TECHNIQUE The Lloydminster Border Blades are back on the ice preparing for the season, as some of their short track and long track skaters aim for national goals. ANDREW BRETHAUER LLS PHOTO
Focusing on technique and rhythm on the ice means a slow start to the season for the Lloydminster Border Blades Speed Skating Club. But that’s all too normal for the Blades, who have had a few of their younger skaters attend a meet in Saskatoon, but mostly they have spent the last month and a half at the Servus Sports Centre working on the fundamentals and getting into skating shape. That can take a few skates for some before they are back to flying around the short track, while others need a skate or two to remember their form, but it’s a necessary part of the season before entering into competitions.
“You want to make sure you got your feet underneath you before you start doing anything to crazy because obviously crashing is a part of our sport and we try to avoid that as much as we can,” said Border Blades coach Richard Jory. “Some kids will lace up the skates and in one to two nights they are good to go, some kids it takes a couple weeks. It depends on how often they skate and how hard they go at it.”
With a heavy contingent of younger skaters, the Border Blades have maintained their numbers heading into the 2016-17 season. Retention as skaters get older is always the challenge, as some skaters move on to other sports when they get into their teens. The focus for those who are old enough is on the short track Canada West Championships that takes place in March, this year being held in Saskatoon. Jory said if the club can get four to six skaters to go, it would be a fantastic showing for Lloydminster. As well, the Canadian Age-Class Long Track Speed Skating Championships will be held in February in Edmonton this year, and the Blades have a couple of hopefuls for that competition as well. Fourteen-year-old Shae Holzinger and Venna Anderson are strong bids for the Canada West Championships, while Brooke Jory and Emma Stephens, who are two of the older skaters for the Border Blades, moving up to the junior class this year, will be the hopefuls on the long track, once the Blades can get outside onto the ice, whenever the ice can be made.
“We’re hoping the kids can reach the goals they set at the beginning of the year, which for most of the short trackers is to qualify for Canada West,” said Jory. “We’re looking forward to seeing a few skaters achieve their goals.” The Border Blades will host their 12th annual Fire on Ice invitational short track meet Dec. 3 at the Servus Sports Centre.
Thank you to the Lloydminster Source and Andrew Brethauer for the media coverage!
You can view the article online at the Lloydminster Source: Nov 17 Border Blades article