The Pomeroy Sport Centre’s speedskating oval will come alive this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the Fort St. John Elks club host one of five Canada Cup events.
While regular competition began to open up this past spring, it’s the first national event the club has been able to host post-pandemic – the last one done in 2019.
The event will feature long-track speed skaters from across the country and is also a qualifier for February’s Canada Winter Games in PEI.
“The Canada Cup consists of five national competitions,” explained meet coordinator, Kate North.
“They serve as ranking competitions for skaters trying to achieve a national designation. Canada Cup 1 is here this weekend. Canada Cup 2 will be in Quebec City. Number 3 goes to Winnipeg. That one is an outdoor skating event, the only we have, and then 4 and 5 will be held at the Olympic oval in Calgary.”
Competition at the Pomeroy oval opens Friday, beginning with sprints.
“These are all Olympic-style races. We have the 500-metre, 1000, and 1500-metres. The women will skate the 3000m and men skate a 5000.”
And, unlike regular meets, the Canada Cup sprints don't have specific age groups meaning a teen could be paired up in a race against an adult.
“It’s all about how fast you can go.”
“We will also be doing mass start races,” North continued.
“That one is divided into junior [18 and under] and senior [19 and over] men’s and ladies. We’ll also have a team pursuit competition, which on the international stage, has been winning Canada lots of awards recently.”
That event sees two three-member teams compete for the best time with another team, each beginning on opposite ends of the track, but North clarified it’s not like a baton relay, something you'd see in track and field.
“The three skaters go out together and they cross the line together. They stay together [as a group] but they change the lead and draft off each other, so as three together, they will skate a lot faster than as individuals.”
“It’ll be fun for the fans to watch,” she added.
Competition begins Friday at 10 a.m., on Saturday, also at 10 a.m., and Sunday morning at 9.
Admission is free.