Vernon’s Eric de Nys is returning to Nordiq Canada to help develop Canada’s aspiring Olympic cross-country ski athletes into podium performers as the organization’s new NextGen coach.
De Nys, who was the Senior Development Team and Women’s World Cup coach on the National Ski Team from 2004-2014, will leave his head coach and program director position at Vernon’s Sovereign Lake Nordic Club that he has held over the last four years to take over Nordiq Canada’s Next Gen coaching reigns beginning Aug. 13.
“Eric’s extensive coaching experience and positive track record working with developing cross-country skiers in Canada speaks for itself so we are thrilled to have him back working with our National Ski Team program,” said Stéphane Barrette, chief executive officer, Nordiq Canada.
“World-leading coaching is core to the rebuild of our national program on the trail to 2022 and beyond. Eric is an extraordinary talent whose athletic background, coaching acumen, from the club to Olympic level, and leadership skills will play a critical role in developing our athletes into medal contenders internationally.”
De Nys’ experience is deeply rooted in Canada’s Nordic sports – from coaching and athlete development to creating a positive team environment at major international competitions including the Olympic Winter Games and program logistics. He rejoins a high-performance environment with Nordiq Canada that he is very familiar with.
After developing a group of Canadian women into medal winners on the World Cup and to the Olympic Winter Games in 2014, de Nys took on head coaching responsibilities with Winsport’s Junior Cross-Country Academy for one year before leading the redevelopment of Biathlon Canada’s national team as the organization’s high-performance director (2015-2017).
“I am very excited to return to Nordiq Canada to help build a strong high-performance pathway for our young athletes across the country,” said de Nys, who got his start in the coaching ranks at Calgary’s Foothills Nordic Ski Club. “I believe my knowledge of the system, along with my experience and tremendous passion for coaching athletes at all levels across the country, will be valuable in working with the staff in place, and all of our high-performance partners, to shape a promising future for the sport in Canada.
“These athletes deserve a strong pathway to support their pursuit of excellence. My first priority will be to meet, and develop relationships with the athletes and coaches in the system, to immediately start working together as a team to establish a program that will provide us with a road map guiding us back to the Olympic and World Championship podiums.”
An athlete for most of his life, the British Columbia native has represented Canada as a coach and technician at three Olympic Winter Games, seven World Championships, and seven U23 and Junior World Championships. He also represented Canada as an athlete at the 1994 Junior World Championships. De Nys has experienced the sport environment at both ends of the spectrum: from struggling to deliver results to celebrating medal-winning performances.
De Nys, who is the final piece of Nordiq Canada’s recently restructured high-performance department that has been designed to better support the organization’s long-term performance goals, will travel to daily training environments across Canada while continuing to reside in Vernon with his family.