St. Thomas and Dorchester teams along with four soloists entertain
at the annual EnergIce synchronized skating gala
January 19, 2023
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - Excitement, nerves and a little bit of wonder. That is just describing how the adult skaters were feeling prior to their performances.
Nine teams and four soloists, several for the first time, performed at the EnergIce Synchronized Skating Gala, hosted by the St. Thomas Skating Club, at the East Elgin Community Centre January 14. All seven EnergIce teams were on the ice, Beginner, Star 3, Star 4, Juvenile, Adult 3, Adult 3 Edge and Adult 2, along with guests, Dorchester Star 3 and Star 4 Dragonflies.
Skaters from ages four to 59, displayed their skills in front of a full house. From one adult team of 15 skaters 15 years ago, EnergIce has grown to seven teams with over 90 skaters this season
Madison Wright, Sadie Cummings, Emilee Aspden and Sutton Beattie, a day before her fifth birthday, skated solo.
"I'm bit speechless," said Wendy Coombs, St. Thomas program director and coach. "I think when you put all of our teams in one room together with our circle of supports, I'm in a bit of awe, in relation to how much we've grown, how much success we've had and how synchro is growing in Elgin."
Several youth skaters made their debuts in front of an audience, but a number of adults skaters were as well, or for the first time in several years.
"We think it's a big deal for the kids, but it's a really big deal for some of these adults who decided to strap on their skates and and want to perform again," Coombs said. "Not only were our kids nervous, our adults were nervous too."
The EnergIce Beginners opened the gala, skating to "Kiss the Girl", from the movie The Little Mermaid, in black, red and white outfits with lipstick kiss marks all over.
This group of six skaters, is one of three teams coached by Breanne Wilson, who also skates with the competitive Adult 2 team and coaches the soloists.
"I'm involved with every team, whether it's skating, coaching, or assisting coaching, for the love of my passion," said Wilson, "I love the team atmosphere. I've always enjoyed it. Making a sisterhood of friends and now I get to introduce this to the youth teams."
Wilson may have been the busiest person at the rink, coaching and performing.
"You have to take it team by team, element by element," Wilson. "Once one team is done, you have to flip the brain and go to the next program."
Wilson did almost missed performing with her Adult 2 teammates, consumed in watching Aspden.
"My soloist was finishing and I was so excited that I forgot I had to skate," said Wilson. "Then I had to flip the switch on for my program really quickly, because I wasn't in the dressing room with the team, warming up and walking through the program. I had an ok skate, but there was so much excitement from the whole night, that I didn't have a whole lot of time to think during that program. I just skated it."
Earlier in the show, Aspden skated with Star 4 , to the 70s classic hit, Magic, by Pilot.
"It was unbelievable. I'm so proud of them," Wilson said. "From element to element, I could tell they were focused. They were counting. They knew their stuff and it's amazing what happens when you put a pretty dress on and everything just comes together. I was jumping at the end with so much excitement for them."
Tegan Goodlett, a 10-year old from Tillsonburg, who never heard the song, Magic, on the radio, is following the footsteps of her mom and nana, both synchronized skaters.
"I was excited and I was a little bit nervous," said Goodlett. "I liked that I had my whole team with me."
Several young skaters are daughters of skating moms. The Adult 3 Edge team features skaters new to synchro, haven't skated in years, or are moms of skaters on the Beginner team.
Adult 3 Edge will again perform in Oakville Feb 11th.
Star 4, along with Juvenile, Adult 2 and Adult 4, will be in Kingston, Jan 21-22, for a competition.
Adult 2 is the most competitive team for St. Thomas, having won several provincial medals and skated at the world championships.
The loudest ovations may have been for young soloists, Beattie and seven year old Cummings.
Beattie, a JK student at Kettle Creek elementary in Port Stanley, has been selected to the club's development team, while Cummings last year won the club's award for her love and dedication for figure skating.
Wright and Aspden have their first ladies singles competition, Jan 28/29 at Norwich.
The newly formed juvenile team with skaters from as far away as Waterford, have been working on their skate to "Riverdance". So excited was coach Coombs at the conclusion of their performance, she was pounding on the glass like a super enthusiastic fan during the NHL playoffs.
Coombs is equally thrilled on having Wilson as a coach.
"I used to coach Breanne as a singles skater. So, watching her transition from my assistant coach to a singles coach, to now watching her singles skaters and synchro skaters perform, is one of my pride moments, because I was her coach."
St. Thomas Club host their annual year end skating show, April 1 at Memorial arena.
More images on Instagram - hometownplay