ROLLER SKATING HISTORY

David J. Mathews

My skating/coaching/officiating career goes back 34 years to London, Ontario where at the age of 11, I made the switch from ice to roller skating.

I started initially at the old London Arena and a short time later worked as a young "Rink Rat" at Skateland where I helped lay the hardwood, cruised etc. and learned to speed skate under the guidance of the Chaplin family.  In 1969, I moved to Toronto to take Architecture and started skating at the Mutual Street Arena (The Terrace) where the focus was primarily Artistic.  This continued for 8 years until I moved to Guelph in 1976.  At that time, my roller skating shifted to "Super Skate Seven" in Kitchener-Waterloo where I set up a Badge Program to teach beginner skaters and started my Coaching experience.

With the closing of "Super Skate",  we moved to "The Forum" in Cambridge where I continued to teach, soon co-ordinating the Badge program and coaching artistic skating with the then, resident pro.

As I became more involved, acting as President of the Artistic Skating Club as well as continuing to coach, I couldn't help but remember my roots in Speed Skating.  When making some inquiries, I learned that speed had all but disappeared in Ontario since 1979, so in 1988, I decided to do something about it.   By the following summer, I had established a Speed Division, within our Club, of 12 members and obtained time at the Rink exclusively for Speed.  I continued to coach Artistic and Badge program adding Speed to an already busy schedule.  The next year, I organized the first Speed Championships at the Provincial level, so my skaters would be able to add more than just club competition to their experience base.  I gave some initial training to parent volunteers on officiating and started the return of Speed Skating in Ontario

Since then, a team from Hamilton, Toronto and a team from Mississauga have emerged and speed skaters number over 50 in Ontario.

I have been Chief Referee, in Ontario from the time of our first competition and am a Level III Artistic Coach on the RSC Board and I am a Director.  I was appointed Chief Referee for Canada.  I also officiate at the Canadian National Championships when not coaching and perform the role of Chief Referee for Outdoor Nationals.

As one of two partners in the rink business, I also participate in the overall management of the facility.  In the summer of 1995, I created an Expansion Scenario, Business Planned and Financial Strategy to grow our Rink into a recreation complex.  Construction was completed in the Fall of 1995, adding a Children's Climber, Games Area and Birthday Party Rooms.

Finally, in Mexico, I put together two roller skating facilities, managing the Projects from concept, through planning, design, budgeting, site selection and implementation.

 

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