Meet the Coaches: Katie Gaskin

2021-22 Team: U18 A

Coaching History: 2 years with VFIHA (U18 A), former U15 AAA coach in Toronto

What was your coaching pathway?
I started my coaching journey at age 17 as a powerskating and skills development coach in Toronto. My own powerskating coach, who I’d worked with since I was 12 years old, was a wonderful female mentor for me and inspired me to begin working with young skaters. As I transitioned to playing hockey throughout university and grad school, I continued working as a “guest” powerskating/skills coach for a number of different minor hockey associations. Once graduating school, I became an assistant coach for a U15 AAA team in Toronto. After moving to Vancouver in 2019, I was so happy to find a coaching role with VFIHA!

Who is a coach you had in minor hockey who inspired you?
My powerskating coach was a huge inspiration and mentor for me. She is an elite coach in Ontario and works with players from the grassroots levels all the way up to the CHL/NCAA/professional levels (men and women)! I was often the only (or one of few) females on the ice during her sessions, but she always made me feel comfortable and like I belonged. Her confidence in my ability influenced the others on the ice to respect me as a hockey player regardless of my gender, which made a massive impact on my confidence and really pushed me to be the best that I could. As a result of this, instilling this type of confidence in female players and showing them that they can be just as competitive as their male counterparts has become a huge passion of mine as a coach. She also had the amazing ability to encourage us all to work hard without having to yell or “intimidate” us, which ended up resulting in us all realizing that we had more fun and saw more improvement when we worked hard! This has also made a big impact on me as a coach, as I try to replicate this style to get the very best out of my players.

What is your coaching philosophy?
My goal as a coach is to foster an environment where my players feel comfortable to be themselves, inspired to put forth their best effort, and supported by their coaches and teammates as they work toward their goals. I value each player’s individual differences (from both a hockey and personal standpoint) and strive to coach them each in a way that brings out their full potential both on and off the ice. I aim to promote a “family” environment amongst the team, where each player is valued and encouraged to continually grow as a hockey player and person.

Why do you think it’s important for girls to have female role models in sport?
The impact of having a role model who “looks” like you or is the “same” as you is massive. It provides proof to girls that they too can work hard and achieve their goals as athletes, and that their gender is not a barrier to their dreams. Having a female coach helps to validate their place in sport, and creates a dynamic where they can relate their experience to their coach. The more female coaches we have, the more girls will be drawn to becoming (and continuing to be!) hockey players.

Interested in joining VFIHA as a coach? Contact us at coach@vfiha.com