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Two of Canada's fastest skaters moving on

It seems like Patrick Hopkins and James Hopkins have been speed skating for their entire lives. And they almost have. The two joined the Dawson Creek Speed Skating Club when they were mere tykes - just two years old.

It seems like Patrick Hopkins and James Hopkins have been speed skating for their entire lives.

And they almost have.

The two joined the Dawson Creek Speed Skating Club when they were mere tykes - just two years old.

Now they are in Grade 12, looking forward to graduating in June and moving away from the city and attending university in the Lower Mainland.

Their stellar careers with the local club and representing the city on the long and short tracks are over.

"I am really going to miss it. Everyone is so nice. They are so sportsmanlike," said James Hopkins.

The two identical twins have gone from stumbling around on the ice as they mastered skating on the long blades to being two of the fastest junior-division skaters in the country.

Both have represented the city at provincial championships throughout B.C. and national short track and long track championships across Canada.

Patrick won the 2009 junior-division national title and James was not far behind.

The two capped off their local careers by winning the Dawson Creek Athletic Association's Sam Wilson Athlete of the Year Award this past fall and attended several provincial competitions this season, but they didn't travel as much as in the past because they wanted to concentrate on their studies at South Peace Secondary School.

"I have a lot more time on my hands now. Usually, I am skating four or five times a week. The one thing I will miss is the people. I know people all over B.C. and Alberta, and I am not going to see them very much any more, if at all," said Patrick Hopkins.

The two will be missed by the other elite skaters in the club - such as Braden Clouthier, who has been a worthy training partner.

"It will be different going places without them. They are usually my traveling partners to Canadians and down south. It will be different," said Clouthier.

The two plan on attending university in the Vancouver area. Patrick is hoping to get into UBC, while James wants to be accepted at SFU.

As for speed skating that's up in the air. Neither has firm plans and as strong cyclists who have also represented the city and region in that sport one or both could end up competitive cycling in the Vancouver area.

However, they have both been approached by Lower Mainland speed skating clubs and asked to train with them and try and earn a spot at the Canada Winter Games.