Powering up skating skills

After a quick chat at centre ice, instructor Laura Fechter starts out Friday's power skating session with laps adding balancing exercises into the mix.

By Rhonda Cooper

Every Friday and Sunday evening for an hour a dozen young hockey players from pre-novice to atom hit the ice at Flying Dust arena to hone their skating basics.

First-year instructor Laura Fechter of Meadow Lake designates specific skills on which to work at each of the 10 scheduled sessions.

“Today we are working on two-foot stops, some balance drills, playing some games and then 180 light and pivot turns,” she said. “It’s all about making them better skaters.”

At last Friday’s session, seven skaters with various levels of ability hit the ice. Warm up was circling the ice surface going both forward and backwards with a few balancing challenges thrown in for good measure. Some who were able to balance on one skate in a straight line, struggled a bit attempting the same manoeuvre going around the curve. Speed was not the goal of the exercises added Fechter, balance was.

Instructor Laura Fechter watches as Damon Pockrant works on the backwards skating with a two-foot stop before hitting the boards.

Fechter had the youngsters utilize the various lines to master such techniques as stopping without using the boards and learning to take short choppy strides out of a backwards stop to quickly get up a head of steam when the play goes the other way.

A relay race using equipment combined the skaters’ ability to stop, start and balance with an element of speed.

While skaters were on the ice, parents watched from inside. Ryan Knelsen’s son Jaylen, a novice, is in his first year of power skating.

“He likes to skate and it is an extra two hours of ice time per week for him,” said Knelsen.

Christine Zuchotzki brings her daughter Kendra from Dorintosh to participate.

“You can never get enough practice skating,” she said. “Practice is the best thing to get better.”

This year’s sessions will end the week before Christmas.


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