Olympian honoured for more than 30 years of service as one of the sports most well-respected administrators
QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC – Robert Dubreuil – an Olympian in short track and long track speed skating and longtime administrator with the Patinage de vitesse Québec – was recognized with one of the sports highest honour’s earlier this month when he was inducted as a builder into Speed Skating Canada’s Hall of Fame.
Dubreuil was presented his Hall of Fame award during the ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships, the first international competition to take place in Québec City in 30 years and the first hosted at the all-new Centre de glaces Intact Assurance.
A native of St-Foy, Que., Dubreuil achieved great success on the ice as a national team skater in both short track and long track, before embarking on an equally impressive career as an administrator at the provincial level.
He was a member of the Canadian national team program throughout the 1980s and 90s, representing his country on the international stage at various World Cups as well as 10 World Championships. On the Olympic stage, he participated in short track when it was a demonstration sport at Calgary 1988 and was also a member of the long track team at Albertville 1992, where he finished 14th overall in the 500m.
Dubreuil was hired by Patinage de vitesse Québec shortly after his retirement as an athlete in 1992 and transitioned into the role of Director General in 1995, a position he still occupies today.
The 55-year-old has been at the helm of the provincial governing body for nearly three decades and currently oversees a staff of 10 people that deliver programing and events across the province. Under his leadership, Quebec has become a leader in the development of athletes, coaches and officials, as well as a well-respected international event host, having organized 14 World Cups and nine World Championships since 1998, in cities such as Montreal, Quebec, Sherbrooke and Saguenay.
Among his most memorable accomplishments as an administrator, Dubreuil lead the bid and subsequent organization of the 48th ISU Congress in 2000, marking the first time this event was hosted in Canada. More recently, he guided the provincial organization through its 50th anniversary celebrations in October 2021, at which time the organization was rebranded to Patinage de Vitesse Quebec, launching an exciting new era for the federation’s nearly 6,000 members.
But perhaps the most impactful project on his resume is one that he has been working on nearly his entire career: the pursuit of a covered speed skating oval in Quebec City.
After fighting to keep the historic Anneau Gaétan-Boucher open early on in his career, Dubreuil would go on to spearhead the push to build an indoor oval in his hometown, with the goal of providing skaters of all ages and abilities with a world-class facility that would allow them to skate year-round, away from the wind, rain and snow.
After nearly two decades of hard work and multiple years of construction, this dream finally became a reality with the opening of the state-of-the-art Centre de glace Intact Assurance in August 2021. Without question the most impactful infrastructure project the sport of speed skating has seen since Calgary’s Olympic Oval opened in 1988, this facility has the potential to be a real game-changer for speed skating in Canada, brining benefits through increased access and visibility to the sport.
Despite ongoing covid restrictions, the venue welcomed over 350,000 visitors in its first year and hosted numerous provincial and national level competitions, including the first-ever combined short track and long track Canadian Speed Skating Championships this past October. It also recently played host to the third edition of the ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships, from December 2-4.
Over his 30-year career, Dubreuil has accomplished some impressive things and impacted so many people within the Canadian speed skating community through leadership, programing, competitions and infrastructure projects. While he is now a member of Speed Skating Canada’s Hall of Fame, his legacy is far from over as he continues to contribute to the sport that he has dedicated his entire life to.
It is with great emotion and humility that I receive this award. To join the greats of the sport that I love in the Speed Skating Canada Hall of Fame is without a doubt an honor. I don’t know if this is one of the desired effects, but I feel more motivated than ever to continue my involvement and commitment to help raise the profile of speed skating in Quebec and Canada! Starting with my spouse Ariane and my family, thank you to all the people who have accompanied and helped me throughout these years, because I have accomplished nothing alone. Had it not been for all these volunteers, working very often in the shadows, nothing would have been possible. Wishing continued success to Canadian speed skating!Robert Dubreuil
On behalf of Speed Skating Canada and the entire Canadian speed skating community, I want to congratulate Robert Dubreuil on his induction into Speed Skating Canada’s Hall of Fame. Bob has dedicated his entire life to our sport, achieving great success on the ice as an athlete before transitioning to an off-ice role, becoming one of our sport’s most passionate administrators. For over 30 years, he has contributed greatly to the growth of speed skating at all levels and positively impacting the lives and careers of countless participants. Under his leadership, the work that Patinage de vitesse Québec has achieved in the areas of athlete, coach, and officials development, as well as their collaboration as international event hosts, have been an important factor in Speed Skating Canada becoming a world-leader both on and off the ice. Bob’s legacy within the speed skating community is one that will live on for generations to come, which is a sign that he is a deserving Hall of Fame inductee. We are grateful for everything that he has accomplished to date in his career, but by no means is his work finished! We are excited to keep working alongside him to continue moving our sport forward.Blair Carbert, President, Speed Skating Canada
First established in 1965, the Speed Skating Canada Hall of Fame honours and recognizes athletes and volunteers who have made extraordinary contributions to speed skating in Canada and to ensure that these contributions will be remembered for generations to come. Over 100 individuals have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame as Athletes, Teams or Builders. Recent inductees in the Builder category include Marcel Lacroix (2021), David Gilday (2020), Pat Leech (2019), Ernie Overland (2016) and Debby Fisher (2005).
For a complete list of Hall of Fame inductees, please visit speedskating.ca/awards/hall-of-fame.