Hope and District Figure Skating Club skating pro Michelle Inancsi enjoys a spill on the ice with a couple of her young Canskate students last Thursday.

Figure skating club seeks new members

Hope & District Figure Skating Club depends on high registration numbers to maintain ice times

Two or three weeks from now, when the autumn weather has taken over in a serious way, a boatload of people will slip out of summer mode and realize that things have changed. They should have registered their kids in hockey, soccer or figure skating and it may be too late.

If this describes you, let’s get on with it. People are depending on solid numbers so they can offer programs and your kids may be just the ones to help fill up some spots.

Michelle Inancsi, skating pro for the Hope & District Figure Skating Club said on Monday, “If you’re going to register, please do it sooner than later, so we can maintain our ice times.”

If the numbers aren’t there, unused figure skating ice times could be given over to public skating or hockey users.

“Right now, we have about 25 to 30 skaters, which is pretty good for our first week — but we definitely have room for more people,” said Inancsi.

“Canskate is always our biggest group. We currently have 15 but there’s still lots of room.”

The Canskaters hit the ice — sometimes quite literally — from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Junior skaters Sarah Steberl, Sarah Isbister and Baylie Pellegrino have their lessons before that, then stick around to help with the younger skaters.

“Those junior coaches,” said Inancsi. “I couldn’t run the program without their help.”

Armed with water-based felt pens, Inancsi and her helpers draw pictures or instructions on the ice, to give visual cues to their students.

“We’ll have circuits, with skills to practice at each site,” explained the coach. “On one, they get to practice scraping the ice sideways, to erase the pictures. They like that and it helps them practice the stopping motion.

“We’ll also draw animals, such as spiders and get the kids to ‘stop on the spider’ or ‘jump on the spider,’” said Inancsi.

Bean bags and hula hoops are used for fun games that motivate the young skaters.

“We have the kids skate while balancing the bean bags on their heads and we use them in relay races,” said Inancsi. “We also get them to skate around and pick up bean bags and throw them into hoops or other targets.

“They’re practicing stopping and bending down, then speeding up again — and they don’t even realize they’re skating,” laughed Inancsi. “It’s great for reluctant skaters.”

The club’s inaugural year was 1976, so this year’s carnival will have the theme of “Groovin’ Through the Decades,” with routines based on popular music from that 35-year span.

Coach Inancsi is also trained in power skating instruction and the club is offering Monday sessions for skaters who want to improve their hockey skills or general skating ability.

“It would be ten sessions, with the last one being for evaluation on a timed course,” explained Inancsi. “Depending on their scores, they are awarded badges from the Can Powerskate program.

“We’re hoping we’ll have enough to run two groups: the beginners from 4:45 to 5:30 p.m. and the more advanced skaters from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m.,” said Inancsi.

“Power skating goes through the basics of skating,” she explained. “It improves your stride, your edge work, turns, stopping and backwards skating.

“It all depends on registration, though.”

Inancsi was very appreciative of the executive, led by president Sheilagh Tepasse, which she said is a very easy group to work with. “They handle the administrative part of it, which saves me a lot of time,” said Inancsi.

Registrar Lindsay Druet said the annual registration fees run from $305 for the Preschool noon-hour group, up through the Junior Academy at $475. Power skating is $210 for the ten sessions.

To help family budgets, the club will accept a series of post-dated cheques.

“There’s also a sponsorship through Kidsport Canada, for families that can’t afford to put their kids in to sports,” said Druet. “We have a form for them to fill out.”

Druet can be reached at 604-869-3237.