The first sanctioned event on the Enerplex oval goes this weekend, as the Elks host the BC long-track speed-skating championships.
Meet Co-ordinator Dee-Ann Stickel says around 130 skaters from 14 clubs across the province will descend on Fort St. John for the event. "We’re very excited about hosting it" she says. "It’s a beautiful facility, and we can’t wait to show it off."
Stickel says around 50 skaters from the home-town Elks will compete at the championships, and they will be led by Mitch Kupchanko, Desiree Mitchell, and Kayne Dressler. 13 year-old Jamie Lee was recently announced as one of Fort St. John’s Olympic Torch-bearers, and will lead the younger skaters at the event.
Each day will start with some mass-start events, before moving into the Olympic-style events (with two skaters in each race). Most participants will compete in four distances (300m, 500m, 800m, and 1,000m) against skaters from their own age group.
The B.C. championships will also serve as a feeder to the national championships, with the top four in each age group advancing.
The Elks had previously hosted a short-track meet on the main-floor ice-rinks, but this will be the first event on the second-floor oval.
The indoor facility will allow for consistent ice conditions, as well as more comfortable off-ice conditions for participants. Stickel says spectators are welcome to head down to the Enerplex and cheer on their local skaters. [asset|aid=2419|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=2fde3309f85841b3419395fc8ef85136-Dee-Ann-2_1_Pub.mp3]
In a statement from Speed-skating Canada on Thursday, the B.C. Speed-skating Association’s Executive Director, Ted Houghton, shared his excitement for the future of the Enerplex. “With such a strong tradition and community club system in B.C., and the growing legacy of the Morrison brothers, this facility will be the beginning of a new era of speed skating in both B.C. and in Canada.”