Fort St. John Speed Skaters have been busy travelling to the new Olympic oval in Richmond over the last couple of weeks.

First off the weekend of Jan 23rd, 24th, and 25th was the B.C. Provincial long track competition.  Twelve local skaters went down to compete.  All did very well in their divisions with many medaling.  Team coach Richard Stickel was happy with the overall performance.  He stated “usually at a meet of this size you have some skaters doing well and a couple struggling.  This might have been the first one where everyone was performing well.”  He was particularly pleased with Mitch Kupchanko who had suffered an injury the week before in Dawson, “Mitch had a badly pulled hip flexor and wasn’t able to start very effectively but he really gutted it out and showed great determination.  Without the injury he would have undoubtedly medalled.

The week-end of Jan 30th,31st and Feb 1st, was Junior Championships/ Canada Cup #2.  Locally Jolea Bilodeau and Desiree Mitchell competed.  A couple of members that now train out of Calgary were also in attendance, Elyce Henry and Tim Gladysz.  Also notable was Kaylin Irvine and former member of the local club who re-located to Calgary with her family a few years ago.  For Bilodeau and Mitchell the week-end was about getting more experience at Olympic Style Long Track Skating and improving times.  Coach Stickel said that he was happy with their results “Olympic style is all about strength, many of the competitors there are training full time, the girls have been doing very this year.  We can use these results to plan for future competitions, those two work so hard and have improved so much this year.”  Both Henry and Gladysz are seniors hoping to work their way onto the national team.  Stickel says Gladysz has skated so well the last two years “ he is a sprinter specializing in 500 and 100m races, his only problem is that Canada is so strong right now, there as so many good skaters”.  Elyce Henry had a great week-end especially her fourth place finish in the 1000M.

Kaylin Irvine also had a great week-end.  Irvine, who graduated last summer started the year training and competiting in short track.  In December she decided to change her focus to long track.  This week-end she finished third overall.  Any other year that would mean that she would be on the Canadian Junior team and compete and the world juniors, however this year there was a change in the team criteria and so she will have to wait for the announcement of the team later this week.
Provincial Mass Start
Eryn Stickel    11th Bantam girls regional two
Ben Maxfield Silver Midget boys regional one
Colton Johnson Silver Midget boys regional two
Connor Johnson 12th Juvenile boys regional one
Kyle Lyth 19th Juvenile boys regional one
Kelsey Johnson Silver Juvenile girls provincial
Jamie Lee Juvenile girls provincial
Kathryn Stickel Gold Juvenile girls regional one
Mitch Kupchanko fifth Junior Men provincial
Kayne Dressler seventh Junior Men provincial
Desiree Mitchell sixth Junior Women provincial
Rick Lee Gold Master Men B