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.

 

Just Posted

Port Hardy RCMP looking for volunteers who are interested in public safety

“The volunteer program will include community and crime prevention programs”

Suspicious fire in Alert Bay burns two homes, spreads to nearby bush

Police say underage suspects have been identified

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles tie Dawson Creek Canucks in front of massive hometown crowd in Port Hardy

The Tier 3 Bantam Championships continued in style last night at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

Tri-Port Midget Wild finish season with gold medal performance

The other teams were no match for the Tri-Port girls.

Chief Administrative Officer officially appointed in Port McNeill

“Pete brings with him 17 years of municipal experience.”

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher premiums, private insurers say

Minor injury cap, court restrictions take effect April 1 in B.C.

Gallery of hockey stars

Lucky seven from the Cowichan Valley Memorial Midget C Tournament receive their awards

Trans woman hopes funding cut will send message to B.C. rape crisis group

Rape Relief does not turn transgender women away and often connects them to other services, group says

B.C. sees fourth straight day of record-breaking warmth

Bob Marley said it best: The sun is shining and the weather is sweet

UPDATE: Two avalanches confirmed at Okanagan ski resort, one in hospital

A man has been sent to hospital after an isothermal avalanche at SilverStar March 20

Okanagan man, Yorkshire terrier chased by coyote

Animal sightings have been reported around West Kelowna and the Central Okanagan

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Most Read