How do you practice ice skating without a rink?
The Sungod Skating Club took their spring training online, bringing community, exercise and expertise into their members’ homes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Off-ice strength and conditioning, technical dry-land jump classes, dance classes, social events, and guest appearances from high-profile athletes within the sport have made this a spring to remember for Sungod Skating Club.
“It is a lot of work to put together this online project on top of everything else the club is doing these days, but to see the athletes so engaged and to provide additional support to them has made the efforts all the more worthwhile,” says Director of Programs Kevin Bursey. “We’re definitely making lemonade out of lemons these days.”
Before the pandemic hit, club skaters performed their biannual Ice Show to the largest audience the club has seen in over two decades.
“We were so lucky to have scheduled our production a week earlier than normal, so after three months’ hard work the club was still able to present their efforts to the community of Delta before everything shut down,” club president Harman Sidhu says.
In the months since, Sungod Skating Club has continued to make memories for their members by inviting Olympian Patrick Chan and two-time Canadian national champion Nam Nguyen to deliver online sessions and answer questions. Nguyen encouraged the skaters to continue with their off-ice pursuits and gave pointers on how he himself was handling these new challenges.
No ice… No problem!
The club has hosted online competitions for beginner and advanced members where young skaters perform skills, exercises and small routines on the floor in their own homes via video conferencing. A panel of judges assesses and scores their efforts, and innovative animation allows them to hold an awards ceremony where top performers see their virtual selves on top of the podium.
“I’m pretty sure we’re the first skating club to venture into this area of provision to our members. It’s an exciting concept that gives our skaters motivation towards staying involved,” Bursey says.
At the beginning of June parents and skaters took part in an interactive cooking session with performance nutrition dietician Kelsey Moore. Later in the month the entire club is competing in a three-day decathlon-style event dubbed “No Ice… No Problem” with fitness challenges for all ages. Wearing custom shirts made by a local North Delta business, members will bond and stay in shape so they’re ready to return to the ice.
Online Skating programs designed to focus on balance, agility, and coordination will help prepare skaters to step on the ice. The club plans to continue using these new modes of teaching even when arenas are operational again, to enhance on-ice coaching.
To get involved with this close-knit community of skaters, visit sungodskatingclub.com.