Iqaluit Speed Skating Club Wins $10,000 Intact Insurance Club Excellence Award

Intact Insurance has contributed a total of $380,000 to support grassroots speed skating initiatives across Canada since 2010

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – The Iqaluit Speed Skating Club are the proud winners of this year’s Intact Insurance Club Excellence Award. They will receive a $10,000 grand prize to support their grassroots development project, along with a visit from two national team athletes during the 2020-2021 season.

Generously sponsored by Speed Skating Canada’s longstanding partner, Intact Insurance, the Club Excellence Award recognizes the contributions of local speed skating clubs to sport and community development and the importance of grassroots programs to high-performance success. Since 2010, Intact Insurance has donated a total of $380,000 to speed skating clubs through the former Podium Tracker program and current Club Excellence Award.

Dozens of clubs from across the country submitted project ideas, ranging from the purchase of new safety mats or skating equipment, to safe sport initiatives and open houses to increase awareness of the sport. Submissions were evaluated based on the need in the local community, the potential for positive impact, the plan and resources in place to roll out the project and the ability to measure its success.

Winner ($10,000)

Iqaluit Speed Skating Club (NU)

The Iqaluit Speed Skating Club will use the Club Excellence Award funding to support the purchase and shipping costs of new crash mats, which will help promote skater safety and concussion prevention.

The investment in half mats has been a strategic priority for the club, however the project has always been a challenge to implement due to limited funding and significantly higher shipping costs in Canada’s Arctic. In February 2020, the club secured an in-kind contribution to transport the mats through a cruise ship route to Iqaluit during the summer. Unfortunately, the cancellation of all cruise ship travels due to the COVID-19 pandemic meant that this creative solution fell through. The mats will now have to be transported by air or sea cargo, both of which are costly options.

With a higher level of crash protection, the club will be one step closer to running meets that skaters from other provinces and territories can attend, which means better and more diverse competition for Nunavut-based members. The acquisition of the new half mats will also allow the club to relocate its current mats to a smaller community arena, to support a Learn to Skate program.

Finalists ($2,500)

The following four clubs were finalists for the Club Excellence Award and will each take home a $2,500 cash prize – an amount calculated based on the number of medals won by the Canadian national team this past season – to help finance initiatives that address an identified need in their community and will generate a positive impact for speed skating in Canada.

Calgary Speed Skating Association (AB)

The Calgary Speed Skating Association has been working to set up a new club in the south end of Calgary, over 30 km away from its primary location at the Olympic Oval, in order to make the sport more accessible to a growing area of the city. The Club Excellence Award funding will be used to help cover ice rental fees, as well as coaching and advertising expenses.

CPV West Island Cyclones (QC)

After undertaking an ambitious rebuild and expansion last year, the newly rebranded CPV West Island Cyclones – formerly the Club de patinage de vitesse Dollard-des-Ormeaux – will use funds from the Club Excellence Award to support anticipated membership growth by expanding its use of the Pierrefonds Sportplexe, hiring additional coaches and purchasing rental skates.

Peninsula Speed Skating Club (BC)

The Peninsula Speed Skating Club will use Club Excellence Award funding to support its "You Can Coach" program, which was first implemented in the 2019-20 season to help address the need for experienced and qualified volunteer coaches on Vancouver Island. It focuses on recruiting, developing, and supporting young coaches as they work to attain their certification.

Yellowknife Speed Skating Club (NWT)

Club Excellence Award funding will allow the Yellowknife Speed Skating Club to purchase additional speed skates to meet the demands of the growing club. The success of a new Learn to Skate program for adults, as well as sustained growth throughout its youth programs, has increased the club’s need for speed skates that make the sport accessible to everyone.

Quotes

“Winning this award means so much to our club and our athletes! With this funding we can significantly improve our athlete’s safety. Thanks so much to Intact Insurance for funding and supporting our community!” – Hayley Roberts, Coach, Iqaluit Speed Skating Club

“Intact Insurance is proud to be a sponsor of Speed Skating Canada and see the direct impact it has on the clubs. Congratulations to the Iqaluit Speed Skating Club” – Humberto Valencia, Vice President, Marketing, Customer Experience and Data Marketing, Intact Insurance

“Intact Insurance’s ongoing support of Speed Skating Canada has helped elite athletes achieve their gold medal dreams, while also bolstering local speed skating clubs as they develop the next generation of Olympians and grow the sport’s popularity in communities across Canada. The funding provided through the Club Excellence Award will go a long way toward helping these five clubs deliver important programs to their members.” – Susan Auch, CEO, Speed Skating Canada