Last year, Angelica Ruszkowski had been looking to set up a figure skating club on campus. Now she’s back, and ready to hit the ice in a trial program with UBC Rec.
The club was considered last year when she joined a group at the local rink known as the Figure ‘Shinny’ and noticed that the Shinny practice time was a little inconvenient for most of the student body. The original club gained a lot of popularity, with almost 30 skaters signing up, but prices for ice time kept them from getting anything started.
“Ice time is expensive anywhere,” said Ruszkowski. “And the beautiful Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sport Centre is a particularly nice sports complex with high demand for ice time from community groups.”
Luckily for the club, UBC Athletics’ Hockey and Skating Programs Coordinator Ryan Esselmont showed interest, and was able to secure a more reasonable ice time.
“[Esselmont] has been integral in getting the club on its feet. He’s very passionate about creating a figure skating scene at UBC,” said Ruszkowski.
The club aims to primarily connect the skaters at UBC and form a community around them, but competitions are not out of the question. Ruszkowski is hoping that if interest is shown, the club will be able to compete at a varsity level against skating teams from Ontario.
“Long-term goals [are] forming a solid figure skating community at UBC, offering skaters a place to connect with people with common interests, stay fit and continue doing what they love,” she said.
Because of the competitive edge that the club wants, the figure skating club members will have to be of an intermediate to an advanced level.
“There are few opportunities for figure skaters to take the ice to train and keep their skills sharp. To be in the club, skaters should have at least passed their preliminary tests, or at least be able to perform basic single jumps, as well as competency with basic edges and turns.”
But with a good team, there will be good competition. Since figure skating is not a CIS recognized sport, the UBC team plans to compete against the local community first, before reaching varsity level and competing against schools from the east coast in official competition.
In a varsity figure skating competition, the events that the skaters can compete in vary from singles to synchronized, and the competitors earn points for their school based on their ranking. Ruszkowski, who did her undergrad at University of Waterloo, competed on an ice dance team for five years. Now that the idea of a figure skating club is becoming a reality, Ruszkowski and Esselmont are determined to put a Thunderbird name on it.
Starting on Monday, March 2, there will be a pilot program for weekly ice sessions for intermediate/advanced figure skaters, open to students and the public. Ice time will be 7:30-8:45 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. There are two payment options:
Option A: 24 sessions (three times a week) $400 for public and $350 for students
Option B: 16 sessions (two times per week) $325 for public and $275 for students
If you have any other enquiries about the figure skating club, including how to signing up, Ruszkowski is available at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Ryan Esselmont at email@example.com.