Kingston Skating Clubs Keep Making Strides
*It Takes a Team!
Last year Skate Canada Eastern Ontario (EO) felt privileged to host the 100th Anniversary of the National Championships in Ottawa.
With such a highly successful event tucked into their skate bags, it’s no wonder the skating family is back in Eastern Ontario once again, this time in Kingston to celebrate the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships at the beautiful Rogers KRock Centre.
This year many of the dedicated LOC members have returned to be joined by some newly recruited local volunteers for a total of over 250 volunteers from Kingston and the surrounding area.
Glenda Cartwright, Vice Chair of EO and Volunteer Recruitment Director for CTNSC, has high praise for her dynamic team.
“These dedicated people have graciously given their time to assist in delivering a successful event. I’ve had the pleasure to work with several organizations in the City of Kingston to recruit support and of course many clubs in EO have also provided enormous help: St Lawrence College, Queens University, local Senior Centers, CFB Kingston Military, plus over 30 Medical and Physio volunteers, along with those long-standing volunteers who return every year to join in the fun.”
Despite the volunteers’ enthusiasm and the positive experience of many past successes, the week didn’t start out all that well when a flood forced the EO office to suddenly relocate to temporary accommodation.
“The office flood could not have come at a worse time!” said EO Chair Gloria Brighten. “Having to move while repairs are taking place caused real stress for the office staff. We’re involved in multiple events, Seminars, Clinics, Special Olympics, and of course in the lead-up and execution of the National Championships, so the transition was really tough. But everyone has maintained a positive attitude and when the Championships are all over, we’ll work together to return to full service for our Eastern Ontario members.”
Did You Know?
Did you know that one of the oldest skating clubs in Kingston is celebrating a major milestone in 2015? This year the Fort Henry Heights Skating Club will be 50 years old! Congratulations FHHSC for providing many wonderful years of skating to the community.
Within the Kingston area, three clubs are in operation providing lessons, coaching and programming to over 800 members.
Fort Henry Heights Skating Club (FHHSC) is located at the Constantine Arena at Canadian Forces Base Kingston, Kingston East. Constantine Arena opened its doors in 1960 with a small recreational skating club of approximately 30 skaters who received lessons from volunteer coaches. Five years later the Fort Henry Heights Figure Skating Club was officially founded and became a member of Skate Canada, then the Canadian Figure Skating Association. Today the club has grown to approximately 275 members and this year, 2015, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.
Skate Kingston, located at the Invista Centre in the west end of Kingston, is an amalgamation of the old Kingston SC originally founded in 1958, and the West Kingston SC founded in 1971. With approximately 450 members including Skate Kingston CanSkate, STARSkate and Adult as well as the Kingston Silver Blades (Special Olympics) and Kingston Synchro Skating (KISS), it opened its doors in 2008.
Loyalist Winter Club’s (LWC) home arena is WJ Henderson Arena in Amherstview and was founded in 1970. While LWC is not located in Kingston proper, with the sharing of many coaches and skaters, the club is considered an integral part of the greater Kingston skating family.
In addition to its great clubs, Kingston can also boast about some of the national and international skaters and judges the area and its clubs have produced.
Jean Matthews (Gilchrist) is the only figure skating member of the Kingston Sports Hall of Fame, inducted in 2004 as a Builder. Jean joined the Crystal FSC (’62), now the Kingston SC, and was instrumental in starting the club’s first certified competitions. As an international skating judge, Jean officiated at two Olympic Winter Games (1988, 1992) and five World Championships (1985-89).
George Meagher, born in 1866 in Kingston, was a figure skating pioneer in Canada and in Europe. He is best known for both his talent on the ice and for the co-founding of the Minto Skating Club in Ottawa. In 1891 he won the Amateur Championships of the World (Ottawa). In 2010 George was inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame as an Athlete.
Other notable athletes: Ice Dancer Darryl VanLuven took his first skating lessons in Kingston; competitors Janet Emerson and Drew Markham skated with LWC; Robert O’Toole from FHHSC ; and World Ice Dance silver medalist Tanith Belbin started her CanSkate career in Kingston before moving and competing for the USA.
The City of Kingston is a perfect host for the national championships. The services and venue are top notch with a downtown core that’s visitor friendly with the potential for excellent dining and shopping … and we all know how much skaters and fans LOVE to shop!
Historically, the city has embraced skating as a national winter pastime. Constantine Arena and the Invista Centre provide opportunities for open family skating. And every year Springer Market Square has the outdoor rink up and running throughout the winter season, a great place to go and spend time with family while enjoying the great outdoors. In February, the city also hosts Feb Fest, inviting skaters from each Club, Synchro, Queens University and Special Olympics to join with a “famous” headliner to provide a first rate show for the Kingston Community. This year World Champion Patrick Chan will star in the show.
In preparation for the start of the event and to publicize the Championships, the City of Kingston and Springer Market Square hosted a CanSkate Demonstration with the skaters and Coaches from Skate Kingston.
“CanSkaters, along with World Champion Elvis Stojko, his wife Gladys Orozco and our Athlete Ambassador, Paige Lawrence, were put through their paces on a CanSkate circuit on the outdoor rink entertaining family, friends and spectators,” offers Glenda with pride in her voice. “Paige has also been invited to visit StarSkate sessions this week at FHHSC and Skate Kingston.”
During the week of competition, EO, its skaters and coaches will be presenting the CanSkate Showcase Demonstration at KRock Centre on several occasions. Forty FHHSC CanSkaters from age 3 to 11, Coaches and Program Assistants will “strut their stuff” with a mini CanSkate Demonstration. When it was announced that the National Skating Championships were coming to Kingston at a time when FHHSC would be celebrating their 50th Anniversary, everyone was so excited with the prospect of being involved. Every board member and Coach is volunteering along with numerous parent volunteers.
“The STARSkaters are here on mass,” comments Glenda, “Flower Retrievers, Ceremonies and Ice Patchers are all doing their best. They’re living this wonderful experience and will have treasured memories for a long time to come. That’s the power of this wonderful sport!”
Thanks to Skate Canada Eastern Ontario for their generous participation in this feature.