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Rapids club to give back to community

The Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club has not forgotten the generosity of the Yukon following last year's fire at the Canada Games Centre.

The Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club has not forgotten the generosity of the Yukon following last year’s fire at the Canada Games Centre.

The fire, deliberately set by young girls in June of 2011, not only caused millions of dollars of damage to the sport complex, it destroyed all 140 of the Rapids club’s safety mats, costing more than $100,000.

Through the generosity of individuals, sports and community organizations, and government grants, the skating club raised enough to replace the mats in under three months.

Now it’s time for the club to give back.

The Rapids club is hosting a Skate-a-Thon Fundraiser for the Kids Recreation Fund this Sunday at the Games Centre.

“The Kids Rec Fund benefits so many young athletes throughout the Yukon that we thought we could help them out with their fundraising,” said Rapids president Malcolm Taggart in a media release. “The community helped us out tremendously after we lost our safety mats in the Canada Games Centre fire, so we thought that it was time that we gave something back.”

The speed skating group didn’t receive money from the Kids Rec Fund after the fire, but the Rapids believe contributing to the fund is a great way to give back to the community.

“We just feel the Kids Rec Fund supports the community and the community supported us,” said Laini Klassen, president of the Yukon Speed Skating Association. “That’s how we want to give back because we feel the Kids Rec Fund is great. What it does is amazing. It allows kids who otherwise can’t afford to go into sport to do sport.

“A lot of us in the club have used it in order to allow our children to do sports,” she added.

At the fundraiser people can pledge money towards skaters based on how many laps they can complete in a set amount of time. It is also a chance for people to try speed skating. If you have skates, bring them, if you don’t, the club will try to supply them.

“We will have speed skates there if people want to try them,” said Klassen. “We don’t have a huge amount but there definitely will be some.”

People wanting to skate are asked to bring a helmet, gloves and, if possible, knee pads.

The fundraiser will run from 2:45 to 4 p.m. on the ATCO ice at the Games Centre.

For more information, contact Laini Klassen at 668-3384.

Over the last 13 years the Kids Recreation Fund has helped more than 6,000 Yukon youth with over $1.6 million in grants to help cover the costs of registration and sports equipment.

Contact Tom Patrick at