Skaters glide into second season

The Williams Lake Speed Skating Association hopes, with a little luck, it can achieve official club status this year.

Kamloops Long Blades skaters (from left) Mackenzie Neville

Kamloops Long Blades skaters (from left) Mackenzie Neville

The Williams Lake Speed Skating Association hopes, with a little luck, it can achieve official club status this year and register with the BC Speed Skating Association.

“As long as we get our numbers up we can register with the BC Speed Skating Association,” said new club coach Tania Lauren. “We had 25 skaters last year and we’re hoping for more this year.”

To help kick off its second season in the lakecity members of the Kamloops Long Blades speed skating club visited Williams Lake Saturday to perform a speed skating demonstration at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex. Following demonstrations of proper skating technique, turns and different races local speed skaters got a chance to try out the sport for themselves, skating laps around the ice with the Long Blades.

Lauren said when Yvonne Hauk, past president of the WLSSA, had the idea to start a club last year the Long Blades were a big help in getting the fledgling club off the ground.

“We went down last year when we were starting and talked to them and got lots of wonderful help to start our club,” Lauren said, noting members of the Long Blades will also be hosting a coaching clinic which four Williams Lake residents will be attending to attain their level-one coaching certificates.

“That’s why they’re here,” she said. “To show us what it really looks like to speed skate.”

She added the WLSSA isn’t trying to take away from minor hockey or figure skating in Williams Lake.

“It’s just really great for improving skating, no matter what you do,” she said. “We’re not trying to take away from minor hockey or figure skating, or anything like that. We’re trying to find the niche for kids who don’t want to be in hockey or don’t want to be in figure skating, but they want to get out and be on the ice in the winter.”

The association is offering two programs — a learn to skate and a learn to speed skate program.

“It’s basics in skating with the emphasis moving toward speed skating,” she said.

“It’s really focusing on stride, proper technique in order to increase speed.”

Practices will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex in rink one. Sessions go from October to December, and then from January until March. The WLSSA has speed skates to provide to its members; however, it requires skaters to bring their own helmet, knee pads and cut-resistant gloves.

“We would love more kids to come out and try the sport,” she said.

For more information on the WLSSA, or for registration forms, contact Lauren at 250-392-1748 or at tanialauren@telus.net.