Beloved speedskating mentor “driven to recover” after cycling accident

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Elks Speed Skating Club’s beloved coach, referee, and vice president Wim Kok is making improvements and moving towards recovery after extensive injuries sustained in a hit and run last month.

A Facebook update written by Kok’s son and posted on the Elk’s Facebook page thanked staff at the University of Alberta for incredible care after the accident, which happened during a 200 km cycling trip near Edmonton.

Kok suffered several injuries, the post said, but the most concerning was an injury to his head.

“Since he was admitted four weeks ago, he has made small improvements along the way, for which we are incredibly grateful,” Kok’s son wrote.

“He is able to speak and recognizes all of us and is very driven to recover.”

Kok has been involved with the Elks Speed Skating Club for several years in many roles, from coaching different levels to serving as vice president several times.

Senior group coach Richard Stickel has worked alongside Kok for a large portion of his time in the club.

“He is instrumental in many, many things with the club — and with speed skating in general,” Stickel said.

Kok is also an international referee for Speed Skate Canada.

As with any sport, the characteristics that make someone beloved within it often go beyond qualities specific to the sport itself. Stickel knows Kok held many of those traits.

“His enthusiasm and passion and care for everybody in the sport [set him apart],” Stickel said. “He is just a real gentleman. And he really went above and beyond and put so much effort in to help so many people.”

Stickel has not been alone in recognizing Kok’s incredible impact on the lives of those around him. Bram Kok’s Facebook post expressed gratitude for the support and appreciation they have seen from the community.

“The outpouring of support and well wishes has been unbelievable. On behalf of my family, we want to thank everyone for the kindness shown during this difficult time.”

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