Sudbury skaters participate in Celebration on Ice

by Wendy Philion | March 1, 2013

Patrick Chan

World figure skating champion Patrick Chan introduces two local skaters at Celebration on ice, held recently in Sudbury. PHOTO BY ANDREA DURKAC YURIY

There was a lot of excitement for figure skaters and fans alike at the Sudbury Arena, Dec. 15, as Celebration on Ice took over the old barn. Four world champions — Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko, Jeffrey Buttle of Sudbury and Patrick Chan — skated along with Joannie Rochette (Olympic bronze medallist) and Canadian champions Meagan Duhamel of Lively and her partner Eric Radford. 

The Sudbury Skating Club received an invitation to participate in the show alongside their heroes. On the day of the show, the seniors, intermediates and Canskaters of all levels were able to meet with the champions prior to the show for photos and autographs. Browning even made a special visit to their dressing rooms. His energy and enthusiasm put smiles on their faces.

For three young ladies with the Sudbury Skating Club, there was an invitation to perform a solo at the ice show. The girls had just returned from competing at the Skate Canada Challenge in Regina, Sask. Imagine the thrill of performing in front of a large audience with their idols.

Naomi Lamb

Naomi Lamb.

Sixteen-year-old Naomi Lamb described the experience as her “most remarkable highlight of 2012.”

“I was ecstatic when I found out that I would be skating in the same ice show as Jeffrey Buttle, Kurt Browning, Patrick Chan and other iconic skaters,” she said. “I felt extremely honoured to just even practice on the same ice as Joannie Rochette.

“It was surely a once-in-a-lifetime experience and opportunity to be chosen.”

For Alyssa Murray, 14, Celebration on Ice offered her the opportunity to meet the skaters she had grown up admiring as she watched them on television.

“To actually … get the opportunity to skate with them, be in the same show as them and be introduced by the current world champion, Patrick Chan, was the best gift I could ever receive,” she said.

“This amazing opportunity has inspired and pushed me to try to achieve the best I can in this sport.”

Isabelle Sonier

Isabelle Sonier.

Isabelle Sonier, 16, said sharing the ice with Chan would be “a dream for any figure skater.”

“Skating for me is not a sport, it’s a way of life. We all train so hard to be the best we can be, and having the opportunity to perform for skating fans and our idols was exciting.”

The experience also offered a touch of reassurance for the local skaters. “Any dedicated figure skater will tell you, there are hard lessons in figure skating,” Sonier said. “It is not always easy to get back up and smile after a hard fall, but the professionals we had the chance to share the ice with understand why we do it, day after day.”

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Wendy Philion is a long-time coach with the Sudbury Skating Club.

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