Skating club hopes to stage ice show

Comox Valley club offers opportunities for all skaters to improve their skills

AARON VAN CLEAVE of Comox and his partner Mari Vartmann are two-time German national silver medallists. Van Cleave was coached by Dawn Ladret at the Comox Valley Skating Club.

he show must go on!

That’s what the Comox Valley Skating Club is hoping, as they are planning to present – for the first time in several years – a full scale ice show this season.

“If you have ever thought about getting your skates back on, or getting your children into skiing, this would be the year to do it,” the club notes.

Why? “Because an ice show is the most exciting project a skating club takes on, the single largest project a skating club takes on, and the most fun skaters and parents have together in the club,” the club notes.

CVSC coaches Dawn and Greg Ladret have a wealth of experience, both in coaching skaters and staging entertaining shows. The husband-and-wife duo each has well over 20 years of coaching experience. Dawn, who has staged ice shows here in the past, has taken many skaters to provincial and national championships. Greg has competed at the national level and toured for 10 years with top-calibre ice shows, including Walt Disney’s World on Ice. He has also toured (as magician Twiggly Wiggly) in the United States and Dubai.

“We have a busy year coming up,” Greg said. “Our big project is to put together an ice show, as well as the regular stuff. The fact is it takes participation, it takes funding – we’ll be going to the community for sponsorships – so before the ice show project can fly we have to make sure the skating club has a reasonable amount of membership to put into the show, and sustain us through the year.”

Ladret notes there is a misconception that skating clubs are about only figure skating. Nothing could be further from the truth, he says. “Figure skating is one aspect of what we do. We do have competitive figure skaters. But in any place, big centre or small centre, a really small percentage of the skating program is competition.

“Nationally, I believe it’s about five per cent of all the people enrolled in skating that are competitive skaters,” he says, noting the comparison to minor hockey where approximately one half of one per cent of players make it to the NHL.

“Competing or reaching the elite level is not what the skating club is all about. It all starts at the grassroots level. Learn the basics, then follow whatever path that takes you on.

“Figure skating is not our main objective. It’s to provide a learn-to-skate program, whether it’s children that will even become figure skaters or ringette or hockey players or just go to a public skating session with friends and be good at it,” Ladret explained.

Experienced coaches such as the Ladrets are able to identify specific talents in young skaters and help steer them into the sport that best suits them. A skating club will teach the basics which skaters can build on in hockey, power skating, speed skating or whatever their interest is.

Like other groups, the Comox Valley Skating Club has been hit by cutbacks in provincial gaming grants, but Ladret notes assistance is available.

“A big thing for skating now, and we’re pretty excited about it, is that Canadian Tire is a national sponsor for Skate Canada. They also have a Jumpstart program (which helps kids who otherwise could not afford to become involved in sport). And ViaSport British Columbia is helping get folks involved. There are (funding) options,” Ladret noted.

Getting back to the ice show, Ladret notes the young skaters are always the stars of the show. “People love them,” he says. And some young skaters who were stars of previous Comox Valley Skating Club ice shows have gone on to bigger things. Michelle Jarvis is enjoying success as a competitive adult skater, bringing home medals from almost every event she enters.

Aaron Van Cleave is a pairs skater who holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship. He currently competes for Germany with partner Mari Vartmann. They are two-time (2011-2012) German national silver medalists.

Annie Laurie, who has performed in skating shows (produced by a longtime skating friend of Greg) on cruise ships, finished 17th in Junior Ladies at the 2003 Canadian Figure Skating Championships.

The 2000 national championships featured a number of Comox Valley competitors. Annie Laurie and brother Luke were fifth in Novice Pairs while Ashley Mangles of the CVSC and partner Laura Hougham withdrew from the event.

Luke placed ninth in Novice Men and in Novice Ice Dancing Matthew Willis of Comox teamed with Jennifer Young to place fifth. Willis is now a coach with the Racquet Club of Victoria Figure Skating Club. He is a five-time provincial champion in different pairs and ice dance levels.

From learning to basics to the international stage, the Comox Valley Skating Club truly offers something for every level and interest. For more information, contact the club at comoxvalleyskatingclub@gmail.com, www.comoxvalleyskating club.ca or 250-339-9872.

 

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