Love of ice calls Eisler back

GLEN DAWKINS -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET

When Lloyd Eisler decided to hang up his skates earlier this year, he did so on his own terms. He was ready to move on with the rest of his life.

But he couldn't stay away entirely.

Eisler, who teamed up with Isabelle Brasseur to dominate Canadian pairs skating and win the 1993 World Championship before taking their show to the pro circuit, was in town this weekend to coach the juvenile pairs duo of Brandon's Jarret McKinnon and Britnee Revell of Kingston, Ont., at the BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Manitoba Sectionals at Pioneer Arena.

COACHING

The pair qualified for the Western Challenge, Dec. 2-5 in Mississauga, Ont., the qualifying competition for the Skate Canada Junior Nationals, Feb. 2-5 in Sainte-Foy, Que.

After officially retiring last month and starting up the Skaters High Achievement Readiness Program, Eisler was coaching Revell in Kingston when co-coach and former Winnipegger Ben Russenholt suggested they give McKinnon a look-see as a possible partner for Revell.

McKinnon was coming off a disappointing performance at last season's Junior Nationals in February.

"Ben and I spoke to him and said, 'Look I think we have a partner for you,' " said Eisler. "I had never seen him but Ben was very high on him and thought he had some talent so he came out and tried out. Three weeks later, he moved to Kingston and eight months later they're the (Manitoba) juvenile champions and going to Junior National championships with a legitimate chance of being on the podium and possibly winning."

Matching skaters together requires a coach to be part psychologist and part matchmaker.

"I guess I've been around long enough to know (what it takes)," said Eisler. "I can look at kids and say, 'I think you would look good together.' That's one thing.

"Being able to get along is another. A lot of it has to do with having the same kind of drive. Where do you want to be? Do you want to go to the Ontario championships or do you have aspirations to be on the World or Olympic team? Those are things that you start talking about as they get further along.

"Certainly both Britnee and Jarret are compatible. They both enjoy skating very much and are good kids.

"They both share the same goals and dreams of one day being pairs champions. That makes it easy to coach them."


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