Leslee grew up and did her 14 years of amateur training in New Liskeard, Ontario with Finnish Champion coach, Seija Hinkurri. She summer skated at the Schumacher School (receiving dance lessons from World and Olympic Coach Bernard Ford) and also at the North Bay Schools where she attained Gold Dance, Sr. Silver FreeSkate, and 7th Figure tests. It was in Ontario that she began her coaching career in 1977 being a member of the Figure Skating Coaches of Canada where she achieved Coaching Certification Levels - 3A & 3B.
Moving to BC in 1980 she spent 2 years in Prince George and then moved to Victoria to coach in Sooke with Marilyn Barlow (Juan de Fuca in spring and summer schools) and also in Duncan with Lorraine Francisty. In 1987 she married Larry Rushton and began team coaching with him in Parksville and while living in Nanaimo raised their family. Family is very important to Leslee, and their 2 children, one who is attending UVIC, and the other working in Victoria, is the main reason she considered relocating to Victoria in order to keep their family unit together. That, along with the sentiment of “coming home” to coach at a very good club with highly respected coaches. She and her husband are very excited to be a part of the Juan de Fuca coaching team!
Both she and Larry are fully certified Level- 3 N.C.C.P (National Coaching Certified Program) and have many Level - 4 courses. They together, are the coaches of 2, 1999 National Champions. They were awarded 1999 B.C. Coaches of the Year and have mentored many coaches over the years. Both coach the preschool ages, CanSkate, all levels and disciplines of StarSkate and Competitive Skaters in Singles and Pairs, and have coached at Regional and Provincial seminars. They both have Skate Canada Gold Status (C.E.P- Continuous Education Program) and take pride in upgrading and continually learning in this fast changing sport. Leslee is now a Section level Technical Specialist in Singles and volunteers at many competitions throughout the year.
Leslee with her husband Larry, believe that every skater has that “Skaters Dream” and it is their job as coaches to help that skater achieve his/her personal goal whether it be recreational, test, or competitive. Their philosophy is that family comes first, education second, sport third, and that their skaters must strive to be “Athlete first, Skater second!”