Speed Skating Canada announced today that Alberta’s Pearman Family have been selected as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Gagné Family Award for Family of the Year.
Established in 1996, the Gagné Family Award honours the family legacies that run through the Canadian speed skating community and is bestowed upon a family whose members have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the sport.
The Pearman family have been a driving force within the Canadian speed skating community for over 20 years and have had a tremendous impact on the sport in Red Deer and across Alberta. Each of the five family members – mom Shawna, dad Myron and daughters Brooke, Maddison and Tess – have made their own mark on the sport, some on the ice and others from the sidelines.
Leading the charge is Shawna, who as a skater represented Manitoba at the Canada Winter Games twice and was a member of Canada’s junior national team in the mid-1970s.
She began volunteering with the Red Deer Central Lions Speed Skating Club in 1992, which included a 20 year stint as head coach. She has also served as meet coordinator for nearly every event hosted in Red Deer, was the sport lead at the 2019 Canada Winter Games and helped guide local youth to medals at the 2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.
Shawna’s efforts were recognized with numerous awards, including Speed Skating Canada’s Coach of the Year in 2013, Speed Skating Alberta’s Volunteer of the Year in 2016 and the City of Red Deer’s Lifetime Sports Achievement Award in 2020.
“We are all very honoured to receive the Gagne Family Award! Speed skating has been a central part of our family’s life for 21 years as athletes, coaches and officials. Throughout this time, we have been blessed with lifelong memories and friendships. Speed skating is truly one big family that we are all grateful to be part of!” – Shawna Pearman
Her husband Myron – a cattle farmer and former high school athletic director – was a ready and willing partner. He grew to love the sport and quickly rose through the ranks as a starter, timer and place judge. He has been a valued club-level volunteer for many years and is a major fixture at the Calgary Olympic Oval, where he officiates almost every weekend, helping with everything from provincial meets to World Cups.
Their passion for helping others in sport has also been passed on to their daughters Brooke, Maddison and Tess, who have all given back to the speed skating community to some extent.
Brooke and Tess both competed provincially and nationally but have transitioned to coaching and volunteering roles in recent years. Meanwhile, sister Maddison continues to skate at a high level. She represented Alberta at the 2011 Canada Winter Games and skated for Canada at the World Junior Championships in 2013 and 2015. The 25-year old is currently a member of Canada’s NextGen team, winning a pair of medals at the 2019 ISU Four Continents Championships in Milwaukee.
Over the years, the Pearman family members have contributed thousands of hours to help speed skating grow. They’ve worked tirelessly to create a positive experience for all the skaters, parents, officials and volunteers they have come across. They’ve built a tremendous legacy, one that our sport is extremely thankful for.
And the best part of it all was that they did it together, as a family.