Skaters create Fire on Ice

By Jamie Harkins
December 7, 2017

Border Blades skater Jayva Andersen makes a turn during the opening heat of the Devin Racz Memorial Relay. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO

The fastest skaters from across northern Alberta and Saskatchewan took to the ice at the Servus Sports Centre this past weekend in an attempt to earn a medal or a spot at their respective province’s upcoming winter games.
The Lloydminster Border Blades speed skating club comprised 45 of these 110 skaters who gave their all in the 14th annual Fire on Ice competition at the Rusway Arena on Saturday. 
Skaters ranging in age from four to 18 years and in skill levels from beginner to elite vied for a top provincial qualifying time or a place on the podium.
Charmaine Stephens, coordinator of the Fire on Ice competition, said 17 Border Blades skaters were using their times earned at the meet to score one of 12 available spots at the Alberta Winter Games in Fort McMurray this February. 
She said the other skaters were competing to gain experience and a new personal best time.
“Our older skaters had some real tough competition this year, which was fantastic for them,” said Stephens. 
“But, everyone had a great time. We brought home some hardware, so it was good.”
Brothers Spencer and Ashford Stephens competed in the division five and four meets, respectively. Each of the brothers skated in two 200-metre competitions, two 400-m meets and one 1,500-m race.
“I fell in most of them,” said Ashford, 11. “I fell in both of my heats meaning I was in the C finals the whole time. It means I got zero (Alberta Amateur Speed Skating Association) points pretty much. I got some, but not very many.”
Spencer, 10, said he enjoyed two really good races, one pretty good skate and two more that were just okay. 
He noted the club as a whole held their own among the tough Edmonton, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Regina competition.
“Not too many medals,” added Ashford, “but we did pretty decent.”
Stephens said the Border Blades membership experienced a slight dip this season, but the 110 skaters at the Fire on Ice competition matched the highest participation rate they’ve enjoyed in about four years.
She said the club will begin their long track training outdoors in the next couple of weeks, which will help some of the older skaters prepare for their next meet at Edmonton’s Victoria Park Oval in a few weeks.

Thank you to the Lloydminster Source and Jamie Harkins for the media coverage!

You can view the article online at the Lloydminster Source: December 7, 2017 Border Blades Article

Border Blades Calendar Updates

Our calendar for the 2017-18 season is updated with all the practise, mini meet, and special event times.  There is a link on the calendar page if you wish to add the Border Blades gmail calendar to your mobile device.

Border Blades Calendar

We also request that you fill out the competition entries sheet.  Let us know which mini meets and out of town meets your skater will be attending.  This helps our coaches and mini meet managers.  You can edit at any time.

Meet Sign Up

Speed Skaters Hit High Marks

By Jamie Harkins
March 23, 2017

RACING AHEAD Emma Stephens set six personal best times in six races this past weekend at Canada Cup No. 4. PHOTO COURTESY ARNO HOOGVELD, OLYMPIC OVAL

Emma Stephens had an up and down speed skating season. The 16-year-old skater for the Lloydminster Border Blades experienced a trying time at many competitions this past winter as she tried to adjust to a new way of approaching the sport. Stephens said the biggest lesson learned was that sometimes progress doesn’t show itself in terms of time on paper, but in how a skater feels about their race.

“My coaches in Calgary helped me come to the realization that in order to improve speed you couldn’t just improve power,” said Stephens. “It had to be technique first. So, it changes the whole way you skate and the whole way you attack a race. Sometimes you have to move back in order to move forward.” Stephens achieved that goal at the Canada Cup No. 4 Olympic Oval Finale in Calgary this past weekend as a member of Alberta’s long track team when she set personal best times in all four of her events. The Grade 11 student at Holy Rosary Catholic School shaved 0.53 seconds off her previous 500-metre mark of 0:44.79 ticks, dropped her 1,000-m time down 0.85 seconds to 1:29.75, realized a 0.86 second best for a 2:19.18 mark in the 1,500-m race and notched a 6.98 improvement for a time of 4:55.69 in the 3,000-m heat.

