So could the Connaught Skating Club and Richmond Sport Hosting team up to bring a national or international competition to the city?
There is nothing better than a trial run to find out.
That’s what happened a couple of sunny Saturdays ago when the Olympic Oval hosted the Richmond Open Test Competition.
The event featured over 100 of Connaught’s skaters and had many of the features typically offered at elite events, including a medal presentation area and a “kiss and cry” couch at rink side. The club also got help from B.C. Yukon Skating to provide judges while Connaught coach Matt McEwan oversaw the entire day.
“Ourselves and the Sport Hosting staff have the appetite to host provincial, national or international level events here in Richmond. The Oval has never been tested in this type of situation before,” explained Connaught director of programs Keegan Murphy, who worked closely with Richmond Sport Hosting manager Pam Lacroix to put the day together. “The Oval needed to go through some stressers of a real competition just to see how it goes and this is the product.
“It is a huge opportunity for our skaters. In their minds, this feels and operates like a competition. Psychologically and emotionally, you just can’t replicate this at practice.”
Murphy was very pleased with how the day unfolded and say it’s now up the provincial organization and Skate Canada to award a competition to Richmond in the coming months.
Connaught’s competitive skaters are in the midst of their summer training as they work their way towards the annual B.C. Summer Skate in Burnaby next month. Over 100 of them will be competing.
“At this stage of the season they aren’t ready for a competition but sometimes you have just rip the Band-Aid off and get at it,” added Murphy. “This was a great dress rehearsal for them.”