Helped coach future Olympic champions
Figure skating has become a life-long passion (and career) for former Truro resident Paul MacIntosh.
A member of the Truro Figure Skating Club for several years in the 1970s, MacIntosh later moved into the coaching ranks and recently became Skate Canada’s newest nationally certified Level 5 coach, one of only 11 in the country to achieve this distinction.
“The Level 4 and Level 5 are quite a challenge,” said MacIntosh, 49. “Chasing these courses took a long time. But it was a lot of fun and right now there’s a little feeling of accomplishment.
“Overall, coaching is certainly a continuing education.”
MacIntosh, who now lives in Waterloo, Ont., where he is the skating program manager of the Kitchener Waterloo Skating Club, feels coaches should always teach with energy and commitment.
“You don’t know if you are teaching an athlete who is looking for exercise and personal challenges,” he said. “Or maybe you are coaching the next Olympic champion? Athletes of all abilities deserve your best.”
A career highlight to date was coaching Olympic ice dancing champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir early in their careers.
“She was seven and Scott was nine,” MacIntosh said. “I coached them for seven years.
“They are the very best of their class in the world and I was very fortunate to have been around them. As part of a coaching team I am pleased but mostly I’m happy for them and all they have accomplished. It’s been really wonderful.”
MacIntosh said he’ll be following Virtue and Moir closely when they compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
And another big year at the Kitchener Waterloo Skating Club is just around the corner.
“There are 2,400 skating members,” he said, of the club. “We operate in nine different rinks. I look after everything from registration to programming of schedules. I pretty well oversee the whole thing. This is away from the rink. I also put in 25 hours a week on the ice coaching skaters.”
MacIntosh reflected on his time in Colchester County where he got his start in figure skating in the early 1970s, after a brief stint in minor hockey.
“Janet Purdy and Susan Crowell were my early coaches,” he recalled. “As an ice dancer I enjoyed skating with Misty Steel for a number of years. It was a special time. And I’ll always remember the commitment and dedication for figure skating by people like Marg Pickrem, Velma Fisher, Avis Steel, my mother Edith MacIntosh and others.
“During the summers, Robert McCall, Marie MacNeil and many outstanding skaters came from all over the province to practice at the sportsplex in Brookfield. It was like a big camp. It was the place to be in those days for summer training.”
At age 18, MacIntosh left for Toronto where he attended college and continued training as a skater for three years.
“My sister Kathy (Boudreau) still lives in Truro,” MacIntosh said. “We keep closely in touch and I still have a number of friends and relatives in the Truro area as well. The last time I visited Truro was in 2011 when I got down to Charlottetown to help with workshops for Skate Canada coaches.
“Hopefully, I’ll get back again soon.”
Lyle Carter’s sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News.
If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.