The Hay River Figure Skating Club (HRFSC) celebrated another successful season, marking their 40th anniversary with a year-end banquet and awards ceremony on April 21 at the Community Hall.
However, the figure skating club success on and off the ice wouldn’t be achieved without the hard work, commitment and dedication of the club’s volunteers, program assistants, executive and coaches.
There are incentives to being a figure skating volunteer since they can get hours for school credit or merchandise from the store run by the figure skating club. The volunteers make the figure skating club run, helping out with organising and fundraising for the club, said HRFSC president Sharmayne Horton.
The Program Assistant of the Year award was given to Skylar Horton, a figure skater in the Star Skater program, who provides assistance to the young skaters on the ice. She has a really passion for the sport having taken up figure skating at the age of three.
Volunteer of the Year Carmella Oscienny was recognized for her efforts supporting the HRFSC where she played a key role in the fundraising and organising department.
However, for some young skaters it’s not about getting the free merchandise or the big awards at the competition, it’s about helping the sport grow in popularity amongst the youth.
“It is good to help out other people and it is a sport that I’ve done my whole life,” said the 14-year-old Horton.
Olivia Gibbons, a 14-year-old Hay River figure skater, echoed the same sentiments saying it benefits her skating working with the “little kids.”
“It’s fun since I’m learning new things (on the ice) and I enjoy the sport too,” she said.
There are 69 figure skaters in the HRFSC program which is made up of the KidSkate, CanSkate, Pre Prelim and Star Skate categories Skaters are placed in a category based on their ability on the ice. There is a desire for the skaters to get better with enrollment in each category strong where there are five boys and eight girls enrolled in Kid Skate, four boys and 33 girls enrolled in Can Skate, 11 girls in Pre Prelim and eight girls in Star Skate.
The HRFSC handed out report cards to all skaters at the banquet that was based on their performance throughout the year. In the Can Skate report card, they were judged on various aspects of their figure skating including balance, glides forwards, glides backwards, edges, power and speed along with fitness components such as flexibility, cardio-vascular endurance, muscular endurance and agility.
Horton stated that the club had an amazing year, amazing executive and wonderful skaters. In addition, they celebrated their 40th Anniversary with each group doing a routine with music and an overall theme to the program along a skating carnival.
Since, it was the club’s 40th Anniversary, there was a little bit of variety since each group chose a song with an appropriate theme according to their skating abilities, stated Paige Kruger, a 13-year-old HRFSC member.
“It’s a really good program and I enjoy the skating carnival put on,” she said.
Kruger said that figure skating has been an integral part of her life since she started at the age of three. The club has helped her development throughout her figure skating life.
“Lots of my friends I have grown up with them skating and I enjoy it,” she said. “Maybe some day I would like to go to the Olympics.”
The club participates in numerous skating competitions throughout the season such as an annual event in Grand Prairie, Alberta, but was unable to send any figure skaters to attend territorials in Inuvik, NWT “because it would cost a fortune,” said Lionel Painchaud, a Director on the Executive and Past-President of the HRFSC for a period of three years.