Annual Report 2021/2022

The Olympic Oval's Annual Report for the 2021-2022 Season.

The Olympic Oval Leadership Team tells us about the 2021/2022 season in their own words.

Peter McCrory

Peter McCrory — Director, Olympic Oval

Peter McCrory served as director from March 2020 to June 2022. Peter was able to shepherd the Oval for just over two years through some challenging times including the worldwide pandemic and the Oval's mechanical failure in 2020. However, once the 2021/2022 season began, the Oval was able to deliver a stellar year for competitions, public skating, public running, and events — ending with a spectacular turn at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games.

Kerry Dankers

Kerry Dankers, Business Operations Manager, tells us about the 2021/2022 season and what we can look forward to in 2022/2023.

Olympic Oval / Kristen Fong

Catriona Hill

Catriona Hill, Manager, Partner Development and Guest Relations, tells us about her department's 2021/2022 season. 

Olympic Oval / Kristen Fong

Mark Messer

Mark Messer, Operations Manager, tells us about his department's 2021/2022 season and what we can expect next year. 

Olympic Oval / Kristen Fong

Jonathan Guilmette

Jonathan Guilmette, Manager, High-Performance Sport, tells us about his department's 2021/2022 season. 

Olympic Oval / Kristen Fong

Sean Ireland

Sean Ireland, Manager, Innovation, Competition & Sales, tells us about his department's 2021/2022 season. 

Olympic Oval / Kristen Fong

Mission

Our Mission

The Olympic Oval is a world-class speed skating and high performance sports facility dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and health and wellness for all.

Isabelle Weidemann

Our Vision

Together with our partners, we will drive the mission of Canadian athlete podium performances.

Values

Our Values

Passion, Quality, Honesty, Respect, and Enjoyment. These are the values that represent our team of people and on which The Fastest Ice in the World™ is made.

2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games Timeline

The Olympic Oval was a big part of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games — from our involvement with the Organizing Committee in helping the Ice Ribbon and, ultimately, our Calgary-based long track athletes taking home five medals in long track speed skating. Additionally, our short track teammates took home an impressive four medals rounding out an outstanding take-home of nine Olympic speed skating medals — our greatest performance in Olympic history. 

Feb. 20, 2019

During PyeongChang 2018, the 2022 Beijing Olympics speed skating delegation contacts the Olympic Oval to begin the process of hiring our teams to help execute the speed skating rink for the 2022 Olympics. 


Sept. 4, 2021

The Oval operations team arrives in Beijing at the National Speed Skating Oval (Ice Ribbon) to prepare the first test ice. 


Oct. 6, 2021

The Oval operations team travels back and forth to Beijing from October to January, running tests and assisting the Chinese team prepare for the Olympics. 


Jan. 5, 2022

The final stage of preparing the Ice Ribbon for the Games starts with pouring new ice, drawing lines, painting, and logo placement. The Oval operations team stays on site from Jan. 5th until Feb. 20th to help execute the Ice Ribbon for the Olympics. 


Feb. 5, 2022

Isabelle Weidemann takes home the BRONZE (and Canada's first medal of the Games) in the Women's 3,000m. Isabelle trains at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, AB.


Feb. 7, 2022

Short track speed skater Kim Boutin takes home the BRONZE in the Women's 500m. Kim trains in Montréal, QC.


Feb. 9, 2022

Short Tracker Steven Dubois takes home the SILVER in the Men's 1,500m. Steven trains in Montréal, QC.


Feb. 10, 2022

Isabelle Weidemann takes home the SILVER in the Women's 5,000m. Isabelle trains at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, AB.


Feb. 13, 2022

Short tracker Steven Dubois takes home the BRONZE in the Men's 500m. Steven trains in Montréal, QC.


Feb. 15, 2022

Ivanie Blondin, Valérie Maltais and Isabelle Weidemann take home the GOLD in the Women's Team Pursuit. All three women train at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, AB.


Feb. 16, 2022

Short Trackers Pascal Dion, Steven Dubois, Jordan Pierre-Gilles, Charles Hamelin and Maxime take home the GOLD in the Men's 5,000m relay. All five skaters train in Montréal, QC.


