Are you the fastest skater in Maple Ridge?
The TeBoekhorst Cup is a new sports event in Maple Ridge, designed to find those speedsters.
At the same time, it will introduce newcomers to the short track speed skating. Figure skaters, Hockey players and other skaters are being invited to strap on their blades and race.
Trophies will be awarded to the fastest adult and youth skaters in Maple Ridge after a day of racing on Dec. 21, courtesy of the Ridge Meadows Speed Skating Club.
The club’s skaters will not compete.
The event is a legacy for Dennis TeBoekhorst – an elite speed skater who went on to become a firefighter in Maple Ridge.
He died suddenly in 2016.
The club created the new event to honour him, and to coincide with BC Speed Skating’s first ever Speed Week.
There will be races in communities across B.C., looking to find the fastest skater in the province, from Dec. 12-22.
Kyle Ludeman, the local club president, explained people must register, then pay $2 for each race. Times will be posted, and they can try again for another toonie, to try and post a faster time.
At the end of the event, times will be compared across B.C., and there will be prizes for the fastest people in the province.
The whole goal is to introduce children and adults to an exciting sport, often dubbed “roller derby on ice,” and one that Canada wins medals for in international competition.
The local club benefits from having a pair of elite coaches who are both former Olympians in Eden Donatelli-Green and Julian Green, who are excellent teachers, said Ludeman.
New members can set goals to have fun and keep fit, or shoot for international competition.
It’s not a sport where skaters need a lot of expensive equipment. The club will even provide skates.
For the TeBoekhorst Cup, any type of skates can be worn – but they can’t be the long-bladed speed skating skates. A CSA approved helmet and hockey or cut-proof gloves are also required.
The popular Lt. TeBoekhorst was fishing in October of 2016, when he suffered a massive heart attack. He was a longtime resident and graduated from Maple Ridge secondary in 1992.
His funeral was attended by approximately 500 firefighters and another 100 uniformed emergency responders from across B.C.
Ludeman said he was a competitor in the 1980s at the same time as TeBoekhorst, and remembers both Dennis and his brother Jeff were national-class competitors. Both men also had dads who were coaching – TeBoekhorst in Maple Ridge, and Ludeman in Mission.
“I remember he was a real neat kid,” said Ludeman, and the social aspects of the sports are one of the attractions for many of the club skaters.
“You make friends with people from all over B.C.”
In 2010, TeBoekhorst donated one of his kidneys to his daughter, who had been suffering from kidney failure. His family had 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 family’s choice of charity, the BC Transplant Society.
• Ludeman asks people to register at ridgemeadowsracers.wixsite.com/rmssa
The day of racing will end with a free skate with Santa.