The Ridge Meadows Speed Skating Club held the first TeBoekhorst Cup on Saturday morning, and the fastest person there was a Rustlers Bantam A1 hockey player.
The speedy Lachlan Freer won the event, and posted the second fastest time in the province in his age group with a lap of 13:32. The race was open to anyone who wasn’t a club speed skater, and no long blades allowed, to promote the sport.
The Maple Ridge event is a legacy for Dennis TeBoekhorst – an elite speed skater who went on to become a popular firefighter in Maple Ridge. He died suddenly in 2016 from heart failure.
The club created the new event to honour him, and to coincide with BC Speed Skating’s first ever Speed Week. Results came in from other Speed Week events under way around the province, including Burnaby and Esquimalt, with other races having been run earlier in Mission, Williams Lake and Fort St. James. So the Maple Ridge racers were competing with skaters around the province.
Freer’s younger brother Haldan, a pee wee A1 player, was the fastest in his age group, and in the running for fastest in the province.
The new event was also like a reunion for speed skaters and the family and friends of TeBoekhorst.
Sammy Green, who is training at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, and just knocked off some B.C. short track records, was there to help demonstrate and support the event.
Jeff TeBoekhorst, who was once a national team speed skater, raced a couple of laps at his brother’s event. Their parents Jan and Maria watched from the stands.
“It means a lot to the family,” Jeff said. “My brother was a huge part of the family and the community, and losing him left a huge hole.
“It’s great his name and memory live on. He would have loved this. He would have been here with his kids.”
Jan, who was on the scene to coach the team just three months after George Donetelli founded it, echoed those sentiments.
“Dennis was a social butterfly. He wold have loved this. It is an honour for us to see.”
Martin Betts, who was a provincial champion for most of a decade with the Mission club, came to support the TeBoekhorst family along with his sister Erika. Both were national medallists in the 1970s and 1980s. They would travel to Maple Ridge every weekend to be coached by Jan, whom they said brought a European style of coaching that was ahead of its time.
Betts won the weekend’s race in the men’s 19-plus category, and posted a time that was sitting third in B.C. with some results still to come.
In 2010, TeBoekhorst donated one of his kidneys to his daughter, who had been suffering from kidney failure. His family has been strong supporters of the Children’s Hospital charity programs, and big boosters of organ donation. Half of the fundraising proceeds earned will be given to the BC Transplant Society.