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Fabienne Blizzard returns to lead Canada at the FIBA U17 Women’s World Cup 2024

U17 Women


Apr 25, 2024

TORONTO (April 25, 2024) – Canada Basketball announced Thursday that Fabienne Blizzard will return this summer to lead Canada at the FIBA U17 Women’s World Cup 2024 in Leon and Irapuato, Mexico.

“I am incredibly honoured and blessed to represent our country as the head coach of the Canadian Women’s U17 National Team alongside incredible players and coaches,” said Blizzard. I'm excited to start working with the best in Canada to make an impact on the global stage and create lifelong memories in the red and white with my Canada Basketball family.”

Last summer, Blizzard made her head coaching debut for Canada, leading the team to a second-place finish at the FIBA U16 Women's Americas Championship 2023 to qualify for the upcoming FIBA U17 Women’s World Cup 2024. A long-time assistant coach with various Canadian women’s age-group teams, Blizzard also led Ontario U15 and U17 provincial teams to three national titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018.  The co-founder of Capital Courts Academy, Blizzard is actively involved in girls' basketball as a coach and mentor, and in 2021, was hired by her hometown, Ottawa BlackJacks, as an assistant coach. Blizzard is Train to Compete Certified, Train to Train Certified, and Learn to Train Certified.

Assistant coaches Isabel Ormond and Dianna Ros will return from last summer’s silver medal-winning staff. Coach Consultant Tenicha Gittens and Jalynn Skeir, who will serve as Team Manager/Apprentice Coach and Performance Analyst Drew Smillie, round out the selections.   

In her first season as head coach of the University of British Columbia women’s basketball team, Ormond led the Thunderbirds to a second-place finish in the Canada West conference with a 17-3 regular season record.  Before joining UBC last summer, Ormond was the associate head coach for a University of Alberta Pandas women's basketball team that captured the program's first-ever Canada West title and a bronze medal at the U SPORTS national championship.  Ormond, who has coached the past four summers with Canada, has also been actively involved with Alberta Basketball's provincial teams, including as a lead assistant with their gold medal-winning team at the Canada Summer Games in 2022. Ormond, who received her Masters in Coaching from the University of Alberta, is also Train to Compete Certified, Train to Train Certified, and Learn to Train Certified.

As the head coach of Bishop’s women’s basketball team, Ros led the team back to the RSEQ conference championship following a 9-7 regular season in her second year with the Gaiters. Last summer was her first as a coach with Canada’s women’s high-performance program after being involved with several Basketball Québec provincial teams. Later this summer, she will also be an assistant coach for Québec’s U15 team. As a player, Ros was a five-time RSEQ champion with McGill and earned conference Rookie of the Year honours following her first season. Ros is Train to Compete Certified, Train to Train Certified, and Learn to Train Certified.

Gittens joins the staff after serving as an assistant coach on Canada’s U23 team, which finished second last summer at GLOBL JAM.  Since being hired by the Concordia Stingers in 2015, she led the team to a pair of second-place finishes in the RSEQ (2016-17, 2018-19) and an appearance at the U SPORTS Women’s Basketball Final 8 in 2018-19.  Following the 2021-22 season, she received the RSEQ Coach of the Year award.  Gittens previously held several coaching positions with three Division 1 NCAA institutions – LaSalle University, St. Francis University and Howard University – and was an assistant coach with McGill’s women’s basketball team. Gittens is currently NCCP T2C in Training, T2T in Training (update)

Skeir joined Canada Basketball last summer as Team Manager on Blizzard’s staff.  Last year, she was named an inaugural Mike MacKay Transformational Coaching Award recipient.

As a player at Cape Breton University from 2012 to 2017, she was a two-time AUS champion. She also helped lead the Halifax Hornets to their first Maritime Women’s Basketball Association championship last summer and was named MVP of the championship game. Skeir, an NCCP-certified coach, has completed Learn to Train, Train to Train, and Train to Compete training.

While this summer will mark his national team debut, Smillie heads into the FIBA U17 Women’s World Cup 2024 with vast experience at the provincial level. As both the lead assistant coach and head coach on several occasions, Smillie led the U14W Team Ontario in multiple events in Canada and the United States. He was also the lead assistant coach of Team Ontario at the U18 Canada Games, leading the Ontario Women’s Team to a Bronze medal.

A former Coach of the Year award winner for leading Juel Prep to an undefeated 35-0 season in 2022 and a 2018 OSBA champion with Lincoln Prep’s women’s team as the lead assistant coach, Smillie is now the lead assistant coach of the University of Waterloo’s Women’s Program. Smillie is NCCP Train to Compete Certified, Train to Train Certified, and Learn to Train Certified.

The FIBA U17 Women’s World Cup 2024 will run July 13-21, 2024, in Leon and Irapuato, Mexico. Canada is in Group D and will face Chinese Taipei, Egypt and France in the Group Phase. This summer will be Canada’s seventh consecutive appearance at the tournament since it began in 2010, and their highest finish was a bronze medal at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship for Women.

Canada is currently ranked 3rd overall in the FIBA women’s age-group rankings, presented by Nike, up two spots following the conclusion of the FIBA 2023 Youth Events.