“It was just more experience,” she said. “Every time you step onto the ice everything feels smoother, feels faster and feels stronger. Especially since our ice in Lloyd hasn’t been in for the past month, so it’s a big difference just being able to skate that extra bit out in Calgary.” Border Blades skaters Shaye Holzinger, Rebekah Shurniak, Erica Pollard, Jayva Andersen and Keeley Lockhart also represented their province over the weekend in the Canada West Short Track Championships at Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre. Andersen, 12, captured a bronze medal with the Alberta junior girls relay team at the event, while Holzinger, 15, helped the Alberta senior girls relay team win a silver medal.

The second-place finish is all the more impressive because Team Alberta had to race with three skaters instead of the usual four due to a last-minute injury. Holzinger said that meant each of the teammates had to skate two extra laps of clean racing to reach the podium. “We just talked about (the race) before and we set a game plan,” said Holzinger. “We thought of all the variables of what could happen if we made a mistake or someone fell and what would we do and how would we fix that and how would we get back in and we just put our all into it.”

Andersen said their four-person relay team started off slow, advanced to the second position by the halfway point and fell back to the third spot by the end of the championship final. She said there are 32 people on the ice during a relay race making everything involved with the contest a difficult challenge, but they persevered and kept their pace to finish third overall.

“It felt good getting the bronze medal because it wasn’t just me getting it, it was my whole team,” said Andersen. “We did really good and I was really happy about it, but I am sad that we’re done this year and I only get to see all my friends from different places next year. It’s going to be a while.”

Stephens will face a new challenge in 2017-18 competing with the Team Alberta Amateur Speed Skating Association development team due to reaching provincial qualifying times this past winter. She said the plan is to train throughout the summer for the opportunity to continue progressing in the sport.

“There is not a whole lot that will be different,” said Stephens. “It’s just going to hopefully be more intense training. Being part of the Alberta development team is like having a whole new team, but once you go to the Oval it’s like a home away from home. Everybody welcomes you. You’re part of a team even though you’re from all across the province.” 

Thank you to the Lloydminster Source and Jamie Harkins for the media coverage!

You can view the article online at the Lloydminster Source: March 23 Border Blades article

Border Blades Skate to Nationals

By Jamie Harkins
March 16, 2017

FAST FIVE Border Blades, from left, Erica Pollard, Shayne Holzinger, Jayva Andersen, Rebekah Shurniak and Keeley Lockhart will represent Team Alberta at the Canada West Short Track Championships in Saskatoon this weekend. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO

Six members of the Lloydminster Border Blades speed skating club will represent Alberta at end-of-season championships this weekend.

Border Blades skaters Erica Pollard, Shaye Holzinger, Jayva Andersen, Rebekah Shurniak and Keeley Lockhart will compete as members of Team Alberta at the Canada West Short Track Championships in Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre this Saturday and Sunday. Emma Stephens will carry the flag of her home club and province in long track at the Canada Cup No. 4 Olympic Oval Finale in Calgary from Thursday to Sunday.

“I qualified for Canada Cup No. 4 and I’ve been qualified all year, but this one is extra special because it’s the last meet to skate at the Oval,” said Stephens, 16, who also made the 2017-18 Alberta Amateur Speed Skating Association development team thanks to her strong times this year. “Everybody, not necessarily your bottom end, but those who qualify all the way up to your Olympians skate at this meet, so it’s a really cool experience.”

Stephens said about 150 to 200 skaters will compete at Canada Cup No. 4, which includes more of a team and social atmosphere compared to other meets during the season. She said the competition is designed for athletes to interact with one another, but she still hopes to score a top time in the one-to-two races she’ll participate in each day. “On short track you have anywhere from four to eight people on the line at a time and you’re racing against each other in your heat, whereas in long track it’s all against the clock,” she said. “It’s all about your time and not your placing, so I could go out and there could be 16 pairs of skaters but it doesn’t matter how I do in my pair. It matters how my time compares to everybody else’s. It’s more based on your individual performance than your performance in a group.”

