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.