Ice Show event honours a cherished coach

Kelly Bernard applauded by Killarney Figure Skating Club for 30-plus years of coaching 


A popular skating coach was celebrated last weekend, as she marked more than 30 years of teaching.

Kelly Bernard, who is retiring this year as a coach with the Killarney Figure Skating Club, was presented with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, following last Sunday’s delightful annual Ice Show, held by the club at the Shamrock Centre.

“She’s coached over 30 years with a number of other coaches,” said fellow club member Kim Webb. “It’s quite an achievement. She’s still on the ice with all these young skaters.”

Cake and punch were served upstairs after the Disney-themed event, with many other past coaches and skaters on hand to toast Bernard.

She said this week that she had started skating in Killarney as a child, with the Figure Skating Club. She was taught by great coaches, and enjoyed the love of a very supportive family.

“Where do you begin to sum up 30-plus years?” said Bernard. “My favourite coach was a woman from Brandon, called Cheryl Jessiman, who smiled a lot. Some of my favourite moments are remembering my mom, who was amazing: planning spring schools; setting up the dreaded patch schedule; bringing me hot chicken noodle soup during my breaks; sewing my skating dresses; driving me all over the region to test days, seminars, and competitions. I still remember how it felt the first time I landed my axel.”

In turn, both her children, Sydney and Jesse, also learned to love skating, she added, and Sydney is now heading up the club as a coach. 

“I can’t not speak about the relationship I have with Sydney, our daughter, because of figure skating,” said Bernard. “We spent every skating day together until she graduated from high school. We had a few years where she skated with teams in Winnipeg and Calgary. But she returned a few years ago, and is now our head coach. She has always loved figure skating, and we continue to love it together.”

The intense world of skating and competitions creates strong bonds between coaches, skaters, and their families, she added.

 “All of our skaters’ accomplishments – I could write a book,” said Bernard. “The connections are incredible when you spend early, cold mornings driving to competitions and test days. When we were learning about synchro, we broke quite a few rules those first years, but we had a group of skaters that really wanted to do synchro, so we tried our best to make it happen. I loved seeing how our club supported each other over the years, in good times, and not so good times. There were wonderful parents, with wonderful children, who wanted to learn about a sport I love.”

Bernard said she enjoyed coaching alongside great coaches, and still continues to learn from them. And the scrape of a blade on ice always gives her a thrill, she said.

“Walking into the arena still brings me much joy,” she said. “The smell, and the sound of the blade on crisp, clean ice. My goal as a coach was to create an environment where skating could be for everyone from the very competitive to the very recreational. And laughing a lot. I was not a special figure skater, but I feel so grateful to have been part of something so special here at the Killarney Figure Skating Club. Our Killarney Figure Skating Club is being left in great hands.”

Bernard will be retiring this year, she said, but that doesn’t mean she will be giving up skating and coaching completely.

“I will be, for sure, finishing this season,” she said. “But I will be filling in casually for our club here in Killarney, when they need me, and my hope is to do some work with special O.”

THE ICE MAIDENS – Retiring coach Kelly Bernard (right) is pictured with her daughter Sydney, who is currently head coach with the Killarney Figure Skating Club. Both women continue to share their love of skating and coaching – and Kelly will stay involved, helping the club out when needed.


KILLARNEY FIGURE SKATING CLUB ICE SHOW – It was a Disney-themed day during last Sunday’s Ice Show, and retiring coach Kelly Bernard (far left, with flowers) was also lauded at the annual event for her 30-plus years of coaching. With her in the photo are students from Pre-CanSkate to Senior Star. See action shots from the Killarney Figure Skating Club Ice Show below.