ON THE HUNT - Stefanie Spicer

Winter Games means changes for speed skating club

  • Sep. 9, 2015 2:49 p.m.

With Red Deer being chosen as the host community for the 2019 Canada Winter Games, the Red Deer Speed Skating Club is looking at landing a new home.

Currently located at the outdoor speed skating oval behind the Golden Circle Senior Centre in Rotary Recreation Park, the Club would see a new facility being built at Great Chief Park where they would skate long track as well as a new facility to skate short track on at the new Centre for Health, Wellness and Sport being built near Red Deer College. The Club currently skates short track at the Kinex Arena, an aging facility built in 1967.

In mid-July, City council heard a detailed report proposing a range of upgrades to Great Chief Park, built in 1964.

The Great Chief Park Enhancement Concept Plan & Outdoor Speed Skating Oval Relocation will see not only new and upgraded facilities for speed skating, but also football, soccer, baseball and fastball.

Shawna Pearman, head coach of the Red Deer Speed Skating Club, explained the 2019 Canada Winter Games has gone miles to raise the profile of the long-standing Club. Having been coach of the Club for the past 14 years, Pearman explained she has watched as membership numbers went down slightly over time.

“The ‘Red Deer is Ready’ rally in particular was a great event for not only us and our Club but for the community to come together as a whole and celebrate winter athletics,” said Pearman. “It was great exposure for our Club and we saw a lot of people stopping by our booth and showing interest in the Club as well.

“With Red Deer hosting the Canada Winter Games in 2019, it’s going to do a lot for our community and for our Club.”

Since the Club’s inception over 50 years ago, many national and international level skaters have emerged from their oval including Olympic speed skating brother/sister duo Jeremy and Danielle Wotherspoon.

Pearman’s owner daughters Brooke, Maddison and Tess have been leaders on the national level, continuously placing well over the last 10 years at Canadian championships including landing a number of gold medals.

This past February, Tess competed at the Zone 4 Alberta Winter Games where she brought home an individual gold medal in the T2T 12/14 girls division as well as a group gold meal in the T2T Girls Relay alongside teammates Bryndell MacDougall, Kieren Gray and Stefanie Spicer.

Pearman stated her love for speed skating comes from the camaraderie seen both on ice and off.

“It’s just a great individual sport that you can do for life,” she said. “You can watch your kids go out on the ice and be racing, trying to beat the person skating next to them, then as the race finishes watch those two kids just in competition against one another get off the ice and sit and chat with one another.

“It’s just a great way for kids to make friends and stay active in the winter.”

The Club begins their season with a registration night on Sept. 10th from 6-8 p.m. upstairs in the Kinex Arena.

Also coming up, the Red Deer Speed Skating Club will be a part of the City of Red Deer’s ‘Xplore Sport Day’ being held at the Collicutt Centre on Sept. 19th..

The facility will come alive to celebrate new and exciting sporting opportunities for individuals of all ages and promote sport participation. The ‘Try It’ day will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information on the Red Deer Speed Skating Club, email Shawna Pearman at spearman@telusplanet.net.

jswan@reddeerexpress.com

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