Kwan, Kristi Yamaguchi and Dorothy Hamill didn't start executing
perfect triple axels the first time their skates hit the ice as
And Steve Yzerman surely wasn't flying around the rink on the edge of his blades at the age of 5.
They all probably attended some form of learn-to-skate program, similar to the ones the Arctic Figure Skating Club orchestrate throughout the year at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Canton.
"We've been doing the Learn-to-Skate program about five or six years now and it's grown every year," said Craig O'Neal, the Arctic Edge's general manager. "A lot of the kids are brought in for the first time when they're 4 or 5 and some are still with our skating programs until five years later. A lot of the boys transition into hockey while the girls get into more advanced figure skating."
Being able to stand up on skates isn't a pre-requisite, emphasized Theresa McKendry, the program's coordinator. "Some of the kids can stand up their first time out, but a lot of them can't," she said. "You'd be amazed at how much progress the kids make during the first eight-week session. Once they get over the fear of falling, they generally make a lot of progress."
Class sizes are limited to 12, McKendry added, so that all the young skaters receive a lot of attention.
"The kids will all be taught by professional instructors," McKendry said. "One of the best parts about the program is that everyone in the class receives a pass that allows them to skate free during our open skating hours. One of the keys to becoming a better skater is to get out on the ice more and the free open-skating passes is perfect for that. It allows the kids to progress so much faster than they would otherwise."
A free Learn-to-Skate open house will be held Saturday from 10-11 a.m. at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena, which is located at 46615 Michigan Ave. The event, which includes free skate rental and free skating, gives parents an opportunity to learn more about the program.
More information can be gathered by calling (734) 487-7777 or visiting www.arcticarenas.com.
Ed Wright can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 453-1980.