In Edmonton minor hockey circles, a few names are gold when it comes to training young players. High on that list is Steffany Hanlen’s Quantum Speed program.
Quantum trains everyone from nine-year-olds to NHLers. It gets glowing reviews from players like Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher and former NHL centre Jason Arnott. Hanlen’s program has also helped train two NHL skating coaches, David Pelletier of the Edmonton Oilers and Barb Underhill of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Quantum Speed now has 30 instructors and trains 2,000 hockey players every year.
As a youth, Hanlen was a figure skater and hockey player. She got into the skating business 30 years ago after her brother was drafted into the Western Hockey League. She watched his try-out and was appalled by the poor skating of the players. She saw a need for players to learn the basics of skating.
In 1981, she convinced Larry Lund of the Okanagan hockey school to hire her as an instructor. At the same time, Hanlen tried to work as an apprentice with a few of the established instructors, but found them unwilling to help, mainly because they came from the figure skating world, which focuses on individual competition and involves fierce personal rivalries.
“I think it has to do with that culture,” says Quantum Speed’s head instructor Vanessa Hettinger. “I’ve always found it confusing because I come from a hockey culture. Figure skating is very competitive, it’s very individual, it’s very selfish and there isn’t a lot of sharing. It’s trained into them.”