FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Elks Speed Skating Club is gearing up to co-host the 26th Annual Masters Allround Games, taking place at the Pomeroy Sport Centre March 10th – 12th.
Wim Kok with the Elks says that so far, things are coming together very nicely when it comes to preparations for the event. Kok says that the list of volunteers is all set and ready, along with referees and other off-ice officials from places such as Calgary, Victoria, Saskatoon, and as far away as Winnipeg. So far, Kok says that 90 skaters have signed up, coming from Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Romania, and the United States in addition to Canadians. Skaters range in age from 30 to several that are in their 80s, with 25 of the ninety skaters being women.
In the different age groups, those up to age 65 will skate four distances: 500m, 1,500m, 3,000m, and 5,000m. Those over 65 and woman will compete in the 500m, 1,000m, 1,500m, and 3,000m. After each event, the skaters’ times will be converted to points for the overall standings.
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Kok says that the club has a lot of prior experience hosting large National-calibre events, so it won’t be too much of an issue moving onto the International stage. He pointed out the past successes that Fort St. John has had hosting the speed skating events at the 2015 Canada Winter Games after the outdoor oval in Prince George suffered from above normal temperatures. This is in addition to hosting provincials, the Canada Cup, and the Canadian Masters Championships.
Kok says that when it comes to the ice that the skaters will be competing on, city staff are currently shaving down the layers of ice on the Pomeroy’s oval track in advance of next weekend’s races, so that the lines on the oval are more crisp and clear. “We’re very happy with how it’s progressing,” said Kok. “As I said the support from a number of the businesses, the Pomeroy Hotel Group have been very supportive, and City Hall.”