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Summer season paying off for Connaught skaters

Richmond club turns in strong performances at competitions in Ottawa and Edmonton
Connaught Skating Club's Anya Li won silver in the Juvenile Division at a recent competition in Edmonton.

Connaught Skating is beating the heat in attempt to beat the rest of the country too.

The city club has been putting in long hours at the Richmond Ice Centre over the past couple months in what is considered the most important part of the year for young figure skaters. 

Now the season is winding down — leading up into this weekend’s B.C. Summer Skate in Burnaby where 97 club members are scheduled to compete.

In September, Connaught will transition into their fall campaign with limited hours as kids return to school and train in the evenings.

“Right now, we are getting the best of their energy. Their sharpness and mind power because they haven’t been sitting in a class room all day,” explained Connaught’s director of programming Keegan Murphy. “We are getting them at their peak right now and they are just so passionate and so committed. The coaches really respect that.

“They usually making their biggest leaps and bounds (in development) in the summer.  You take that and you run with with it.  Physically, they arrive at the rink at 10 am and they work hard until 4.”

Connaught’s summer progress was measured at recent competitions in Ottawa and Edmonton. 

About 10 of the club’s top skaters headed to the nation’s capital where they were up against mostly athletes from Ontario and Quebec. Another 18 up-and-coming members, skating at the Pre-Juvenile and Juvenile levels, were in Alberta for a meet that featured skaters from all four Western Canadian provinces.

“Our top kids did a great job against some fierce competition,” said Murphy of the Ottawa event. “These are kids working their way to the national and international levels. We wanted to get them out of the B.C. bubble. All were in the top 10 in groups of 25. We were very pleased at where they were at.

“We also did excellent in Alberta with many making the podium. It was our mid-summer snapshot (of progress) and the coaches are really pleased at where we are at right now.”

Connaught will also be actively involved in helping Skate Canada host the ISU Junior Grand Prix at Minoru Arenas — Sept. 12-15. While a couple of club members — Annie Lin (Chinese Taipei) and Micha Lynette (Thailand) — are expected to be competing, the club’s major role is providing volunteer support.

“We will be there for ISU and Skate Canada just helping to make it go and be involved in the opening ceremonies,” added Murphy. “For our skaters, it’s just going to be incredible to watch.”