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Cambridge club that's produced 7 Olympic speed skaters puts out a call for new racers


Blake Morrison has been coaching speed skating in Cambridge for 25 years, and says the sport deserves more attention.

“It’s a great organization, a great sport and it’s unfortunate that we just don’t get the exposure for people to really know that we are here,” Morrison told CTV News.

The Cambridge Speed Skating Club (CSSC) has produced seven Olympians over its 50 years.

“Number eight, I am hoping is in Calgary right now,” Morrison said referencing Aaralyn Mcgill who spent many years at the Cambridge Speed Skating Club before moving to Alberta to advance her training and attend post-secondary school.

“We are hopeful she might be in the next winter Olympics.”

Each Olympian who previously trained at the CSSC gets their banner hung inside Hespeler Memorial Arena.

Included among them is Amanda Overland, who won silver for short track at the 2006 Turin Games.

When asked why speed skating sees lower participation numbers, Overland couldn’t exactly say.

“It’s not as popular say as hockey or figure skating, even though it has amazing ratings at the Olympics and we do so well at the Olympics.”

She added: “I guess maybe because there’s no professional speeding skating?”

Overland still lives in Waterloo region and her young children have since picked up the sport.

A group of Cambridge Speed Skating Club athletes pose for a picture on ice at the Hespeler Memorial Arena. (Krista Sharpe/CTV Kitchener)

Despite their Olympic success, Morrison says the club still has a relatively low turnout.

He argues speed skating, at the fundamental level, is less expensive compared to other organized sports.

“In Cambridge we offer a four session, try-before-you-join package and the cost is $40, but it includes the speed skates. We have speed skates we provide for the younger skaters,” he said.

“Speed skates can be really expensive so this really helps.”

Morrison says the more competitive an athlete gets, the more the cost will rise as with any sport, “but at the outset of learning to skate, it’s quiet reasonable for the finances on the family.”

While training, current Cambridge speed skating athletes see those Olympic banners on the wall as motivation.

“I think that's awesome and I hopefully want to be on the wall,” 13-year-old Owen Donkers said.

“That's my goal, to be on that wall,” 14-year-old Allie Hubert added.

Hubert says she enjoys the sport because, “I love the community, I love travelling and making friends.”

Twelve-year-old Felix Paiement says he started his skating career in hockey skates but decided it wasn’t for him.

“What I like about speed skating the most, I like the going fast part,” Paiement said. Top Stories

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