It was a busy weekend for Fort St. John speed skaters as local athletes of all ages competed in three different events – the CanAm Long Track Speed Skating Competition, the ISU Junior World Cup and the ESSENT ISU World Cup #1 in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
While Denny Morrison won gold in Heerenveen on Saturday in the 1,000-metre race, his brother Jay and younger counterparts from the Fort St. John Elks Speed Skating Club were in Calgary for the CanAm and Junior World Cup.
“It was kind of a historic weekend for the Elks, as I believe that is the first time we had three current and former members all skating for Canada at the same time,” said Elks head coach Richard Stickel.
Former Fort St. John skater Kaylin Irvine also skated in Heerenveen on the weekend, while Jacob Graham skated in both the Junior World Cup and CanAm competition with six other Elks and Jay Morrison.
Some notable finishes for Graham were sixth place in the 500 m (36.64) and eighth in the 1,000 m (1:12.79) in the Junior World Cup, as well as an impressive 21st place finish in the 500 m (37.64) and 27th place in the 3,000 m (4.22.02) at the CanAm competition where the 16 year old was up against speed skaters of all ages.
“Obviously Jacob was the story of the meet for us as he skated some amazing times for a 16 year old,” Stickel said, “But I was very happy with the performance of the other skaters as well.”
“Connor Johnson continues to make huge strides and I believe he will probably be under 40 seconds in his 500 by the end of the year.”
Stickel added that both Connor Johnson and Eryn Stickel made big improvements throughout the competition and will “step things up in the coming years.”
Jay Morrison made some good times as well in the CanAm competition, finishing fifth in the 3,000 m (3:55.37) and ninth in the 1,500 m (1:48.94).
“It was really good to watch Jay skate again,” Stickel said. “He just got better and better as the weekend progressed.”
The Elks will be in action again this weekend when skaters travel to Dawson Creek and Peace River for two short track meets.