Feb. 18, 2022

Laurent Dubreuil takes home the SILVER in the Men's 1,000m. Laurent trains at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, AB.


Feb. 19, 2022

Ivanie Blondin takes home the SILVER in the Women's Mass Start. Ivanie trains at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, AB.


Feb. 20, 2022

Isabelle Weideman carries the Canadian flag for the closing ceremonies.


Feb. 20, 2022

Canada takes home 26 medals (4 Gold, 8 Silver and 14 Bronze) placing 4th overall at the Games behind Norway, Germany and China. Of these 26 medals, five were long track speed skating medals — from athletes who train at the Olympic Oval.

It is Canada's second-best performance in the Winter Olympics since the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang. 


New in Operations

The operations team was able to be fully operational again after being shut down the previous year. It was great to be able to get the facility back to normal and have a series of international competitions to highlight why we are still The Fastest Ice in the World™. 

Beijing Olympics

The greatest highlight and success involve the operations team's multi-year participation, assistance and execution of the Olympic-quality ice in the Ice Ribbon at the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing, China, for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. 

Skills & Knowledge

A number of operations team members completed their power engineering certifications — these skills combined with existing best ice practices continue to improve upon and deliver outstanding facility and ice quality. 

Compressors

One of the most significant projects included the first phase of upgrading the Oval's compressors. The Oval's current compressors are 35 years old and require upgrades. As new funding comes in, more projects will be addressed.

Refrigeration Systems

Due to the facility's age, the Oval is also working on improving and bringing the building back to its full capacity, including upgrades to the refrigeration systems.

The ice maker behind Beijing's Olympic records

Reuters

The art of making ice for the Beijing Olympic Games

CCTV 5

Ice making at National Speed Skating Oval completed

CGTN Sports

Oval Operations

Our operations team was frequently in the news, with articles on ice-making, the Beijing Olympics and the being The Fastest Ice in the World.


Here's what it takes to create 'The Fastest Ice in the World'

This article in UToday on June 7, 2021, illustrates how the Oval operations team is getting ready for the 2021/2022 season. There is considerable interest in ice-making, and this article by our very own David Vink (Marketing & Corporate Events Specialist) showcases the skills that make the magic happen. 

Learn more

For Olympic Oval ice-makers, ‘good enough’ isn’t good enough

In Bejing, the UCalgary team imports its global expertise and drive for perfection to yet another edition of the Winter Olympics. This article was written by Scott Cruickshank, for the Office of Advancement.

Learn more

By the Numbers

A by-the-numbers look at the Partner Development & Guest Relations season. In 2021 we were fully immersed in the pandemic, which affected events, public skating and some competitions. As the fall season emerged and provincial restrictions lifted, our business offerings could be more realized. 

Communications

During the 2021/2022 season and including the 2022 Olympic news cycle, media outlets wrote over 210 articles about the Olympic Oval, speed skating, our athletes, recreational public skating, the Beijing Olympics, and our ice-making teams and events held during the season. It was a record year for news coverage. 

Events

Over 1,000 UCalgary students attended our Halloween event — Oval After Dark. In December, The Gingerbread Olympics allowed the Oval to tie into the Beijing Olympics with Olympic-themed events and activities. Over 1,500 Calgarians attended this event. 

Sponsorship

Servus Credit Union, Big Chief Meat Snacks, and Nick's Steakhouse and Pizza continued their partnerships with the Olympic Oval. All three organizations have contributed considerably to the Oval, its services, and the athletes who train here. 

Guest Relations

Nearly 25,000 guests (including 4,000 from Family Day) joined us for recreational public skating and running during the 2021/2022 season. 

Marketing Numbers

The Olympic Oval continues developing and improving its web and social media presence and YouTube streaming content. The 2021/2022 season increased viewership on all fronts. The Oval works alongside the Faculty of Kinesiology, Active Living, and the Outdoor Centre to enhance its social media content, subscriptions, and website engagement. 

