(July 30, 2004)
The 2004 Annual Convention and General Meeting of Skate Canada was held in Calgary, Alberta from June 3-5, 2004. The event was a wonderful cap to another successful year at Skate Canada, featuring the election of National Board members, the presentation of stimulating and informative workshops and the annual honoring of our inspiring Skate Canada volunteers, coaches and athletes at the annual Achievement Awards Gala.
Four hundred and seventy-one people attended this year’s meeting including 264 delegates, and 84 coaches. Delegates and observers were treated to the hospitality of Skate Canada – Alberta/NWT/Nunavut throughout the weekend. The Convention Opening and Reception was held at the World famous Spruce Meadows Equestrian Park, featuring Canada’s 1988 Olympic medallists Tracy Wilson, and Brian Orser with a video appearance by Elizabeth Manley followed by a spectacular fireworks display. The ACGM concluded with a Wild Western Barbecue and Hoedown on Saturday night at Heritage Park. Other highlights of the weekend included lunch with Elvis Stojko on Friday, and the annual Skate Canada Achievement Awards Gala featuring our award winning volunteers and coaches, along with the members of our own Skate Canada National Team, and special guest performer, Canadian Idol finalist Billy Klippert.
Delegates and coaches were treated to a wide variety of program workshops, a regular feature of the ACGM, which this year were divided into two streams – based on Skate Canada’s two equal and important areas of focus: offering customers the best quality skating instruction programs in Canada, and creating an environment for elite athletic performance. The scripts and presentation slides used for those workshops are now available on Members Only for ACGM participants to download and share with fellow club members.
The Convention Opening and Reception was a special moment as Skate Canada celebrated our 1988 Olympic Medallists and they in turn shared their experiences and memories growing up in skating in Canada. Their messages were powerful and clear – volunteers and professionals who create an environment for achieving excellence are critical to the future success of our athletes. The messaging started even before however, as our current National Team members shared their rich and varied personal stories with delegates on the bus ride to Spruce Meadows. The evening was punctuated by BMO Financial Group’s Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Beckerman’s announcement of BMO’s commitment to continue its long standing partnership with Skate Canada through to the year 2011. This six year, multi-million dollar commitment will help ensure Canadian skaters continue to have the support they need to be on the podium in 2010. The exciting news prompted a standing ovation from the conference delegates.
Building Coach/Official education into the ACGM experience is a priority for the organization and this year, 108 coaches and officials from across Canada were treated to an informative “Professionally Speaking” on ice session with Tracy Wilson, Shae Lynn Bourne (2003 World Ice Dance Champion) and coach Nikolai Morozov. Following the AGM, NCCP Level 4 tasks were presented – 22 coaches attended Task 9 – Advanced Skills training for Singles with Joanne MacLeod and Jan Ullmark, and 16 coaches attended Task 4 – Nutrition for Optimal Performance.
Putting the ACGM delegates and observers to work was the focus throughout Friday June 4, with workshops scheduled in three time slots during the day. Participants chose from topics like: CanSkate – Rising Above the Crowd with Quality Standards, STARSkate and Synchro – Figure Skating at its Best, and a program marketing workshop “The Perfect Package” in Stream A. Stream B workshops included: The Current Qualifying System, The New Judging System, and Creating an Optimum Environment for Elite Performance. Feedback from participants indicates that these sessions are a vital part of the ACGM experience and help them understand the Association’s goals and how to do a better job at their club when they go home.
The annual Achievement Awards Gala, co-hosted by Bill Bridel, Director of Athlete Development, and former six time National Champion Jennifer Robinson, at the Epcor Centre for Performing Arts was a very memorable night attended by over 575 people. National Team athletes read citations recognizing the achievements of over 22 volunteers, coaches and athletes, and helped present their awards. A special presentation, the Dennis Coi award, was given by trustee Michael Slipchuk to Ben Ferreira in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a leader in our sporting fraternity by example as well as success. In the great tradition of Dennis Coi, this award recognizes someone who has carved out their own personal niche in Skating history. In a moving moment, Marilyn Chidlow, Skate Canada President and Chair of the Board, recognized and honored recently retired athlete Jennifer Robinson for her many contributions to the sport of figure skating in Canada. As a surprise for Jenn, her mom, Louise and her brother, Jason were on hand to help everyone celebrate Jennifer’s amazing athletic career.
The AGM meeting was highlighted by a year in review report from CEO, Pam Coburn, who recounted the second remarkable and historic year that Canadian skaters, Skate Canada and the sport of figure skating has had since the Salt Lake City Olympics. The Finance presentation (Finance/Planning Committee Chair, Bill Boland) reflected the impact that this extraordinary year had on the books while achieving a clean audit. The Membership and Test Statistics Report (Skating Programs Director, Jackie Stell-Buckingham) focused on ways we can improve how we do business to continue to deliver the best quality skating programs in the World in this landscape of constant change.
During the AGM meeting, Adult skaters were a focus, including a presentation on the program involving Adult STARSkaters, Randy Waddington and Jill Drury, both from Calgary, and Donna King-Gallant, Recreational Programs Coordinator, who showed footage from the first-ever Skate Canada Adult Championships. Other memorable moments from the meeting included Marilyn Chidlow, President and Chair, being awarded the World famous Calgary “White Hat” in a traditional ceremony, and the Winfield FSC and the Smoky Lake FSC winning a trip to the 2005 ACGM in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The workshop draw winner (two all event tickets to the 2005 BMO Canadians) was Cindy Ward-Brick from London, Ontario.