Ridge Meadows Racers Speed Skating Club’s Sam Green, will be representing Canada once again, this time at the World Junior Championships in February 2022.
Green, 17, competed at the Canadian Junior Championships in Sherbrooke, Quebec during the Nov. 26 to 28 weekend and won the 1500m Gold on Nov. 26 and the 1000m silver, in a photo finish, on Nov. 28 to rank second overall in the final classification. The championship victory has now qualified him to represent Canada for a second time, this time in Poland at the World Junior Championships February 2022, said father and former Olympic speed skater Julian Green.
“Sam has qualified to represent Canada in the 1500m, 1000m, 5000m Relay and possibly the 500m distances,” he said.
The first time Sam represented Canada was in The Netherlands, Heerenveen, in October, for an international event where he competed with the current senior World Champion and Olympian, Liu Shaolin Sándor of Hungary, and his brother, runner-up Liu Shaoang, as well as Sjinke Knegt, Nederlands, the 2015 World Champion and 2018 Olympic medallist.
Sam and his older sister Annabelle, also a speed skater, are currently training at the Olympic Oval in Calgary on Olympic size, as Maple Ridge only has NHL size arenas which are too small for the 48 kmph at which the siblings can travel, said Julian.
“Furthermore, crash mat funding is not available to upgrade the 35-year-old foam mats to current safety standards required for high performance speed skaters,” he said, adding that the drastic drop of membership at the club since COVID and the Planet Ice/Cam Neely arean refrigeration plant broke down for an entire season, has led to concerns.
“There are concerns that if the club cannot recover from this low registration then the Green’s may have to register with another club in the Lower Mainland,” added Julian.
The club recently held an open house to invite more skaters, and it was a sucessful event, according to club President Kyle Ludeman.
“Our open house was a success. It was great to chat about our sport with people that don’t know much about it and give people a chance to try out speed skates. We had three new skaters sign up after the open house. We’re hoping to have another open house during the Winter Olympics,” he said.
Ludeman is also proud to see Sam’s progress and performance.
“Sam’s performance is inspiring and we’re all so proud of him. He still wears our club suit when he’s not wearing the national team suit. Our younger skaters look up to him and his friends at the club can say ‘I skated with Sam; I helped him get fast,’” said Ludeman.
“Most elite short track speed skaters come from Quebec, but Sam proves that you can excel even if you come from Maple Ridge! With our coaches and our program, we have the formula for success right here.”
At the local level, competitions are ramping up. The club has an interclub meet in Mission on Dec. 12 and some of the club’s skaters will be travelling to the BC Long Track Championships in Fort St. John in January 2022 and the BC Short Track Championships in Richmond in March 2022. Skaters will be able to qualify for the CanWest Championships from these meets.
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