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Photo courtesy of Danielle Earl photography

Team profile: Solstice Synchronized Skating


Solstice Synchronized Skating continues to glide toward success as the club is set to celebrate its 10-year anniversary this year. Across the national and international arena, fans are falling for this exciting team sport.

This year was the first time in history that synchro, at both the Junior and Senior level, was included with all the skating disciplines (singles, pairs, and dance) at the Canadian National Championships. Prior, synchro hosted its own national championships. Figure skating fans and senior figure skaters were inspired by and impressed with the precision, artistry, and athleticism of this misunderstood and underrepresented sport.

Solstice competed at this historic national competition at the Junior level, the only team representing Alberta with 14 athletes. It was the first time in 24 years that Alberta was represented at this level.

“Solstice has always had strong competitive teams at other levels of the sport,” says Andrea St. Cyr, head coach and program director. “But to be able to take a Junior team to nationals in this historic year was just incredible; my skaters will have that memory forever. The energy was electric, and the support from the international skating community was simply amazing. Some fans had never seen synchro before, and it is fair to say they were on the edge of their seats.”

Andrea is extremely proud of her Junior team’s first showing at nationals, who ranked in the middle of the pack, which is admirable for a team in their first year at this competitive level. “The goal is to have synchro compete at the Olympic level with all the other disciplines, and this year we got one step closer,” says Andrea.

Like many sports, having access to the right facility is also critical to success.

It was serendipitous that the ice surface was upgraded to a standard size in 2022, the same year we decided to take the plunge and form a Junior competitive team. We wouldn’t have been as successful without access to this modernized venue.

Andrea St. Cyr

“We were so thrilled when The City made the decision to invest and upgrade our home ice surface at Jimmie Condon Arena,” explains Andrea. “Prior, the ice size was a bit too small compared to competition ice surfaces so we were always at a bit of a disadvantage. It was serendipitous that the ice surface was upgraded to a standard size in 2022, the same year we decided to take the plunge and form a Junior competitive team. We wouldn’t have been as successful without access to this modernized venue.”

What began as a dream with two teams, Solstice has grown to nine teams in 10 years and is now affiliated with Calalta Figure Skating Club, the largest club in western Canada. Solstice believes in providing opportunities to aspiring 4-year-olds, just learning to skate, to adults rediscovering the sport that they love. Solstice includes participation across all levels of abilities with the belief that children, teens, and adults should be encouraged to incorporate physical activity and sport into their everyday lives, resulting in countless lifelong benefits.

Andrea credits the inclusive team atmosphere, the speed, difficulty, and incredible precision, as well as the past success of the teams as to why there is a growing interest in synchro.

“Former Solstice skaters have competed on an international level as part of other teams; we know we are doing something right in our training and athlete development,” she says. “It will just be a matter of time before Calgary grows a Senior level team, with the dream of the Olympic games.”

Solstice is back on the ice for the 2023-2024 season anticipating programming for over 100 skaters, and a Junior team on track for the 2024 Canadian National Skating Championships, which will be held in Calgary in January 2024 at WinSport Arena.

Synchro

Synchronized skating, or “synchro” is a specialized discipline of figure skating involving groups of eight or more skaters performing intricate group formations and complex maneouvres.

The team performs as one unit executing circles, blocks, lines, wheels, and intersections in unison to music while demonstrating quality edges, artistic spins and jumps, power, and flow.

Synchronized Skating accommodates skaters at any age and skill level, from beginners to adults.

Photo courtesy of Danielle Earl photography

Rose Kohn & Jimmie Condon arenas

Originally built in 1968 with the addition of a second arena in 1983, the Rose Kohn & Jimmie Condon arenas underwent necessary mechanical, electrical and operational repairs and upgrades to modernize the facility and preserve this well-used community hub.

Upgrades included:

  • Replacement and expansion of the Jimmie Condon arena ice slab to NHL dimensions
  • Renovation of existing change rooms to a barrier-free format
  • Addition of new public washrooms
  • Addition of a multipurpose room and meeting rooms
  • Upgrades to the front entrance
  • Increased spectator seating
  • Integrated energy efficient lighting and equipment

Categories: Community, Recreation

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