The 2023 Canada Winter Games came to a close over the weekend.

The games featured athletes from across the country, including a large group from our region, competing on the national stage in P.E.I.

Yet, there was just one person representing Fort Saskatchewan. 

Clyde Hammer spent the games as one of the two figure skating coaches for Team Alberta. 

Hammer has been around the sport his whole life. 

"I started in Canskate like I think most kids do and I was in hockey skates," said Hammer. "I actually wanted to become a hockey player." 

"I was jumping around so much in the classes that one of the instructors came up and said 'hey, do you want to try some figure skating stuff' and it all started from there." 

Hammer was immediately hooked. He went on to compete at the national level before eventually retiring from the sport in 1988. 

After hanging up the competitive skates, Hammer quickly transitioned into a coaching role, spending two years in a course to get used to the change. 

"We took things like exercise physiology and fine mechanics," said Hammer. "From there I went right into coaching." 

Hammer's coaching started in Lloydminster before a 10-year stay in Prince Albert, but he eventually made his way back to Fort Saskatchewan to coach in north Edmonton. 

After decades of experience coaching figure skaters, he landed on Team Alberta's radar for the 2023 Canada Winter Games. 

"It's definitely a highlight in all coaching careers [to be at the games]," said Hammer. "It's a different atmosphere than regular competitions, it's a lot of fun." 

He had quite an impressive group of athletes to coach this year. Hammer says Team Alberta was among the strongest in the country. 

"The figure skating department is really strong," said Hammer. 

That strength was shown with an impressive haul of medals. In total, Team Alberta took home three silver medals and three bronze medals at the end of the games. 

For any younger figure skaters out there looking to one day compete at the Canada Winter Games, Hammer has one piece of advice. 

"Follow your dreams," said Hammer. "If it's something you seem to really enjoy doing there are tons of opportunities here in Alberta."