  • 350,000 page views
  • 64% of users view our website from their mobile devices
  • 53% of users use Safari to view our website
  • 87% of our users are located in Canada
  • 72% of visitors to our website were new visits
  • 80,000 new users viewed our website
  • The average website visit is just under two minutes
  • Monday, Feb.21st was our most trafficked day with 1,240 visits
  • The most clicked section is recreational public skating at 18%
  • 2,150 followers
  • 26% of followers are from Calgary
  • 27% of followers are 25-34
  • 51% of followers are male
  • The most active time is 12 noon and 3:00 p.m.
  • The most liked post featured Arno Hoogveld's retirement on March 20, 2022
  • The top video post was on Feb. 1, 2022 — footage of the Ice Ribbon in Beijing.
  • 3,100 followers
  • Top Tweet, June 10, 2021 — Ice-in with Zamboni footage and 16.2K impressions
  • Top Media Tweet, May 28, 2021 — Ice-in photos with 3,385 impressions
  • Top mention by CBC's Devin Heroux on Oct. 20, 2021 with 5,987 engagements
  • October 2021 was our most 'Tweeted' month
  • 3,847 followers
  • The post with the most reach (4,532) — March 26, 2022 — Day 1 of the Masters Short Track
  • The post with the most likes (253) — March 26, 2022 — Day 1 of the Masters Short Track
  • The post with the most comments (51) — March 29, 2022 — Justin Warsylewicz and the Canadian Men's Soccer Team
  • 2,920 subscribers
  • The most streamed video (5,439) — November 6, 2021 — 2021 Short Track Canada Cup 1 — Day 2
  • 210 online news articles about the Olympic Oval
  • Six Kinesiology news stories about the Olympic Oval
  • Two UToday stories
  • Our 2021 ice-in video racked in 9,400 likes on UCalgary's Linkedin profile page — the most of the year. 

The record for recreational public skating admissions was during the 2010/2011 season with nearly 35,000 admissions. However, with a worldwide pandemic, the Oval still managed to sell 24,549 admissions over the year. 

The record for recreational public running admissions was during the 2017/2018 season with 868 admissions. However, with a worldwide pandemic, the Oval still managed to sell 604 admissions over the year. 

Over 876 athletes trained at the Olympic Oval including 145 from track & field clubs. 

The Oval introduced two significant new recreational public skating events; Oval After Dark (on Halloween) and the Gingerbread Olympics (in December). Oval After Dark generated over 1,000 attendees and the Gingerbread Olympics generated over 1,500 attendees.

  • 855 Groupon vouchers sold
  • 136 Season skating passes sold (new record)

The Oval continues to be a destination place for television commercial filming. A significant source of revenue, the 2021/2022 season was no exception with four major commercials filmed.

  • CBC Olympic spot
  • Sobey's Olympic spot
  • Petro Canada Olympic spot
  • TSN Olympic spot

55% of our guests are from Calgary with the remaining percentages from Canada, Alberta and then internationally. 

62% of our guests fit within the 18-54 age range, with seniors and youth rounding off the remaining percentage points.

42% of our users are in registered speed skating programs while 27% of our users are recreational public skaters. 

70% of users highly recommend the services, training environment or offerings at the Olympic Oval.

Elite Athlete Pathway

This season, the Oval's Elite Athlete Pathway featured 46 long track athletes and 30 short track athletes for a total of 76 athletes. The 2023 season already has 83 athletes registered (and counting).

Elite Athlete Pathway

Elite Athlete Pathway Coaches

Our Elite Athlete Pathway coaches include; (Long Track) Arno Hoogveld, Cristina Lazarascu, Kevin Crockett, and Mike Ireland. (Short Track) Elizabeth Ward, Maggie Qi, and Phillip Riopel. At the end of the season, Arno Hoogveld retired after an incredible 25 years of service. 

Coach List

Oval Bursary

Since its inception in 2005, the Oval Athlete Bursary Fund has supported over 150 athletes with over $200,000 supporting their quest for excellence. The following Elite Oval Athlete Pathway skaters are the recipients of the 2020/2021 Olympic Oval Bursary; Brooklyn McDougall, Jess Neufeld, Sam Green, Josh Hathaway, Ben Ward, Mathais Bathe, Simon Koots, Darby Beeson and Anna Bourgeois.

