Twenty-six year old Saanich resident Hamish Black has moved to Calgary to pursue speed skating.

Long road ahead for short track speed skater

Saanich speed skater headed to Calgary with international goals

Despite starting as an adult, Hamish Black has shown a natural ability on the speed skating short track.

The 26-year-old only took the sport up two years ago, when he showed up to the Esquimalt Speedskating Club’s first session of the season.

“I remember that day, it was a gong show, as the first skate of the season can be,” said club president Ian Phillips. “That was before I knew (Black). I got on the ice and I saw him out there skating, falling down and I thought, ‘We’ll have to watch this guy.’”

Watch him they have.

Black not only impressed the club coaches with his knack for an efficient stride and progress as a fluid skater (he won the club’s skater of the year award for 2012-13), but also his all-around attitude. He’s been great with the kids and is always eager to put put up and take down the wall padding for each session, Phillips said.

This week, Black has taken a leap of faith as he left his Gordon Head home to train and live full-time in Calgary, one of Canada’s havens for the sport. To do it, Black leaves behind his job as the manager of TeenWork, a youth employment program at UVic’s CanAssist. It’s a necessary sacrifice to chase a dream of competing nationally and internationally, he said.

“If you asked me two years ago when I showed up here, no way would I believe I’d be moving to Calgary for skating,” Black said.

In Calgary, Black will work to build world-class power into his stride, something he believes he can do, as he was a competitive nordic skier before he left Ontario for the University of Victoria in 2007.

When he initially arrived in Greater Victoria, he did try other sports including UVic’s novice rowing program, but none were the right fit. In 2012, he “Googled” speed skating and found the only two clubs in the region, Esquimalt and the Peninsula Speed Skating Club at Panorama. Black joined both short track clubs (there are no long track clubs here) so he could get on the ice five times each week.

“The more I do this, the more I like it,” Black said.

It paid off, as he was invited to spend three weeks at a speed skating development camp in Calgary this summer. He did it again in September, which led to the full time invite. It will be on his own dime, but the support community is said to be very helpful, providing part time jobs that work around the training schedule.

“Even with a lack of competition experience, the camp coaches said I’ve shown enough that they are interested in having me there to train all year. That’s enough for me,” Black said.

It’s been a speedy ride since his first racing competition, when Black fell in most of his heats but did win a long race that turned some heads, Phillips said.

“(Black) prepared very hard for Calgary. He’s very keen and passionate about the sport, you can see that,” Phillips added.

Black’s season includes four Canada Cup events, which will eventually determine his progress.

“We know it’s unlikely Black will make the national team,” Phillips said. “Hopefully he makes me eat my words, because you can never rule it out.”

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Saanich’s Falcon Gymnastics finish season with three titles at own tournament

Club hosted the 37th annual Garden City Invitational over May long weekend to wrap up season

Mom who lost son to brain tumour in March joins the 24th annual Brain Tumour Walk

The Brain Tumour Walk takes place at the University of Victoria on Sunday, May 26

Comic Con announces winning artist in $500 ViGuy competition

Van Isle Comic Con announce judges’ award winner, People’s Choice voting now open

Sooke woman is ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at Thetis Lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Victorian makes gridlock fun with traffic bingo

How far into your drive before you yell BINGO?

VIDEO: Journey of SD62 Aboriginal graduates recognized at ceremony

‘Enriching and empowering’ ceremony encourages students to hold onto their identities

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana growing ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Brewpub offers ‘boat valet’ for paddlers during Surfrider celebration tonight

Free ‘Surf Formal’ evening features a local art auction, door prizes, live music

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Building a close-knit community in Sooke

Knit 2 Purl Together a community event

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Most Read