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  • About PGC
  • Craig Nickel

    PGC BASKETBALL DIRECTOR

    This was by far the best week of my life because I got to do the thing I loved with such amazing coaches and players. I have never wanted to get out on the court so badly. I’m forever grateful to Coach Craig for giving me my confidence back.

    – Ellie Klein, PGC Grad>

    Craig Nickel is a highly decorated coach that has helped players all across Canada for more than two decades. Not only has he helped dozens of players play in college, but he’s also helped them to the professional level – and even the Olympics!

    Through his experience, Craig knows what it’s like for athletes to struggle to find a way to reach their goals, and he’s made it his life’s work to help them take the lessons they learn on the court to even greater success in their personal lives. Off the court, Craig specializes in leadership development and helping people push their limits and strive for greatness.

    Craig has been an assistant coach at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo and has coached both boys and girls at the high school level.

    Craig’s teams have won numerous league and regional championships, including three medals at the AAAA OFSAA Provincial Championships. In addition, Craig’s varsity girls teams at Waterloo Collegiate Institute qualified for 14 straight provincial championships (2001-2015). He has also had great success coaching club basketball, where he led OBA teams to gold, silver and bronze medals.

    Craig has also served as the head coach of the Tri-County Thunder team in the Junior Elite League (JUEL)–Canada’s top league for high school aged girls–for the past three years. With Craig at the helm, the Thunder recorded a JUEL runner up finish in 2013-14 before winning the league title in 2014-15. There he was selected as the JUEL “Coach of the Year” for each of the last two seasons.

    Craig has an extensive education, including his Bachelor of Business Administration (Wilfrid Laurier University ’88), Masters of Business Administration (McMaster University ’89), and Bachelor of Education (University of Western Ontario ’90). Craig has been a Vice-Principal at Waterloo Collegiate and presently serves as a Guidance Counselor and Leadership teacher.

    Any player or coach who attends a PGC camp with Craig will instantly improve their performance on the court while also improving their personal life.

    When I got here, I was nervous coming here alone. PGC brings you in and treats you like family. My experience here was one I will never forget. I have changed so much in 5 days. What I love about PGC is that they will not let you fail. PGC strives to make you better. Coach Craig always encouraged me to push my limits and strive for greatness. I would like to personally thank him.

    – Emma Cherwinski, PGC Grad

    HISTORY

    • Director, PGC Basketball, 2012-present
    • Head Coach, University of Waterloo Women’s Basketball Team, 2016-19
    • Head Coach, Waterloo Collegiate Institute, Varsity
      Girls & Boys Basketball Teams, 2000-2017
    • Head Coach, KW Lightning & Tri-County Thunder AAU
      Girls Basketball Teams, 1998-2016
    • Head Coach, Grand River Collegiate Institute
    • Varsity Girls & Boys Basketball Teams, 1990-2000
     

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Waterloo Collegiate Varsity Girls Basketball team qualified for the Provincial Championships 14 years in a row
    • Junior Elite League (JUEL) AAU Tri-County Thunder team were JUEL finalists (2014), Champions (2015) and finalists (2016)
    • Coached dozens of players who have gone on to play at the post-secondary level in both Canada and the US and professionally in Europe, including 3 members of the Canadian National Team
     

    AWARDS

    • Junior Elite League (JUEL) Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2015
    • Ontario Leader of Distinction awarded by Canadian
      Association of Student Council Advisors (2013)

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    What They’re Saying About Craig Nickel

    "The environment and encouragement elevated my daughters performance, skills and character."
    - Michael Turk

    "Craig & Staff did a phenomenal job not only teaching the game of basketball, but more importantly the game of life. His passion & sincerity were “through the roof.” He & his staff changed lives & players for the better w/out a doubt. I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend such an awesome environment along w/ my daughter. #Blessed"
    - Ty McGregor

    "SHe was floored at the camp and LOVED it... outstanding on every level for her. She never experienced class room time so that was amazing."
    - Reza Zadeh

    "Words cannot describe how beneficial this camp was for my son! He left a boy and came back a young man. This was my son first time away from home and I didn’t know who was more nervous me or him. He’s generally a shy kid so I was worried about him interacting with his peers. After the first day of camp I talked to him before he went to bed and he was having a great time with the guys in the dorm. The social interaction took him out of his comfort zone and he made friends. In reference to the basketball portion, my son’s basketball IQ has grown tremendously! His outlook on the game has completely changed and now he has a swagger about himself. We watched the finals this past week and he was able to diagnose different parts of the game that he’s never don’t before. The classroom portion was excellent for him and seeing it made a huge impact. I am a more than satisfied parent with PGC and my son has already decided to attend the fall mini camps as well. #PGC FOR LIFE"
    - Jason Boston

    "Oh my she loved the camp!! We just wish she would have attended before her going into her senior year of High School. Everything she learned will benefit her not only on the court but off the court. We will highly recommend this camp to others and believe there will already be more that will attend next year from out area. Thank you for provideing her this opportunity."
    - Jeri Jacobs