As the world watched in awe of Canadian Olympic figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, another competition was in the works on the home front in Oshawa.
Skate Canada’s 2018 Synchronized Skating Championships attracted more than 4,000 spectators to the Tribute Communities Centre Feb. 23-25.
Teams from all over Canada attended to compete for the opportunity to represent Canada at the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships Apr. 6-7 in Stockholm, Sweden and the ISU Junior Synchronized Skating Championships Mar. 16 -17 in Zagreb, Croatia.
As more than 800 skaters graced the usual home of the Oshawa Generals, one team stood out among the rest.
NEXXICE’s senior team of 22 skaters from Burlington, Ont. took the ice displaying beautiful symmetry in raised lifts and technical spins.
Due to the wear and tear of 40 teams’ skates on the ice, the ice had to undergo repairs delaying the competition two hours.
The ice was so bad Quebec team Nova was given an opportunity to re-skate their performance after a team member fell on a bad patch of ice.
After a two-hour wait due to ice repairs and Nova getting a second chance, NEXXICE dressed in blue told a story of a river and wowed the judges with its skate choreography.
The team was awarded gold after achieving an overall score of 202.72. NEXXICE will represent Canada at the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships in April along with the silver medallists, Les Supremes-Senior team from Quebec.
“It felt really good, I mean we had to fight through a lot of adversity through the two-hour wait but we did a lot of things to stay focused on ourselves and I think it made the performance come alive,” says Kelly Britten, senior captain of NEXXICE. “I think our greatest element is our opening and our creative intersections. It sets the mood really nicely.”
NEXXICE and Les Supremes junior teams also qualified to compete at the ISU World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships.
Terry Sheahan, Skate Canada’s senior director of marketing and events, says both teams “are (a) dominant force in this sport and they performed exceptionally well.”
NEXXICE and Les Supremes were not the only winners over the weekend.
The City of Oshawa also benefited economically.
Hundreds of young men, women and their families flooded the streets spending their money in downtown Oshawa at local businesses, hotels and the Oshawa Centre.
Skaters and their families were also given coupons and attraction lists to explore Oshawa by Tourism Durham.
Lori Talling, sport tourism coordinator at Sport Durham, says “that is really one of the main focuses for us. To make sure people are enjoying the community while they are here visiting and beyond that is getting our residents to come and see this amazing, captivating event right here in their own backyard.”
Talling says with an event like this being held in Oshawa there is usually around a $1 million economic impact.
The City of Oshawa hopes to secure another skating event and build on their event resume to attract more economic growth.