Whitney Murgatroyd of Port McNeill Figure Skating Club performs with instructor Patrick O'Brien during her dance test at Chilton Regional Arena and (inset) O'Brien and Kaitlynn Lasota twirl during Lasota's figure skating dance test last Thursday. Lasota was one of two club members to pass the gold level exam.

Port McNeill Skaters move to next levels

PORT McNEILL—All season long, members of the Port McNeill Figure Skating Club worked on their half of a dance skating routine.

PORT McNEILL—All season long, the more experienced members of the Port McNeill Figure Skating Club worked on their half of a dance skating routine.

Last week at Chilton Regional Arena, they finally got a dance partner.

Sidney Hamilton and Kaitlynn Lasota, guided by veteran skate instructor Patrick O’Brien, both completed their gold-level certification in dance, which covers four disciplines, during testing last Thursday.

Also, Whitney Murgatroyd passed her gold dance test in quick step.

O’Brien, who recently relocated to the Okanagan Valley from Vancouver Island, has returned to Port McNeill each year for the past 25 years to assist the young skaters with their dance routines. But he is in town only a few days each year, which puts the onus on the skaters to perfect their routines alone and then make an abrupt transition to skating with a partner for the tests.

“I teach the kids their steps, their patterns and their timing,” said Elizabeth Kines, the club’s head coach. “Then the partner comes and skates with them, which is quite a feat. It’s amazing that our girls are able to handle that situation.”

In the larger clubs, in more populated areas, skaters have more consistent access to a dance partner. But the expense of bringing an experienced male dance skater to the North Island on a regular basis is prohibitive.

Kines has been appreciative of O’Brien’s travel to work with her skaters, especially considering his move off-Island this year. He appears for a couple of days each summer during the PMFSC summer school at Chilton Regional Arena, then returns each March for the annual tests.

“That’s why we keep Mr. O’Brien,” said Kines. “He is excellent with our girls. He understands the stress they’re under.”

“We have a great working relationship,” said O’Brien, who was joined at the arena by Lynne Henderson-Drake, the Vancouver Island Region chair for Figure Skating B.C.

Drake served as judge for the skaters tests, which included not only the dance, but free skate and skills level exams.

“Patrick comes back every year because he’s the best partner,” said Henderson-Drake, who playfully refused to acknowledge O’Brien’s new Interior location while insisting he is an Island skater.

Alyssa Busch and Mikayla Walton also earned gold level, in skills.

Notes — Port McNeill Figure Skating Club’s annual summer school will be held in two sessions at Chilton arena. Canskate participants will skate from June 25-July 6, and the junior-senior program will run June 25-July 19. Kines said a registration date in early June at the arena will be announced soon.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island Cannabis celebrates first year in business in Port Hardy

‘I’m really happy we’re here giving the public what they want’

Fire Chefs give back to community with one free meal a day to those who are in need

Fire Chefs will offer one free meal from 3:30 until 4:30 on the days they are open to those in need.

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

North Island community groups are adapting due to COVID-19

‘The coronavirus and its effects make this a challenging time for us all’

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Cruise ships, one with COVID-19 on board, carry Canadians covertly through Panama Canal

Zaandam, Rotterdam pass through canal under cover of darkness in face of local protests

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Most Read