Getting Started

1. What is Speed Skating

Skating is one of the oldest winter sports. Ancient bone skates from Finland date to 5,000 years ago. Of course, we don’t know if people raced each other on those skates, but I can easily imagine kids using the skates (“Sure you can use them, but I need them back in an hour for my hunting trip.”) and trying to outdo one another.

We do know, however, that the first “official” speed skating race took place in 1763 on the Fens in England and covered roughly 24 km. Canada’s first recorded race apparently took place in 1854 on the St. Lawrence River when three army officers raced from Montreal to Quebec.

Speed skating made its debut at the Olympics in 1924 in Chamonix, France. Thirty-one skaters from ten countries competed in the 500m, 1500m, 5000m, 10,000m and All-round. Results were lopsided: Finland took 8 medals, Norway 7, and the US took the remaining 1.

Short track speed skating was often practiced in North America in the 1900s — partly due to the fact that hockey rinks are so much easier to come by — but it took some time for the sport to become established. While the International Skating Union (ISU) adopted short track in 1967, international competitions were not organized until 1976 and the first world championship was not held until 1981. Short track made its Olympic debut as a demonstration sport in Calgary in 1988 and became a full Olympic sport at the following Olympics in 1992.

Long Track

Generally referred to simply as speed skating, long track has a longer history than short track and is generally more popular in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands. Due to the size of the ice — 400m long, the same as a running track — there are comparably few rinks. North America has only four indoor long track rinks (Calgary, Milwaukee, Kearns, Utah, and Fort St John, BC).

Short Track

Short track competitions take place on hockey rinks with an oval of 111.12m (100m ovals are sometimes used in kids competitions). In contrast to long track, events skew shorter. At the Olympics, they compete in 500m, 1000m, 1500m, and the relay (5000m for men, 3000m for women). At the world championships, racers also compete in 3000m and an Overall medal is awarded based on individual standings. Short track is dominated by non-traditional

long track countries, namely South Korea, China, the US, and Canada. Of the 36 medals awarded at the 2011 World Championships, only five went to other nations (three to Italy and one each to the Netherlands and Germany).

2. Peninsula Speed Skating Club

Our club is an all-ages, all-abilities family oriented club with both competitive and recre- ational members.

Club History

The Peninsula Speed Skating Club (PSSC) was started in September 2003 by Brenda (Shields) Hennigar. The PSSC hosted its first open house at this time with Olympic long

track medalist and world record holder Kevin Overland, who won the bronze medal in the 5oom in Nagano. It was standing room only at the rec centre during this event. Since that opening day the PSSC has been honoured to host such great Canadian Olympians as Catriona LeMay Doan (two time Olympic gold medalist), Christina Groves (four time Olympic medalist), and the Canadian National Long Track Team.

Coach Bios

Our club coaches have tremendous experience and knowledge in the sport of speed skating, and our club skaters young and old benefit immensely from this.

Ian Hennigar, Head Coach

Ian’s coaching career and accomplishments began over 30 years ago. During this time Ian has coached world record holders, Olympic, and world champions. Ian often says he feels his greatest coaching accomplishments have been at the grass roots club level.

Murray Byers, Coach

Murray has been coaching at the club and provincial level for over 5 years and has been a head coach at the BC Winter Games.

Brenda Hennigar, Coach

Brenda is a three time national long track champion and former national team member. She has been coaching for over 25 years at the club, provincial, and National level.
Brenda is the head coach and coordinator for the “On the Edge” school speed skating pro- gram.

Steven Freer, Jr. Coach

Steve is our club’s Jr. coach. He’s been coaching for 3 years at the club level as well as with the school program. Steve is also a skating instructor for Panorama Recreation.

Please download the following guide for new members:

New Members Guide