P.E.I. hosts youth Canada East Short Track Championships

Charlottetown hosted the Canada East Short Track Championships, the final and biggest competition of the year for skaters ages 11 to 15.

First time in 19 years for Island to host a speed skating event of this significance

P.E.I. speed skater Andrew Binns, in the lead, finishes in 4th place in the 200m for 12-year-old boys at the Canada East Short Track Championships in Charlottetown. (Photo by Carter Scott)

This weekend Charlottetown hosted the Canada East Short Track Championships, the biggest competition of the year for Canadian speed skaters ages 11 to 15.

It is the first time in 19 years P.E.I. has hosted a speed skating event of this significance.

"It's a big deal for our home club of course. Our skaters are very excited to be doing this level of event on home ice," said Rob Binns, the host committee chairman and president of Speed Skate PEI.

"From a development point of view for the sport, it's huge. Creates excitement, gets some buzz in the community and we're hoping to see more people come out and see some short track skating and perhaps join."   

The young skaters were looking for personal bests and winning times as they skated around the oval.

Sometimes there was a bit of jostling for space and some spills on the ice as 122 speed skaters took part in the weekend event.

Simon Hale, 13, was one of the skaters who beat his personal time, even with a challenging start.  

"We all got ready, when that noise went, we went and I fell cause I got tripped, sort of, and during that I hurt my hip and elbow," said Hale.

Hale was able to get up and keep going.

"You try to get into the same mind set as you were before ... If you weren't in a good mind set then try and get into a different one that's better," said Hale.

Olympic dreams possible

Binns says since the peak age for most speed skaters is in their mid-20s, many of the participants may be dreaming of the 2022 Olympics.

"This competition, in the previous few years there's already been alumni who have gone on to senior level world cups and world championships representing Canada," he said.

William Preudhomme offers encouragement and inspiration to young racers taking part in the speed skating championship. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)
One of those speed skaters, William Preudhomme, a World Cup medal winner and ranked 7th in Canada, attended the event.

"Maybe one of the youngsters that is skating here looking up to me might end up training with me later, so I think it can give them a little bit of inspiration," said Preudhomme who is a Short Track Speed Skating Canadian National Development team member.  

While there were no medals for Island speed skaters, many achieved personal bests in the competition. 

with files from Krystalle Ramlakhan


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