Nelson Speed Skating Club member Tyler Hartleb, 16, has been named to Team BC to compete on the long track team in the 2015 Canada Winter Games in February. Hartleb said he feels good about making the team, which is for athletes 14 to 19 years old.
“I am proud that I made it to the Canada Winter Games for both long track and short track,” said Hartleb.
“I chose to compete in long track because I like how much faster you go and I like skating outdoors.”
“I am also proud to be the third member in my family after my grandpa and mother to represent BC at the Canada Winter Games.”
Hartleb, who lived in Castlegar and trained with the Nelson club, recently moved to Calgary to train full time at the Regional Training Centre at the Olympic Oval, which has proved beneficial as he has seen more personal bests with larger gaps.
“I had out grown the club as I was the fastest skater there. My dad was my coach. I knew my technique would improve with more coaches.”
Now he gets to train on a long track every day.
“The National Long track team trains here too so it’s pretty good. They are so much faster and now I train and race beside them. [At times] a guy who has been to the Olympics will be on the ice just before or after me.”
Still in high school, Hartleb trains from 7 to 8:30 a.m. most mornings. His weekly training is a combination of strength and technical with two session of each.
The selection process for Team BC was very competitive. The short track skaters competed in a two-day trial event on November 1 and 2 in Prince George with the top five finishers in each gender qualifying.
The long track skaters raced in a three-day event November 28 to December 1 in Fort St. John with the top four finishers in each gender qualifying.
Only three skaters qualified in both disciplines, one of which was Hartleb, and he has chosen to compete in long track for the Canada Winter Games.
“I like the feeling of going fast on the long track, being outside and meeting other skaters.”
As for short track, he like the passing that comes with it.
“It’s like NASCAR on ice,” he said.
It was his grandfather who first got Hartleb into the sport while they were watching the Olympics.
“I’ve wanted to go to the Olympics since I joined [speed skating] when I was eight .”
“Tyler competed in the BC Winter Games in Vernon 2012 and Mission in 2014,” said his father Jason.
“During 2012 Tyler was the only Zone One athlete to represent the Kootenays in both the winter and summer Games (athletics in the summer).”
Leading up to the Games, the skaters will be competing in interprovincial and national competitions under the supervision of the Team BC coaches.
Long track skaters will be in action early in the new year at the Canadian Single Distance/Canada Cup #2 competition in Calgary. Skaters will be working together at training camps to train for the team events (relay in short track and team pursuit in long track).
The coaching staff includes six-time Canada Winter Games coach Keith Gordon (Fort St. James), as well as Prince George based apprentice coach Lorelei St. Rose.
“The Canada Winter Games are often a highlight of a skater’s career and can be an important development meet for top international skaters,” said Gordon.
“Although we will focus on our best competitive results, we want to do our best on and off the ice so that all of the athletes and coaches/managers have a wonderful Games experience.”
At the 2015 Canada Winter Games the short track and long track competitions both take place in the first week of the Games, February 13-20.
Short track will be held at Kin 1 and long track at the Outdoor Ice Oval. Team BC brings together the best athletes, coaches, managers, and mission staff to represent the province. Team BC will send a team of 350 people to the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, February 13 to March 1, 2015. For more information visit TeamBC.org.