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Milton Speed Skating Club: Glove Donation
It’s a bird… It’s a plane… No, wait – it’s the Milton Speed Skating Club racing by!
On Monday evening, I had the pleasure of visiting Milton’s very own team of Speedy Gonzalezes, to help drop off a donation of gloves that we had specially crafted in house for the team. The Milton Speed Skating Club is made up of a group of children and adults of varying ages who all share one thing in common: a deep love for the sport of speed skating. What is speed skating, you may ask? Well, if you’re like me, you might compare it to the disorienting experience of wearing skates with blades that are so large in length that you feel like you’re trying to race around a track as fast as you can go while wearing very sharp, very slippery clown shoes!
In all seriousness, though, while many Canadians have never had the opportunity to try it, speed skating is one of Canada’s most iconic sports and, as a result, one of the events that our Olympic team is always predicted to do well in at the Games. According to our Company President, Tony Geng (who was also the President of the club for a few years in the past), one of the reasons why speed skating is so appealing is because, according to Tony, it’s “the fastest a human can go without mechanical aid” on their feet. To allow for the added speed, the blades on the skates are quite a bit longer than the ones you’d find on the average pair of figure skating or hockey skates, and the blades get larger depending on the age of the skater and how experienced they are. It’s also worth mentioning that there are two different types of speed skating: short track (which occurs in a regular sized rink), and long track (which, since we don’t have a large enough track in our province, for Ontarians, only occurs at large scale sports events like the Olympics). To put it into perspective, a 500m race should take only about 45 seconds to complete! The goal is pretty simple: to skate as fast as humanly possible in order to beat the other skaters, and win the race!
Since speed is the name of the game, a lot of thought goes into the outfits that the skaters wear, as well as into the equipment that they use. Because of this, Superior Glove designed a line of special all black, cut-resistant Kevlar® outer-shells and Hollow Core Thermax™ inner-shells, for the skaters. The Hollow Core Thermax™ keeps the skaters’ hands warm for long periods of time spent in cold arenas, while the Kevlar® works to protect their hands against any cuts or scrapes they might experience should they happen to come into contact with the razor sharp blades, as well as to protect their fingertips when they graze the ice when they angle low and inside on the corners. And, as an added bonus, the gloves are also very thin in texture, and lightweight: “To lose even a few grams in equipment in a sport that’s all about speed,” commented one of the team’s Head Coaches, “is major.”
A shot of the gloves in action!
While five of the team’s current members compete for Team Ontario, and many of the skaters compete in monthly competitions throughout Ontario and on a national level, spending as little as a mere couple of hours with the skaters demonstrated the sense of kinship among the athletes. “No matter who you are, everyone likes going fast,” Paul Emblin, the current President of the Milton Speed Skating Club told me. “And, it’s great because it’s one of very few sports that whole families can participate in at the same time.” While the sport is undoubtedly competitive, Emblin assured me that the competition is usually friendly in nature: “This is one sport where there’s a lot of sportsmanship. People are always on good terms, and a lot of the kids on our team have even become buddies with skaters on other teams from far away.” Emblin reminisced about a time when he was watching the team compete at a competition when two skaters from opposing teams collided. Instead of racing to the finish line, knowing that they had lost the lead in the race, the skaters helped each other get up and skated to the finish line together. “They purposely made sure that their feet crossed the finish line at the exact same time,” Emblin recalled.
Witnessing his World Cup bronze-medalist brother’s passion for the sport firsthand, speed skating has been a passion of one of the team’s Head Coaches, Mark Heung, for a long time. “It’s changed so much over the years,” said Heung. “I used to really enjoy the results of competing, but speed skating is so special because it offers something different to everyone – from the skater themselves, to the proud parent watching their kid race by. Now, I really enjoy coaching [speed skating], and getting to see how much the kids enjoy it.”
A huge thank-you to the Milton Speed Skating Club for allowing us to visit, and for sharing this incredible experience with you. We really hope you enjoy the gloves, and that they help fuel your passion even more this winter season!
Some of the younger members of the Milton Speed Skating Club, and their beautiful smiles!
Company President Tony Geng posing with Mark Heung, one of the team’s Head Coaches.
Mark, showcasing his personal pair of speed skates.
Me, speed skating for the first time (and trying not to fall)!