Rapids skaters prep for trials in Medicine Hat

Two brothers, two sisters and a veteran skater from the Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club were whipping down the ice at the Medicine Hat ABILITY Meet over the weekend in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Two brothers, two sisters and a veteran skater from the Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club were whipping down the ice at the Medicine Hat ABILITY Meet over the weekend in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

The short track event, which comes just a week before Yukon’s Arctic Winter Games team trials, included over 130 skaters from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario and saw personal best times from four of the Rapids’ members.

“The kids skated well, even though they said that the ice was a little rough,” said Rapids coach Stacey Pennington in a media release. “And they were disappointed that the relays were cancelled.”

The meet was also the first outside the territory for brothers Christopher and Michael Ritchie of Haines Junction.

“I found it really fun; it was a really good experience to race against other skaters who have been skating for longer,” said Christopher. “And I get tips from other coaches.”

At the meet Christopher took second in the 400-metre – with a personal best time of 51.66 seconds – second in the 3,000 and fifth in the 1,500 in the B division.

“One of my highlights was my long-distance race; I did really well in it,” said Christopher.

Michael raced to third in the 400-metre, fifth in the 1,000 and wiped two seconds off his previous personal best in the 200-metre with a time of 27.34 seconds.

The Wirth sisters – Hanna and Katharina – were showing their worth for Yukon’s Arctic Games team in Medicine Hat.

Hanna took 12 seconds off her personal best for a third-place finish in the 1,500-metre, clocking a time of 3:04.18. She also took fourth in the 400-metre and fifth in the 3,000.

Skating in the top division, Katharina skated to fourth, fifth and sixth in 400-metre 1,500 and 3,000 respectably, putting her in fourth overall in the division.

Veteran Shea Hoffman, who has represented the Yukon at two Arctic Winter Games and one Canada Winter Games, came second in the 500-metre and 1,000 in C Division and also produced a fourth-place result in the 1,500-metre in the B division.

The Arctic Games trials are taking place this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. and the Rapids Club is welcoming anyone wanting to represent the territory next March to come out for them at the Canada Games Centre.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com