Intact Insurance, in association with Speed Skating Canada, held an event at the Emera Oval on February 23rd and 24th. The ‘Intact Day on Skates’ was a great opportunity for people in the community to get a crash course (not literally) in Speed Skating. What better way to learn the sport than from it’s biggest name, and one of Canada’s greatest Olympians; Catriona Le May Doan. Along with her were up and coming Speed Skater Sabrina Bourgela, and 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist Mathieu Giroux. There were also numerous people from Speed Skating Canada, Intact Insurance, and Speed Skating Nova Scotia on hand to help with the clinics and organization. Catriona did a number of interviews and is such a great spokesperson not only for Speed Skating, but for sport in general. It was great to get a chance to talk to her and see her in action on the ice.
Intact Insurance has a program which rewards speed skating organizations across Canada whenever one of our athletes reaches the podium. They presented a cheque to the Northside Blades club for $1000 which brings the total donated to nearly $150,000 in the 3 years it’s been running. Without programs like this from major Canadian companies, many athletes don’t get the chance to train and compete at an elite level. But it’s not only the top level competitors that benefit, people young and old can learn speed skating and pick up the sport at a recreational level as well.
As a hockey player, I’ve always been curious to know what it’s like to skate in speed skates. As the day came to an end on Saturday, I got the opportunity to put a pair of skates on and take a few laps of the Oval. I was also lucky enough to get some pointers from one of the coaches, and while I didn’t get his name, I’m appreciative of his tips. There were only a few of us on the ice, including Mathieu Giroux, so my first time on speed skates was with an Olympic Gold Medalist, not too bad eh? I enjoyed my first time on speed skates and I think I’ll give them a try again when I have some more time. If you’ve never tried, I suggest doing it, I think you’ll get a better appreciation of what our athletes are doing when competing.
Here are a few photos from the Intact Day on Skates: