Although fall and winter are the seasons most people think of lacing up skates and hitting the ice, staff, volunteers and skaters have been preparing for the season since late summer. The Mount Arrowsmith Skating Club has an active group of members who are busy working on upcoming events.
The Club’s largest event, the Carnival, is making a comeback this year. Held every two years, the spectacular on ice is a public show and a significant fundraiser.
Featuring all of the Club’s members, the theme for the show is the “Enchanted Forest” and will include Disney faeries, bees, ladybugs, fishermen and Tinkerbell, among many other characters. Coach Jean Leshures said it is something the skaters look forward to.
“It is time for all the children to go out there, have fun and show their skills to their parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends,” Leshures said.
“It is a great family show.”
For the younger CanSkaters, this will be their first time performing in front of an audience.
“They get to dress up and be stars for the night,” Leshures said.
There will also be a surprise special guest who competes on an international level.
It takes countless hours by volunteers to make the show a success, but their dedication helps to make skating a sport accessible to everyone.
“Our belief is that we try very hard to keep registration costs low so all kids in the Alberni Valley can participate,” Leshures said.
The skaters will hit the ice for the Carnival in February, but before that, the competitive members, twenty local ones, have a full schedule. The first competition will be held on Nov. 18 to 20 in Chemainus. They are each required to present their own program for which they will receive marks. Leshures said some of the competitors are successfully landing double loops and double flips.
They will then complete two exam days in December before competing at the Vancouver Island Regional competition in February.
“They train five days a week in the morning or after school,” she said.
The Club has two other local coaches, including Michelle Shiner, now in her fourth year, and brings her experience as a competitor to her lessons.
Frances Wilson has been trained as a CanSkate coach.
“(Frances) truly loves being out there and being with the children,” Leshures said.
Other skating lessons at the Multiplex take place through the CanPower program led by Mike Doucette.
He, along with Darin Oscienny, teaches skating skills to various levels of hockey players.
“(Mike) runs two full classes and has done a wonderful job with that program,” Leshures said.
Although volunteers are in full swing organizing the upcoming events, seamstresses are still needed for help with costumes.
If you have experience and are able to help, Leshures can be reached at the Multiplex at 250-720-8999 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.