Speed Skating

As a student athlete at the University of Calgary, I had a close up look at world class speed skating as many of the world’s best speed skating teams used the excellent facilities left over from the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.  I even strapped on a pair of speed skates and gave it a whirl!  You need amazingly strong ankles and of course, strong legs to be able to zoom around the oval.  It’s definitely harder than it looks!

Not sure what Speed Skating is like?  Check out this Youtube video:

 

 

 

 

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Brandon has a speed skating club.  Westman Speed Skating Club is the home to speed skaters ranging in age from 5 to 50+ and even includes some former Olympians!  I chatted with current president, Joel Charles, to learn more about the club.

 

2012Ages

Children 5 and older can join the club.

 

Required Skills

 

Most kids come to the program with a basic knowledge of skating.

 

 

 skates

 

Equipment

Their website outlines the required equipment in very specific detail but generally, kids start with rented skates (from the club), and supply their helmet, neck guard, shin guards, and the rest of the equipment required either by borrowing from the club’s collection or by purchasing the required equipment locally.  It is not uncommon for kids to rent skates for many years in a row before deciding to purchase skates (with the coach’s guidance).  Most speed skating specific equipment bought (once a kid has skated for a while, is progressing in the sport and knows this is what they want to do) is purchased from the only speed skating store in Manitoba, Red River Speed.

 

 

 

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Season

The speed skating season starts in early September and goes until the end of March as follows:

September:  Dry land training

Late September:  A Two Day Short Track Camp hosted by the Manitoba Speed Skating Association (MSSA)

October– Early December:  Short Track is held inside at the Sportsplex

December– end of February or early March:  Long Track is held outside at the City of Brandon Skating Oval which is a full regulation 400m oval.

Rest of March:  Short Track at the Sportsplex

Spring:  Dry land training

 

Days of the Week

Tuesday (6:00pm to 7:00pm) and Friday (5:30 to 7:00pm) for Short Track Season

Tuesday (5:30pm to 7:00pm) and Friday (5:30 to 7:00pm) for Long Track Season

 

Cost (2013 -14)calgary 2011 047

 Costs cover entire season:

 

Skate Rental:  $90

Registration for both Tuesdays and Fridays (with own Short Track Skates and Blades):  $360

Just Tuesdays:  $280

Just Fridays:  $325

 

  

Competitions

As kids progress, they can compete in various competitions which are held outside of Brandon.  The club has had skaters graduate to the oval program in Calgary.  Basically, the kids choose to pursue speed skating along with studying at the University of Calgary and can join the high performance program if they meet certain time standards.

 Prairie Dog 2012 points race

Looking for Some Inspiration?

Check out this Youtube video about Canada's most decorated Olympian ever, Manitoba's own Cindy Klassen.

 

 

If your kid is interested in Speed Skating....

If your kid(s) are interested in trying speed skating, the Westman Speed Skating Club (in conjunction with the MSSA ) usually host some open house nights  in September so anyone interested can see what it’s like.  Check out our calendar for upcoming events.

 

 

25% off $125 or 30% off $200 at Sierra Trading Post. Use code: ALAUG3. Valid through September 4th..
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Fun Fact: There are actually 8 Brandons in the USA - in Iowa, Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin but only 1 Brandon in Canada - Brandon, MB!!

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