Figure skaters continue waiting for opportunity to compete

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Figure Skating club was getting ready to send skaters to the Autumn Le…

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Figure Skating club was getting ready to send skaters to the Autumn Leaves Super Series competition in Chilliwack next weekend, but due to a high number of participants in the elite divisions, organizers decided to cancel all STAR Skate events.

Because the vast majority of skaters in Fort St. John are in the STAR Skate divisions, the club decided not to participate in the event next weekend.

Skating coach Jen Hammond says, while the kids are disappointed, they’re resilient.

“The skaters were obviously looking forward to going, especially because it looked like it was going to be a sure thing for all of us this year,” said Hammond, adding the explanation for the cancellation. “A lot of times for this competition, they put a stipulation in that, if they do receive too many registrations, some of the lower STAR Skate levels would be cancelled.”

According to the event program, “If we reach registration capacity, STAR 2 events will be cancelled and refunded if we do not have enough ice time.”

Despite having that stipulation in the event program, Hammond says it has never been used.

“We’ve never had it before where every level was cancelled, so that was a bit of a shock for everybody.”

With this event being the only one in the province that skaters could potentially enter, Hammond is looking at options to hold local “simulations” before Christmas holidays.

“I’m sure before Christmas, we will definitely do something like that for our skaters. They can get the feeling of skating around on the ice by themselves before they actually step on the ice for a competition.”

After the Christmas season, the three events Hammond is expecting to have skaters compete in are a regional competition in Prince George in January, the Totem event in February that will be held in Fort St. John, and the Super Series event in March.

“Every year we alternate with Dawson Creek on who hosts the Totem competition, and this year, it looks like it’s our turn. As long as everything goes as planned, we’re hoping to be able to have that in February.”

Even though they’re understandably frustrated, Hammond says the state of things last year helped them prepare.

“After last year, we’re a little bit more flexible in knowing that different things could possibly happen with our competitions. Last year, we were thankful to be able to do a couple of virtual competitions and a test day. It’s a little bit of a roller coaster for them, we jumped back on the ice and we were training really hard, getting our programs ready to go with the possibility of going to this competition, then it changes. As a coach, I kind of knew the potential that this was going to happen, but I think the skaters were quite set on going [to Chilliwack].”

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