Coaching Association of Canada

Doug Tate and Michelle Darvill take top national coaching awards at 2021 Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Awards Gala

November 4, 2021

Major awards recognize Tate’s lifelong contributions to rugby and Darvill’s contributions to the Canadian Women’s Eight Rowing Team winning gold at the Tokyo Games 

OTTAWA, ON, November 4, 2021 – The Coaching Association of Canada™ (CAC) will celebrate outstanding achievements in coaching and sport development tonight during the virtual Petro-Canada™ Sport Leadership Awards Gala. 

Hosted by the CAC in partnership with Petro-Canada, a Suncor business, this annual gala honours coaches who exemplify the values and competencies of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) and their positive impact within the sport system of Canada. It is held during the Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif conference, Canada’s annual conference for coaches, researchers, sport executives, and administrators. 

2021 Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Award Recipients 

Doug Tate (Victoria, BC) 
Recipient, 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award 

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a lifelong commitment to coaching and coach development. This prestigious award is presented to an outstanding individual who has positively influenced the growth of coaching in Canada, contributed significantly to the sport community, shown dedication to upholding the values of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), and inspired future generations of coaches.  

Doug Tate has had an incredible influence on the sport of rugby, both as a coach and as an NCCP Coach Developer. His dedication to fostering positive relationships and maintaining an athlete-centered approach to coaching has cultivated a community of trust. He has been integral to the success of Canada’s rugby teams on the international stage and has inspired numerous athletes to give back to the sport as coaches and leaders. After his recent retirement from 27 years as the Head Coach of the University of Victoria rugby program, Doug leaves a legacy both on and off the field that will continue to enrich the sport. 

“We are honoured to celebrate Doug Tate for his outstanding contributions to sport over the past 40 years,” says Paul Carson, Chair of the Board, Coaching Association of Canada. “The CAC presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to an individual who has demonstrated a lifelong dedication to the growth of coaching in Canada, and Doug is truly deserving of this recognition.” 

Michelle Darvill, ChPC (London, ON) 
Recipient, 2021 Coach of the Year Award 

The Coach of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of a coach in Canada, both for the sport performances of their athlete(s) or team in the previous competitive season and for exhibiting excellence in sport values. The recipient of this award guides their athletes to success in sport and in life by instilling in them the values of honesty, integrity, a positive attitude, competitiveness, and a love of sport. This coach leads by example and consistently demonstrates a dedication to lifelong learning and continuous improvement. 

Michelle Darvill is recognized by her athletes and peers as a compassionate, courageous, and respected leader. She is a true advocate for lifelong learning and is consistently seeking opportunities to learn, both for herself and for those around her. Her ability to support the holistic development of her athletes while pushing them to perform at their best greatly contributed to the Canadian Women’s Eight Rowing Team’s performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games, where they won the gold medal in this event for the first time in 29 years.  

“The CAC is proud to recognize Michelle with the Coach of the Year Award,” says Lorraine Lafrenière, Chief Executive Officer of the CAC. “It has been so inspiring to see coaches across Canada guide their athletes to overcome recent challenges and succeed on the world stage. The resilience and confidence of the Canadian Women’s Eight Rowing Team in Tokyo speaks highly to Michelle’s leadership.” 

Martin George, ChPC (Silver Star, BC) 
Recipient, 2021 National NCCP Coach Developer Award 

Launched in 2012, the National NCCP Coach Developer Award recognizes an individual who have gone above and beyond to develop trained and certified NCCP coaches in their community. The recipient of this award embodies the spirit and characteristics of the “best of the best” Coach Developers throughout Canada.  

Martin George is a true ambassador for the National Coaching Certification Program and for the sport of rowing. He is a respected leader and mentor within the sport, and has dedicated his time to developing a strong network of support for coaches and NCCP Coach Developers. He has been instrumental in advancing the rowing coach education curriculum and is a strong advocate for the advancement of para-rowing in Canada. 

“Martin is an exceptional Master Coach Developer who has developed his skills and experience over many years engaged in the sport of rowing,” says Colleen Miller, Manager of Coach Education and Development at Rowing Canada Aviron. “He continually upholds NCCP standards and values, and he provides insight and direction for our coaching community to continue to strengthen and grow.”  

Thorsten Gohl (Fort Providence, NT) 
Recipient, 2021 Impact Award 

The Impact Award recognizes an individual or organization for their creation of an innovative event or program that has benefited the sport and coaching community. In response to a dynamic sport environment, the recipient has demonstrated perseverance and a determination to uplift those around them.  

