There is going to be a Qualicum Beach connection at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia this year.
William Dutton, a son and grandson of Qualicum Beach residents, is in line to represent Canada in two speed skating events at the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics.
Dutton, 24, is part of the family that owns Pheasant Glen Golf Resort. William is the son of Craig and Lynn and grandson of Phoenix Coyotes co-owner Bill Dutton.
William Dutton qualified for the Canadian team in the 500M and 1,000M events by finishing third and fourth respectively, in those events at Canada’s Olympic trials in Calgary over the past few days.
Dutton’s qualifying time in the 500M was 69.37 and 1:08.90 in the 1,000M.
“I’m ecstatic,” Dutton said. “It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to make it to the Olympics, and I feel like I’ve worked very hard this year and made a lot of sacrifices and difficult choices. I went and trained in Norway for three months and it seems like it’s paid off for me.”
The trip to Sochi is especially rewarding to Dutton, who suffered a serious cut to his thigh and calf that required 12 stitches and two weeks away from racing to heal in early November.
“I’m really happy that I was able to recover from that injury and still make the Olympic team,” he said.
Dutton, who is from Humboldt, Saskatchewan, has been a Coyotes fan since his childhood — long before his grandfather and the IceArizona ownership group purchased the team last summer.
“I’ve actually been a Coyotes fan for quite a few years. When I was a little kid I had my room painted Coyotes colors and I had a little strip of wallpaper with the Coyotes logo on it that went all the way around my room.”
Dutton said his admiration for the Coyotes stemmed from the team’s logo and colour scheme. He also admired Jeremy Roenick and other players on those early Phoenix teams.
“Whenever I played hockey, my practice jersey was always a Coyotes jersey,” he said. “I loved hockey (back then). I wish I could be playing for the Phoenix Coyotes but it wasn’t really an option because I was a bit of a runt when I was younger. I think I was 5-foot-3 and 110 pounds when I was 15.”
Instead, Dutton has become a world-class speed skater. Next up is a trip to Japan for the 2014 World Sprint Speed Skating Championship and then it’s off to Germany for a few final weeks of Olympic training before heading to the Olympics, which run Feb. 7-23.
Dutton said he and his grandfather are very close. He said he fondly remembers them going fishing together years ago and playing golf in more recent years.
“He’s probably one of my biggest fans and it’s nice to have that support,” Dutton said.
Dutton said it’s also nice that his grandpa just happened to get involved with co-owning his favorite hockey team.
Dutton will continue following the Coyotes from afar and showing his support for the team by wearing team apparel during his speed skating events, like he did on the podium in Calgary on Saturday as he was presented his medal for his third-place finish in the 500M.
And who knows, if Dutton gets his way, you just might see a Coyotes logo on his Olympic skating suit in Sochi.