April 21st, 2024

Med Hat Speed Skating Club hosting Canadian Youth short track championship this week

By JAMES TUBB on March 20, 2024.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

The Medicine Hat Speed Skating Club will showcase the top speed skating youth from the West this weekend.

The local club is hosting the 2024 Canadian Youth Short Track championships at the Big Marble Go Centre from Friday to Sunday, with races held on the Saturday and Sunday. Friday is a camp day for the athletes, with 30-minute on-ice sessions and off-ice activities that include a respect-in-sport presentation, a social game and a cognitive mental exercise.

The event will host 120 athletes and families, aged 11-13 years old from across Western Canada, with participants from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Medicine Hat Speed Skating Club coach Rachel Collins says they’re excited to host the event as one of the smaller clubs in Western Canada and have the top talent on display for their own skaters and the city.

“We have younger skaters and we have older skaters, and the older skaters are excited to be part of the meets and see how it runs, and our younger skaters are excited to see some of these really high performance athletes and see what can come if they keep practising hard and keep competing,” Collins said. “The kids and the adults at the club are pretty excited that we get to see some cool athletes and we get to put our name out there for the rest of the community.”

While Medicine Hat’s club won’t have any skaters participating because they don’t have any skaters aged 11-13, Collins says it will be a weekend that should spark inspiration and drive that will have them competing at the next championships. Having grown up in the speed skating community, Collins says she’s looking forward to helping grow the sport in the city and enjoy watching the top talent on display.

“I’m excited as a volunteer to kind of just participate and be productive on the ice or with timing and just be productive to the community that really helped raise me when I was growing up,” Collins said. “I’m excited to give back to all of the people who put time into me.”

Collins says the Medicine Hat club was able to host the event after its president Emma Piayda took a chance on the club with a bid, and they received a push from Alberta Speed Skating that propelled them into the host role.

“Lorelei St. Rose, she helps run Alberta Speed Skating, she felt it was a pretty awesome opportunity for Medicine Hat just to get our club out there, get our name out there and hopefully bring some different spectators in from the community to see what we do and boost our skaters for next year,” Collins said. “So it was kind of a mix, we just threw our hat in the ring hoping for the best and then with a bit of a push from Alberta Speed Skating to just help our club grow, we got a big, big boost of confidence from their end. So we were lucky enough to win the bid.”

Ahead of the weekend’s races, the Medicine Hat Club will practise Wednesday at Big Marble for anyone interested in the sport. For anyone interested in watching this weekend, it’s free admission and the skates will be live-streamed on Speed Canada’s YouTube page.

Races get underway Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m.

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