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HomeSportsMisc. SportsDal/King’s Figure Skating Club; a team for everyone

Dal/King’s Figure Skating Club; a team for everyone

Club hopes to grow membership of competitive and recreational skaters

Maintaining athletic involvement throughout post-secondary education can be challenging, but the Dalhousie/King’s Figure Skating Club (DKFSC) is proving it doesn’t have to be.

The Dalhousie University skating club has worked for over a decade to provide opportunities for figure skaters to maintain their skills and continue pursuing their love for the sport in university. 

Although still a relatively smaller club, the DKFSC has seen huge growth in the past few years and now has over 50 skaters. The club expects this growth to increase with the opening of Dal’s new on-campus arena, the Oulton-Stanish Centre in late 2025. 

The club team welcomes all individuals with figure skating experience, creating a safe space and supportive environment for everyone, whether they’re working on the basics or landing triple Axels.

The DKFSC is an official Skate Canada club, however, it doesn’t charge its members the usual cost. While it’s estimated by Mike Slipchuk, high performance director at Skate Canada, that competing could cost $10,000 a year, the DKFSC only charges $50 a member.  

This membership allows the club to send members to competitions across the province, such as 

the 2023 Robert McCall Memorial Competition, hosted in Upper Tantallon, N.S., to which they sent three skaters. 

The club brought home three medals from Nova Scotia Provincials, which was hosted in Amherst, N.S. from March 1-3. Abby Columbus and Kyra Uyeda won gold medals in the STAR 7 O14 Women and STAR 6 Women categories, respectively, while Julia Bowman won a bronze medal in the STAR 8 Women category.  

For those not competing, the DKFSC has other opportunities, such as their free-entry Ice Show on March 17 from 6-8 p.m., where members of all skill levels can perform solo or in group numbers. 

This is the first year the club will be hosting its own ice show. Jaime Barrett and Deanna Ames, the club’s co-presidents, are excited to give their non-competitive skaters the opportunity. 

A social sport

Barrett, whose Dad began teaching her to skate while she was still learning to walk, has been a Skate Canada skater since age six and shares that joining the DKFSC was one of the things she was most excited about when she began university in 2021. 

“It can be harder for university students to find clubs with people their age or with schedules that work with the intensity of university classes,” said Barrett. 

The co-president also added she is grateful for the “safe, relaxing and non-competitive environment” of the DKFSC that allows her to stick with the sport throughout her post-secondary studies. 

“I always have tons of fun with the people I skate with,” said Barrett. “It honestly feels like a team sport to me at this point. The skating community is so wonderful and the connections I’ve made through skating are the best part.” 

She also shares that the most important lesson she’s learned through figure skating wasn’t about competitions or perfection, but instead that you don’t have to be the best at something to continue enjoying it. 

“Figure skating is one of the areas of my life where I haven’t been a chronic perfectionist, which has given me room to enjoy myself in the sport,” she said. “I skate because I love to skate, not because I’m trying to be the perfect figure skater.”

What it’s all about

Ames, who although learning to skate at a very young age, did not discover her passion for the sport until her teenage years, also admires the positive and inclusive environment provided by the DKFSC. 

The other co-president shares that she experienced a “total perspective change” when she came to love figure skating at age 15. 

Even though she was too old to begin competing, she was in search of a fun and supportive environment where she could continue to pursue the sport throughout her university studies. In October 2023, Ames placed 4th in her category at Skate Canada’s FallSkate. 

“Sometimes it can feel like competing is all that matters in figure skating,” said Ames. She added that the DKFSC “removes that pressure and lets the skaters just have fun with the sport again.”

Like Barrett, Ames has also learned, through figure skating, that she doesn’t always need to be the best. 

“It’s really easy to compare yourself to other skaters, and that can lead to a lot of negativity and frustration,” she said. “It’s important to just focus on what you can do and not worry too much about how everyone else is doing.”

The club is preparing for the Ice Show on March 17 and encourages all Dal students to attend the free event at the Halifax Forum.

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