The Juan de Fuca Skating Club is back on the ice this fall with more fresh faces braving the chill of the arena in Colwood.
Coach and director of skating, Leslee Rushton, said their CanSkate numbers were already higher at the end of September than they were in January or February of last season, which tends to be their peak time.
“We started out fast, which is good. It’s the theme days and all of the fun stuff we do,” she said, adding that sets this club apart from others.
The Skate Canada-affiliated club offers many programs, such as the nationally recognized CanSkate program. New this season are the PrePower and CanPowerSkate programs, designed with a different audience in mind. They’re geared towards skaters looking to develop the strong skating skills needed for hockey.
“It’s never been introduced in this [club],” Rushton said, nor as a program through Skate Canada.
The club also offers StarSkate, competitive and synchronized skating programs as well.
“They’re all divided according to skill,” Rushton said, as opposed to age. This way skaters in the different groups are all working on the same skills. “It’s all intertwined … They pretty much go nonstop, you won’t see our kids standing still.”
The CanSkate and PrePower sessions feature six stages of development, with three ribbons and a badge to achieve in each stage. These sessions use circuits for skill development and are done to music with a fast track and fun zone to accommodate all levels. There are also theme days and prizes for each session.
The PrePower group has been integrated into the CanSkate dynamic, featuring its own station where skaters can use a stick and puck while working on their skills. Rushton was quick to note it hasn’t taken away from any aspects of the CanSkate program, just added to it.
The PrePower sessions are for skaters still developing some of the basics and are a precursor to the CanPowerSkate sessions, which run Friday mornings and use the full ice surface and full gear. They feature circuits and drills that also utilize training aids such as parachutes, retraction cords and hurdles.
“Quite often the children don’t know how to skate when their parents sign them up for hockey,” Rushton said. This program is designed to give players that extra edge.
The PrePower and CanPowerSkate sessions are taught by Rushton’s husband, Larry, who has coached NCAA and junior players. He’s also spent months planning the club’s big ice show, which debuts on March 11, although he’s keeping details of the show under lock and key until a little closer to the big performances.
Leslee Rushton said Juan de Fuca arena is transformed into a theatre for the show, with seating right on the ice. With this year’s show theme “Skating in Colour,” it’ll be an experience you won’t want to miss, she said.
Registration is offered through the year, with pro-rated fees starting Nov. 1. In-person signups can be done in the Juan de Fuca arena lobby during any club ice times, but organizers ask that you email ahead. For more information go to juandefucaskatingclub.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Rushton at email@example.com.
Mark your calendar
This Saturday, Oct. 15, the Juan de Fuca Skating Club is hosting a bring a friend day. From 10:45 until 11:50 a.m. skaters can bring a buddy to share the session with. Friends must be signed up in advance by one of the JDFSC members. Skate rentals will also be available that day for $1.50 per pair.