Vancouver weather did everything to live up to its cold and rainy image during 2018 Nationals but for members of the Alumni Program, nothing could rain on their parade. The reception and acknowledgement at the event from Skate Canada and from fans couldn’t have been warmer.
For the 48 celebrated athletes, coaches, officials and Hall of Famers in attendance as part of Skate Canada’s special alumni event package, all enjoyed a dedicated alumni seating section, a commemorative pin, VIP accreditation and hospitality, tickets, shuttle service and numerous social activities as part of the Alumni Event Program. The weekend was punctuated with great performances, new and renewed friendships and a host of opportunities to share the experience of this year’s competition and many of the unforgettable memories from skating’s history that bind them all together.
The weekend began with a Thursday night social at Relish the Pub, a short walking distance from the official hotel, the Sheraton Wall Centre, where alumni mixed and mingled, munched on delicious canapés and moved outside their circles of expertise to become one big family. As Athlete Ambassador, Shae-Lynn Bourne took a few minutes to talk to the group about how skating and her skating friendships continue to bring richness to her life. Like so many of skating’s alumni, Shae-Lynn is a role model and inspiration for how to continuously re-invent yourself and contribute to skating long after your competitive career is over.
Throughout the competition Alumni followed all the events and during breaks enjoyed Skate Canada hospitality at the VIP Lounge adjacent to the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre where more stories and skating adventures were shared and enjoyed.
Saturday was a big day!
Alumni athletes were introduced in-house during the competition warm-ups and for the senior medal presentations on Saturday night, some alumni were invited to be part of the medal ceremonies. Joni Graham, 1967-68 Canadian Dance Champion, and Blair Armitage, 1964 Canadian Dance Medalist, offered congratulations to the champions in Dance, Betty and John McKilligan, 1967 and 1968 Canadian Pair Champions, in Pairs, Dr. Charles Snelling, Canadian Champion and 1967 World Medalist, in Men and in Women 1960 and 1961 Canadian Medalist, Shirra Kenworthy.
Sunday morning the Alumni were invited to attend an alumni brunch at the University of British Columbia Golf Club. Emceed by Alumni Committee member Ann Shaw and hosted by Committee members, Alumni continued to experience their growing camaraderie. As guest speakers, 1989 Canadian Dance Champions, Karyn and Rod Garossino, told stories about their skating journey bringing both giggles and tears to many of the guests. Also in attendance were Sarah Kawahara and Ron Vincent, two new members of the Skate Canada Hall of Fame, inducted during Sunday’s Gala Exhibitions.
SAVE THE DATE: Alumni Event Package Information (more details on the package and “how to purchase” will follow closer to the date)
The Skate Canada Alumni Committee is thrilled to announce that the Alumni Event Package will be available for the following events:
- 2018 ISU Grand Prix Final from December 5-9, 2018 in Vancouver, BC
- 2019 Canadian Championships from January from January 13-20, 2019 in Saint-John, NB
The Alumni Program is growing and looking for new members to help us celebrate our glorious skating history.
If you are a retired athlete who was an Olympian, Canadian medallist, World Junior Champion, part of the senior National Team, a member of a senior Synchro medal-winning team at Synchro Canadians, or a coach of that athlete … let’s connect. On the official’s side, if you judged at the Challenge level or higher, we’d love to have you and all of our Hall of Fame members join our Alumni program!
To find out more and join in future celebrations, please contact Celina Stipanic at [email protected].