The North Coast Nightmares said goodbye to their head coach Beny Bones in July, but they have opened their hearts to new head coach Chris Thomas, or as he is better known Skimo.
The former assistant coach has taken the reins and he said he is looking forward to the upcoming season.
Skimo was first introduced to the sport by his wife Trina Thomas, who skates under the name T-Virus and he decided right away that he wanted to participate. If participating meant reffing or coaching, he was game either way.
“I think I’m a good fit because I am enjoying myself,” he said. “When you’re doing a sport you have to be having a good time.”
Skimo has some experience coaching. In fact, he used to coach the speed skating team in Terrace, so the coaching and skating skills learned from that experience will have useful application to the Nightmares in giving them a new competitive edge.
“I’m looking forward to the team advancing,” Skimo said, noting that the team has been growing in the national ranking for roller derby.
He’s right, in a year the North Coast Nightmares jumped 15 spots on the national ranking from 195 to 180 according to the flat track stats and their score increased by 23.6 points in that time.
Leading the ranks is Vancouver’s Terminal City Roller Girls with 831.7 points, followed by Montreal with 820.2 and Toronto with 809.8.
“The team is hoping to continue becoming more competitive within the league and with the neighbouring teams,” Skimo said, “and I’m hoping to help with that.” If all goes according to plan than the Nightmares will continue to see their rank climb.
With this season wrapping up and fresh meat starting, Skimo said it’s time to start getting prepared for the upcoming season.
“I am looking forward to seeing the skaters improve,” he said, “and that’s already happening, noticeably.”
The fresh meat days started August 5 and Skimo said that it’s been going well. Twelve people showed up to skate and more are planning to come out throughout the week. The team had to borrow safety gear from Smithers’ Hudson Babes to accommodate the new skaters.
“Not everyone is interested in joining, but we’ll see where they are at the end of fresh meat,” Skimo said, “I’m hoping to get three to five people from it so we can get a full roster from it,” noting that he’d like to get another local team going so there could be more games sans six hours of travel time to Prince George.
The fresh meat event is being run by T-Virus — Skimo’s betrothed — he explained that it’s a chance to watch his wife coach and see what her tactics are, “it’s been a learning opportunity,” he said.
With Skimo’s speed skating coaching experience, his passion for competitive sports, his interest level in derby and, of course, his personal ties invested in the team, the North Coast Nightmares can only go up from here.