Speed Skating Alberta honours top-achieving athletes with overall results-based awards in short track and long track each year -- in the Open and Junior, Female and Male categories. Results are calculated at the end of the season by the Skater Development Committee.
SSA also accepts nominations for and recognizes three additional special award winners at the end of each season: The Mike Heitman Award for outstanding volunteerism, the Kevin Sirois and the Bruce Jones Memorial Awards for overall athlete recognition in Long Track and Short Track disciplines.
1) the Kevin Sirois Memorial Award (for Long Track Athletes)
2) the Bruce Jones Memorial Award (for Short Track Athletes)
The Kevin Sirois and the Bruce Jones Memorial Awards will be presented to one long track-focussed and one short track-focussed skater who best exemplifies:
Positive Role Model
3) Mike Heitman Memorial Award
This award will be presented to an AASSA volunteer who has been outstanding in his or her contributions towards the sport of speed skating in the province of Alberta, and has demonstrated long term commitment in their current or past AASSA activitie
The following awards are results-based and no nomination form is required. Award recipients will be determined based on the results as tabulated by SSA using national and international competition results and rankings (SSA, SSC and ISU results and other relevant, official meet protocols).
Note: The results-based athlete awards were categorized as "Junior" and "Senior" in the past. If a Junior athlete was awarded the Open (or Senior) results award, the next-ranked athlete in the category is/was awarded the Junior award.
Kevin Sirois was on his way to becoming one of the few Canadians to compete in both winter (speed skating) and summer (cycling) Olympics in the same year. Kevin’s speed skating performance at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan found him placing 14th in the 10,000m and setting a Canadian record that would not be broken until 1982.
Upon returning to him home in Red Deer, Kevin started training for a spot on the Canadian Olympic cycling team for the Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. However, on May 14, 1972, at the age of 23, Kevin was tragically killed in a cycling accident near Ponoka.
During his 17 years as a competitor, Kevin set over 20 Canadian speed skating records at both junior and senior levels, in races from 500 m to 5 miles. In 1971, Kevin competed in the Pan Am cycling competitions in Call, Columbia and toured Italy with the Canadian cycling team.
Kevin was the first recipient of the Canadian Amateur Speed Skating Association’s Skater of the Year Award in 1968, and was named Red Deer’s Athlete of the Year in both 1966 and 1971. Twenty-four days before his death, Kevin received the City of Edmonton Award for his outstanding contribution to both community and sport.
Kevin Sirois dedicated through training and professionalism has become a legacy for young Albertans. Following his death in 1972, two facilities were built in his name - The Kevin Sirois Fitness Testing and Training Centre in Red Deer and The Kevin Sirois Gymnasium at Red Deer College. The Annual Kevin Sirois Classic Provincial Cycling Race was first held in 1987 by the Alberta Cycling Association in Kevin’s honor.
On a final note, Kevin was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.
In Memory of Bruce Jones, 1963 – 1983
Bruce Jones, the young Edmonton Speed Skater, died unexpectedly on July 10, 1983, while cycling with the Edmonton Speed Skating Club. Bruce was twenty years old.
Bruce’s athletic and academic attainments were considerable. A student at the University of Alberta, Bruce intended to follow in his father’s footsteps into Law. Even though he took up Speed Skating late, at the time of his entrance into university, his progress was a skater as surprisingly rapid, and his progress was rewarded by his successful participation in the Canada Winter Games as a member of Team Alberta.
Alas, his dream of becoming a member of the Canadian National Team was cut short by his tragic death.
It was not just Bruce’s keen competitiveness which marked his individuality. He also possessed a quality of generous friendliness which manifested itself in his helping younger skaters sharpen their skates. He had a quality of spontaneous camaraderie.
His passion for Speed Skating revealed itself in many ways. He gave much time to talking to school children about the nature of Speed Skating. He more than justified the confidence that the Edmonton Speed Skating Club had investing in him by making him Vice President of the Club. He assumed responsibility at a young age and showed himself to be imaginative and trustworthy in his executive functions.
Bruce did not just want to live. He wanted to contribute to life with heart and intensity. He showed a subtle moral sense of the value in the game when he wrote as a life motto which he posted above his bed that, “the one that loses but gives of his utmost stands as high as the winner”.
Members of the Edmonton Speed Skating Club served as pallbearers at Bruce’s funeral. They included Rob Halonen, Chuck James, Rick Noel, Greg Heide and Willem Langenberg.
Bruce’s spirit lives on in the Edmonton Speed Skating Club.
Written by: Willem Langenberg
Mike Heitman was a talented competitive speed skater from Red Deer in the 1970s. He had a short skating career and life, but he left strong, positive impressions with those who knew him. As is typical in our sport, he and his family were dedicated volunteers and we are pleased to honour other volunteers in Mike's name.