Spills and thrills part of short track speedskating fun

Esquimalt Speedskating Club been around 40 years, one of two short track clubs on the Island

Some come because they saw it in the Olympics. Some because their parents and grandparents do it, too. And some take up speedskating because they’re looking for something new.

All of them get hooked to the speed.

“I love going really fast,” said  Kelly Cayford, a 14-year-old  with the Esquimalt Speedskating Club.

Cayford’s been skating with Esquimalt for four years and is one of three members, along with 16-year-olds Ben Weir and Cameron Nawosad, who are going to the B.C. Winter Games in Vernon in February.

They’ll compete in the 400- and 1,500-metre races.

“One thing about our group is it’s pretty steady in terms of numbers,” said vice-president Ian Philips.

“Some of us are more competitive than others. Not everyone shows up for the 6 a.m. skate on Saturdays,” he added, noting the club is open to new skaters.

Six-year-old Zion Lavoie, for example, isn’t relying on the protective mats along the boards to cushion any wipeouts he might make. The beginner is concerned enough with falling down.

“I get going so fast I can’t turn,” Lavoie said.

Lavoie is part of the club’s varied mix. Philips has been on the ice since 1990 and has seen youngsters climb the ranks and go on to train in Calgary.

Sessions are 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Archie Browning Sports Centre.

Visit esquimaltspeedskating.org for more information.

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