Photo Couresy of:

Canada basketball
Canada Basketball

Ashley Hoitink and Jalynn Skeir honoured with the inaugural Mike MacKay Transformational Coaching Awards

TORONTO (November 23, 2023) – The Canada Basketball Foundation is pleased to announce Ashley Hoitink and Jalynn Skeir as the inaugural recipients of the Mike MacKay Transformational Coaching Award.

The Mike MacKay Transformational Coaching Award aims to promote and strengthen basketball leadership and culture while celebrating diverse and inclusive leaders in delivering positive sports experiences. An equity, diversity, and inclusion scorecard evaluates applications based on the coach’s efforts to address systemic barriers to sport and recreation.

“I wanted to establish an award that celebrates the qualities of a transformational coach,” said Mike MacKay, Performance Manager, Women's High Performance.  “Coaches who inspire the athletes are positive role models and challenge them, especially to think and treat them as individuals. I was very fortunate to have parents and coaches that demonstrated these qualities.”

“To support coaches like Ashley and Jalynn, who exemplify these qualities, is very rewarding,” said MacKay. “I am confident that we can continue to grow the importance of being a transformational coach by highlighting and recognizing these coaches.”

Each will receive a $2,500 bursary for their dedication to basketball and coaching leadership.

Since 2013, Hoitink has been a driving force behind the exponential growth of both the boys' and girls' basketball programs at Morden Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba, over the past nine years.  

“Receiving the Mike MacKay Transformational Coaching Award is truly a surreal moment for me,” Hoitink said. “My goal behind coaching is always the journey after the basketball career ends, to give athletes tools through sport that will transition into their adult lives. I hope to use the grant money to continue my coaching journey, whether in local clinics or outside of Manitoba.”

As a coach, Hoitink has worked to establish a basketball culture with the Thunder that challenges each of her players to reach their potential both on the court and in life.  Beyond Morden Collegiate, Hoitink tirelessly works to grow the game of basketball by organizing local development camps and girls' club programs.

This past summer, Hoitink was Manitoba Basketball’s 17U girls' team assistant coach who competed at the Canada Basketball 17U National Championships.

Hoitink has completed her Learn to Train, Train to Train and Train to Compete NCCP certification.

A leader within the Nova Scotia basketball community, as a coach, Skeir is committed to growing the game of basketball and being a positive role model for both her players and fellow coaches. Skeir developed the Armbrae Academy girls' basketball program and has been Head Coach of Sr. Girls Div 1 Tier 1 basketball team since 2020.  Before joining Armbrae, Skeir was an assistant coach with Acadia University for three seasons from 2017-2020.

"What an honour to have received the first Mike MacKay Transformational Coaching Award,” Skeir said. “As a young black female coach, my underlying passion for teaching and coaching has always been providing representation for youth who look like me and this award allows me to continue to do that.  Coaching not only puts me in a position to provide representation but also helps to create, encourage and empower young leaders. This grant will be a crucial catalyst in advancing my coaching path, granting me access to advanced training and valuable resources that will empower me to facilitate transformative change in my athletes."

Since 2014, Skeir has coached with Basketball Nova Scotia in a variety of provincial team roles, including U17 head coach (2022-2023), U17 lead assistant coach (2017-2018), U16 head coach (2106) and U14/U15 assistant coach (2014-2015). Skeir joined Canada Basketball this past summer as Team Manager for Canada’s U16 women’s national team that captured silver at the FIBA U16 Women’s Americas Championship 2023.

A two-time AUS champion as a player at Cape Breton University from 2012 to 2017, this past summer Skeir helped lead the Halifax Hornets to their first Maritime Women’s Basketball Association championship and was named MVP of the championship game.

A NCCP certified coach, Skeir has completed Learn to Train, Train to Train and Train to Compete training.

This award was inspired by James and Ruth MacKay, parents of Mike MacKay, who exemplified the qualities of transformational parenting and all the transformational coaches who’ve coached and worked with Mike throughout his coaching journey.

To be eligible, nominees must be at least 18 years of age, a resident of Canada (of at least 12 months), have started their basketball coaching pathway and will be completing or have completed at least one NCCP basketball training course, and must have coached for at least one year.  Of the annual awards, one (1) will be specifically given to a female-identified coach working with female athletes. 

The award is distributed through the Canada Basketball Foundation™, a registered charitable organization dedicated to unifying Canada as a basketball nation by supporting safe, equitable, and inclusive basketball programming. Working directly with Canada Basketball, the Canada Basketball Foundation aims to remove access barriers in community organizations that focus on delivering programs related to coaching and officiating, leadership and skill development, and serving equity-deserving youth groups across Canada.

For more information on the Canada Basketball Foundation™ and to donate to help support the organization’s mission to foster safe, diverse, equitable and inclusive basketball opportunities for coaches across Canada, click here.