Learn more

Summer Camps

Due to the worldwide pandemic, the 2021 Summer Speed and Masters Speed Camps were cancelled. However, the 2022 camps are currently open for registration.

2023 Summer Camps

Elite Athlete Pathway

The Elite Athlete Pathway at The Olympic Oval has been operating since 1989. It was previously called the Oval Program, but the name evolved to fit the Pathway model. For the 2021/2022 season, the Elite Athlete Pathway had 76 full-time athletes, of which 30 were short track athletes, and 46 were long track athletes. Our athletes come from all across Canada to train at the Olympic Oval. In addition, we had four international athletes from Columbia, The Netherlands and New Zealand. 


Short Track

The short track season proved to be exceptional. Here are a few highlights:

  • Sam Green (coached by Dustin Miller) made the Short Track NEXT GEN Team (National Team for Speed Skating Canada) for the 2021/2022 season. 
     
  • Renee Steenge (coached by Cristina Lazarescu) became a training partner with the NEXT GEN Team after her performance at the Olympic Trials in August, 2021.

Learn more

Long Track

The long track season also provided exceptional results for long track athletes. Here are a few highlights:

  • Anders Johnson (coached by Mike Ireland) competed in the ISU Four Continents (Top Canadian) and was the top Canadian (placing 6th).
     
  • Max Halyk, Paul Coderre, Anna Bourgeois and Allison Desmarais (coached by Mike Ireland) were on the podium at Canada Cup # 1 in Quebec.
     
  • Victoria Goplen (coached by Cristina Lazarescu) was the only athlete to compete this season in both short track and long track Olympic trials.

 

Learn more

Athlete Representative

Athlete representatives play a major role in the governance and management of the Elite Athlete Pathway and the relationship with the Olympic Oval. This year, long track athlete Anders Johnson and short track athlete, Victoria Goplen were elected to play this role during the pandemic year. 

2022/2023 Season

For the 2022/2023 season, the Oval proudly announces that 86 athletes have already registered in the pathway program.

Innovation

Two new technologies were implemented for the 2021/2022 season — a short track transponder system and a video backup system.

Competitions

The Oval hosted a total of 25 competitions during the 2021/2022 season. These competitions included six short track and 19 long track competitions (including time trials). Additionally, Speed Skating Alberta hosted the Alberta Open, RU Fast and the Short Track Masters International.

Skate Shop

The 2021/2022 season generated the highest-ever gross retail sales for the Skate Shop. Over 6,000 skates were rented and over 10,000 skates were sharpened.

Volunteers

Volunteers continue to be the heart of Oval competitions. Nearly 100 volunteers contributed 1,774 hours, commitment and energy to the season. 

25 Competitions

The Oval hosted over 25 competitions during the 2021/2022 season. It was a spectacular comeback after nearly two years of impacted activity.


ISU World Cup Speed Skating # 4

The Olympic Oval was chosen as the host venue for ISU World Cup Speed Skating # 4, Dec. 9-11, 2021.

The ISU Speed Skating World Cup is a series of international speed skating competitions organized annually by the International Skating Union. Skaters can earn points at each competition, and the skater who has the most points on a given distance at the end of the series is the winner. The World Cup circuit has become increasingly popular, and the creation of the World Single Distance Championships has helped solidify the World Cup as a major sporting event. The results of the separate distances in the World Cup ranking are the main qualifying method for the World Single Distance Championships.

Results

ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships

The Olympic Oval was the host venue for ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships, Dec. 14-16, 2021.

Created in 2020, the Four Continents is a parallel competition with the European Championships to allow other nations to compete outside the World Cup circuit. These four continents include North America, South America, Asia and Oceana speed skaters.

Results

Skate-Tec Western Elite Circuit

The Skate-Tec Western Elite Circuit is a short track competition circuit focused on developing young speed skaters. It provides challenging opportunities for skaters to develop tactical awareness and execute learned skills. The circuit offers a fun racing atmosphere and is an introduction for most skaters to the high-performance competition stream.

