Source: North Bay Nugget
The Nipissing Lakers Nordic ski team has received a big boost with the addition of a new assistant coach who will join the team for the 2014-15 season.
Local product Dave Nighbor will join the Lakers coaching staff and offer valuable input, feedback and support to both head coach Toivo Koivukoski as well as all the student-athletes.
Nighbor said there are a few reasons he decided to step into this position and he’s already excited to get started.
“It is an exciting time for Nordic skiing at Nipissing because we have tremendous talent on campus. Toivo has done an excellent job building a community and pulling in strong athletes from around the country,” Nighbor said. “Once I had a look at the great deal of potential on the team, I was honoured to be given the opportunity to work with them.”
Nighbor is an accomplished athlete in his own right, having completed a successful career representing Canada on an international stage a number of times.
Raised in North Bay, Nighbor attended Chippewa High School and skied for Team Canada in eight world championships. While building his business (9 Lives Design), he earned a Bachelor of Design at York University with formal training in fine arts, graphic design, and interactive media.
Nighbor then graduated with Magna Cum Laude, co-chaired his grad show, and received national recognition from the Graphic Designers of Canada.
After graduating, he returned home to North Bay to give back to the community that supported him during his ski career. He maintains involvement with skiing through volunteering at North Bay Ski Club and now joining the Lakers as an assistant coach.
“I was fortunate over my career to have trained with the greatest Nordic ski racers that Canada has ever seen. Olympic Champion Chandra Crawford, World Champion Devon Kershaw, and World Champion Alex Harvey were close teammates of mine and I got to watch them go from small town kids to international stars,” Nighbor said of his career. “I've seen what it takes to be great in the sport and can help the Lakers focus on the right things to be successful athletes. Many athletes have the talent to be amazing and I am here to help them improve their technique and train effectively.”
Koivukoski said he could go on and on about what a positive influence Nighbor will be to the team, but he summed it up accurately.
“Signing Dave to join on with Nipissing Nordic as assistant coach is a huge boost for the team. He has had an accomplished career as a ski racer, skiing full time from a young age and representing Canada at World Championships, with many National Championship titles to his name,” Koivukoski explained. “For our athletes to be able to work with a coach with this level of experience as an athlete will give them confidence as they aim to take that next step in performance, aiming to qualify for World Championships and earn medals at National and OUA Championships.”
Something Nighbor believes in is that hard work leads to success, in any field, sport or job and that’s one of the things he wants to pass on to the Lakers.
“The most important thing I have learned over my career is that success doesn't happen by mistake. It takes thousands of hours of practice and sweat to be great at anything. Someone may possess talent but they can never meet their full potential without decades of hard work, guidance, and support,” he said.
There is some familiarity between Nighbor and the Lakers, as well as Koivukoski, so the transition shouldn’t be too difficult for anyone when the team begins training for the season.
That’s a positive for everyone involved in Lakers Nordic skiing.
“Nighbor has been working with our athletes over the past seven years through training camps, so we know that the quality of communication and team chemistry will be good. It has been a treat to work with him as he draws on a solid grasp of ski technique and physical training, along with his skills as a programmer and graphic designer,” Koivukoski said. “Having him working with the team will add depth to the level of support that we can provide our skiers as we further professionalize our program.”
Nighbor said he was in the same position these athletes are in a few years ago and he received help from the community, which is exactly why he wants to give back and help out.
No one can be successful alone and Nighbor believes in giving back where and when he’s able to.
“There is a great deal of value giving back to North Bay athletes. I feel a great connection with every athlete I work with in North Bay because I went through similar experiences and challenges. My parents, Martin and Dawna Nighbor, learned the sport so they could coach and support my sisters and I,” he said. “In 2007, I began putting on annual training camps for North Bay athletes with the attempt of helping any local athlete that had dreams of skiing on the international stage. If they dream it, I want to help them achieve it.”
More About Dave Nighbor
I graduated from Chippewa Secondary School in 2003 and went on to ski in 8 World Championships, acted as an alternate at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, and won 13 Canadian ski championships. I recently moved back to North Bay with my fiancee and Nipissing alumna, Jade Doyle. We are ecstatic to return to the community with plans to elevate sport, support the arts, and raise our family. In addition to coaching for the Lakers, I am a volunteering with the North Bay Nordic racing team alongside Coach Sera Tempio. Most of my time is dedicated to the relocation of my design company, 9 Lives Design, to North Bay and my latest project with Antoine Mountain's website and creative efforts.