Celebrating National Coaches Week

National Coaches Week

September 17-25, 2022 is National Coaches Week in Canada. All of us at Baseball Manitoba love to celebrate our community members throughout the year. Join us this week as we celebrate all the hard-working coaches across the province. #ThanksCoach

Learn more about National #CoachesWeek here. 

Find Sport Manitoba National Coaches Week Resources here. 

Manitoba Coaches

During the regular season, we ask our community to nominate dedicated coaches for our Winnipeg Goldeyes Coach of the Month contest. We accept nominations May 1 - July 31. There are three winners annually, one for each month; May, June and July. Find the three winning coaches below and many other Manitoba Coaches you think deserved recognition. 

Coach of the Month - May - Kelly Hruska

"He has coached since 2007, specifically over 15 years of coaching in St. James. He always shows up as one of the first coaches willing to do BP pitching and is well known as the first base coach. His team won Cities and Provincials in 2013 and 2015." said his nominator. 

Coach of the Month - June - Jessie Kendall 

"Jessie stepped up and decided to coach an 11U team when nobody else stepped up and is the only woman coaching in the entire league (East End Baseball). She brings a positive attitude to every game and has gotten the most out of a bunch of kids who had never played baseball before this year." said her nominator. 

Coach of the Month - July - Michael Anderson

"Coach Mike had our 11U team hit the ground running. He brought together a group of boys with various baseball experience (some none at all) and has fostered a love of the game in a wonderful and positive environment. His passion and energetic approach had the team hitting the field with smiles. He gives each player the opportunity to try new positions, and is encouraging all the way. Coach Mike is creating a safe, positive, and fun environment for our kids to learn and love the sport of baseball. 11 Wins, 1 Loss, 2 Ties 2 wins were hard fought, rallying from behind - all thanks to Coach Mike's positive approach!" said one of his nominators. "Mike is an awesome coach as he puts the fun in fundamentals. He engages the kids, and laughs with them as he coaches and teaches the game. He ensures all players get a chance to play any position they want and promotes maximum effort and sportsmanship first and foremost. He has engaged the families as well and created a close knit group willing to assist him and cheer on every player. It has simply been a fantastic year for families, and most importantly players, under Mike's leadership." said another.

Congratulations to all three coaches!

Continue reading to learn more about many more of our dedicated coaches. 

Donovan Bergman

"Donovan is absolutely amazing with our U11 team. He is patient with the kids. They have come along way under his guidance. He also coaches a 13u team! We have won some and lost some but Donovan turns every loss into a learning opportunity. The kids never leave the field upset." said one of his nominators. "He really encourages kids to try every position, he allows them to have a voice. He knows the game and he gets to know the kids. It was a super fun experience for my kid! He makes the dugout fun, and gives kids nicknames, always has seeds and double bubble!" said another. 

Jonathan Peters

"Jonathan is new to coaching baseball, and has done an exceptional job teaching and encouraging our young team how to play the game. He’s taken the time to teach them actual skills and techniques, and the kids are learning fast! He works very well with the parents who assist him and is always open to suggestions. He also takes the time to make sure the schedule is comfortable for all parents who are managing multiple children and sports, which is greatly appreciated, and positive sportsmanship is important to him. Baseball is now over, but we’re excited to plan a fun group day for the team sometime this year! Thanks, JP, you did an awesome job! As the children are young and just learning, in eight weeks, they’re already all hitting from the pitches and several are remembering to cover bases! They’re more alert on their bases and chasing the balls! One child even caught a line drive. So their confidence is improving quickly!" said his nominator. 

Dennis Dufour 

"Dennis is exceedingly focussed on developing athletes to become better ball players and to become better people. His seemingly endless efforts to provide active and quality practices, while instilling a culture of teamwork has allowed the athletes to grow so much in only a few short weeks. As a team that is mostly younger in their age group, they have been able to stay positive, work as a team and develop despite being winless in league play this season. That is a great accomplishment in my opinion." said one of his nominators. "He is always approachable to answer questions and provide guidance and education in a respectable manner. He taught the kids as well as the parents responsibility/accountability in maintaining a positive attitude as well as a respectful demeanour towards all umpires and league officials. While not winning a regular season game so far this year, Dennis has accomplished getting the athletes to believe in themselves through positive mentoring. They continue to get better and hone their skill sets with each game played." said another.

