Nelson Speed Skaters in the News
Speed Skating: 500 metre short track tight race
Author: BC Winter Games/Saturday, February 22, 2014/Categories: 2014 BC Winter Games, Speed Skating
The U16 male 500-metre short track speed skating finals Friday morning at the Abbotsford Recreation Centre were a very tight race the whole way through.
Cormac Chui of Vancouver took the gold medal with a time of 0.46.90 seconds, and Tyler Hartleb of Nelson was took the silver finishing only six one-hundredths of a second behind Chui. Abbotsford native Alex Chizawsky took the bronze medal finishing with a time of 0.47.18 seconds.
“I felt like I really had to win this one, so I fought really hard for it,” said Cormac Chui, who has won gold at the Western Canadians.
Speed skating season set to start
The Nelson Speed Skating Club is about to begin it’s 2013-2014 season and those interested in the sport can learn more during registration at the multi-purpose room at the Nelson & District Community Complex on Saturday, Sept. 28 between 12:15 and 2:15 pm.
The club has skaters from all over the West Kootenays, including five from Castlegar, ranging in age from five to 68. While most compete in B.C. racing events, the club also has members who join either for the fun, the exercise or just to learn a new sport. The club also has members whose goal is to improve their conditioning and skating techniques for hockey.
Darrell Rasmussen, former Canadian National Team member, returns for a second straight year as a coach, joining head coach Jason Hartleb and junior coach Emily Musa.
The club was guided to a successful season last year with Rasmussen’s help. Many of last year’s athletes are returning and the club hopes to attract new members to experience the fast thrills of short track racing.
Among those returning is Tyler Hartleb, 15, the current B.C. Long Track Champion and four of his siblings, Ryan, Ian and Kaetlyn. Castelegar resident Mercedes Phillips is also on the team.
Hartleb has been alternating practices between Kelowna, Calgary and Nelson as he trains towards the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George. He has been training for both long track and short track and given his progress should qualify for both. If successful, he will have to choose one of the two to represent BC at the Games. Other members are training for the 2014 B.C. Winter Games to be held in Mission in February in addition to events in other communities like Kelowna, Kamloops and Salmon Arm. Practices begin the first week in October and continue until mid-March. Members can choose to skate up to three times per week depending upon their skill level and goals.
Former members who have gone on to greater speed skating exploits are Scott Bickerton (Nelson) and Ashley Nelson (Crescent Valley), who are both now with the National Long Track Development Team.
The club offers a 10 week “learn to speed skate” program and has speed skates for rent — although hockey skates are okay for newcomers.
Registration for new and returning members for the 2013/2014 season will take place in the multi-purpose room at the Nelson & District Community Complex on Saturday, Sept. 28 between 12:15 and 2:15 pm. Speed skates can be rented at this time.
Anyone interested in trying out for the sport should contact head coach Jason Hartleb at 250-304-4416 for more information.
Helping speed skating in Nelson stay intact
The Nelson Speed Skating Club has been awarded a $1,000 cash prize from the Podium Tracker Contest held by Intact Insurance Company. Every time a member of Canada’s long or short track speed skating team steps onto the podium in an individual World Cup race, Intact Insurance will award a local speed skating club. Maurice Poulin (back left holding cheque) happily hands the prize to Bruce Atkins (back right), Nelson Speed Skating Club president.
Speed skating: a small Nelson club with big heart
The Nelson Speed Skating Club is out to make a big name.
By far, they’re not the biggest club in town. But there’re kids with big potential and big heart ready to move into some big shoes.
There are 22 members ages 5 to 16 that practice twice weekly at the NDCC. A few years ago, they were down to only six members but the club just keeps on skating.
“We’re the little club who can,” says president Bruce Atkins.
With no other clubs in the Kootenays to compete against, Calgary, Kelowna, Vernon and Kamloops become rivals.
“If we want to be in competition, we have to really hold it together. Our next closest competitors come from communities 10 times the size.”
Some big names have come out of the Speed Skating club with Scott Bickerton eyeing the national team. Tyler Hartleb just won the provincial long track competition in Fort St. John. Tyler Hartleb and Spencer Pearson-Atkins attended the provincial short track skate in Mission. World Cup gold medalist in 2006 and three-year member of the National short track team, Daryl Rasmussen is now also coaching the Nelson team.
Rasmussen says the family feel of the small club isn’t exclusive to the local rink. It’s an individual sport but the teams have a close kinship.
“We were taught you cheer everyone on,” he says. “This sport creates tight bonds.”
The best skaters in the world reach speeds of up to 60 km per hour with centrifugal force exhilarating. The local club has skaters reaching speeds of 40 km per hour and young club members admit going fast is what got them interested in speed skating.
“Once they try it, there are very few people who walk away from it,” says Rasmussen.
Atkins sees his club well supported by the families involved.
“They totally contribute to where these kids are going.”
He invites others to try this great winter sport that has a huge international following.
