The January Feature Club of the Month is Gateway Speedskating Club. Gateway was established in 1964 and is located in St. Louis, Missouri at the Kirkwood Ice Arena. Gateway has been practicing at the Kirkwood Arena since 1974!
If you asked members of Gateway what they think the clubs strongest attribute is, everyone's answer would be family. “Often you will see generations of families skating at the rink… ” said former Club President Terry Gier, “... a lot of times families come to skate together, you can see three generations on the ice at the same time.” Because of their family-like atmosphere, everyone wants to help one another, which as a result has members giving back and helping the next generation of skaters grow and prosper within the sport. As a result of this, the Skate Locker was born. The Skate Locker is where people can rent skates and trade for other sizes as they grow out of them. Even as club members retire from the sport, they donate their old skates to the Locker, which continues the cycle of giving back. In fact, donated boots and blades make up a majority of the equipment in the Skate Locker
The sense of community at Gateway has in-turn another positive effect; a lot of volunteers. Gateway has at least 6 volunteer coaches to help out with each skill level of skating and to help hold many practices during the week. The benefit of having so many coaches allows for club members to get the knowledge and tools they need to further develop their skills as a skater. As much of a benefit this is to members, Gateway’s new Club President, Kelly Britt, can’t express enough gratitude. “We are blessed to have great volunteer coaches with a lot of experience who donate their time,” commented Kelly Britt, “because of this we are able to keep costs down to allow more families to participate. The goal has been to make this accessible to all who want to participate.”
Just like any family, help is given where help is needed; this is where the parents of skaters come into play. In recent years, parents from the club took it upon themselves to help recruit for the club. The club started participating in local parades, putting ads in hockey magazines, hosting Boy Scouts Skating Merit Badge Day, and advertising the club through word-of-mouth. To help with the recruiting effort, Gateway joined forces with other clubs nearby like Jefferson City Speed Skating Club and Champaign Speed Skating Club for joint practices. This training tactic gives Gateway club members more opportunities to get input from other coaches and chances to compete and grow more friendships in the sport. Fortunately, this training tactic has been proven to work! Every year more young skaters join and submerge themselves in the world of speed skating. The young skaters have senior athletes to look up to such as Ian Quinn, who has been a part of the Long Track National Team since the 2015-2016 season. Ian’s introduction to training originally started with Gateway Speedskating Club. His younger sister, Anna Quinn, is another role model for up-and-coming skaters. She is a former Junior World Championship Team member and is making her way up through the ranks in long track speed skating. The coaches frequently remind the up-and-coming skaters of Ian and Anna, as they are great athletes to look up to!
As Gateway continues to grow and develop as a club, so does the family inside the Kirkwood Ice Arena. We look forward to what Gateway will accomplish in the future!
Click here to learn more about Gateway Speedskating Club!