Speed skating on ice has been practiced in New Zealand since the 1930's, first on the outdoor ice of the frozen dams and lakes in the South Island. In recent years it has become very popular and competitive on the indoor ice rinks. New Zealand currently has Speed Skating clubs based in Christchurch, Dunedin and Auckland with skaters from these areas regularly competing at both national and international championships. There are two types of Speed Skating practiced in New Zealand - long track speed skating which can only be done on lakes in New Zealand as it requires a 400m track and short track speed skating which is practiced on indoor rinks and requires a 111m track.
New Zealand was first represented at the Winter Olympic Games in 1992 by a very successful relay team and skaters continue to strive every four years to qualify for this most prestigious event. In 1993 the New Zealand mens relay team won the 5000m relay at the World Championships in world record time. Since then we have had skaters compete at the Olympic Games in 1994, 1998 and 2002. In 1998 we had our first ever representative in Long Track speed skating. Members of our current squad have managed to place in the top 20 in the world at recent World Cups and World Championships. Some of the New Zealand Senior Squad members spend many months of the year training and competing overseas. Many of our younger skaters compete in the Australian National Championships and over the years we have had a number of skaters take home Australian titles.
Ice Speed Skating New Zealand caters for skaters of all ages in its Championships and competitions are from the Primary to the Gold Masters grade. A Novice grade is also available for first year skaters. Also offered are training camps for skaters of all abilities and courses on and off the ice, for officials.
Speed Skating on ice is an exhilarating and challenging sport, it is as exciting to watch as it is to participate in and you are never too old to learn to skate.
To be successful at speed skating it helps to be fit, strong, agile and tactically aware.
Like many sports in New Zealand, Ice Speed Skating relies heavy on volunteer involvement and parents and siblings are encouraged to also take an active role in the clubs as administrators and officials of a truly a family sport.