Nine entities have been selected to participate in the pilot phase of the International Skating Union (ISU) Centres of Excellence (CoE) concept.
The ISU CoE combines activities in key development areas.
It is a hub where the education of coaches and officials, training of talented skaters, and various seminars, webinars and workshops take place.
Skaters, coaches and officials have access to high-quality experts, services and sufficient on- and off-ice facilities.
Entities that fulfil and excel in those criteria and activities receive an ISU CoE label for the quality of services and facilities offered to skaters, coaches and officials from ISU members.
The selected entities for the ISU CoE pilot phase in the speed skating branch are the Olympic Oval in Canadian city Calgary, Thialf arena in Dutch town Heerenveen and the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City in the United States.
Those chosen in the figure skating branch are Detroit Skating Club in the US, Ice Lab in Italian city Bergamo, Ice Rink in the Eissportzentrum Oberstdorf in Germany, the IWIS International Training Center in Thailand's capital Bangkok and the Skating School of Switzerland in Champéry.
An ISU CoE will also be established in China’s capital Beijing.
It will cover both branches and has a unique status as part of the legacy plans for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
In August, the ISU signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the China Winter Sports Administrative to launch the facility.
It is hoped it will be used to further develop skating sports in China and across Asia.
The Ice Ribbon venue being constructed to host speed skating at Beijing 2022 has been tipped as a possible location as part of the legacy goal.
The selection of the entities is based on the responses to the ISU CoE survey and further information collected.
During the pilot phase, due to span across 2020 and 2021, projects and workshops will be organised in order to test the concept and define the best way forward.
It is also the objective to develop an ISU CoE handbook and other related guidelines.
By the end of 2021, an application and implementation process for a four-year phase of the ISU CoE will be put in place, with the aim to serve the development of skating sports around the world.
This will be a process open to all interested ice-skating entities across the globe.
The ISU Council approved the ISU CoE concept at its meeting in Swiss city Geneva on October 11 and 12.