Thorsten Gohl has shown a true passion for fostering growth and connections in the sport community. His drive to increase accessibility and inclusivity in sport has led him to create multiple new programs, including a mentorship program for female coaches in Table Tennis and a development program for hockey goalies to improve their eye-hand coordination and reaction time by playing Table Tennis. He has initiated numerous opportunities for people of all ages, skills, and experience to come together, and has greatly contributed to the growth of sustainable sport programs in the Northwest Territories. 

“Thorsten brings people together,” says Marles Martins, Technical Development Manager at Table Tennis Canada. “He supports and encourages everyone to become the best version of themselves. He continuously strives for the greater good of education, health, safe places, and opportunities for those that need them the most.” 

Leanne Sirup (Duncan, BC) and Patrick Leask (Brandon, MB) 
Recipients, 2021 National Indigenous Coaching Awards 

The CAC is honoured to support the Aboriginal Sport Circle in their presentation of the National Indigenous Coaching Awards, which recognize coaches who strive to foster the development of the whole individual through sport. In addition to their coaching achievements, recipients of this award have demonstrated a personal commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and fair play while acting as positive role models. Recipients also exemplify a commitment to a holistic lifestyle – one which embraces personal, physical, mental, cultural and spiritual capacities.  

A former competitive swimmer from Lake Cowichan, Leanne Sirup is now a national level swim coach who has led teams at the Canada Summer Games and the North American Indigenous Games. Leanne has assisted Swim BC in developing and implementing the Indigenous Community Leadership Program and supports the candidates in establishing youth Indigenous swimming programs in their community. Leanne has demonstrated care for her athletes’ overall well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic by running virtual programming and checking in regularly with groups of swimmers and individuals.   

Patrick Leask is from Sapateweyak Cree Nation and currently resides in Brandon, MB, where he coaches fastball, softball and hockey. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated barriers for the young people Patrick coaches. In response, Patrick held as many clinics as were allowed within COVID regulations and partnered with Sport Manitoba to make the game of fastball more accessible to the young people in his community. Patrick offered free clinics to young people ages 7-16, encouraging participants that have never played fastball to come out and try the game. 

Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Awards 

Petro-Canada will recognize 46 coaches from 16 unique sports with the annual Coaching Excellence Awards. These awards recognize coaches who supported their athletes to a medal-winning performance at a world championships event, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, or the Special Olympics World Games. Since 1986, Petro-Canada has honoured 1,305 coaches with this award. 

“The coaches we are celebrating this year have faced significant challenges and disruptions in sport,” says Kristina Schaefer, Director, Petro-Canada Brand Loyalty. “Watching the incredible courage and resilience they have shown has been truly inspiring. The success of our athletes on the international stage is a testament to the extraordinary leadership of our coaches and to the strength of the National Coaching Certification Program. We are proud to honour the accomplishments of these exceptional coaches, and I offer my sincere congratulations to all our recipients.” 

The 2021 Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award recipients are: 

Awards 1

Awards 2

Awards 3

More information on the award recipients is posted on the Awards & Recognition page of the CAC’s website, Watch the virtual live cast of the 2021 Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Awards Gala via the CAC’s YouTube channel

For media inquiries, contact: 
Anick Michel 
Manager, Marketing and Communications 
Coaching Association of Canada 

About the Coaching Association of Canada 

The Coaching Association of Canada unites stakeholders and partners in its commitment to raising the skills and stature of coaches, and ultimately expanding their reach and influence. Through its programs, the CAC empowers coaches with knowledge and skills, promotes ethics, fosters positive attitudes, builds competence, and increases the credibility and recognition of coaches. For more information, please visit, follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram

About Suncor 

Suncor Energy and the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) have a proud history helping build sustainable communities through collaborative partnerships that enhance the quality of life in key operating areas. Since the inception of SEF in 1998, Suncor and the SEF have contributed $296 million to charitable and non-profit organizations in Canada and internationally. The SEF is a private, charitable foundation established to receive Suncor's contributions and support registered Canadian charitable organizations. For more information about Suncor Energy and our community investment program, please visit our website at

Petro-Canada™, a Suncor business, operates more than 1,500 retail stations and 300 Petro-Pass™ wholesale locations nationwide. Petro-Canada’s retail loyalty program, Petro-Points™, provides Canadians with the opportunity to earn and redeem rewards. Petro-Canada is proud to be a National Partner of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees, supporting Canadian athletes, coaches and their families for more than 30 years. For more information, visit

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