Skating into history

A Hay River athlete made history over

the weekend when he became the first speed

skater from the community to earn a spot on

Team NWT for the Arctic Winter Games.

Kaed Blake, 13, battled

through nerves and 33 of the

top skaters in the territory

to place third in the juvenile

boys division during the Arctic

Winter Games Speed Skating

trials in Yellowknife.

The five-year veteran of the

sport will travel to Whitehorse

with his teammates from Fort

Simpson and Yellowknife for

the games, set to begin March


“Kaed is a very dedicated skater,” said

Hay River Speed Skating Club president

Jackie Karp. “He has progressed a lot in the

past year and the whole club is really happy

for him.”

Blake admits he was nervous, adding the

aspects of the sport he loves are the same

ones that freak him out.

“The part where you’re going fast and

you’re almost not in control anymore – it’s

just one foot after the other – that’s what I

like,” said Blake. “It’s almost like a scary


This will be the first Arctic

Winter Games for the

Diamond Jenness Secondary

student who said he was

never interested in playing


“It’ll be a good opportunity

for me,” he said, “and it’s

different. So I stuck with it.”

Blake returned home

from the trials on Jan. 29 and

will spend the next month


To prepare for the games, the coach in

Yellowknife told him to bring his cardiovascular

training up to 90 minutes each day,

but that’s all part of the plan.