The Campbell River Skating Club has hired a new skating coach, who is now working to bring the club’s skating to the next level.
Rory Allen was hired this fall as the club’s new director of programs.
“Skating has been a part of my life ever since I was really young, and it’s my full time career,” he said.
After a competitive skating career where he competed against the likes of Elvis Stojko and earned a spot on Canada’s national team, Allen started skating on cruise ships, travelling the world as a seafaring entertainer. Then in 2003, Allen started his professional coaching career in Prince George, a role he held for the past 18 years.
Looking for a change, he took a glide of faith to lead programming in Campbell River.
“I took the position sight unseen, with not ever ever knowing what the city was going to be like,” he said. “I arrived for my interview in the dark and met with the board of directors, then took the position, having not even really seen the town.”
Now Allen is looking to strengthen the skating program here.
“For me coming in, as sort of the new kid on the block, there’s definitely a lot of changes I have been making, and moving forward, I definitely want to build up the program from the grassroots up,” he said. “We want to be the go to activity in Campbell River — we have a long way to go, but we can do it, just by showing all the great things skating can offer.”
“Getting those two to six year olds is key, but so is appealing to the entire demographic of the city,” he said. “It’s never too late to join.”
Allen was quick to point out the club offers a range of skating types — and should appeal far beyond just those dreaming of mastering the perfect triple axel.
“Figure skating is just one particular division that we have at the Campbell River Skating Club,” he said. “We have programs for all ice sports and just general recreation.”
The club’s hockey skating program, CanPowerSkate, has proved popular, with only a couple spots still open.
But the club’s flagship program is CanSkate, which teaches basic fundamentals for all ice sports. There are classes for kids (ages five and up), teens and adults — plus a ‘PreCanSkate’ for ages three to five and ‘parent and tot’ classes.
“It teaches all of the basic skills: forwards and backwards, stopping, balancing, agility, control, basic turning,” he said. “From there, they can branch out into their chosen sport or just continue for recreation.”
Parents are invited to participate alongside their kids — a great activity for those cautious in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“It’s pretty hands-off from our perspective, because the parents are there with them,” he said. “It’s a very safe activity; rinks are massive compared to something like a classroom or daycare.”