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Graham-Fisher Family honoured as Family of the Year after over 50 years of involvement with the sport

Debby (Graham) Fisher, Roderick Fisher, Christopher Fisher and Allan Fisher at a long track meet in 1986. In this race, Debby was coaching, Rod served as referee, Christopher was racing and Allan was spectating as he was too young to race

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Speed Skating Canada is pleased to announce Alison Wigelsworth as this year’s Volunteer of the Year and the Graham-Fisher Family as Family of the Year, while also recognizing Valerie Gendron, Frédérick Déry, Stuart Gibbs and Caroline Truchon with Awards of Excellence in coaching and officiating.

These individuals join a list of previously announced winners, one that includes five local clubs that will receive funding through the Intact Insurance Club Excellence Award.

Volunteer of the Year: Alison Wigelsworth

This year’s Jean Grenier Award for Volunteer of the Year – bestowed upon a volunteer who work tirelessly to the betterment of speed skating in Canada – goes out to Red Deer’s Alison Wigelsworth. Alison has been a dedicated volunteer at the Red Deer Central Lions Speed Skating Club for many years, where she has held various roles including club registrar, meet recorder, and communications and programming coordinator. Alison continuously lends her accuracy, attention to detail and exceptional technical and managerial skills to ensure the smooth operation of the club.

“It is an incredible and humbling honor to have been selected as Speed Skating Canada’s Volunteer of the Year. I cannot thank my nominators enough, particularly Elaine Findlay, our Club President. When I joined the Red Deer Lions Speed Skating Club over 10 years ago, I signed my son up for a sport and found a community. I often say speed skating is the best sport and speed skating families are the best people. I stand by this, and it is one of the many reasons why volunteering in speed skating is so great — the people I volunteer with make it easy and fun!”

Alison Wigelsworth

Family of the Year: Graham-Fisher Family

The Graham-Fisher Family has been selected as the recipient of the Gagné Family Award, which honors the family legacies that run through the Canadian speed skating community and recognizes their outstanding contributions to the development of the sport. Members of the Graham-Fisher family have been skaters, coaches, officials, volunteers, administrators, builders and leaders in both New Brunswick and Alberta for generations. Their dedication to the sport spans over 50 years and involves seven family members from three generations, including Ronald Graham, Rodney Graham, Linda (Graham) Oliver, Debby (Graham) Fisher, Roderick Fisher, Christopher Fisher and Allan Fisher.

A detailed account of the Graham-Fisher Family’s contributions to the speed skating community can be accessed here.

“I am very honored that our family has been awarded the Gagné Family Award! This award validates the hard work and decades of volunteerism in numerous categories from every member of our family. The spectrum of our involvement encompasses the local, regional, provincial, national and international levels. We are proud of being involved with such an awesome sport and such awesome organizations.”Debby (Graham) Fisher

“I was introduced to speed skating when I started dating Debby in 1971 and it was either I get involved or be left alone all winter! I took an interest to officiating – especially in short track – and my life changed forever. Debby, myself and our kids not only participated in speed skating; we lived it year in and year out. I could not be more proud of our families enduring efforts to make the sport the best it can be at all levels.”Roderick Fisher

“I was so happy to hear the news that our family was were selected as the Family of the Year by Speed Skating Canada! It’s a wonderful honour as the whole family has been involved with this sport for so many years. We had humble beginnings and such enjoyment as skaters with the Saint John Amateur Speed Skating Club and I’m very proud that I chose to follow my older sister Debby into the sport. I treasure the involvement and learning experience I had with administrative duties during local, provincial and national competitions, where I met so many great people.”Linda (Graham) Oliver

Coaches Award of Excellence

Valerie Gendron (Fort Simpson, N.W.T.) and Frédérick Déry (Saint-Jérôme, Que.) have been selected as recipients of the Coaches Award of Excellence, presented to individuals who have made meaningful contributions to the sport of speed skating in the role of coach.

Officials Award of Excellence

Stuart Gibbs (Abbotsford, B.C.) and Caroline Truchon (Chicoutimi, Que.) have been selected as recipients of the Officials Award of Excellence, presented to individuals who have made meaningful contributions to the sport of speed skating in the role of official.

Alain Brouillette
Speed Skating Canada