Dan Johnston

"We struggled to find coaches this year in Morris, MB. Dan stepped up even though he has a busy work/life schedule. He has been the most patient coach I have ever met, he always speaks calmly and explains skills, tasks and advice in a way the kids understand. He is extremely compassionate and encouraging and always has a positive outlook on all aspects of the game. He has made it a point for all kids to be cheering their team on during the game, something that was really lacking at the start of the year. Our team has improved immensely this year thanks to him. Kids encouraged each other at every game, and there were huge personal improvements from all players." said his nominator. "The dugout flooded with excitement when the kids won their first game and everyone had the biggest smile on their faces, especially Dan who was so proud of everyone!" said another. 

Luc Jubinville

"Luc has been amazing with his team. The way he knows each and every one of their abilities and personalities to help and guide them individually and as a team. He preaches team before anything. And that's what sports is about. Working as a team to reach a goal. All the kids have taken leaps and bounds in their development. And it shows as they went 9-2-1 on the season. He keeps the mood light and if he sees a player struggling, he acknowledges it and pulls them aside to have an encouraging conversation. He also goes out of his way to help the young umpires as well. You can see the respect they have for him, asking questions and communicating with him if they need help. Luc has been amazing not only for my child but for everyone that has stepped onto that field with him this year. I couldn't of asked for a better role model for my son this baseball season." said his nominator.

Curtis Hullick

"Brandon Minor Baseball awards each U11 team one night to play under the lights at Simplot Millennium Park. Curtis's team was short three players on the night they were allocated. He did not want his team to miss out on that experience so he brought up three 9U players. One of these players was my son. As a coach and parent, my main concern was that the players would get scared of the live pitching but I also knew it would be a fun experience for the kids. We spoke to the parents and agreed to have the 9U boys fill out the roster so the 11U team could play under the lights. It was a great experience but of course, inevitably my son was hit with an errant pitch in his third at bat. Curtis was great with my son and really took the time to reassure him and encourage him to get back in there. At the last at-bat, my son hit a ground ball to tie the game. Post-game Curtis made a big deal about all three 9U players helping out and especially to my son for getting back in the box. On the drive home, my son said "I love Baseball". Wasn't the comment I was expecting after taking a ball off the nose but Coach Curtis sure had him pumped up." said his nominator. 

Daniel Linklater

"Daniel has sacrificed his time and efforts for this team. He goes above and beyond the duties needed. He keeps the kids and adults informed, he is patient and kind and energetic and knows the game. He has scheduled team photos, as well as has been the one to go and check fields when it rains. He reschedules games in an orderly fashion to make sure the kids get the time to play. He makes baseball fun!" said his nominator. 

Phil Kaleta

"Phil has always been the quintessential coach. He is patient with the kids and spends hours of his time on ensuring fair play in the roster. He takes the time with any concerns that the kids have and gives instruction in a way that continually uplifts the kids and instills within them the desire to improve and stick with the game. 2022 was a trying year due to the rain delays, but Phil was out at every field before the game to assess and often spent hours on a diamond the day before a game to prep it so that it would be ready to play on. Kids First! He loves the game and this inspires his players. Every player respects him and they give him their all. He has coached multiple teams at different levels over the last number of years. Our team finished in first place in our league play and we were able to complete more regular season games than any other team due to Phil's relentless drive to make sure the kids could play." said his nominator. 

Ben Baydock, Alexi Jubinville, and Nolan Scholz

"I'm nominating all three coaches on behalf of the parents of the White Sox because they were instrumental in leading our team from a winless season in 2021, to winning the Morden Tournament, City Championship, and Provincial Championship in 2022. They each played an integral role in the victories, as well as the positive development of our kids throughout the season. Even more astonishing, they accomplished this incredible feat at just 19 years old! We are so proud of them!" said their nominator.

Donny Malcolm 

"After two shortened ball seasons, Donny has stepped up to the plate to get his players back into the great game of baseball! Prior to the season starting, Donny took the time to learn and re-familiarize himself with the game of baseball. Once the season started, he was ready to go and was excited to get out on the diamond with his team. His energy definitely transferred to his players. Donny has taken the time to find community members with the knowledge of baseball to come out and share that knowledge with his team. This was such an asset to his team. Donny was always eager to get that one more inning in. It such a pleasure to see Donny's love of the game spill over to his players! The 13U Lundar Brewers made it to the finals in the Wayne Tucker Memorial Tournament. Unfortunately the game was rained out. They came in second in the Regional Tournament in the Interlake. The team went on to A Provincials in Winkler. The team went 0 and 3 but the team has shown so much growth from the start of the season. That alone makes this season for the 13U Lundar Brewers a success!" said his nominator. 

