Julie McNeill celebrating 40 years of coaching

julie mcneill 40 years of coaching

40 years of coaching – that’s something to celebrate!


Julie McNeill began her skating career as a one-footed hockey player. She went to Forbie Kennedy’s hockey school in Charlottetown. She was the first girl on PEI to attend his hockey school.


Her father heard that perhaps figure skating would help her improve her skating. She started figure skating at Slemon Park when she was 10 years old. She loved it!  Julie always said that she wasn’t very athletically gifted but worked hard to be the best she could be.


Along the way, there were many bumps and bruises, failed tests, and poor placements at competitions.  However, Julie kept progressing and moved through the skating program.


As a teenager, she started helping with the young skaters. She travelled with her coach to Tyne Valley to assist with their programming.  When the figure skating program began in the Evangeline Region Julie was there to help them get started. She was skating with the Summerside Skating Club at that time.


A lot of people told her that she would make a good coach. When she graduated from high school in 1984, Julie went to Holland College in Summerside.  Evelyn Gallant, the president of the Evangeline Skating Club, asked Julie if she would like to do some coaching.


Back then, there were no skating programs for adults once you finished high school.  Coaching was the way you stayed involved.  Forty years later, Julie is still coaching out of the Evangeline Skating Club but also coaches out of Tyne Valley and O’Leary as well.


Through her forty years of coaching, she has made (and continues to make) a tremendous impact on the lives of athletes in the Prince County region.  This past March, she had 50 StarSkaters competing at the Provincial STARSkate Championships in North Rustico and 8 synchro teams competing in the PEI/NB/NS Synchronized Skating Championships.


Julie is not slowing down but continues to challenge and inspire her skaters to be the best that they can be!


This story was submitted by the Evangeline Skating Club.