Results

Oval Finale Canada Cup 4

The Oval Finale is the last competition of the season. It is the culmination of the season where athletes put their training to the test as they compete for rankings and personal bests.

Canada Cup 4 runs simultaneously as athletes look to qualify for the National Team and NextGen Team. The combination of these events is a weekend full of outstanding speed skating.

Results

A Technical Year for Competitions

The Oval continues to innovate with new technologies and systems to improve speed skating competitions. 


Short Track Transponder System

Timekeeping for short track competition is a significant challenge. The Oval introduced a new short track transponder system for athlete detection, lap timing and accurate results.

Short track events require high detection rates and being able to publish results quickly. Whereas, professional speed skaters reach high speeds while having to be measured at an accuracy of 1/1000th of a second.

Video Backup Timing

The Oval also introduced a new video backup timing system that is accurate in being able to assist  in the event of a technical malfunction on the ice. 

YouTube Streaming

Streaming continues to be an integral part of the competition season. The most streamed video during the season occurred during the Short Track Canada Cup 1 on Nov. 6, 2021 with 5,439 streaming views. 

Ice-Level Camera Work

The team introduced new camera angles including an ice-level camera positions that showcased close-up shots of athletes (from the ice facing up) racing and finishing. It proved to vary the camera angles for streaming whilst showcasing more engaging footage. 

The 2021/2022 Season

The Dinos made headlines throughout the 2021/2022 season. Have a look below at some select stories.

Dinos Football

Five Dinos were selected in CFL drafts, and Deane Leonard became the first former Dino chosen in the NFL Draft.

Learn more

Dinos Track & Field

Eric Lutz mined GOLD at Canada West and U SPORTS Championships, breaking school records and being named the Dinos Male Athlete of the Year.

Learn more

Dinos Men's Volleyball

Following a solid regular season and an eventful post-season run, the men’s volleyball team claimed conference BRONZE and earned their first appearance at the U SPORTS championships since 2014.

Learn more

Dinos Women's Hockey

Olympian Carla MacLeod takes over behind the bench for the women’s hockey team and has since added head coaching responsibilities for the Czech National Women’s Team to her resume.

Learn more

Dinos and the Oval

The Olympic Oval is part of the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. Many people do not realize that our facility is a training ground for more than just speed skating. The Dinos are an integral part of the high-performance training environment, and each team contributes to the Oval's standards of excellence.


Bookings

Bookings were used much more by varsity teams this year (throughout the pandemic) which provided exclusive team access to our facilities. This provision allowed individuals to know when a good time to work out would be as they could view “busy times” via the online schedule.

Registration

We met with Dinos Athletics and organized for the beginning of the season. As it was a whole new team in athletics, we worked together to create a registration process that would be beneficial for the athletes and streamlined on the administrative side.

Contact Us

We want to hear from you!

Mailing Address

Olympic Oval
University of Calgary
2500 University Dr. NW
Calgary, AB
T2N 1N4

Courier Address
288 Collegiate Blvd. NW

Telephone and Email

Main: (403) 220-7954
Email: oval@ucalgary.ca

Skate Shop: (403) 220-7917
Email: ovalshop@ucalgary.ca

Email us

Social Media

Facebook @theolympicoval
Instagram @theolympicoval
Twitter @theolympicoval
YouTube.com/theolympicoval

Are you Alumni?

For the last 35 years, the Oval has been home to many of Canada's elite skating athletes. All of them we are proud to call a part of our Oval Family! We are compiling a database of Olympic Oval Alumni. If you are interested in being added to this database please fill in this form.

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The 2021-2022 season was a spectacular comeback for our athletes, staff, volunteers and guests. Despite the ongoing global pandemic, competitions, events, recreational public skating, running and day-to-day operations resumed in realtime normalcy. Mask mandates, social distancing and provincial restrictions were still in place, but business could continue. As we hope to exit the pandemic, we look forward to welcoming the public, athletes, and teams back into this incredible world-class facility for 2022/2023.

Peter McCrory (2020-2022)

Oval Director, Olympic Oval (2020-2022)