June 6, 2017, Charlottetown – Members of the Island speed skating community gathered in Charlottetown recently to celebrate a season highlighted by P.E.I.’s first medal wins and being named the most-improved province at the Canada East short track championships, held in Ottawa this year.
Andrew Binns of Stratford and Carly Connell of Charlottetown took home the top athlete awards. Binns won three medals at the Canada East event, helping him repeat as winner of the top male athlete award, which he won for the first time in 2015-16. Binns also put his name on five new P.E.I. provincial records during the standout year. Connell, meanwhile, became the first five-time winner of the Nancy White Award as the top female speed skater on the Island. Connell’s season was highlighted by a seventh place finish in the 500 metre distance and a 13th overall placing at the Canadian Junior Selections #2 event held in Trois-Rivieres, QC, in March.
Jacob Theriault and Olivia Wood were named top male and top female skaters, respectively, in the Intermediate speed skating group, while Zack O’Meara picked up Rookie of the Year honours for the same group.
William Lyons was named most promising skater in the Advanced competitive group after a pair of medal wins in his rookie appearance at the Canada East Short Track Championships. Anderson Arseneau was selected as the most promising skater at the Intermediate competitive level. Rob Binns was named Masters Skater of the Year.
In the Learn to Speed Skate program, Brendan Reynard picked up top male skater honours, while Una Grant was named top female skater. Cohen Manuel was named Rookie of the Year in the Learn to Speed Skate program, while Ava Reynolds picked up the Rising Star award.
The President’s Award was given to Rob Binns and Gordon Rogers, both long-time volunteers as Board members and coaches with the provincial body, in recognition of their service.
Certificates were presented to skaters who set new provincial records in their respective age categories during the year. New records were set by Peter McQuaid (Intermediate men – 1,000m), Matt Kozma (15 year-old boys – 400m and 1,500m), Jenna Larter (14 year-old girls – 1,500m), Kyle Connell (14 year-old boys – 200m and 400m), Thomas McQuaid (14 year-old boys – 1,500m), Andrew Binns (13 year-old boys – 200m, 400m, 1,500m and Juvenile boys – 1000m), William Lyons (12 year-old boys – 1,500m), Sarah Taylor (Masters women 30-34 years – 500m, 777m, 1,000m, and 1,500m) and Rob Binns (Masters Men 40-44 years – 500m and 1000m). New relay records were set in two age groups. A 12/13 year-old boys relay team consisting of Carter Bruce, William Lyons and Andrew Binns set a new provincial record in the 3,000m relay distance, as did the team of Matt Kozma, Kyle Connell and Thomas McQuaid in the 14/15 year-old boys category.
Trophies were also presented to skaters based on their relative time improvements demonstrated throughout the season. Award winners included: Gold – Jenna Larter, Olivia Wood and Chloe Pineau; Silver – Liam Chatfield, Holly Nickerson and Dora Song; Bronze – Matthew McKenna, Zack O’Meara and Orion van der Gaag.
Jean MacDonald was named volunteer of the year and Dawn Binns won the inaugural official of the year award. Matt Kozma won the mentorship award in recognition of his contributions to the Learn to Skate program.
All Learn to Skate and Learn to Speed Skate participants received medals and were recognized for their significant improvements during the year.
More information on Speed Skate P.E.I. and award winners can be found on the club’s website at www.speedskatepei.com.