Andersen said the Canada West Short Track Championships will be her second end-of-season national tournament this year. She said the Canadian Age Class Long Track Championships, where she finished with a silver medal in the 500-metre competition and fifth overall at Edmonton’s Victoria Park Oval in early February, was her first. “This season was really fun,” said Andersen, 12. “I’m really happy that I qualified for both of them because those are the only ones I could qualify for this year (due to age restrictions) and I did really well.”

Andersen said a third overall placing at the RU Fast Short Track event at the Olympic Oval earlier this month allowed her to qualify for this weekend’s competition. She said a fall in her first try at the 200-m race hurt her chances, but she jumped back up and found a new gear to propel her to the solid finish.

“It’s great for the club,” said Border Blades president Charmaine Stephens. “They all (finished) top five, top three, top two to get to go represent Alberta at Can West. Then for our long track, Emma is skating at Canada Cup and there is a time standard and only skaters with that time standard can go to compete so she achieved that. That was good, but she also had another achievement where she reached her provincial times. Next year she’ll actually race representing Alberta for the entire season.” 

Thank you to the Lloydminster Source and Jamie Harkins for the media coverage!

You can view the article online at the Lloydminster Source: March 16 Border Blades article

Speed Den Grand Opening

The official opening of the Speed Den on February 9 has made the long-awaited dreams of the Border Blades a reality.  Our club hopes to continue to grow the sport of long track speed skating in our community.

 Speed Den Grand Opening Photo Gallery

500m opening race featuring Krisy Myers (athlete, former and founding Border Blades member, Border Blades guest coach, member of the Canadian Speed Skating Long Track team, Canadian sprint champion, and Olympian)Shaye Holzinger (Border Blade athlete), Joel Turcotte (representing the City of Lloydminster and former Border Blade coach), Cam Wheeler (representing KidSport and a former Border Blade)  


Newcap Media Coverage starts at 3:36.

The Border Blades are excited to announce the Grand Opening of our Long Track Speed Den!  Join us on Thursday February 9 at 6 pm on the oval.  A family skate will take place after the ceremony, from 6:30-9.  There will be no indoor practise.

A huge thank you to the sponsors who made building the Speed Den possible.

Please remember, no sticks or pucks are permitted on the oval.

Border Blades getting their feet underneath them

By Andrew Brethauer
November 17, 2016

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

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

Volunteer for Try Speed Skating Event

Sign Up Now!

Please click the link above to sign up as a volunteer on Sunday, April 10 for our second annual Try Speed Skating event. We had great success last year with this, and are hoping to continue to build the club enrollment. Please spread the word as well. There is a poster you can use on the Try Speed Skating Information Page

Details:

Skate Fitting – 6:00 pm
Ice Time – 6:30 – 8:00 pm

SS3 athletes are responsible to help on ice with our new recruits!

Try Speed Skating Event -Sunday April 10

The Lloydminster Border Blades and KidSport are presenting our second annual Try Speed Skating event!  All ages welcome!

You are invited to try speed skating on Sunday, April 10 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

 

Location:  Rusway Arena, Servus Sports Centre Lloydminster

If you do not want to use speed skates, please bring hockey skates.  If you would like to try speed skates, skate fitting will be at 6:00 pm and skating is anytime between 6:30  – 8:00 pm

___________________________________________________________________
IMPORTANT:  In order for the skaters to be safe, we are requiring them to wear the following equipment.

  • helmet (hockey helmets are good, bike helmets not allowed)
  • neck guard
  • soft knee pads (ie volleyball)
  • thick mitts or gloves
  • soccer shin pads (optional)

For more information, please email us:  borderblades@gmail.com

Here is a copy you can print or share:  Try Speed Skating 2016 Apr 10