OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Speed Skating Canada is excited to announce the recent addition of four coaches – two in long track and two in short track – to help increase capacity and maximize performance within its National Programs.
Former National Team athletes Muncef Ouardi (Quebec City, Que.) and William Dutton (Humboldt, Sask.) will be joining the Long Track National Program as assistant coaches, while Elizabeth Migneron (Montreal, Que.) and Olympic champion Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, Que.) will join the Short Track National Program in the roles of assistant coach and tactical coach, respectively.
Dutton joined the long track national team in 2009 and skated on the international stage for nearly a decade, winning five World Cup medals and representing Canada at Sochi 2014, where he finished 14th in the 500m and 26th in the 1000m. After announcing his retirement in 2018, Dutton joined Speed Skating Manitoba as the Provincial Team Coach and Technical Director, where he has coached and mentored over thirty provincial and development team athletes. Dutton will call the Calgary Olympic Oval home and directly support men’s training group coach Bart Schouten.
“This role is a tremendous opportunity to build upon my own coaching strategies and delivery to better serve this great group of athletes. It’s a chance for me to share years of expertise and utilize my Kinesiology degree that I’ve been working to complete over the past few years. Within my role, I think I’ll be able to bring some creative thoughts on technical development and I’ll be spending a lot of time providing video analysis sessions to my athletes. Another piece of the performance puzzle in sport is to ensure that the athlete’s are enjoying their daily training environment. A lighthearted approach and a good sense of humour from the coaching staff always helps to create a fun environment and I hope to contribute a little bit of fun!”– William Dutton, Assistant Coach, National Program (Long Track)
Ouardi made his national team debut in 2007 and would go on to represent Canada at Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games alongside Dutton, finishing 25th in the 500m and 32nd in the 1000m. Since 2015, Ouardi has worked as the Head Coach at the Centre d’entrainement de patinage de vitesse de la région de Québec (CEPVRQ) and most recently at the Gaétan Boucher training center in Quebec City, where he has led the Neo-Senior programs. Ouardi will be based at the Centre de glace Intact Assurance in Quebec City, directly supporting Gregor Jelonek and his training group.
“This position means a lot to me. It will provide me with the chance to progress in the Canadian speed skating community and to work for an organization for which I have a lot of respect. I’m happy to have the opportunity to learn from experienced coaches like Gregor [Jelonek], Bart [Schouten], Remmelt [Eldering] and Shannon [Rempel]. I want to be inspired by their success and their know-how. I hope I can help the country’s athletes show their full potential and make them great role models for all Canadians. Whether in the east or the west of the country, we have a lot of potential talent to develop, and I hope to be able to contribute to their progression towards the national team and possibly the Olympic team.”– Muncef Ouardi, Assistant Coach, National Program (Long Track)
Dutton and Ouardi join fellow assistant coach Shannon Rempel, who started with the organization in 2020 and will now support women’s training group coach Remmelt Eldering. Other changes within the Long Track National Program include long-time sprint coach Mark Wild undertaking the role of Director, High Performance on an interim basis and Todd McClements re-joining the Calgary Oval Program after four years supporting the men’s middle and long distance training group.
Meanwhile, the Short Track National Program has hired Elizabeth Migneron as an assistant coach. The Montreal native joins the program after nearly two decades of coaching with various clubs across Quebec. Prior to joining Speed Skating Canada, Migneron held the role of High Performance Director for the Ontario Speed Skating Association since 2018. In addition to coaching, she holds a master’s degree in Sport Psychology and has been helping athletes across multiple sports as a Mental Performance Coach since 2014. Migneron will work closely with Jeff Scholten and the NextGen team out of the Maurice Richard Arena in Montreal.
“I have been saying for years that the short track National Program needs a woman on the coaching staff and it is a real honour to be that coach! I have been involved with speed skating in various capacities for almost my entire life. One of my passions is to help athletes reach their full potential through holistic development and I look forward to sharing my experiences and to keep on learning alongside this great team of coaches and athletes.”– Elizabeth Migneron, Assistant Coach, National Program (Short Track)
Olympic gold medalist Olivier Jean – who retired from competitive skating in 2019 – will also join the short track program as a tactical coach. The three-time Olympian from Lachenaie, Que., skated on the World Cup circuit as a member of the Canadian short track team from 2006 to 2014, winning gold at Vancouver 2010 with the men’s relay. He transitioned to long track in 2015, reaching the World Championship podium in the Mass Start in 2017 and finishing 14th in the discipline at PyeongChang 2018.
”Since my retirement from sport, I have worked mainly with international athletes. It gives me great pleasure to return and contribute in the success of the Canadian team. In short track, the race tactics are what allows athletes to fully exploit their physical qualities. By combining my personal experience, quantifiable performance data and innovative strategies, I will support on-ice coaches with the goal that our athletes always show up at the starting line confident that they can reach their full potential.”Olivier Jean, Tactical Coach, National Program (Short Track)
Migneron and Jean’s hiring solidifies the coaching structure within the Short Track National Program for the upcoming season. The program remains under the tutelage of Sebastien Cros, who is supported by returning as National Team assistant coaches Marc Gagnon and Yannick Desmeules, as well as NextGen coach Jeffrey Scholten. Jonathon Cavar, who was a tactical coach with the program since 2020, has recently transitioned into the newly created role of Manager, Sport Pathway, where he will lead development projects for athletes, coaches, officials and competitions.