Skating club seeing increases

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November 18, 2014 9:40 AM

The Lloydminster Skating Club will send eight skaters to the Edmonton Region Open this weekend. Back row, left to right, Chelsey Crush, Yuliya Shcherbani, Chantelle Hardes and Monica Mutter. Front row, left to right, Erin Willard, Zoe Grodin, Emma Minish and Sarah Minish. - Andrew Brethauer Photo

Competition is right around the corner for eight local figure skaters, as they will travel to St. Albert this weekend to take part in the Edmonton Region Open. And while the eight skaters going is an increase in numbers that the club has sent in the past, it should start to become a regular thing after the Lloydminster Skating Club implemented their new junior program as a bridge between CanSkate and competitive figure skating.

Across the board the skating club is seeing greater numbers than they have had in the past couple of seasons, as the restructuring of the club has offered more opportunity for skaters to grow from the beginning stages into the advanced years.

“A lot of CanSkaters come in to learn how to skate, but they don’t know how to progress into figure skating from there,” said senior and intermediate head coach Helen Ramful. “So we have tried to develop this program that is catering to CanSkate level skaters but gearing them into getting into figure skating.”

The junior program has 10 skaters involved, while last year’s junior program have moved up to the intermediate level where more than 10 are skating. It’s all helping to keep the flow going of skaters progressing to the next level, which is only putting Lloydminster more on the map in terms of the talent they are producing on the ice.

Heading to St. Albert are six senior skaters and two intermediate skaters. The open competition is available to any skating club in Alberta, as well as some other provinces. For the Lloydminster Skating Club, Ramful called it a home opener, a chance for their girls to get on the ice in front of a large audience and put on their best performance.

With a lack of experience going to the Edmonton Region Open, Ramful said the open competition is not a lot of pressure and allows the girls a chance to perform their routine, get evaluated and learn from the experience.

“It’s just they go and do the program that they have, the judges place them, get feedback and get used to being in the performance side of the sport,” said Ramful.

And more than just the judges eyes will be on the Lloydminster club heading to the open, as new pride in figure skating has developed within the Lloydminster skaters, who are taking advantage of every bit of ice time they can get to further develop the programs they want to establish for the skating season. And that has caught the attention of clubs and skaters around Alberta.

“I’m really excited to take these guys to this competition because a lot of other skaters from other clubs are going to be sort of in admiration of the quality of skating coming out of Lloydminster right now,” said Ramful. “There has been a shift in attitude and skaters are really excited about skating and their skill level is really showing.

“They are realizing this is their sport and they are taking a lot of pride in it this year.”

The Edmonton Region Open runs Nov. 21-24 at the St. Albert Skating Centre. For more information on the Lloydminster Skating Club, visit www.lloydminsterskating.com.

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