GLENDALE -- William Dutton, a grandson of Coyotes co-owner W R “Bill” Dutton, is in line to represent Canada in two speed skating events at the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Dutton, 24, qualified for the Canadian team in the 500M and 1000M 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 his qualifying time in the 1000M was 1:08.90.
“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 seems like it’s paid off for me.”
The trip to Sochi is especially rewarding to Dutton because not too long ago, in early November, he suffered a serious cut to a thigh and a calf during a race that required 12 stitches and two weeks away from racing to heal.
“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 for quite a few years,” Dutton said. “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 its color 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,” Dutton 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 Sochi.
Dutton said he and his grandfather are very close. He remembers fondly them going fishing together years ago and playing golf together 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 has yet to attend to Coyotes game in Glendale but he’s planning to after the Olympics.
In the meantime, he 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 (see photo at right).
And who knows, if Dutton gets his way, you just might see a Coyotes logo on his Olympic skating suit in Sochi.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here to visit William Dutton's website