Open Letter to Yukoners:
The Canada Games Centre fire has affected a large number of Yukoners in many ways. There has been so much damage to the building itself that no one knows when it will all be repaired and re-opened.
For the Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club, the fire has created two significant problems.
First, like all of the sports and groups that use the ice at the Canada Games Centre, we will have reduced ice time come the fall and winter. Speed skaters will be in the same position as user groups, such as the figure skaters and hockey players and we have no doubt that everyone will work together and that fair agreements on ice time will be reached.
But the fire has also destroyed our safety mats.
These are the vinyl-covered, thick foam mats that we need to cover the arena boards when we train or compete.
These are not optional extras. The faster skaters are moving at 40 kilometres an hour around the 111-metre track on the ice and, if you slip, you hit the boards very hard. They are a specialized product and Speed Skating Canada has recently issued new draft guidelines on the foam types and design to be used.
They are not cheap.
We have now learned that our entire stock of some 140 mats was either destroyed or too badly damaged to be salvageable. We also learned that we cannot expect any insurance payment to cover the loss. Early estimates from suppliers (both local and Outside), suggest that replacement cost will be in the $100,000 range.
We are a small club of committed and enthusiastic skaters and do not have that kind of money. So we are now in full-bore fundraising mode. Speed skaters will be putting on a number of fundraising activities over the summer Ã please keep your eye out for them and donate if you can. We will also be applying for some government funding and are approaching the business community for support. If you have a business and would like to donate, we will put your logo on each mat that you fund and post your donation on our website (www.shorttrack06.com/) for ongoing recognition of your support.
The sponsorship cost will be $750 per mat.
Donations can be made at Sport Yukon and directed to our club, tax receipts can be issued for amounts over $25.
Our immediate goal is to be able to buy 80 mats by the fall, as this is the minimum number we need to safely hold practice sessions. We will continue fundraising to purchase the additional mats required to host races, including the Arctic Winter Games in February 2012.
Please contact us if you would like to sponsor one or more mats or make another contribution.
Thank you all for your support,
Malcolm Taggart, president,
Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club
Laini Klassen, president,
Yukon Amateur Speed Skating Association