Kenilworth Arena was opened on January 23, 1969. That fall, a group of parents were inspired to form a club and bring their skaters indoors, out of the elements and off the unreliable outdoor ice. The Figure 8 Skating Club acquired four hours of ice time from the City of Edmonton. There were a large number of children in the area and, consequently, the club grew quickly.
In 1972, the Figure 8 Skating Club was accepted into the Canadian Figure Skating Association (now Skate Canada). Within a couple of years, the club was running a Fall School and utilizing as much ice time as they could obtain. By early 1980s, the coaches and instructors taught 45 privates, 85 learn-to-skate, 12 CanFigureSkaters, a 20-member precision team, an adult program, and a power skating program. Over 100 skaters participated in programs annually.
Test Days were organized, some as large as 350 skaters, using three days of ice time to benefit the whole Edmonton Region. The Figure 8 Club hosted the Regional A competition in 1985.
Trying to keep costs as low as possible for the members was a challenge for the Executive. Letters were sent to the City of Edmonton in hopes of keeping ice fees down. The Club was using 25 hours weekly, every weekday morning (6:00-8:00 a.m.) and afternoon (4:00-6:00 p.m.) and Saturdays (7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
Members were busy selling chocolates, having Skate-a-Thons, and working bingos to produce video equipment, new music, a music room, harnesses, lockers, club pins, crests, and stationery.
One of the original skaters has been with the club since its conception, coaching at the club since turning professional. The Figure 8 Skating Club has left many skaters, parents and committees with fond memories of working together to build character in all groups, on and off the ice. Some may fall down, but they get right back up and try again! It is worth it all when accomplishing that jump or participating in a competition. Having the whole family at those wonderful skating galas at the end of each season makes everyone want to come back the following year! The club celebrated its 40th Anniversary in March of 2009 with a very special Gala Ice Show, Reception, and Farewell to Elaine Higgins.
~ Written by Margaret Hrynew