Okanagan Hockey Academy’s (OHA) Cassea Schols has been named the British Columbia BFL Canada Female High-Performance Coach of the Year.
The BFL Female Coach of the Year Awards recognize and honor coaches who exemplify the positive values of hockey and sport, for their successful and outstanding achievements in player development and the leadership of their players and teams, while making outstanding contributions over an extended period of time coaching hockey programs within Hockey Canada female or minor hockey programs.
The selection committee includes a trio of Canadian women’s hockey Olympic gold medallists Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Gina Kingsbury and Caroline Ouellette. They are joined by Steve Lacoste, vice-president of sports and leisure with BFL, and Teal Gove, manager of hockey development with Hockey Canada.
Schols, who is in her first season as Female U18 Prep head coach for OHA, noted how this award means even more to her, knowing she was nominated by her own team.
“I think as coaches the most important relationship we have is with the people around us. I feel like in such a trying year I tried my best to make it exciting, and I think it just speaks to the environment that we had this year, and I’m happy to know that’s how the kids felt or obviously, those that nominated me, they felt that it was a positive year. I think that was our biggest goal, was just to make sure that not knowing what was going to happen that they still wanted to show up every day and have fun and learn and get better. And I think that obviously came through so that means a lot, that’s what probably means the most to me.”
Despite the difficulties this season presented due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Schols feels she was able to learn a lot about herself and the game of hockey, which allowed her to continue to develop as a coach.
“I definitely learned how much more important the smaller details of the game are and how much more I feel that they’re actually important that everybody knows everything, just giving them a more well-rounded game. So, doing a lot more research, attending as many coaching conferences as you can to just get different perspectives, and different ways to teach things and understanding how the game continues to progress, and I think that’s something that I definitely had more time to do this year.”
Schols hopes her recent provincial success will lead to more opportunities both provincially and nationally.
“Obviously, that’s the goal. I hope to get on a little bit more of those international stages and it would be great if this helps with that and just getting a little bit more visible out there. I think that’s everybody’s goal. But the ultimate goal is always to try to move through the provincial and national programs for sure.”
On June 11, 2021 one provincial winner in each of the Community and High-Performance category will be selected as a National winner of the BFL Female Coach of the Year award. These recipients will receive a $2,500 bursary, a customized Team Canada jersey, a five-year subscription to the Hockey Canada Network, a Hockey Canada merchandise package and a tablet.