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

Watchdog group says Saanich council needs a ‘reality check’ about taxes

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria warns of eroding housing affordability in Saanich

‘Best in the country’: Formerly homeless man praises Victoria’s outreach services

Jay W. was living on the streets of downtown Victoria in 2018

Years of ‘horrific, violent accidents’ at Thetis Lake prompt plea to public

View Royal fire chief asks for an end to alcohol consumption at busy park

City of Victoria plans workshop to determine fate of Sir John A. Macdonald statue

Conversations will happen as part of a reconciliation dialogue series in May 2020

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted in murder of Saanich couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Most Read