Timing is everything

While the competition at the 2013 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships doesn’t officially start until tomorrow, the drama around the ice already began for some of its skaters. However, the events weren’t taking place at the competition in Mississauga, but at home, in Edmonton.

It was announced the Royal Glenora Club skating facilities, will shut down on May 31, 2013. The facilities are in need of a major overhaul, and we’re not just talking about an ice-resurfacing: a $2 million renovation.

This news comes as four skaters from the Royal Glenora Club are set to take the ice. Novice Dance team Abigail Seewald and Jared Fell, and Junior Men’s competitors Cole VanDerVelden and Bryce Chudak.

Chudak was sitting on the bubble after Skate Canada Challenge, in 19th place. And then he received the phone call of a lifetime: he was going to the Canadians as the alternate.

As an alternate, Chudak was on standby in case a skater was injured, or withdrawal. And that’s exactly what happened. Chudak will compete in the Junior Men’s short program on Jan. 16., along with VanDerVelden and Christopher Mostert.

Ice Dancers Seewald and Fell, 12 and 14 respectively, are making their first appearance in Novice at the Canadians. Opposite skaters, the pair adapts to each other to suit their program.

“We do twizzles both ways,” said Seewald. “We do hard ones on our strong side.”

Both skaters are right-handed. Fell said spins and turning left or right has little do to with which hand you write with, and more with comfort.

“It’s just the way you learn to skate,” said Seewald.

“It’s like kicking a soccer ball,” Fell said.

Two years ago, Fell relocated from Vegreville, a small town 100km east of Edmonton, to train at the Royal Glenora Club.

“Sometimes it’s hard because I miss my family….but it’s not too bad.”

Fell lives with Seewald’s family, and the dance team adapts once again.

“I’m not usually home or in the house much,” said Seewald.

“She goes to school and ballet,” said Fell.

Both leave the house at 5:30am for the rink. After the blades come off, Seewald rushes off to class, and Fell hits the books as a home-schoolled student.

“I actually learn primarily from texts,” Fell said.

The two meet up again at the Royal Glenora Club to train their pattern dances and free dance. At Skate Canada Challenge, in one segment, they placed 18th. Their free dance, the final segment, earned them enough points for 11th spot – for a 12th place overall.

“(We were) surprised we got this far,” said Fell.

“Next year, we’d like to stay in Novice and move up to top three,” Seewald said.

Seewald, Fell, VanDerVelden and Chudak.

They might be the final four who represent the Royal Glenora Club in competition. And they should do so proudly. In this scenario, there’s no shame in being the last.


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