Sports » Features

Raymond leaves post as head coach

Canadian halfpipe snowboard team to maintain strong Whistler presence



The Canadian halfpipe snowboard team's next quest for success will go on without Whistler's Dan Raymond, who has left his post as head coach after two years with the team.

While announcing the roster of athletes for the 2014-15 season, Canada Snowboard officials also introduced Ben Boyd and Elijah Teter as the team's new coaches.

Raymond, who guided the squad to the Winter Olympics in Sochi earlier this year, said he'll keep pursuing one of his other interests while spending more time closer to home.

"Trail building is my new passion," Raymond told Pique on Aug. 25, while up in the alpine working on the ongoing Sproatt Trail project. "I've decided to focus on my trail-building business, travelling less and sticking around the Sea to Sky corridor more."

Raymond added that his long-term plans for the program weren't going to align with changes to the team's coaching structure.

Robert Joncas, high performance director for Canada Snowboard, said the coaching role is being reduced to a part-time position due to difficulties with funding — the halfpipe team receives no money from Sport Canada or Own The Podium — and Canada Snowboard was unable to offer Raymond full-time work or a long-term commitment.

"Dan did a fantastic job with the team," said Joncas. "We really liked Dan, we had a great relationship with him, and Dan has a really good vision for the sport.

"But we were looking for a part-time, seasonal coach, and that's not what Dan wanted to do."

Raymond said there were challenging moments for him as a program manager during his two seasons as head coach, but found his tenure to be a "good experience" overall.

"It got me to finalize my Olympic quest, in a sense, on a personal level, having been an alternate (athlete) at two Games," said Raymond. "But as far as supporting those athletes, it was time for them to have someone that was going to commit to four years leading into the next Games, and it was the best time to step away from it."

Though Raymond is leaving the program, the team will continue to have a strong Whistler presence. Resort native and three-time Olympian Mercedes Nicoll will be back for another season with the team as it prepares for the 2015 world championships, taking place in Austria.

Many of the other riders named to the team — Alexandra Duckworth, Katie Tsuyuki and Calynn Irwin on the women's side, Brad Martin and Derek Livingston on the men's — spend large portions of the year based out of the Sea to Sky.

Boyd and Teter are based in Colorado, where Boyd is the program director and Teter a coach with the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. Among the athletes they have guided to success are Kaitlyn Farrington and Ayumu Hirano, the women's gold and men's silver medallists in Sochi, respectively. Boyd and Teter will not be working exclusively with Canadian riders, said Joncas, but coaching them through two training camps and accompanying them at three World Cup events and the world championships.