February 20, 2019 2:28 pm
Updated: February 20, 2019 2:29 pm

West Island speed skating club gets boost in membership

Members of the DDO speed skating club on November 25, 2018.

Dan Spector/Global News

The Dollard-des-Ormeaux (DDO) speed skating club has recently gotten a boost in membership and visibility.

In November, the club told Global News it was in danger of closing.

At the club’s peak, it had 120 kids. Last fall, it only had about 30.

READ MORE: West Island speed skating club with Olympian coach in danger of closing down

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Since November, the club says its membership has gone from 28 members to over 50. On top of that, dozens more are interested in sessions beginning in the fall.

“We feel really great,” said Paul Gervasi, parent and a club board member. “Now, there’s a different vibe in the arena, on and off the ice.”

“The kids are much more enthusiastic, the parents are more engaged — it’s a different atmosphere,” he said.

Gervasi said in December, Cadillac Fairview offered the club a free booth during the holidays to promote speed skating and the club.

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They were also invited by Pierrefonds, Kirkland and Beaconsfield to perform speed skating demonstrations in each respective city.

The club said the increased visibility has helped immensely.

“It’s great,” said Gervasi. “It’s really good to promote the club and let people know that we exist.”

WATCH: DDO speed skating club looking for new members

Gervasi said the club has also went to multiple West Island cities to speak with each of their sports and leisure departments to help the club be recognized as a West Island organization.

They say the club will always be located in DDO, but they want to be recognized all over the West Island.

The Montreal Speed Skating Federation has also gotten involved in helping the club since hearing about its declining membership.

READ MORE: Olympic success in short track speed skating an inspiration for Calgary athletes

Gervasi says the federation offered the club the chance to host the Regional Championship taking place March 2 and 3 at the DDO Civic Centre.

The event will bring about 250 skaters to the DDO arena.

“They decided to pay many of expenses and the larger clubs are supplying volunteers to make the event successful for the children,” said Gervasi.

“It will help expose speed skating to the West Island and our club.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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