FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Elks Speed Skating Club had seven athletes compete at the Fall Classic in Calgary on the weekend, and coach Richard Stickel says it was a great showing, especially considering it was the first real competition in over a year.

On the female side, Sarah Hanson, Hannah North, Cheyanne Key, Sidney Bennie and Brooke Braun competed, although Braun was hindered by an injury. On the male side, Jack Hanson and Matthew Mitchell represented the Elks.

While there were no international competitors like there normally are at the Fall Classic, coach Richard Stickel says there were a lot of national team skaters at the Olympic Oval, which serves as an excellent example of what it takes to compete at the highest levels of sport.

“A lot of times, you’ll see a group from China or something that just happens to be in Calgary for training, and they’ll come to this event,” said Stickel, who added that the national team skaters are getting ready to try and make the Olympic squad for the 2022 Games. “They’re in the peaking process because the big Olympic trails are coming up right away. We got to watch some of the very best in the world compete against each other, and it was pretty exciting to watch.”

Stickel says in normal years, the club would not go to the Fall Classic because it was too early in the season. With looming COVID-19 fears though, Stickel says the Elks are taking all the opportunities they can get.

“Typically, we wouldn’t have gone to this competition. We’ve only been on the ice for a couple of weeks, and we’re not quite ready to compete. But we don’t know what’s coming a month from now, or two months from now, so this might be our only chance to really go and be in a race.”

In addition to the seven Elks competitors, Stickel says a couple of former Elks who go to school in Calgary skated at the Fall Classic.

“There are two boys that are training and going to school that used to skate out of Fort St. John, Joshua Telizyn and Nicholas Guliov.”

Sidney Bennie — 500m: 45.96 — 1000m: 1.33.60 — 1500m: 2.26.95 — 3000m: 5.07.62

Brooke Braun — 500m: 45.77 — 1000m: 1.32.98

Sarah Hanson — 500m: 48.33 — 1000m: 1.37.58 — 1500m: 2.39.71 — 3000m: 5.48.96

Cheyenne Key — 500m: 49.96 — 1000m: 1.42.40 — 1500m: 2.44.30 — 3000m: 5.37.40

Hannah North — 500m: 46.26 — 1000m: 1.33.05 — 1500m: 2.24.62 — 3000m: 5.09.62

Jack Hanson — 500m: 42.46 — 1000m: 1.23.25 — 1500m: 2.06.27 — 5000m: 7.34.92

Matthew Mitchell — 500m: 43.95 — 1000m: 1.27.84 — 1500m: 2.15.90 — 5000m: 8.05.16

Joshua Telizyn — 500m: 36.04 — 1000m: 1.12.27 — 1500m: 1.52.59 — 3000m: 4.22.18

Nicholas Guliov — 500m: 39.01 — 1000m: 1.18.07 — 1500m: 2.02.21