Any Red Deerian who is interested in trying out speed skating is welcome to give it a shot.
The Red Deer Speed Skating Club is hosting a pair of open-try nights for anyone between the ages of six and 18 to come and try short-track speed skating.
There is no registration required for the nights, which take place on Oct. 6th to Oct. 8th from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at the Kinex Arena.
“It’s open to anybody,” said Head Coach Shawna Pearman.
Pearman said while the Club tends to see more really young kids at these open-try nights, older youth are welcome to attend as well.
“It’s totally free. They just need to come with a helmet and skates,” she said, adding that participants can bring just a regular hockey helmet and hockey skates.
The Red Deer Skating Club’s season runs from October through March and those who decide to register can choose how much time they want to commit to the program.
“You can pick and choose what you want to do,” said Pearman, adding that practices are anywhere from one to three nights per week depending on the age of the participant and how competitive they want to be.
The Club also participates in a number of optional meets over the course of the season in different locations around Alberta, including two meets that they host.
Pearman said kids might want to try speed skating because it offers an alternative to the traditional winter sports of hockey, ringette and figure skating.
“Kids are looking for something different,” she said. Pearman also noted that Red Deer’s speed skating scene has a tradition of successful skaters, including several who have competed at the national, international, and Olympic levels.
“It’s a small community but kids have so much fun together at competitions. There’s a huge social aspect.”
Speed skating, according to Pearman, is also relatively inexpensive. Registration fees are anywhere from $250 to $500 and the Club also rents speed skates so participants don’t have to buy their own and they provide skin suits for competitions.
“You don’t need to spend the money to go out and buy a $300 skin suit,” she said.
Speed skating helmets are also not a requirement, especially for younger participants.
“Once they get into the sport, then they start purchasing the more specific equipment but until that time there’s really no need.”
The Club practices every Tuesday and Thursday, with younger particpants starting at 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. and the older kids, those aged 12- 18, practicing from 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Anyone who would like more information about the open-try nights may email Pearman at email@example.com or visit the Club’s web site at www.reddeeerspeedskating.com.