Mount Arrowsmith Skating Club is sending four Special Olympic skaters to the BC Games this weekend in Fort St. John. Clockwise from top left: Alex Bell, Kari Trott, Lucas Bell and Matt Macdonald. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Port Alberni’s Special Olympic skaters head to BC Winter Games

Four skaters from Port Alberni will head to Fort St. John to compete in the BC Winter Games this month. They will compete in the Special Olympics category.

Kari Trott, Matt Macdonald and brothers Alex and Lucas Bell will travel with adult volunteer Mike Riddalls to the Games, taking place Feb. 21–23.

“They’ve all worked really hard,” coach Jean Leshures said. “Because of the work that they’ve put in the improvement is starting to show.”

All the skaters competed at the Vancouver Island Region Championships on Feb. 7 at the Alberni Valley Multiplex, earning medals in their respective divisions. They all performed their two-minute routines, which gave them an opportunity to do so in front of judges and under pressure.

“Because the Games are creeping up so quickly it was wonderful that we could see the programs today,” Leshures said at the rink. “It gives us time to pound away at something that maybe isn’t quite right.”

There was a friendly competition between teammates Alex Bell and Matt Macdonald, who both have sit-spins in their routines, as to who could get lower in their spin.

There were 33 Mount Arrowsmith skaters in total competing, and five from Special Olympics at the regionals.

Port Alberni’s skating club is the third largest on Vancouver Island, but has a small group when it comes to Special Olympics.

“In our Special Olympic program we only have five skaters,” she said. Jamie Amos also competed at the regional championships for Special Olympics but is no longer eligible for BC Games competition because of his age, Leshures explained.

“We always welcome more. If anyone would like to give it a try, talk to someone in our club.”

This will be the first BC Winter Games for Alex Bell. Trott, Macdonald and Lucas Bell, Alex’s brother, have all attended Games before, Leshures said.

Other athletes from Zone 6 (Vancouver Island-Central Coast) who are also competing in the Games include Koen LeFevre from Ucluelet (skiing-alpine), Madelaine Galik, Sarah Roberts and cross-country skiing coach Marika Galik of Courtenay and Cumberland, Eric Kittmer from Coombs (biathlon) and Bryn Woloshyn of Royston (curling).

Special Olympics will hold a “Bowl with the Bulldogs” fundraiser at Rainbow Lanes on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m. Many of the bowlers, who are heading to the national championships later in February, have committed to raising funds for Special Olympics, spokesperson Anne Evans said.

“This is a very popular event as our athletes are very dedicated Bulldogs’ fans and attend most games. It’s so fun to watch the interaction with their favourite players. We have prizes for athletes raising the most funds.”

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictBC GamesPort AlberniSpecial Olympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Lucas Bell of the Mt. Arrowsmith Skating Club finishes his two-minute program in the Special Olympics Level 2 Male category with a flourish, Friday, Feb. 7 during the 2020 Vancouver Island Region Skating Championships in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Just Posted

San Group opens new sawmill in B.C.

It’s the first mill in 15 years to be built on west coast

Drive-in movie coming to Port Alberni

Event limited to 50 vehicles due to COVID-19

City of Port Alberni’s security program open to all residents

Matching grant program offers 50 percent reimbursement for security upgrades

Hundreds of cars participate in second Port Alberni Cruise for Care

Event was a salute to frontline workers at seniors’ care homes

VALLEY SENIORS: A second chance comes with enough memories for two

The Dietrich family makes its mark on Abbeyfield House in Port Alberni

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Most Read