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Winter Golden Skatetacular

Front row, from left: Lucy Anderson, Kate Collier, Jaylah Hardy, Emma Quilty, Kennedy Richards, Meryl Billard. Back row: Myla Baird, Abigail Harris, Julia Strickland. – Submitted photo

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

PORT AUX BASQUES — On Sunday March 5, the Port aux Basques Skating Club held their Winter Golden Skatetacular, an event that had an extra cause for celebration. “This was a new event for us. We have hosted events similar to this in the past, except this one was in recognition of our 50th season celebration. We tried to celebrate within the event, we had an anniversary cake and welcome bags for the skaters,” said April Dicks, president of the club. This type of event takes place in skating clubs across the country. “These events can be seen, nationally recognized, right across Canada. It’s a type of event where we want skaters to show their skills that they work on throughout the season, and as they’re showcasing their skills, they’re also being evaluated by a panel of coaches,” explained Dicks. “The discipline that they choose to be entered in, they will perform, and then they are ranked as a gold, silver, or bronze evaluation, they receive a certificate, and there’s an assessment that comes with it. In our lobby we had a station set up with a backdrop where they came and were presented with their certificates and it was a place where they were able to have their pictures taken and be recognized for their efforts.” The skater turnout was fantastic. “We had pretty close to 100 per cent participation. We may have had a couple of skaters out for a personal reason or sickness, but it was pretty close to all participants there. It was really exciting to see that we had so many Canskaters, parents, family and friends who all came in to watch,” said Dicks. “The good thing about this too was that we were able to host it locally. A lot of times we will see these events throughout our region. Our region would be Western, and last year for example, Deer Lake hosted an event similar to this and invited other clubs to come in, but this time we kept this to our local club because we wanted to celebrate in a different way.” Celebrating 50 years wasn’t the only reason the club wanted to put off the Skatetacular this year. “We were hoping to also introduce our newer Canskaters to this type of event so hopefully, they will recognize events like this more on the West coast and hopefully be more enticed to join these events with other clubs in the future.” For the event, skaters were grouped into their various levels and categories for evaluation. “Canskaters entered the ice and had a set circuit drawn for them on the ice where they would demonstrate their skills, and as they were demonstrating their skills on this circuit they are familiar with, the coaches are assessing them on their skill at the same time that they are performing them.” Canskaters were on the ice for approximately 40 minutes while the assessment was taking place, and the ice was divided in half so two groups could be evaluated at once. “Once the first set removed themselves the next group of Canskaters would come in and do the same thing with skills relevant to their skill level,” said Dicks. “We then had our synchro teams, skate their routine at the event and then we proceeded into Starskate. Starskate is where we gave different options of what they wanted to perform skill wise. We had entries such as skaters who wanted to perform free skate elements only, we had programs, we had skaters perform in team events where we had a team of four skaters who each had to perform an element, and we had dance and also had skills, so kids had a variety of areas they could choose.” The anticipation was significant for the Skatetacular since it has been years since the club was able to host such an event. “The last event we did that was similar in nature to this was the Holly Jolly and that was an invitational where we invited other clubs in as well. This one was the first one post-COVID and it was time to bring it back to the club, have the skaters, parents, coaches, and volunteers involved, there’s no words for it because it was just fantastic to see everyone engaged.” For a lot of the Canskaters, this is the first time they’ve ever participated in something like this. “There was so much excitement amongst the skaters, the friends and family, you could tell they had so much pride, they were so proud to see their little skaters, that was heartwarming and just to hear all the cheers coming from the stands, the music playing, it’s been a long time since we heard those things in the arena, that alone was so exciting.” Having the event put together so quickly following Fiona wasn’t a hindrance to the club at all. “I think the crew we have, the volunteers we have, many of them have been around for many years and we’ve hosted events such as these in the past. When I brought the idea to the club back in the fall, everybody was on board, they were excited, they were interested, and I think everyone had such a long break with no competitions and no events, everyone was ready to plan this, get on board, and go over and above everything that was expected of them. The volunteers we have are exceptional, they really go above and beyond.” Dicks found it difficult to express just how well the event unfolded and how positive it was received. “A couple times I stood in the lobby, I listened and I looked around, and it was worth every minute, every hour, that we put into planning. It seemed like everybody enjoyed their day, whether it was a skater, a parent, a coach, or a volunteer. I didn’t see any negativity at all that day, it seemed to be a very positive experience for all, that’s for sure.”

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