Fort St. John hosts country’s top speed skaters for two-week training camp

In 2018, Fort St. John Recreational and Speed Skating Club received a $17,122 grant from Northern Development through the Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program towards this $24,461 project. This has been a funding partnership of Northern Development

Upgrades to long track speed skating rink benefit athletes and coaches

November 2020 – Fort St. John’s Pomeroy Sport Centre is currently hosting Canada’s top long track speed skaters and development team for a two-week training camp, running from November 1 to 15. The Canadian long track speed skating team has travelled to B.C.’s northeast to access long track ice and prepare for potential international competitions while ice is currently unavailable at their training centre in Calgary.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to host the country’s top speed skaters and showcase our community while injecting some much-needed tourism dollars into the community,” said Lori Ackerman, Mayor of Fort St. John in a press release. “We have worked with Speed Skating Canada to ensure they have the training times they need on the oval without reducing the ice availability for local users.”

View of athletes on the ice.
Photo: Fort St. John Recreational and Speed Skating Club

The Pomeroy Sport Centre is home to one of four indoor ice ovals in all North America. In 2018, Northern Development approved a $17,122 grant through its Community Halls and Recreation Facilities funding program to the Fort St. John Recreational and Speed Skating Club for improvements to the speed skating facility.

The project included the construction of new storage and work space, acquisition and installation of an 82-inch television to improve communication to coaches and athletes and the purchase and installation of an improved crash protection system, which enhanced an existing crash protection system in accordance with Speed Skating Canada recommendations. The communications and safety equipment were first used during the National Canada Cup #1 in 2018.

“It was the most comfortable crash I have ever experienced,” said Josh Telizyn, bronze medalist 2019 Canada Winter Games Long Track Speed Skating.

Telizyn fell during a race during Canada Cup #1 while skating faster than 45 kilometres per hour.

Photo: Fort St. John Recreational and Speed Skating Club

“As one of four indoor long track ice ovals in North America, it is crucial that we keep our facility at a high standard,” said Wim Kok, vice-president, Fort St. John Recreational and Speed Skating Club. “We want all athletes, coaches and support staff to have an excellent experience while they are at our facility and these improvements support that goal. The grant has definitely helped us, the speedskating community and the sport tourism sector in Fort St. John.”

Since the project’s completion, the club and the community have hosted another Canada Cup in 2019, two provincial championships and the 2020 BC Winter Games. The Canadian National Team visited the track for its 2018 training camp as did the Chinese National Team in 2019.

Fort St. John Recreational and Speed Skating Club received funding for this project through Northern Development’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities grant program. In September 2020, the Trust launched new community funding programs to better serve the needs that the former Community Halls and Recreation Facilities addressed. If Fort St. John Recreational and Speed Skating Club were to apply for the same project under the new funding programs, they would apply to the new Recreation Infrastructure program. This program offers up to $100,000 to a maximum of 70 per cent of an eligible project’s budget for upgrades or repairs to an existing facility or up to $300,000 to a maximum of 50 per cent of an eligible project’s budget for new construction and/or substantial upgrades to existing facilities.

Positive Economic Impacts in Fort St. John

These upgrades improved the crash protection system in accordance with Skating Canada's recommendations. Combined, all the improvements enhance the facility and increase its desirability for hosting competitions and training camps. These events increase the potential for tourism revenue generation in Fort St. John.

Community Halls and Recreation Facilities

The Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program is no longer available.

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