Former national team racer among coaching appointments for 2012-13
CALGARY, ALTA. (June 20, 2012) — One of Canada’s most talented alpine skiers will make a welcome return to the World Cup circuit in 2012-13 – as a national team coach.
Stefan Guay, of Mont-Tremblant, Que. – the younger brother of reigning world downhill champion Erik Guay – will spend next season working with the men’s speed team alongside men’s program head coach Pete Bosinger and speed head coach Johno McBride.
The 26-year-old suffered a serious knee injury and hasn’t raced competitively since 2009 but he has an in-depth knowledge of the world’s top tracks and has spent the last few years coaching at the college level in the U.S. – as well as occasionally working as a guest coach with the Canadian Alpine Ski Team.
“I’ve spent a large part of my life watching video and looking at how the best in the world ski each course. I kept doing that even after I was injured,” said Guay, who won gold in giant slalom at the world junior ski championships in 2006. “Coaching is not quite the same feeling as racing but since I’ve been injured it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done.”
Guay, who was known for being a talented and fearless racer, has been coaching at Westminster College in Utah. Although he enjoyed his time in the U.S., he’s happy to be involved at the highest level once again.
“Last winter I was with the team a couple of times; now I’ll be full-time this winter,” said Guay. “When I raced I skied with most of the guys on the team - my brother, Jan (Hudec), Manny (Manuel Osborne-Paradis), John (Kucera) and Robbie (Dixon). It’s really just Ben (Thomsen) who I didn’t know.
“I obviously have a lot to learn as a coach but I’ve been surrounded my whole life by some amazing coaches. I know Johno quite well and I’m looking forward to working with him. The whole coaching (staff) is a great group of guys.”
Bosinger said he’s delighted Guay will be joining his staff as the team prepares to build on a solid season and welcome back injured racers including Osborne-Paradis, a three-time World Cup winner, and Kucera, the 2009 world downhill champion.
“Stefan has obviously got the experience as an athlete. He was an incredible skier for Canada and unfortunately we lost him to injury,” Bosinger said. “He has knowledge of the race courses and the mindset you need to compete and he does have a coaching background as well.”
In addition to Stefan Guay joining the speed team’s coaching staff, Johnny Davidson will join the men’s technical team as a coach. A vacancy was created when longtime men’s head coach Paul Kristofic moved up to become Alpine Canada’s vice-president of sports and Bosinger replaced him. Davidson will work alongside technical head coach Kip Harrington, who took over that role last year and leads a team that includes 2009 world championship slalom bronze medallist Mike Janyk, of Whistler, B.C.
Jean-François Bélisle, who previously worked as a development coach, will now work with the Europa Cup team, while Nick Cooper will assist athletes coming back from injury as a return to snow coach.
“My overall goal is to continue to build the strength of this team from a coaching perspective and obviously on the athlete side as well,” Bosinger said. “We didn’t need to make drastic changes. We just needed to replace or add to what we had to make it a stronger team and prepare for the years ahead.
“This is a world championship season and our aim is clearly to defend that downhill title. We have a healthy team for the most part and will be coming into the season with big (expectations).”
Erik, who is five years older than Stefan, is looking forward to his younger brother joining the team.
“We never really competed against each other that much because of the age difference but he was obviously very good at a young age,” Erik said of Stefan. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he would have been very competitive today were it not for his injury.
“His racing background will help him tremendously. He also has a good way of explaining things. I’m very optimistic – we’ve got a good young coach who can learn from some of the older guys. I trust him and respect his (judgment).”
Stefan believes his experience as a racer will help him make a positive contribution to a veteran team that is loaded with talent and podium potential.
“I understand what the guys are going through and I’m sure I can help everybody,” Stefan said. “With Erik, we got along great as brothers and competitors when I was racing. I wasn’t sure how he was going to take to me coaching him but my brother, especially, realizes that I spent hours and hours and hours watching video searching for ways to improve. I’m looking forward to helping out.”
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