When the Mohawks Ice Racing club approached Balsall Common Lion’s Club for support with their recent equipment refurbishment project, we thought that we should find out what Short Track Speed Skating was all about.
Club co-ordinator Jean Iveson explains. “The club gives young people from the age of 6 upwards an opportunity to experience the world of short track speed skating. A lap at the Solihull Ice rink is 111 metres, and races are held over distances from 222m up to 5000m. The club is very family orientated and many of the parents are hands on, especially when arranging transport to away race meetings. Current membership is approximately 40 Skaters
Our time on the ice is limited to 6.45 – 7.45 on Friday evening and 8.15 – 9.45 on Sunday morning. New skaters of all ages and abilities are given a warm welcome, and get the free use of boots, suits, gloves and helmets, as they try out the sport. We believe that the skaters benefit both physically and socially and are supported to reach their personal best”.
So what is the equipment that needs replacing? “Every time we use the ice we have to put Safety Barrier Pads around the rink to protect skaters if they fall. We don’t have a full set of pads and some that we do have are old, heavy and beyond repair. We don’t get any external funding so we have to rely on the generosity of sponsors and groups such as the Lions”.
For such a small club with such little ice time they do remarkably well. Photographed with one of the new pads are four 10 – 14 year old skaters who regularly represent the Mohawks in UK competitions, remarkably one of them has already been selected for the Great Britain Development Squad and has race abroad. Pictured with them is Tom Iveson their coach. Tom has skated with the Mohawks since he was 11 years old and during his skating career has been Junior and Senior British Champion, was part of the National Squad for 10 years and represented Team GB in the Vancouver Winter Olympics. What a role model to have as a coach! There are currently 6 Mohawks in the National squad.
Balsall common Lions were delighted to be able to support the Mohawks and wish them well for the future. We have recently found out that Jean and her husband Paul have received an award for Service to Sport from Sport Solihull. Every Olympian has to start somewhere and without grass roots clubs like the Mohawks we wouldn’t have any. Congratulations Jean and Paul
And a final word from Jean. “We are very grateful to Balsall Common Lions Club, not just for their financial support, but for spreading the word which led to Solihull Lions Club and Silhill Probus Club both funding a pad as well. We are also delighted that a recent grant from the Birmingham Airport Community Fund means that pads can now be ordered for delivery before a national competition to be hosted by the Mohawks in Solihull in November.