Speed skating is racing on skates. Since the advent of the 'Long Term Participant and Athlete Development' (LTPAD) model, the events held at speed skating competitions in British Columbia and across the nation have shifted to reflect that not all racing must be held on a traditional oval, counter-clockwise. However, the move to new events and new racing formats has been complicated by the lack of consistency. The 'BC Speed Skating Regional Stream Events Manual' was first published in 2012 as a resource document for Meet Coordinators, Officials, Coaches, parents and skaters. The manual outlines appropriate speed skating events for younger skaters (Active Start, FUNdamentals, Learn to Train and Train to Train age) in the British Columbia Speed Skating Association (BCSSA) Regional Stream. To improve accessibility and interactivity, the manual is now available in this online version.

Photo Credit: M. Mong

The events raced by younger Regional Stream athletes should be a combination of traditional racing and skills-based racing, as defined in the table below. An effort to include both individual and team events was made.

Traditional Racing
Skills-Based Racing
Racing around a marked oval, traditional speed skating rules (regarding penalties, passing etc.) apply. In this age group, races will be held on a 100m track or smaller (ST), or a 400m oval (LT), and will be raced in a counter-clockwise (CCW) and clockwise (CW) direction. Races can be mass start or other (see below for details).
Racing events (timed or mass start) that are not on the traditional speed skating oval or that do not follow traditional speed skating rules. These races challenge the overall ability of the skater, including the skater’s ABCs (agility, balance and coordination) and tactical skills.
Traditional racing is integrated into the program to prepare skaters for their transition into the T2T age groups and above. This type of racing is also good for measuring improvements by time (i.e. PBs).
SSC has officially adopted the 100m track (ST) for skaters in the T2T group. Skaters in younger groups can be on a 100m track or smaller.
In the FUNd and L2T age groups, fundamental movement and fundamental sport skills are being learned and emphasized. Skaters begin to specialize into a type of skating (e.g. speed skating, figure skating, hockey etc.) towards the end of the L2T and/or into the T2T age group. Skaters in the FUNd and L2T age groups should be competent skaters in all directions, and should be able to start/stop/accelerate safely.

Events are listed in the online version of the BCSSA Regional Stream Events Manual under one of four menu items: ST Traditional Races, ST Skills-Based Races, LT Traditional Races, and LT Skills-Based Races. Events which follow typical speed skating rules and regulations may not have detailed descriptions attached- please refer to Speed Skating Canada (SSC) and International Skating Union (ISU) rules for details. Events that do not follow typical speed skating rules and regulations will have detailed descriptions attached as downloadable 'pdf' documents, including Equipment Required, Officials/Volunteers Required, and Modifications. Descriptions for these events may be referenced from existing SSC documents (e.g. the SSC Competitions Bulletin).

Each competition, festival or practice will differ and organizers are encouraged to choose events based on their unique situation. Factors to consider include: amount of ice time, previous knowledge/experience with events, age/ability of skaters and number of skaters. It is recommended that organizers publish a list of events prior to the start of the competition, in order that coaches and skaters can arrive prepared.

NOTE: BCSSA has expanded the Regional Stream to include "Competitive for Life (C4L) Novice" skaters, i.e. all skaters older than Train to Train age who are less experienced or new to competition. C4L Novice skaters will typically race on the 111.12m track, in the counterclockwise direction. Individual distances range from 3 laps (333m) to 13.5 laps (1500m). Team events may include partner (2-person) or team (3- to 4-person) relays.

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