OTTAWA, ONTARIO – On June 8, an event and an individual within the Canadian speed skating community were recognized during Sport Tourism Canada’s annual PRESTIGE Awards banquet, which took place in Richmond, B.C.
The historic 2022 ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, which were hosted at the Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal in April 2022, where named International Event of the Year.
As one of the first amateur sporting events hosted in Montreal following the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Championships marked a return to the ice for the Canadian national team following a four-medal performance at Beijing 2022. It was also an opportunity for the sold-out crowds of nearly 3,500 spectators to give the legendary Charles Hamelin one final goodbye before he skated off into retirement.
Initially cancelled due to COVID-19 related entry restrictions into Canada for visiting athletes, the Russian war on Ukraine caused the International Skating Union to reverse course and reallocate the event to Montreal only six weeks out. Once that decision was made, it took an all-hands-on deck approach – from Speed Skating Canada, Patinage de vitesse Quebec, the local organizing committee and our partners at Tourism Montreal and the City of Montreal – to successfully pull it off.
“On behalf of the host organizing committee and the hundreds of volunteers in Montreal, it is an honour to have the 2022 ISU World Short Track Championships recognized as International Event of the Year. It took a truly collaborative effort to put together an event of this magnitude in only six short weeks. On top of all the traditional measures of success – like ticket sales and economic impact – we are most proud of how this event united the community during difficult times and demonstrated the true power of sport.”Nicole Espenant, Director, Business and Member Development, Speed Skating Canada
In addition to winning International Sport Event of the Year, one of the individuals deeply involved with organization of those World Championships was also honoured for their hard work and dedication.
Jill Lynch, Speed Skating Canada’s Manager of Events and Partnerships, was named Sport Tourism Rising Star of the Year. The award recognizes the NextGen of sport tourism professionals in Canada, acknowledging emerging leaders who have already demonstrated commitment, creativity, and dynamic energy in the sport tourism industry.
Lynch has played an instrumental role in planning and executing dozens of national and international competitions since joining Speed Skating Canada in 2020. Her tireless work behind-the-scenes at World Cups and World Championships have been invaluable, helping further solidify Canada’s reputation as one of the top hosting nations at the ISU level.
In addition to international events, Lynch has helped professionalize the bidding and hosting of Speed Skating Canada’s domestic competitions, which has helped create a more consistent and memorable experience for participants from coast-to-coast.
“I am extremely grateful to have been selected the winner of Sport Tourism Canada’s Rising Star of the Year award. I made the decision to jump into events headfirst in 2019. I took a chance and left my full-time job for a six-month contract in a town of 3600 people, and I haven’t looked back since. I’m appreciative that Speed Skating Canada has continued to support me and that the Southern Alberta Summer Games took a chance on me four years ago. I’m grateful for this honour and eager to see what the future brings.”Jill Lynch, Manager, Events and Partnerships, Speed Skating Canada
With five international events on calendar this coming season – including the first ISU World Speed Skating Championships in Calgary since 1998 – there’s a good chance you’ll see Speed Skating Canada’s name on the ballot at next year’s PRESTIGE Awards.