Aaron Couvier

"Coach Aaron is an amazing coach. He is patient, caring, dedicated, and hard working. He is always the first to the diamond and the last to leave, whether it's to make sure the diamond is ready or to help players. He is a positive and caring role model that always puts his players first." said his nominator. 

Clark Andres

"Clark gives every athlete on the team a fair shot and remembers that the main purpose is having fun and building good teamwork. He treats all parents, umps, opponents and players with respect and a friendly attitude and is very well respected in the community (and communities around us). He is an expert in coaching important skill development (i.e. pitching, hitting, etc.) He understands the important role a coach can play in an athlete's life. He is always willing to give rides and help anyway he can. We are so fortunate to have him and the other coaches too!" said his nominator. 

Dustin Hiebert

"This was his first year coaching. He took the time to get to know the kids and encourages them to always do their best!" said his nominator. 

Ian and Sherrie Hockin

"They are patient, fun, and teach the kids so much!" said their nominator. 

Kathryn Reimer

"Coach Reimer has the ability to connect with every single player on the team. She is encouraging, constantly teaching the players the game and the rules. Always goes above and beyond for the team." said her nominator. 

Courtney Yeo-Thiessen

"Courtney treats all the players with respect and kindness. She sees all the different needs and helps them individually. She has an amazing attitude and such a warm heart for all the children with all sorts of intellectual and physical difficulties. The Morden minor 13U AA team came to buddy up and play a game against our team." said her nominator. 

Kellin Friesen

"Kellin moved into the community and stepped up as a head coach at the onset of the season. He drafted the Winkler Giants from a group of players he was not familiar with and got to work. What makes Kellin awesome is his willingness to give every player the same opportunities to develop through positive reinforcement, winning is great, but he places his focus on enjoying the journey!" said his nominator. 

Dwayne Boulbria

"Dwayne is passionate about coaching, so much so that he's taken on the task of coaching both his sons' teams. His volunteer time does not start and end with practices either. He spends hours of his evenings watching videos and finding new and fun drills, talking to other coaches to get more insight, and planning ways to help make his team the best best ball players they can be. He has big plans and ideas for the future, and hasn't once complained about the amount of time & energy it will take to achieve those goals. When he's not coaching his two teams, he is driving his oldest around the Parkland to umpire baseball games, and sits and watches with pride and enthusiasm. He is passionate about coaching a respectable group of athletes and ensures an encouraging & safe environment. He is new to the head coach role at the more competitive 13U level, but has stepped up to the challenge and succeeded. At the 9U level, there is really no competition or accomplishments to earn. But seeing the progress in the entire team's skill level should be considered a major accomplishment!" said his nominator. 

Jerrett Gray

"He is attentive with the kids and they have fun together. They listen to him and enjoy the sport. He’s creative in using different techniques and water balloons which the kids love!" said his nominator. 

Brock Gibson

"Coach is very energetic, patient and wants to make sure every player is improving every practice. Husband/wife coaching pair are dedicated to the game and to our small community. Without them, our 9U team (made up of mostly 7 years olds) would not be where we are today. Because of them, every player had an awesome experience and this will keep kids playing the game. beginner players all improved and had fun doing it. That is an accomplishment!" said his nominator.

Norm Bruneau

"This was Norm's first year coaching ever. He did a great job teaching fundamentals, and the skills difference between the first and last practice were evident! The first few weeks, the weather wasn't great and Norm organized the use of our school's gymnasium to keep practice going, when it would otherwise have been cancelled. We're a tiny small town in Southern Manitoba, but it would be great if he had a little recognition to spur a little excitement for all the work he put in." said his nominator.

Greg Huzel

"Greg has worked with our kids and really helped them grow as players so far this year. He has come up with fun drills to keep it fun and fast paced. He has patience with our boys and is just so encouraging. He builds them up and never lets them hang their heads. He has worked to make sure all our rain games this year have been rescheduled." said his nominator.

Brent Unrau

"He truly cares for each kid and only wants them to do their best. Win or lose he just wants his kids to have a chance and try hard. He even scheduled extra practices for those that wanted. He promotes sportsmanship and being a good teammate above everything else. Last year the team was 0 and 9, and this year was 7 and 3. What a huge improvement in our kids! They played well and supported each other all year. The coaches are all so proud." said his nominator. 

Thank you to all who submitted a nomination! All of us at Baseball Manitoba also want to say #ThanksCoach to all the coaches within Manitoba. All of you have an immensely positive impact on our community and we greatly appreciate all the time and effort you put into baseball in Manitoba. 

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