Canada's top speedskaters set to return to ice of Calgary's Olympic Oval

Speedskater Ivanie Blondin at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Dec. 20, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Following mechanical issues and a provincially mandated pandemic-related closure, the Legacy Olympic Oval will welcome the return of the Canadian national speedskating team to its ice.

The facility on the University of Calgary campus will open for the 2021-2022 season, allowing national long track speedskating team members to resume their in-house, on-ice training ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The country's top speedskaters had to adapt during the 12 month closure of the Olympic Oval, focusing on intense dryland training and moving some on-ice training sessions outdoors to natural frozen waterways.

Mechanical issues were identified in September 2020 and the ice melted as repairs were dependent on a lone supplier.

The Olympic Oval was built in 1987 — ahead of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games — and reports prepared ahead of a potential Calgary bid for the 2026 Olympics suggested the facility would require approximately $55 millions in upgrades.