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

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Campus View Elementary undergoes $4.2 million in seismic upgrades

Campus View Elementary undergoes significant seismic upgrades

Claremont Spartans win the inaugural Senior Girls’ AAAA Basketball Island Championship

Claremont Spartans win their Feb. 15 game agains the Royal Bay Ravens 71 - 64

Sidney company tastes sweet success with sugar kelp

Cascadia Seaweed is experiencing rapid growth after launching six months ago

North Saanich floats tougher policies for buoys and moorings near Tsehum Harbour

Municipality also considers additional collaboration with Sidney and other communities

Westin Bear Mountain invests $2 million to renovate newly-named spa

‘Amatista Spa’ has yet to announce official opening date

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read