Speed Skating

To foster the growth and development of
Speed Skating in British Columbia

The sport of speed skating has a long history, but recently, short track and long track speed skating have been popularized by Olympic and World Cup competitions. Skaters compete on long square-edged blades, training to excel in speed and technical ability by developing skills, power and endurance.

Matsqui Blades Speed Skating Club

History of the Blades

Formed in 1975 by Clara Overend, the Abbotsford Blades later changed our name to the Matsqui Blades. The Blades have a strong, tradition of speed skating in the Fraser Valley. We are proud to call National Team member Alanna Kraus and past team member Bryce Holbech members.

Team Colors and Provincial numbers

Our Team colors are red, white and blue. Provincial numbers from the 700 series.

Club Programs

Our club skating programs are designed to meet all levels of skating. Our levels are broken into 3 levels:

  • Beginners
  • Intermediate
  • Seniors

Venue and Practices

The Matsqui Blades Speed Skating Club meets three days a week at:

Abbotsford Recreation Centre
34690 Old Yale Road

At the end of the season our athletes accomplishments are recognized at our Annual awards banquet.

The Blades also provide opportunity to advance in the sport as Coaches and Officials programs.

Come Visit with Us

Be sure to stop by and visit with us any Monday, Wednesday or Friday evening between 4:00 to 7:00pm during the months of September through March.

We encourage you to explore our website and contact us for more information.

Short Track Speed Skating

Short track skating takes place on a smaller rink, normally the size of an ice hockey rink. Distances are shorter than in long track racing, with the longest Olympic race being 1500 meters. Races are usually held as knockouts, with the best two in heats of four or five qualifying for the final race, where medals are awarded. Disqualifications and falls are not uncommon.

The sport originates from pack style events held in North America and was officially sanctioned in the 1970s, becoming an Olympic sport in 1992.

Although this form of speed skating is newer, it is growing faster than long track speed skating, largely due to the fact that short track can be done on a regular ice rink rather than a long track oval.

Long Track Speed Skating

The standard rink for long track is 400 m long, and tracks of 200, 250 and 333⅓ m are used occasionally. It is one of two Olympic forms of the sport and the one with the longer history. An international federation was founded in 1892, the first for any winter sports. The sport enjoys large popularity in the Netherlands and Norway. There are top international rinks in a number of other countries, including Canada, the United States, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, China and Russia. A World Cup circuit is held with events in the those countries and with two events in Thialf, the ice hall in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

The sport is described as "long track" in North American usage, to distinguish it from 111 m oval on a hockey rink in short track skating.

International Skating Union rules allow some leeway in the size and radius of curves.


Short track speed skating originated in the speed skating events held with mass starts. This form of speed skating was mainly practiced in the United States and Canada, as opposed to the international form, where skaters skated in pairs. At the 1932 Winter Olympics, speed skating events were conducted in the mass start form. Competitions in North America were also held indoors, for example in Madison Square Garden, New York, and therefore on shorter tracks than usual for outdoor skating.

In 1967, the International Skating Union adopted short track speed skating, although it did not organize international competitions until 1976. World Championships have been held since 1981 though earlier events later also received that status.

At the 1988 Winter Olympics, held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, short track was a demonstration sport. It was upgraded to a full Olympic sport in 1992 and has been part of the Winter Olympics since. The programme was expanded from 4 in 1992 to 8 in 2002. The events are the same for both men and women: 500 m, 1000 m, 1500 m and the relay (5000 m (men)/3000 m (women)).

With smaller ice tracks and shorter, often spectacular competitions, short track speed skating has grown more popular than the older long track in many countries.

Source: Wikipedia