Speedskating president wants sport to grow across the province

Dave Kearsey
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Humber Valley Speedskating Club member Thomas Park skates is seen Thursday during practice at the Pepsi Centre. — Star photo by Geraldine Brophy

Sharon Karn shares Todd Landon’s vision for growing speedskating in Newfoundland and Labrador, but she’s quick to point out it takes money and people to make it happen.

Landon, who is based in Halifax, is regional development mentor with Speedskating Canada who has been trying to get a speedskating club started on the east coast of the province.

The only speedskating club in the province is the Humber Valley Speed Skating Club, which has Karn serving as the president and also takes on the role as president of the provincial association.

Landon has been trying to guage interest in forming a club on the east coast via social media in an effort to build a list of potential members and a group of volunteers to run it. It has something he has been hoping to see for a number of years, even going as far as meeting with municipal representatives in Mount Pearl a few years ago.

Landon has been fielding a number of enquiries through Twitter so he hopes to generate some interest sooner rather than later.

“I thought this was a good time to kind of pounce while the iron is hot,” Landon said earlier this week from Halifax.

Landon said the key to getting a club going on the east coast is finding the right combination of people to provide the leadership in getting it started.

“It’s going to be people who are interested in running it,” he said. “We can find the equipment and we can find the facility space, but it’s going to be finding a few key leaders who are going to be able to run with it.”

Karn said it would be great to be able to send skaters from her club to meets on the other side of the island, but she agrees the only way it can possibly come to fruition is to have somebody step up to the plate to lead the charge.

“If there’s somebody in St. John’s that wants to take it on then it’s fine, but I can’t with everything I have on my plate I can’t just forget about my club and try to promote it elsewhere,” she said.

Karn said she has been working diligently to keep the local club afloat with only 20 members carrying the financial burden that comes with ice rentals and associated expenses.

Finding somebody to take the leadership role is one thing, but she also points out that it takes money and a group of dedicated coaches and volunteers to make it a viable option for budding athletes.

She believes it only makes sense to build the local club up before embarking on a new venture and if that means following the way of Prince Edward Island which only has one club, then so be it.

While she has her hands full trying to cover costs for the local skaters to keep the sport going, Karn wants to focus her energy on the local scene despite sharing a vision of having boys and girls speedskating across the province.

“It takes money. It’s not just passion and somebody who has experience. It takes a lot of money,” she said. “I’m just trying to make mine strong here and I got some ideas on how I can raise money to buy board pads and all that stuff.”

“When I see us flourishing over the years yes,” she said.

Landon has had some people express interest on the east coast so he plans on seeing if he can build up a list and if he gets good numbers he will plan a meeting and see what happens.

Anybody interested in getting speedskating going on the east coast can email Landon at tlandon@speedskating.ca.

Meanwhile, Karn is working the phones in an effort to purchase 30 pairs of skates for the club and pondering some ideas on how funds can be raised to buy some key equipment such as the board pads required for participant safety.

Speedskating is a passion that consumes a lot of her free time. It’s all a part of her being a volunteer focused on providing the athletes with a fun, safe and affordable activity.

She’s prepared to take baby steps to make it happen and if the day comes there are more than one club that’s something she will embrace.

Organizations: Speedskating Canada, Humber Valley Speed Skating Club

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Halifax, Mount Pearl Prince Edward Island

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