Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton Names New Coaching Leadership Structure to Support National Skeleton Program
CALGARY—Canada’s high-performance skeleton athletes will slide into a new era with a team of coaches who will provide the technical leadership and support required for the nation’s best to achieve their performance goals in a safe and enjoyable environment.
Joe Cecchini, Kevin Boyer and Micaela Widmer will share coaching responsibilities throughout the athlete development pathway.
Joe Cecchini will take on a dual role of Head Coach/Technical Lead for the National Skeleton Program. After beginning his skeleton career on Canada’s National Development Team (2006-2012), Cecchini went on to compete for Italy at the 2018 Olympics. He has also been working privately with many of Canada’s skeleton athletes over the last two years as a club and international coach at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
“I have a 20-year career in Law Enforcement and planned to continue to advance my policing career after my retirement from athletic competition, but my passion for the sport just took over and led me down this path. I love every day I am working with athletes across all sports at all levels,” said Cecchini. “Skeleton is a unique and exciting sport, but we have recently lacked qualified coaches and leaders in Canada. I am driven to change this, and I will use my skills, experience, and continued education to create stronger leadership, remove barriers, increase access, and continuously look for creative opportunities to grow our sport.”
In his new role, Cecchini will be responsible for leading all aspects of program delivery for the National Skeleton Program: from coordinating the daily training environment with the athletes to managing training camps and competing on the World Cup where he will ensure optimal mentoring for the nation’s best athletes and working with our sport partners, individual coaches and the Canadian Sport Institute to align the training and preparation of Canada’s elite-level skeleton athletes.
“I am dedicated, determined and some might say obsessed with helping athletes and organizations reach their full potential,” added Cecchini. “As a coach and program director, I wil stress the importance of being mindful of the long-term goals and implications of all actions. Creating a safe and competitive environment for athletes to flourish as a team, and as individuals, is my number one priority. I also take great pride in my ability to listen to others and find a collaborative approach to problem solving. We have a lot of work to do to rebuild our program in Canada, but it is a very exciting challenge that I’m looking forward to doing with our team of passionate coaches and athletes.”
Kevin Boyer, who represented Canada at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and was a member of the National Skeleton Program for 10 years, will dive head first into his coaching career while supporting Cecchini as an Assistant Technical Coach. Boyer will work with athletes at the World Cup, Europe Cup and North America’s Cup in addition to taking on lead coaching responsibilities at the 2024 Youth Olympic Games.
"I am honoured and excited to begin collaborating with coaches and athletes from across the country to build an effective development pathway,” said Boyer. “Our athlete-centered approach will be rooted in meaningful coach mentorship, well-executed training camps and developmental-appropriate competitive opportunities. As a recently retired athlete, it is my goal to share what I’ve learned and experienced throughout my career to help the younger athletes develop, and our elite level athletes achieve excellence. I really care so much about all of the Canadian athletes and the success of this program so I hope I can play a small role in this team of highly-dedicated coaches to help all of the athletes achieve their dreams.”
Micaela Widmer is the final critical piece of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton’s newly created coaching puzzle that has been designed to build a development pathway that is accountable, reliable and dependable with a clear focus on recreating a world-leading program at all levels of the sport.
Widmer, who spent over a decade as a competitive skeleton athlete, having competed internationally for both Canada and Switzerland, will provide coaching and logistical support to Cecchini and Boyer as the National Skeleton Program Team Manager and as a Technical Coach to North America’s Cup development level athletes.
Passionate about growing the sport and encouraging female participation, Widmer has been working with Cecchini over the last five years as the program lead on all foundational driving schools at the Whistler Sliding Centre. She is passionate about growing the sport and introducing skeleton to as many people as possible and has provided coaching support to skeleton athletes throughout the pathway. Widmer has experience coaching World Cup athletes and was head coach for Canada at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games. The former president of the Alberta Skeleton Association, Widmer has also worked in both the public and private sector.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me to build on the program’s significant progress made to date, and lead this strong, cohesive pool of talented athletes while not losing sight of recruiting and developing the next generation of community heroes,” said Widmer. “We know from our own history that Canadian skeleton athletes can compete, and win against the best in the world while enjoying their journey. Working with the high-performance staff and this team of coaches, it will be my goal to create a belief in the system for this new generation of athletes and coaches that they, too, can achieve their performance goals at all levels of the pathway.”
“Working with our national sport partners, it has been our top priority at Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton to rebuild a culture of respect, kindness and fairness while delivering the critical resources our athletes need to train and compete safely on the field of play,” said Tara McNeil, president, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. “Canada’s skeleton program has lacked structure and a long-term vision of late. Joe, Kevin and Micaela are highly-motivated, passionate, decisive leaders who have the energy, drive, and experience required to provide the coaching leadership needed to rebuild the daily training environment, structure and continuity along the development pathway. I know they will be successful in guiding our world-class athletes, and building on our incredible skeleton legacy in Canada.”
Search is on for Nation’s Next Olympic Skeleton Heroes
The new coaching team will look to build its talent pool of athletes by holding a series of FREE recruitment camps across the country beginning in Ottawa, September 16.
The recruitment camp will be held at Terry Fox Athletic Park from 12:30-2:30 p.m. EST
All athletes must register by contacting Micaela Widmer at firstname.lastname@example.org
With a goal of expanding the depth of Canada’s bobsleigh and skeleton programs, the aggressive recruitment initiative targets Canadians, 14 and older, with athletic ability to the sport of skeleton. Athletes will be evaluated on a series of dry-land physical testing drills including short sprints, standing long jump and medicine ball throws.
Athletes with backgrounds in football, rugby, track, lacrosse, mountain sports, skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking have traditionally developed into excellent sliding athletes.
Additional camps will be held in Calgary and Richmond, B.C.
Calgary – Winsport Icehouse
September 30 – 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Richmond, B.C. – Richmond Olympic Oval
October 17 – 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is a non-profit organization and the national governing body for the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Karbon and Joe Rocket Canada – along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium and the Canadian Olympic Committee, Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.