Professional Coaches:

Brenda Backen
Brenda comes to the Yellowknife Skating Club from Sedgewick, Alberta. She has coached with the club for nine years and has studied ballet and jazz for eight years. Brenda’s coaching philosophy is: "To provide the opportunity for all children to learn the sport of figure skating, by helping them to reach their goals and skate their dreams." Certification: Level I - Special Olympics, Level II - Singles & Dance, Partial Level III - Singles & Dance, Certified CanPowerSkate. Experience: Four years coaching in Alberta, Eight years coaching in Yellowknife. Team NWT Coach for: 2000 Nationals Special Olympics, 2003 Canada Winter Games, 2006 Arctic Winter Games, and 2007 Canada Winter Games. For private coaching rates, please contact Brenda.

For more information, Brenda can be reached at: 920-7887(h), 445-9892(c) or

Lisette Kaip
Lisette is a long-time northerner and spent many summers skating out of the Weston Skating School in Toronto. As a skater, Lisette has represented the NWT in three Arctic Winter Games (winning several medals) and two Alberta Sectional competitions. Lisette loves to coach all levels and teaches all disciplines including learn to skate, freeskate, skating skills, dance and interpretive. She has coached skaters to the gold level in each area. Lisette’s coaching philosophy is: "To provide a safe, fun, fair and affordable environment where all members have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential and realize their personal goals." Certification: Level II - Singles, Partial Level III - Technical & Theory, Human Resource Management certificate UofM. Experience: 11 years of coaching experience. Team NWT Coach for: 2004, 2006 and 2008 Arctic Winter Games, 2007 Canada Winter Games, Alberta Section STARSkate Finals (multiple times), and Alberta Sectionals. Lisette has served on the YKSC board as the Club Coach Rep; the Region Coach Rep with Skate Canada, Alberta Section; NWT Coach Rep on the NWT Figure Skating Association; and has experience organizing and conducting skating clinics. Private Coaching Rates for the 2008-2009 season: $40.00/hr or $10.00/15 mins.

For more information, Lisette can be reached at: 920-2423(h), 445-1129(c), or

Tara Kaip
Tara was born and raised in the NWT, skated out of the Yellowknife Skating Club and spent many summers training in Kelowna, Winnipeg and Leduc. As a skater, Tara has represented the NWT in two Arctic Winter Games (winning a gold medal in 2006), in the 2007 Canada Winter Games, as guest skater at another club's year-end ice show, at eight Alberta-NWT Section STARSkate Finals competitions (winning several medals) and once at the Alberta Sectional competition. Tara is a passionate and enthusiastic coach who teaches all disciplines including learn to skate, freeskate, skating skills, dance and interpretive. Certification: CanSkate Certified, Primary STARSkate Certified, Partial Level I - Technical & Theory. Experience: 1.5 years of coaching experience, 1.5 years experience serving as Club Coach Rep, and 7 years PA coaching for Yellowknife Skating Club. Private Coaching Rates for the 2008-2009 season: $28.00/hr or $7.00/15 minutes

For more information, Tara can be reached at: 920-2423(h), 444-0541(c), or

Kelly Cumming
Kelly believes that skaters should gain a sense of joy and accomplishment from skating by reaching their goals and by performing every element to the best of their ability. She believes that skating should promote healthy living and other life skills for all participants. Qualifications: CanSkate certified coach, Primary trained coach, Skater in Yellowknife since 1993. Skate Canada Tests: Freeskate Gold, Dance Gold, Skills Gold, Artistic Gold.

For more information, Kelly can be reached at: 446-5099(c), or

Cassandra Greening
Cassandra was born here in Yellowknife where she has also spent her entire life, but has recently gone to Calgary to further her education. She started skating at the age of 5 with the Yellowknife Skating Club and has had the privilege to benefit from some excellent coaching. Now it’s her turn to give back and hopefully spark some excitement into the up and coming skaters about skating. Cassandra has represented the NWT as an athlete in one Arctic Winter Games, 3 STARSkate Finals competitions and has attended many other competitions over the years. Certification: CanSkate Certified, Primary STARSkate Certified, Partial Level I - Technical & Theory. Cassandra has 1 year of experience as a coach and served on the club board as a Coaches Rep. Previous to that she was a PA with the club for 7 years. Little did she know that she was really going to love to teach skating and became very passionate about it after only one year. Teaching enthusiastic kids reminds her of what it was like when she first started. Cassandra teaches all disciplines in skating including Learn to Skate, Freeskate, Skating Skills, Dance and Interpretive.

For more information, Cassandra can be reached at: 445-1400(c).

Recreation Program Coaches:

Pam Stockton
Erin Ladouceur

Picking a Professional Coach:

How do I arrange for a Private Lesson?
All of the YKSC Professional Coaches (Coaches) are well qualified to teach your skater. They are each minimum NCCP Level I certified. You must contact the Coach of your choice and all scheduling of lessons and related costs are between you and the Coach.

What to consider when choosing a Professional Coach?
1. Talk to the Coaches! Introduce yourself and advise them that you are considering private lessons for your skater and inquire as to whether they are accepting new students. Talk to other skating parents for added information if desired.
2. Watch the Coaches to observe for yourself how they conduct themselves and how they interact with the skaters.
3. Fees! Fees for lessons vary, so feel free to ask the Coach what they charge. For the younger skater, you may wish to ask whether the Coach is offering small group lessons.