Speed skaters in the Vanderhoof Clippers Speed Skating Club (VCSSC) are well into another great season! With 81 skaters of all ages, the Clippers are now the largest speed skating club in the province and one of the largest in Western Canada. Not bad for a club only started in 2004. And our skaters are fast! Competing at the recent Long Track Speed Skating Provincial Championships held in Fort St. John on Jan. 20-21, skaters from Vanderhoof brought home six provincial medals.
Each of the skaters competed in four events; 300m, 3000m, 500m, 1500m. Points earned in each event are tabulated to determine the placings and medals. Madison Seely won Gold, Nicole Ebert won Gold, Terry Lazaruk won Gold, Logan Sewell won Bronze, Connor Ebert won Bronze, Nicole McBride won Iron, and Alexis Seely who narrowly missing a medal, placed 5th in her age category. Connor’s race times qualified him for the Canadian Junior Long Track Championships in Fort St. John, Feb. 2 – 4. “He had some great races-best times and skated with some the fastest kids from across the country. There was some amazing skating!” says Coach Nicole Ebert.
Fort St. John’s state-of-the-art Pomeroy Center, one of only two indoor long track facilities in Canada, provides a near-perfect skating environment with beautiful ice, no snow, and no wind!
While the Vanderhoof club primarily skates short track, they enjoy the best of both worlds: Fort St. James coach Keith Gordon maintains an outdoor oval for the Fort St. James Falcon’s speed skating club. Vanderhoof skaters are fortunate to have an open invitation to attend long track practices coached by Keith, former coach for our favorite representing Canada in the upcoming Olympics – Jamie MacDonald.
With the combined expertise of short track coach Nicole Ebert and long track coach Keith Gordon, both known for their supportive and positive coaching, it’s no wonder Vanderhoof skaters are capturing attention provincially and nationally. Over recent years, skaters from VCSSC have placed in multiple provincial championships and age class national competitions. Most notably, long time club member Alison Desmarais, who competed for BC in the 2015 Canada Winter Games, now trains in Calgary full time as a member of the National Development Team.
Upcoming major competitions this season: A team of seven Vanderhoof and Fort St. James skaters (Amy Waddell, Sean Houghton, Aidan Duncan, Logan Sewell, Nicole McBride, Alexis Seely and Madison Seely) will represent Zone 7 at the BC Winter Games in Kamloops this month.
Skaters from Vanderhoof will also skate in the 2018 Grand Prix International competition.
This meet is an eligibility prerequisite for the 2019 Canada Winter Games Qualifier next season.