Two local skaters from the Fernie Skating Club have been chosen as volunteers for the Skate Canada International competition, which is set in Lethbridge on Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 at the ENMAX Centre. Abby Hughes, 14, of Sparwood, and Mackenzie Mayea, 11, of Elkford have been selected to help throughout the event, which is a prestigious opportunity for the young figure skaters.
Mayea will be helping to remove the gifts and flowers that are thrown onto the ice after performances while Hughes will be helping with the awards ceremonies, holding the medals and flowers. Both girls had to audition for their positions, and were picked from dozens of potential volunteers.
“It’s a figure skating competition and it’s an international figure skating competition, so a whole bunch of the most popular figure skaters, some of the best figure skaters in the world are competing,” said Hughes, including renowned skater Patrick Chan.
“I found out about the opportunity from an email from my coach Lisa and we applied online to Skate Canada and received an email back to come audition. I auditioned for it on Sept. 10,” said Mayea, adding that she felt that the audition went well.
Hughes has been skating for nine years while Mayea has been for six. Their coach, Lisa Skubovius, said that the two girls are both talented figure skaters.
“They are also both extremely hard-working and dedicated, and set very high expectations for themselves. They love the sport and enjoy learning and mastering new skills, and understand the amount of self-discipline and perseverance that it takes,” said Skubovius. “They are tremendous athletes and also take part in other sports, like volleyball. They are a pleasure to coach and the sky is the limit in terms of what they can accomplish with continued dedication.”
Hughes will be competing in the Alberta/NWT-Nunavut Sectional Championships the week following the Skate Canada International, while Mayea will be training for her first Gold Skate Canada Test.
“The thing that I have always thought about figure skating is that it is a beautiful and graceful sport and I want to be part of it,” said Mayea. “I’m really looking forward to this Skate Canada International and I’m very excited that I can be part of this. Skating is a huge part of my life. I love every moment that I get to be on the ice.”