On February 18, the Nelson Speed Skating club is holding their skate-a-thon fundraiser. It’s a 5000 m marathon skate – the second longest existing race, quite big for athletes who are 8-years-old, says Atkins. Skaters have been going door-to-door looking for sponsors and funds to support the club, pay for ice fees, equipment and association fees. Coaches are volunteers, however.
“We are lucky to have the top level coaches we do,” says Atkins.
NELSON’S SCOTT BICKERTON BACK ON SKATES WITH EYES ON SOCHI IN 2014
During his brief speed skating career Scott Bickerton has hit his share of ruts in the ice.
Which can be par for the course in a sport when you’re an up-and-coming athlete.
However, like a youngster falling during the first time on skates the happy-go-lucky Nelsonite is eager to get back on the blades in search for finding a spot on the National Team.
“It’s been up and down since we talked last,” Bickerton admittedly told The Nelson Daily during a recent summer holiday in his hometown.
“Last year I did a lot better than the year before so overall I was happy,” the ecstatic 22-year-old graduate of the Nelson Speed Skating Club added.
“I made it through three different World Cup races.
“I managed to deal with all the traveling that goes with competing on the World Cup circuit . . . eating in strange places and dealing with major jet lag. And that was good enough to put me on the National Development Team for this year which I started training with in May.”
It’s been a long climb to World Cup for an inaugural member of the Nelson Speed Skating club.
Timid and shy, Bickerton took a few years to get comfortable in the sport.
But in 2006 a switch from the rink to the long track proved to be just what the doctor ordered.
Thanks to the help of local Olympian Bob Boucher, Bickerton won a bronze medal at the 2007 Canada Games in Whitehorse in Team Pursuit.
In 2008-09, Bickerton made a big splash on the World stage, representing Canada at the Junior Worlds in Poland where he took seventh in the 3000- and 5000-meter races.
Bickerton qualified for the Junior Worlds after winning both races at the Canadian Junior Championships.
However, making the jump to the National Team has been a bit of a grind for the L.V. Rogers grad.
The 2009-10 campaign was a learning year.
Ditto for 2010-11 as Bickerton didn’t qualify for any World Cup races.
Last season was a breakout year as Bickerton qualified for a couple of World Cup races in Hamar, Norway, and Heerenveen, Netherlands.
“I’m over there (Heerenveen) racing my first World Cup (10,000 meters in December), and not somewhere where they don’t know speed skating . . . it’s the home of speed skating,” Bickerton explained. “That was an experience and (at the same time) was really cool. I was pretty nervous but it was a neat place to race my first World Cup so I was pretty happy.”
Bickerton finished 18th in the B division (14:08.98) in the race after finishing third in 10,000 meters at the National Team Trials in October.
In January, at the Canadian Single Distance Championships, Bickerton won the bronze medal in the 5000m (6:36.52) and the silver medal in the 10,000m (13:47.83) in a personal season-best race.
The results qualified him for the World Cup in Hamar, where he was 14th (6:45.38) in the 5000-meter division B.
But before traveling to Norway, there was the Continental regional qualifier a week after the Single Distance event.
“All these races build experience and the (Winter) Olympics is still a year and a half away,” said Bickerton, focusing on his biological science studies at the University of Calgary when he’s not training.
“I’m just trying to get as much experience as I can between now and a year and a half from now and hopefully when that time comes I’ll have enough experience to be ready to perform on that day and Olympic Trials will be my day.”
Since May Scott Bickerton has been rubbing elbows with Canada’s elite speed skaters and coaches.
In October the serious part of the sport picks up with National trials.
Good results once again qualify Bickerton for World Cup races.
The same challenge happens in January at single distance championships.
However, dollars and cents forced National Team brain trust to cut a few spots on the team.
So the challenge just got a little tougher for Bickerton.
“They’ve reduced the number of racers they’re selecting, and, of course, it makes it tougher, but racing on the National circuit is a good opportunity to get race time and to learn,” said Bickerton doing everything in his power to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“The more things I can learn before Olympic Trials which are a year-and-a-half from now, the better.”
Mallard’s Team of the Week — Nelson Speed Skating Club
Members of the Nelson Speed Skating Club cooked with the big dogs during a recent meet in Vernon.
The skaters filled the car trunks with medals — 12 medals by the 15 skaters including five gold, three silver and four bronze — for the return trip after competing against teams from the Okanagan and Fraser Valley.
Staff and management at Mallard’s Source For Sports would like to salute speed skaters with Team of the Week honours.
The members of the team include, back row, L-R, coach Jason Hartleb, Spencer Pearson-Atkins, Claire Young, Gary Bibby-Fox, Tyler Hartleb, Lisa Thiessen, Warren Johnson and Emily Musa.
Middle, Ian Hartleb, Patrick Courtney and Max Thiessen.
Front, Mason Ouchi, Cameron Bibby-Fox, Ryan Hartleb, Berend Platje and Ian Walgren.
Missing, Jordan Rakuson-Buerge, Ike Thiessen, Sonya Vinderskov and Lyle Tarzwell.