Although they didn’t win any medals or grace the front page during the Canada Games, the icemakers at the Canada Games Centre did an outstanding job, and Yukon Speed Skating’s Barry Sugden wants everyone to know about it.
“These guys are under the radar, you often don’t think about it,” said Sugden, the equipment and officials director with Yukon Speed Skating. “We wanted to recognize their efforts.”
Sugden presented a plaque entitled “The Fastest Ice” on Wednesday to the Canada Games Centre’s operations leadhand Richard Graham and his crew of seven icemakers.
Sugden said the quality of the ice helped skaters set seven new Canadian records during the 2006 Age Class Championships, a Canada Games test event, and eight Canada Winter Games records during the big event in March.
“Not only were new records set, but lots of athletes were breaking the records,” said Sugden, adding that the entire field was faster than usual.
Sugden added that Speed Skating Canada officials, who normally work the Olympic Oval in Calgary or at World Cup events, noted the quality of the ice and the operation overall.
“Those guys know good ice, and they were impressed.”
“It’s not a thankless job, but it’s nice to get a pat on the back,” said Richard Graham.
“Everyone really appreciates what Barry did.”
“It was a crazy couple of months heading into the Games, and a crazy couple of weeks during them. But I think everyone had an absolute blast — it was a lot of fun.”
Graham said that the deep freeze during the first week of the Games helped the ice immensely.
He also said the year and a half lead-up time helped the crews work the kinks out of the new building before the Canada Games.