Breanne Lachance is a top combination of player and coach.
The 18-year-old Murdoch MacKay Collegiate grad, who just started classes in early childhood education at Red River College, is helping to pay for classes thanks to her involvement in ringette. The Transcona resident received scholarships of $500 each from the Winnipeg Ringette League and the Manitoba Ringette Association.
Lachance’s longtime coach, Tom Mark, recalls her performance during the 2013 Western Canadian Ringette Championships earlier this spring. Representing Manitoba at the tournament, their River East squad came through to nab silver after a hard-fought loss to the hosts. Lachance, a forward, had previously won two bronzes at the tournament.
Earlier in the tournament, though, some of the squad’s younger players had difficulty adjusting to the level of play at the tournament, and team captain Lachance and her assistants made some suggestions to the staff.
"We just hadn’t found our stride yet, and she stepped back and asked to talk to a couple of coaches after the game," he recalled. "She said ‘We need to go back to basics. We need to talk about some of the things we did.’
"They weren’t performing up to their capabilities, so they took a step back and (gave us) a fresh look."
Lachance is set to embark on her 14th year in the league. Because registration numbers aren’t always equally distributed, she has had her home team based as far away as Garden City, but it hasn’t been a deterrent. Her commitment has helped her earn leadership roles on her respective clubs in recent years.
"I take it really quite seriously. I feel like it’s an honour to be chosen by the coaches and my other players," she said. "They see me as a leader and I want to make sure I stay positive out there for them, even if we’re losing."
Lachance said her experience working with the sport’s younger players has helped pave the way for her career path.
"I’ve been instructing and coaching ringette for a long time, so being able to bring all that experience into my schoolwork is really helpful," she said.
Mark said Lachance is well-known among younger players she’s worked with, and is recognized the moment she steps into a rink.
"Not only has she developed as a player, but she’s also developed as a leader," Mark said. "She gives back through coaching. She’s one of my go-to people for ringette clinics.
"She’s giving a lot back to the game. She’s not just a player."
Lachance credited her coaches, including Mark and Danielle Edginton, for helping spur her development.