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McKeever out as national team coach for Nordiq Canada

McKeever announced his departure on March 30 in an post on Instagram and X, formerly Twitter, saying that “it has been decided for me that my time at Nordiq Canada has come to an end.”
Robin McKeever times athletes' performances while coaching for Nordiq Canada cross-country ski trials at the Canmore Nordic Centre November 2023. JUNGMIN HAM RMO PHOTO

CANMORE – Robin McKeever is no longer Canada's cross-country skiing coach.

The former Olympian and long-time Canmorite is out as Nordiq Canada's top coach, parting ways with the national organization as the Winter Olympics approaches in less than two years. 

McKeever announced his departure on March 30 in a post on Instagram and X, formerly Twitter, saying that “it has been decided for me that my time at Nordiq Canada has come to an end.”

He continued the post by sharing the highlights of his career along with encouraging words to the team.

It has been decided for me that my time at Nordiq Canada has come to an end. It has been an incredible ride dedicating my life to this sport: Chasing my own performance goals as an Olympic athlete. Guiding my brother, Brian, to 10 Paralympic medals.

— Robin McKeever MSM OLY PLY (@robinmckeever) March 30, 2024

“My parting advice: believe in yourselves, together as a team you’re stronger than individually in this environment. Attitude is everything,” said McKeever.

Before taking on the position of the head coach of the national team, he led the Paralympic program, which achieved 36 Paralympic medals and 29 World Championship medals in 12 years. He also guided his brother, one of Canada's most accomplished athletes Brian McKeever, to 10 Paralympic medals.

Brian McKeever has been the Para Nordic team coach for Nordiq Canada since 2022 following his retirement at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games.

Robin McKeever originally took on the head coach position in April 2022, where he was set to train the athletes on their journey to the 2026 Olympic Winter Games.

Multiple attempts to reach McKeever by the Outlook were unsuccessful.

Kate Boyd – the first female high-performance director of Canadian cross-country – also parted ways with Nordiq Canada after eight years of involvement. She started as an athlete development coach for the Para Nordic team, which eventually led to her being the high-performance director for the Para Nordic team.

“It is with sadness that I share with you today that Robin McKeever and Kate Boyd have left Nordiq Canada and will no longer pursue their respective roles as National Team Head Coach and High Performance Director, Para-Nordic,” said Nordiq Canada in a March 21 news release.

“I know you[‘ll] join me in thanking Robin and Kate for their long-time service and wishing them exciting new endeavours in their professional lives. Both have been instrumental to athlete well-being and success throughout their careers with Nordiq Canada, and we are deeply thankful for their passionate contribution to the organization and our ski community.”

Nordiq Canada CEO Stéphane Barette hung up on the Outlook when he was reached Monday (April 8). He later declined to comment, saying the organization's policy for HR matters is to not comment.

"Our policy is to not comment on HR matters publicly beyond our related news release, when applicable."

In Nordiq Canada’s news release, they said with the change they will review the way they “deliver services” while remaining committed to their athletes.

“We remain 100 per cent committed to supporting athletes. We will work with athletes, coaches, partners, and staff to review and confirm a transition plan and our vision for the long term,” read the release.

It also says that this change “brings an opportunity” to make various improvements with the Olympic and Paralympic team, before announcing that former 2006 Olympian, Chris Jefferies is set to assume the role of high-performance director for both the Olympic and Para Nordic programs.

At the Canmore cross-country World Cup, the highest placing Canadian was Antoine Cyr who placed 16th in the 20km mass start. Shortly behind, McKeever’s son, Xavier McKeever, placed 19th in the sprint classic. The majority of Canadians finished in the 30s and 50s. At the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games, the Canadians took home eight medals in cross-country skiing, five of which were gold.

Jefferies was the head coach of the Foothills Nordic Club from 2007 to 2010 before an 11-year position as the high-performance program director for the Alberta World Cup. McKeever was also the head coach of the Foothill Nordic Club from 2003-07.

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