Class of 2010: Builder
The development of sound technology was still in its infancy when Bill Dowding began his involvement in figure skating. His expertise from the recording industry elevated the quality of sound and the functionality of music playback for skaters to the highest professional level.
During Bill’s many years of volunteer work in the sport, the musical evolution was significant. From the live play of music on record, to reel-to-reel tape, to cassette tapes and on to the digital age in music and sound production, he ensured that Skate Canada’s equipment stayed on the leading edge. His input into the initial design of Skate Canada’s principal sound system in the mid-1970s stood the test of time. With a few upgrades over its 20-year lifespan, it delivered high quality music and voice distribution throughout arenas across the country.
In collaboration with Wilf Langevin, he worked to meet the emerging television requirements for direct music and voice feeds. The two also identified the technological needs to produce excellent sound quality and playback systems for music in the venues. They truly broke ground in this emerging field, adjusting and adapting technology to ensure the timing was consistent for the skaters every time their music played.
Always putting the needs of the skater first, Bill helped identify, recruit and train music technicians and announcers from the mid-1970s to the 1990s. He ensured that knowledgeable, capable people filled these roles so that skaters competing at qualifying events received the excellent music and sound that allowed them to perform to the best of their abilities.
His involvement ranged from the local club to his home section, and at the national, world and Olympic levels. His lasting legacy is the high-quality sound now found in many clubs and arenas throughout the country.
Inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame 2010.