming coaches, was recognized with her induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame on May 22. More...
  • GROUNDBREAKER: Carol-Angela Orchard Orchestrates a Canadian Breakthrough

    April 2007 – From the start, Carol-Angela Orchard's 30-year coaching career has been studded with milestones. More...
  • GROUNDBREAKER: Johanne Girardin, Swim Coach Earns Top Spot

    February 2007 –  Johanne Girardin, age group coach at the Université Laval's Club de Natation Rouge et Or (CNRO), broke new ground when she became head coach of Canada's team to the 2007 Junior Pan Pacific Championships, staged in January in Hawaii, a first for a woman coach in Canadian swimming. Her merit-based appointment is a reflection of Swimming Natation Canada's Coach of Record Policy, which states that “eligible coaches … shall be ranked and selected according to the performance of the selected eligible swimmer. More...
  • GROUNDBREAKER: Legendary Coach’s Accomplishments Recognized

    November 2006 –  Renowned synchronized swimming coach Julie Sauvé, whose 31-year career is studded with more than 100 international medal-winning performances, was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame on November 1, 2006, joining 413 men, 63 women, and four non-human members. The honour recognized her training and choreographic innovations that propelled Canada to worldwide domination of the sport though the 1980s and 1990s. More...
  • GROUNDBREAKER: Softball Great Receives Highest Honour

    August 2006 – Lori Sippel's exploits as a star pitcher with Canada's national women's softball team have been recognized by her induction, in July 2006, into the International Softball Federation (ISF) Hall of Fame. The Stratford, Ont., native is one of only five Canadians of the Hall's 133 inductees. Sippel, who was named Team Canada head coach in March 2005, played for her country for 13 years, breaking in as a 17-year-old in 1983. Her pitching helped Canada qualify for softball's first Olympic Games appearance, in 1996 at Atlanta, where the team finished in fifth place. She then retired, returning in 1998 to help Canada qualify for the 2000 Games. More...