Photo Credit: Tjerk Bartlema
Want to boost your heart rate? Consider a great cup of coffee or taking in the thrill of a speed skating race. Meet Hayden Mayeur, the Men’s National Team speed skater with a mobile café business called Hayloft on the side who can offer both.
Hayden tried speed skating in 2012 when he was 14 after his parents found a learn to skate clinic at the Toronto Speed Skating Club. He was already on the ice as a talented hockey goalie, but there was something about this sport that called to him, and he made the switch.
He was a natural. Racing was something Hayden had been doing for a while as a competitive road cyclist at the Canada Games level and some of those skills must have transferred. Very quickly, Hayden caught the eye of the national Speed Skating organization and when he travelled to Calgary to participate for the first time at Octoberfest in 2014, he knew this was what he wanted.
“I remember very clearly the first time I walked into the Olympic Oval. I remember the rink, the training environment, and the spark I felt,” said Hayden. “I knew I wanted to be a part of that and am so lucky that it has been my home for the last seven years.”
In February 2015, Hayden was asked to join the program in Calgary for a week and compete at Winterfest where he pushed himself to the brink of exhaustion to try and make the cut. He did; and let his parents know that he would be moving to Calgary that summer when he finished high school.
“Making a couple of trips to Calgary prior to moving helped bridge the gap, so once I moved, I lived in a rental house with 2 other speed skaters,” said Hayden. “It was terrifying. I spent a couple of weeks a bit overwhelmed by not being within driving distance of my family but the Oval program itself is the reason I got grounded. All the kids are in the same boat as you and it’s honestly like a little family. Within a week and a half, I was getting involved in the community around me.”
Hayden started out by competing as a short track athlete but there was something about long track that he found intriguing, so he made the change with the support and blessing of all his coaches. Hayden is now part of the Men’s National Team – Team Canada – Next Gen and Senior Team with Mass Start and Team Pursuit as his specialties.
As anybody involved in elite sport can tell you, it comes with a hefty price tag. Hayden was working for five years as an Ice Tech at the Oval to support himself as well as being involved with long-time sponsors Hopewell Developments and Fulcrum Capital Partners who had always supported him since before he was a team Canada athlete. “It’s great to know they have my back and have always been there encouraging me to pursue my dreams,” Hayden commented.
Without much to do during the lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic, Hayden’s mind wandered back to a toy car collection from his childhood and his love of coffee and wondered if there was a way to marry the two.
He found just what he was looking for in an old 1978 Citroen 2CV (2 chevaux) Camionnette in Surrey, BC that had been restored and which he converted into a mobile Café. Hayloft Café (hayloftcafeyyc.ca) got certified by Alberta Health 10 months later in Spring of 2021, and since then has been around the city of Calgary at events with the Glencoe Club, Lamborghini, and Ferrari, among others, but “I am proud to have gotten my start by volunteering Hayloft Café at Calgary area firehalls even before our launch as the premium mobile espresso bar.”
Hayden’s business venture allows him to manage his time, support his skating and pursue his goal of getting to the Olympic Games in 2026. His single-minded determination and focus are in plain view on and off the ice. At the ISU 2021 Four Continents Championship, Hayden and two teammates were thrown together to fill a slot for Canada in Team Pursuit. They trained together for only about two hours before the six-lap race where they posted the 2nd fastest time in Canadian history and earned the Gold medal. Hayden also took home a Silver medal in the Mass Start race.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
If you’re a young speed skater in a province like Ontario with so many athletes and you have the ambition to follow your dreams, you need to know that it is possible. As Hayden says, “the pool of talent is deep in Ontario, and there was a huge amount of competition growing up. I think I was really lucky to come from this pool.”
In business as in his sport, Hayden Mayeur is a man who has made his lifelong love of speed his hallmark.
Written by Pj Kwong