MWBA - Maritime Womens Basketball Association

Former MWBAer Joins UBC

We thank UBC Communications and Toby Kerr for this story (with MWBA contributions)

 The Maritime Women’s Basketball Association is incredibly proud of a number of players who have made strides in their basketball or professional lives since the league opened in 2022.

From professional playing contracts in Europe to increased visibility throughout coaching ranks, the MWBA continues to provide leadership training in a number of avenues.

Witness Jalynn Skeir.

A first-year player in the MWBA in 2022 – and part of the inaugural Legacy Cup champion Halifax Hornets – Skeir capped a remarkable playing career as part of that team.

It’s been coaching, however, that’s been in her blood and she made a huge step in her career, joining the USPORTS University of British Columbia Thunderbirds as the new and full-time assistant coach with its women’s basketball program.

Skeir will join second-year UBC head coach Isabel Ormond with the TBirds.

She has worked in Nova Scotia for her coaching career until the move to Canada West and USPORTS. Skeir has coached at USPORTS, interscholastic, provincial and national team levels over her 10-year career.

Skeir led the women’s basketball high school program at Armbrae Academy in Nova Scotia, where she was also teaching full-time. Under her leadership the program jumped up from Division III to Division I, reaching three provincial finals in her four seasons at the helm. She was also the head coach of the Basketball Nova Scotia under-17 girls’ team and is the manager and assistant coach with Team Canada’s under-16 girls’ team, where Ormond is the lead assistant.

‘I’m really excited about the experience and the knowledge that Coach Jalynn brings to our program,’ an enthused Ormond told UBC athletics. ‘Being from the east coast, she brings different experience than my own from Ontario and different schools in Canada West, which should add some new perspective to our team.’

Prior to pursuing coaching, Skeir enjoyed a highly successful career as a player. Born and raised in Halifax, she first started playing basketball at age six at the YMCA in the heart of city’s black community, which is where she fell in love with the game. Skeir says that the connections and relationships she developed around basketball were what sealed her love affair with the sport and, after starring at Citadel High School, she took the opportunity to stay local for her university career and enrolled at Cape Breton.

Skeir played five seasons for the Capers, leading the team to an AUS Championship in her final one. After exhausting her eligibility, and completing a degree in biology, Skeir went on to play in the MWBA where she won the league’s first ever championship and was named championship tournament MVP.

Before even graduating from Cape Breton, Skeir had caught the coaching bug. She began assisting with provincial teams at various ages in the summers between U SPORTS seasons before earning her first head coaching opportunity with the under-16 BNS Developmental Team.

‘At that point I thought maybe I would want to pursue coaching as a career,’ reflected Skeir to UBC athletics. ‘By the end of that summer I was asked to be a part of Acadia University women’s basketball staff, and it was there when I really began to discover that I would want to pursue coaching.’

Skeir spent three seasons with the Axewomen, learning to lead drills at the USPORTS level and helping to make key in-game decisions on the bench. She also enrolled at Acadia and earned a Bachelor of Education in just three years at the school.

‘My coaching philosophy is rooted in connections, hard work and resiliency,’ added Skeir. ‘I believe firmly that there is power in positivity, so if you have that power you should share it. I try to spread positivity every day, through connections.’

Skeir joins a Thunderbirds team that took a big step forward in its first season under Ormond. After finishing ninth in the Canada West regular season with a record of 11-9 in 2022-23, the team won six more games last season, finishing second in Canada West with a mark of 17-3.

Skeir is coming to the Thunderbirds ahead of an exciting and historic 2024-25 season, as UBC will be hosting both the women’s and men’s USPORTS National Championships; the first time a school has taken on two USPORTS basketball championship tournaments at once.

The massive event will take place March 13-16.

– Jalynn Skeir (glasses) helped Halifax Hornets to a 2022 MWBA title (DWinston Photo)