2019-2020 BC Speed Skating Coach of the Year Meredith Thornton began coaching in 1988, having experienced the joy of Dawson Creek oval, she had enjoyed the look of speed skating and began attending some practices and, once in university, joined the newly started Burnaby club.  Upon returning home to Dawson Creek, she was asked by Greig and Sharon Miller to join the club as the junior coach.

Meredith has always found working with the youngest skaters to be the most rewarding, “I’ve worked as a high school teacher since the early 90’s and this way I see teenagers at school and the younger ones at skating!”  Keeping skating enjoyable for the youngest ones, she is known for creating fun drills like “spaghetti ankles” to get skaters using their edges in a variety of positions, including skating – but also for the hula or Charlston dance, on ice.  

Along the way Meredith has coached Shelley Kirk, Patrick and James Hopkins, Braden Clothier, Hannah Brun, Sarah and Jacob Graham, the Vanspronson brothers, and Heather and Melissa Chaley – many with a story to tell.  The Hopkins were “always up to something,” or BCST Champion Melissa once “sprinted away from the start gun because she thought she was going to get shot!”  Including the Special Olympics skaters has always played an important part of the club, training with the main group of skaters.  Among the memories and stories over the seasons, one stood out.  Prior to the Olympics at the Richmond Olympic Oval, “the club really enjoyed doing the long track provincials at Vancouver on the indoor oval with the beautiful view of the mountains.  Raistlin (photo credit above) was so excited about one race that he held his arms up and cheered himself for a full victory lap.”  

Aside from coaching, teaching, and her cats, Meredith is a proud member of the Timberline Trail and Nature Club, an affiliation of the BC Federation of Naturalists, where they go “backpacking, long distance skiing and are interested in birds and the natural environment.  We were the only naturalist group in North Eastern BC that got involved in environmental planning on Site C.”  

Looking back, Meredith encourages all skaters to “start coaching even if you don’t feel you know the sport that well.  You can grow with the kids.  And have fun.  Take yourself back to being a kid again and enjoy playing on the ice.”  Of course, amidst a pandemic this season will be different.  The club is diligently preparing it’s Return to Play documentation and will be ready to skate safely.  Meredith will be ready to keep the fun in speed skating, safely – providing her creative drills to safely Charleston 2m apart. 

Ready for your next step in coaching?  Cool off this summer and progress through your coaching certification with FUNdamentals Leader webinar and FUNdamentals Coach on-ice workshop.

The sessions are intended for active skaters, parents, or volunteers looking to work as assistant coaches for Learn to Skate, Learn to Speed Skate and introductory speed skating programs. 

FUNdamentals Leader
FUNdamentals Leader module delivered via webinar
August 24-25, 2020 @12pm-4pm
Registration $70

FUNdamentals Coach
The remaining 5 (of 8) FUNdamentals Coach modules will be in various locations when possible  

Upcoming in-person session:

September 12-13, 2020 in Fort St. John
*Restricted to local FSJ and Dawson Creek participants only due to COVID-19 regulations*
Registration

BC Speed Skating Association is looking to fill a summer student position to assist in populating data into the new BCSSA Database. The successful applicant will be responsible for uploading all results from previous competitions into the database following on boarding and training by Adroit Technologies.

Ready to apply?

Find out more information here.

Application deadline: July 17, 2020

It’s the summer off season and a perfect time to progress your through your coaching certification with the FUNdamentals Coach webinar series.

The webinar sessions are intended for active skaters, parents, or volunteers looking to work as assistant coaches for Learn to Skate, Learn to Speed Skate and introductory speed skating programs. 

3 (of 8) FUNdamentals Coach modules delivered via webinar
Tuesday, July 7, 14, 21, and 28 @6pm-8pm
Registration $90

The remaining 5 (of 8) FUNdamentals Coach modules will be held in-person; date(s) and location(s) TBC. The cost for the in-person session is $205.

Learn more about the Coaching Association of Canada and the speed skating coach certification pathway.

Register here

We’re ready! The BC Speed Skating Association (BCSSA) has been carefully following the updates regarding Return to Sport in BC and we’ve been preparing our plans accordingly. Thank you for your patience as we do our best to ensure we have the safest and most successful return to group speed skating practices possible.

We are now in Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan, which allows a return to organized sport under enhanced protocols. Following the release of the viaSport sport sector guidelines, BCSSA developed our BCSSA Return to Practice Guidelines. We are happy to announce that the BCSSA Board of Directors approved our guidelines last evening, and we are ready to share them here:


BCSSA Return to Practice Guidelines


What’s next? Clubs must use the BCSSA Return to Practice Guidelines to develop written plans for their club. Each club’s Board of Directors/Executive must approve their club’s plan, after which, face-to-face group training can resume. BCSSA will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday June 17th at 7pm to review this process and answer questions about the BCSSA Return to Practice Guidelines. Club administrators are encouraged to attend using the following link:

https://meet.google.com/xea-vqjr-tsx

Dial-in: (CA) +1 604-774-3512 PIN: 547 209 640#


Questions should be directed to BCSSA Technical Director Chris Acton (chris.acton@nullbcspeedskating.ca). 

This post intends to provide an update to the BCSSA membership on the plans for returning to speed skating practice. viaSport publicly released their sport-sector Return to Sport Guidelines on Monday, after review by the provincial government and WorkSafe BC. This represents a key step in the restart of organized sport, which is allowed under enhanced protocols in Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan.

Each Provincial Sport Organization, including BCSSA, is responsible for developing their own guidelines/plan, which meet or exceed the requirements in the viaSport Return to Sport Guidelines. The BCSSA Return to Practice Guidelines draft has been updated to ensure compliance with the recently-released sport sector guidelines, and are with a working group for review. Following the review of the working group, the BCSSA Return to Practice Guidelines must be approved by the BCSSA Board of Directors before the guidelines are shared with member clubs.

Each member club will subsequently be responsible for developing their own plan, following the BCSSA Return to Practice Guidelines and in collaboration with their facility (or facilities) to align with site-specific guidelines. The Board of Directors/Executive for each club must then approve the club’s plan.

Until this time, clubs are advised that they should not be meeting for in-person training of any type. Although this process seems onerous, it is in the best interest of our members to ensure a safe and successful return to group speed skating training in BC.

Any questions should be directed to BCSSA Technical Director Chris Acton (chris.acton@nullbcspeedskating.ca).

The virtual Academy Speed Skating Excellence Retreat will be hosted Saturday May 30th. Skaters, parents, coaches and officials are invited to spend an hour with SSC NextGen Coach Jeff Scholten to learn about national programs, followed by two hours with BCSSA Technical Director Chris Acton and Provincial Coaches discussing season planning for the upcoming season. The Season Planning session will be a combination of theory and practical (dryland).

Registration is open NOW and is limited to 25 skaters. Act now!