Induction Year: 2011
The first female skating coach in the National Hockey League and the first woman to coach a men’s team on a National level. How did a 5’ 2” woman from Brooklyn accomplish this?
At the age of 5, after seeing Sonja Henie skate on TV, Williams swore she would one day be a famous figure skater too. She started training at an ice rink in Great Neck, ironically with trainers who had worked with Henie. Barbara became an accomplished figure skater as well as champion speed skater and turned Pro in her late twenties. She went on to become the Figure Skating Director at Superior Ice Rink in Kings Park, where she held the first “Suffolk County Figure Skating Championship”. As Director of the figure skating school at Racquet & Rink in Farmingdale, she put on “Disney On Ice” and over 1,000 people attended. The New York Islanders practiced there, and in 1977, Barbara met Bobby Nystrom, who asked her to train him, and from that day on her career and life changed forever.
Williams was cast into the limelight, did TV shows, such as “To Tell the Truth”, appeared in such magazines as “Esquire” and the “New York Times”. She published her first book (which sold over 65,000 copies) and trained actor Robbie Benson for his starring role in the movie “Ice Castles”, for which she received full screen credits. She trained the NYC police & fire departments “A” teams and hundreds of girls throughout the USA to become power skating coaches. Barbara also works with the physically handicapped and mentally challenged and has received many awards for drug and alcohol prevention programs. After the Islanders, she became the official power skating coach for the New Jersey Devils. She is on the ice teaching 7 days a week and also runs summer hockey schools. She has written 3 movies, which she is trying to sell to a major studio.