Marg Oliveira and Ernie Overland

A joint induction, Ernie Overland and Marg Oliveira have been mainstays with the Cambridge Speed Skating Club for the better part of four decades.

Both got started when their children joined the club. Overland coached with the club from 1982 to 2022, helping develop and nurture some of the nation’s leading speed skaters, including three of his own children, Kevin, Cindy and Amanda. In 2007, he and fellow coach Vytas Jasinskas, won the Don and Benita Rope Award (sports contributors). In 2015, he was awarded the Andy Higgins Lifetime Achievement Award by the Coaches Association of Ontario and in 2016 was inducted into the Speed Skating Canada Hall of Fame.

Marg Oliveira has been involved with the club since 1988, as coach and on the executive. She has also been a member of many provincial and national committees and was chair of the Ontario Speed Skating Association Technical Committee from 2016 to 2020, and was chair of the Ontario Speed Skating Association (OSSAA) coaching committee.

Her children, Katie and Matt, were longtime members of the club. It was through her speed skating connections that Katie got the chance to act in the movie “The Dan Jansen Story,” playing Dan’s younger sister.

In their early years at the club, they got involved as active participants with the children, assuming greater and greater responsibility as they gained expertise in the sport over the years.

But they were really called upon to assume more responsibility when coaches Tom Overend and Lisa Gannett, who commuted to Cambridge from London several times each week, left the club in the late 1990s. Both coaches were pursuing Ph.D’s.

During their first decades with the club, Overland and Oliveira got to know and appreciate the work that Joyce Leggatt did. She was instrumental in the club’s early success and became a VP with the Canadian Amateur Speed Skating Association.

Ernie was also a marathoner.

Through four decades the two have been mainstays at the club, serving as coaches and in administrative roles. Overland helped develope a speed skating program with fellow Cambridge coach Vytas Jasinskas for coaches at the Special Olympics World Games.

A marathoner, Overland helped lead by example, participating in both dryland and on-ice training with his athletes. 

In 1988, Oliveira got her feet wet as a coach, helping with the Learn to Skate program at the club through the urging of Gannett, just after the club had moved from Karl Homuth Arena in Preston to Galt Arena.

Over the next three decades she expanded her role with the club, becoming meet recorder, meet coordinator and an administrator both locally and provincially, as well as at the national level.

In 1994 she and Overland were part of the organizing committee for the 1994 World Short Track Speed Skating Team Championships, held on the Olympic-sized ice surface at the new Hespeler Arena. The world’s best short trackers, fresh from the Lillehmmer Olympic Games in Norway—this incuded Cambridge’s own Derrick Campbell—came to Cambridge as Canada skated to a world team championship.

In 1996 Oliveira was on the organizing committee for the national team junior and senior short track trials, and in 2007 and 2011, she served as Ontario team manager at the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse and Halifax, respectively.

She was also on the organizing committee for the North American Short Track Speed Skating Championships, (2004) and the Canadian Short Track Championships (2009) at the Hespeler Arena. 

She also served as president of the Cambridge club (1995).

The Oliveira and Overland children: Matt, Kevin, Cindy, Amanda (next to Marg and Ernie) and Katie.

In the late 1980s, and through most of the 1990s, coaches Overend and Gannett developed the Cambridge club into one of the most formidable speed skating clubs in the nation, if not the single most dominant club, and thanks in part to the efforts of Overland and Oliveira, along with a group of dedicated coaches and executive members, the club remains a force in Canadian speed skating circles.