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Skating skills challenge hits the ice in Creston

Over 100 skaters gathered in Creston yesterday to take part in the skills challenge and Canskate, hosted by the Creston Valley Skating Club.

Skaters of all ages laced up to show off what they’ve been practicing all season and Tammy Bradford, Canskate coach and skating club administrator, says the energy was palpable.

“It’s great to see this kind of energy in the club. We’ve had some challenges over the past few years, but this year we are building. We’re back with a vengeance. We’ve got over 100 skaters in the club this year in a wide variety of programs, and we hope to see even more next year.”

The event kicked off with the hockey skills challenge, where skaters grabbed a twig and got to show off what they know.

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“These kids have been working really hard on their speed, their endurance,their agility, their game situations,” said Bradford.

“They’re doing speed drills and shooting drills, power shooting drills, agility drills. They’re just having a good time chewing up the ice and three teams are competing against each other. ”

After a short break, the action was back on with a figure skating challenge and the Canskate learners.

“Canskate is our learn to skate program, and it starts right from three-year-olds who have never been on the ice before, all the way up to those who are getting ready to enter the power and figure skating programs.”

The skills challenge was an important opportunity for the skating community, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic put a bit of a damper on things.

“It’s the first time we’ve done this. We’ve done ice shows in the past, but with the pandemic and such, we haven’t been able to do much of anything for the last few years.”

Bradford says they decided to go with a skills challenge instead of an ice show because it keeps the skaters training.

“Instead of taking the last six weeks of the season and doing nothing but ice show practice, they’re out there working their skills, developing their speed, power, agility, and the moves that they will need, especially those who are going on in figure skating. But at the same time, it gives them a chance to show off a little bit. And everybody likes to do that.”

She adds Canskate is an important national program developed by Skate Canada that give people of all ages a chance to learn

“It just teaches those fundamental skating skills, like ballads and moving forwards and backward, stopping, turning, that sort of thing that you need. Even if you just want to go out and do family skating, recreational skating, or even pond skating. The more comfortable you are on skates, the more enjoyable that is.”

Although the season is nearly over, Bradford is looking forward to starting back up again in September and encourages anyone who is interested to reach out.

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